Segment 1


Jerry Yellin was born on February 15th, 1924 in Newark, New Jersey. He graduated from Hillside High School in June of 1941. He moved a lot growing up. He went to 7 different grammar schools. It was the end of the depression and money was tight. He started working at 11 years old. Yellin was enrolled at Ryder College for the Spring of 1942, but Pearl Harbor ended up changing his plans. He made up his mind that he wanted to fly fighter planes. On February 15th, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Yellin did not have 2 years of college, but passed the entrance exam, but failed the physical because he had 20/30 vision. His mother was a member of the draft board, so she brought him a copy of the eye test and he memorized it and passed it. Yellin was living in an apartment house at the time of Pearl Harbor. He went downstairs to buy the Sunday newspaper and everyone was crowded around the radio listening to reports. At night it was all over the radio. It was a shocking day and a shocking event for Yellin. He started building WWI model airplanes at 6 years old. This is how his interest in flying grew. He read as much as he could about the aces from World War I. As he got older he built models that could fly. He had never been in an airplane before he enlisted. Yellin saw the Hindenburg when it flew over New York. He was listening to the radio broadcast when it happened. He and his family drove to see the remains of the Hindenburg a few weeks after. Yellin recalls that a lot of military traffic was flying around and that helped spurn his interest. He knew he wanted to fly. Yellin and some of his friends went to Fort Dix [Annotator's Note: Fort Dix, New Jersey] first. They were issued bedding, heavy boots, and uniforms. Yellin was assigned to a tent that had cadets in it. He recalls learning all of the basic skills that were required of a soldier. He got his first ride in a Mitchell [Annotator's Note: North American B-25 Mitchell] in New York. Yellin recalls getting leave, he was on for 24 hours and off for 48. The USO gave them tickets to sporting events. His first job was as a cook. He went to the Stage Door Canteen in New York City. Yellin saw a Notre Dame game at Yankee Stadium. Yellin was then sent to Nashville, Tennessee. He went through classification in Tennessee. These tests determined who was going to be a pilot, bombardier, or navigator. Yellin qualified for all 3 and chose to become a pilot. He went to Santa Ana, California for pre-flight training. His class was 43H, scheduled to graduate in August of 1943. During ground school training they familiarized themselves with Morse code and radar and the essential ground operations that were required to put men in the air.


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