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Martin's Must Reads: 'The Last Fighter Pilot'

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It was August 15, 1945 and Captain Jerry Yellin and his wingman First Lieutenant Phillip Schlamberg were in their fearsome P51 Mustangs over Tokyo. The second atomic bomb had dropped on Nagasaki, Japan just six days earlier. Captain Yellin would return to his base on Iwo Jima. “Phil Schlamberg, as it turned out would take his place in history as the last-known combat death of World War II, and together, Phil and Jerry had flown the final combat mission of the war.”

I’m Mark Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and Don Brown and Captain Jerry Yellin in their book The Last Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Final Combat Mission of World War II recounts the incredible story of fighter pilots at the end of World War II and the final mission.

The book follows the story of Captain Jerry Yellin from his flight training in Hawaii to assignment on Iwo Jima--while the famous battle was still going on--to the final combat mission of World War II. Sent to Iwo Jima to support Marines fighting to take the island, their missions evolved into escorting B29 bombers over Japan.

The authors take the reader into the cockpit through terrifying mission after terrifying mission where the enemy was not only the Japanese but the weather, army command and fatigue. The Last Fighter Pilot is not just another book on war experiences. Captain Yellin relives what it feels like to lose sixteen dear friends, comrades in arms, in battle, ending with the last death on the last mission, that of Phil Schlamberg.

If you are looking for a story of the human side of men in combat during the final months of World War II, then Don Brown and Captain Jerry Yellin’s book The Last Fighter Pilot is a must read.

Mark Martin (also known as Mr. Betty Martin) was born in Midland, Texas. In 1979, after graduating from Texas Tech University, he worked as a financial analyst for Conoco. Upon graduating from Concordia Seminary with a Masters of Divinity degree in 1993, he began his ministry at Trinity Lutheran Church in Egypt Mills and later moved to the Associate Pastor position at St. Andrew Lutheran Church. In November of 2019, he began a new career as a Transitional Pastor of LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod). When he's not pastoring, he's watching sports, reading, or riding his BMW motorcycle. His reading tastes gravitate to nonfiction: history, sports, science, biographies, and the human condition. As a monthly guest reviewer, he adds another dimension to Martin's Must-Reads.
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