Capt. Jerry Yellin, an American fighter pilot, was ordered to fly a fight mission the subsequent day over the Japanese metropolis of Nagoya, the place his sixteen-aircraft squadron would strike targets from the air. As his army unit was briefed on its task, Yellin’s wing man, a 19-yr-previous named Phil Schlamberg, leaned over and informed Yellin he had an inexplicable feeling he was going to die.
“If we go on this mission, I am not coming again,” Yellin recollects his good friend saying.
Regardless of these doubts – and regardless of how shut the top of conflict appeared – Schlamberg refused to desert the mission. He packed his garments, paid his money owed and wrote to his household, Yellin stated.
The subsequent morning, on Aug. 14, 1945, Yellin informed Schlamberg to fly alongside the wing of his P-fifty one Mustang fighter aircraft. He gave Schlamberg a thumbs-up. Schlamberg returned the gesture. Collectively they entered the blustery clouds.
It wasn’t till eight hours later, after Yellin landed again on Iwo Jima and exited his cockpit, that he discovered he had simply flown the ultimate fight mission of World Conflict II. The information was a bitter aid: Japan had surrendered and the struggle was over. However the give up was introduced three hours earlier than the planes would descend over Japanese land and start hanging targets. Phrase that the struggle was gained had not reached the pilots, who had listened for the code phrase “Utah” to abort their mission. The command by no means got here.
Schlamberg, Yellin stated, can be the final man killed in fight in World Conflict II. All Yellin is aware of is that Schlamberg’s aircraft disappeared right into a cloud financial institution. There was no radio name, no visible hearth, no sighting of Japanese planes.
Now, at age ninety three, Yellin recollects these moments of the ultimate fight mission with vivid readability. The sounds and sights of warfare by no means depart you, he says.
He’s among the many few World Struggle II veterans nonetheless alive to recount their tales, an indication that a world with out them is approaching. As of 2014, just one million veterans witnessed the seventieth anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy. That is a fraction of the ten.7 million alive for the anniversary in 1984.
Yellin was a 17-yr-previous in Hillside, New Jersey, working at a metal mill in December 1941. He had graduated highschool that yr with a scholarship to school however postponed his entrance to the spring so he might save up some cash. His plans for the approaching years took a pointy detour when information broke that a Japanese fleet of just about 200 plane waged a shock assault on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii,…