Segment 11

Annotation

Yellin is not sure if he was fired upon during landings and take offs from Iwo Jima. Yellin recalls that one of his buddies had gotten some lumber and fortified the inside of his foxhole. The same guy called out one night that he had been hit during a mortar barrage. The medic came over and started laughing and said, "You were hit by baked beans." Mortar fire had exploded the beans on him and in the darkness all he felt was warm liquid and figured he had been hit. They all got a good laugh out of it. The man's nickname after that was "Beans". When Yellin flew escort missions his job was to protect the bombers by engaging the enemy fighters. Sometimes during their strafing runs they shot planes, factories, and other essential factories. Yellin had 6 rockets, 3 on each wing. All targets were targets of opportunity. Yellin approached a train once and was able to shoot it successfully. The kill was captured on his gun camera footage. The train hit a curve and went off the tracks. Yellin had 3 probable aerial kills. Somehow all of the gun camera footage disappeared. When the guys were killed it was as if they were being transferred. Most of the time they did not get the body back. Yellin felt as if they would see those men again, but they never did. Yellin notes that it was important to be able to distinguish between enemy combatants and friendlies. Yellin recalls that everything seemed to be in slow motion when he was maneuvering. Yellin feels as if he was, "in the zone." Yellin was able to tell who was lacking the intuitiveness that allowed them to become part of the airplane. Yellin lived and breathed the airplane. He always felt that the other guy was going to get it and not him. Yellin had the confidence that he was going to make it. He knew nothing was going to happen to him. He characterizes himself as being a loner. He did not want to get to know someone who was just going to get killed.

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