Honor Flight Northeast Indiana is making its 18th flight to Washington, D.C. with a World War II fighter pilot and award winning author. Retired Captain Jerry Yellin is an Army Corps Veteran who served between 1941 and 1945 in the Pacific with the 78th Fighter Squadron.
Nearly 90 veterans and Yellin are on the first flight primarily comprised of Korean War veterans. On the flight, 62 veterans served in the Korean War while 24 served in World War II. Two of the veterans are women.
Captain Yellin participated in the first land based fighter mission over Japan on April 7, 1945. On August 14, 1945, Yellin flew in the final combat mission of the war.
Yellin is known for his work in helping veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He’s also the author of four award-winning books including “Of War and Weddings” and “The Blackened Canteen”. Recently, the 91-year-old received the Spirit of ’45 award from the Air Force Association.
Veterans and volunteers will take off from the 122nd Air National Guard Fighter Wing at about 8:30 a.m. They will spend the day touring the monuments of the nation’s capital.
Their plane will return at about 9 p.m. Wednesday at the main terminal of the Fort Wayne International Airport. HFNEI asks the community to welcome home the veterans and their guardians. The group will post updates on its Facebook page about the arrival time.
So far, HFNEI has served 1,220 World War II veterans since the first trip in May 2009. Almost all donations go directly toward the veteran’s trips.