93-year-old WWII pilot returns Scottsdale Airport where he trained in 1943

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A well-known World War II pilot who trained in Scottsdale in 1943 is now back in the Valley where it all started.

Capt. Jerry Yellin is a former fighter pilot who flew the final combat mission of World War II and is the subject of the best-seller "The Last Fighter Pilot" and an upcoming Hollywood documentary.

His mission is outlined on his website
It reads that Capt. Yellin is "traveling the world sharing his story and bringing healing and hope to a new generation of veterans who are battling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He aims to help heal the wounds of war and dissolve barriers and misunderstandings that bring us to the point of destroying ourselves. He delivers an insightful glimpse into the life of a warrior from the perspective of a humble humanitarian."

On Thursday, he was back in his old training grounds in Scottsdale, flying in a WWII plane. The aircraft is a rare WWII Stearman, the type Capt Yellin trained in in 1943.

At 93, Capt. Yellin is busier than ever. He still travels, makes appearances, and still speaks nationally concerning PTSD.

We asked him why he does it.

"There's only one reason that I do it," he said. "I'm representing 16 million of us who served in a country that needed our help and provides us with the freedom that exists today."

"They don't teach history like they used to teach history in school," he continued. "I think it's important for everybody to know what we did," he said.

PTSD is an especially important topic for him.

“I had to deal with PTSD myself for decades after the war.," he has said. "I am now doing what I can to help today’s generation of returning veterans in the hope that they will be better able to cope with this potentially debilitating condition so that they will be able to lead productive and fulfilling lives. This is my way of keeping the Spirit of ’45 alive — by caring for veterans who are trying to find peace on their return home.”

Capt. Yellin will be the honored guest and keynote speaker at the inaugural "Swing Time" 1940s-themed party and gala to will benefit the Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial and DreamCatchers on November 10.

More information is available on his website.

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