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Once a pilot, always a pilot

Retired Capt. Jerry Yellin, a former U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot, dangles in the parachute trainer during pre-flight orientation training Dec. 16, 2016, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.  Now 92, he enlisted two months after the bombing of Hickam Air Field and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on his 18th birthday in February of 1942. After graduating from Luke Air Field as a fighter pilot in August 1943, he spent the remainder of the war flying P-40, P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang combat missions in the Pacific with the 78th Fighter Squadron, known as the "Bushmasters." (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mike Meares)

Retired Capt. Jerry Yellin, a former U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot, dangles in the parachute trainer during pre-flight orientation training Dec. 16, 2016, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. Now 92, he enlisted two months after the bombing of Hickam Air Field and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on his 18th birthday in February of 1942. After graduating from Luke Air Field as a fighter pilot in August 1943, he spent the remainder of the war flying P-40, P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang combat missions in the Pacific with the 78th Fighter Squadron, known as the "Bushmasters." (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mike Meares)

Capt. Jerry Yellin, a former U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot, is fitted for a helmet and face mask by Senior Airman Todd Brackenbury, 47th Operations Support Squadron, in preparation for an orientation flight at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 16, 2016. Yellin, 92, enlisted two months after the bombing of Hickam Air Field and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on his 18th birthday. After graduating from Luke Air Field as a fighter pilot in August of 1943, he spent the remainder of the war flying P-40, P- 47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang combat missions in the Pacific with the 78th Fighter Squadron, known as the "Bushmasters," signified by the open-mouth snake’s head worn on their patches. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mike Meares)

Capt. Jerry Yellin, a former U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot, is fitted for a helmet and face mask by Senior Airman Todd Brackenbury, 47th Operations Support Squadron, in preparation for an orientation flight at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 16, 2016. Yellin, 92, enlisted two months after the bombing of Hickam Air Field and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on his 18th birthday. After graduating from Luke Air Field as a fighter pilot in August of 1943, he spent the remainder of the war flying P-40, P- 47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang combat missions in the Pacific with the 78th Fighter Squadron, known as the "Bushmasters," signified by the open-mouth snake’s head worn on their patches. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mike Meares)

Capt. Jerry Yellin, a former U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot, enlisted two months after the bombing of Hickam Air Field and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on his 18th birthday. After graduating from Luke Air Field as a fighter pilot in August of 1943, he spent the remainder of the war flying P-40, P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang combat missions in the Pacific with the 78th Fighter Squadron, known as the "Bushmasters," signified by the open-mouth emblem of a snak’s head worn on their patches. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mike Meares)

Capt. Jerry Yellin, a former U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot, enlisted two months after the bombing of Hickam Air Field and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on his 18th birthday. After graduating from Luke Air Field as a fighter pilot in August of 1943, he spent the remainder of the war flying P-40, P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang combat missions in the Pacific with the 78th Fighter Squadron, known as the "Bushmasters," signified by the open-mouth emblem of a snak’s head worn on their patches. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mike Meares)

Capt. Steven Parsons, 47th Student Squadron T-6A Texan II instructor pilot, shows the T-6 trainer to retired Capt. Jerry Yellin, a former World War II U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot, during initial training for an orientation flight Dec. 16, 2016. After graduating from Luke Air Field as a fighter pilot in August of 1943, he spent the remainder of the war flying P-40, P- 47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang combat missions in the Pacific with the 78th Fighter Squadron, known as the "Bushmasters." (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mike Meares)

Capt. Steven Parsons, 47th Student Squadron T-6A Texan II instructor pilot, shows the T-6 trainer to retired Capt. Jerry Yellin, a former World War II U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot, during initial training for an orientation flight Dec. 16, 2016. After graduating from Luke Air Field as a fighter pilot in August of 1943, he spent the remainder of the war flying P-40, P- 47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang combat missions in the Pacific with the 78th Fighter Squadron, known as the "Bushmasters." (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mike Meares)

Capt. Jerry Yellin, a former U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot, clips his harness in preparation for an orientation flight in a T-6A Texan II at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 16, 2016. Yellin, 92, enlisted two months after the bombing of Hickam Air Field and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on his 18th birthday. After graduating from Luke Air Field as a fighter pilot in August of 1943, he spent the remainder of the war flying P-40, P- 47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang combat missions in the Pacific with the 78th Fighter Squadron, known as the "Bushmasters," signified by the open-mouth snake’s head worn on their patches. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mike Meares)

Capt. Jerry Yellin, a former U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot, clips his harness in preparation for an orientation flight in a T-6A Texan II at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 16, 2016. Yellin, 92, enlisted two months after the bombing of Hickam Air Field and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on his 18th birthday. After graduating from Luke Air Field as a fighter pilot in August of 1943, he spent the remainder of the war flying P-40, P- 47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang combat missions in the Pacific with the 78th Fighter Squadron, known as the "Bushmasters," signified by the open-mouth snake’s head worn on their patches. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mike Meares)

Less than a week after his 19th birthday, Capt. Jerry Yellin, a former U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot, soloed in the P-40 Warhawk. After graduating from Luke Air Field as a fighter pilot in August of 1943, he spent the remainder of World War II flying P-40, P- 47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang combat missions in the Pacific with the 78th Fighter Squadron, known as the "Bushmasters." signified by the open-mouth snake’s head worn on their patches. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mike Meares)

Less than a week after his 19th birthday, Capt. Jerry Yellin, a former U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot, soloed in the P-40 Warhawk. After graduating from Luke Air Field as a fighter pilot in August of 1943, he spent the remainder of World War II flying P-40, P- 47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang combat missions in the Pacific with the 78th Fighter Squadron, known as the "Bushmasters." signified by the open-mouth snake’s head worn on their patches. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mike Meares)

Capt. Steven Parsons, 47th Student Squadron assistant director of operations, and Jerry Yellin, author and retired U.S. Army Air Corps Captain, go over the aircraft forms before their flight in a T-6A Texan II on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 15, 2016. The aircraft forms include all maintenance performed on the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ariel D. Partlow)

Capt. Steven Parsons, 47th Student Squadron assistant director of operations, and Jerry Yellin, author and retired U.S. Army Air Corps Captain, go over the aircraft forms before their flight in a T-6A Texan II on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 15, 2016. The aircraft forms include all maintenance performed on the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ariel D. Partlow)

Capt. Jerry Yellin, a former U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot, shows a photo taken in 1944 toward the end of World War II, of the 78th Fighter Squadron "Bushmasters," during his visit to Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 14, 2016. Yellin enlisted two months after the bombing of Hickam Air Field and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on his 18th birthday. He was a part of the squadron who flew the final combat mission in the Pacific at the conclusion of World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mike Meares)

Capt. Jerry Yellin, a former U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot, shows a photo taken in 1944 toward the end of World War II, of the 78th Fighter Squadron "Bushmasters," during his visit to Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 14, 2016. Yellin enlisted two months after the bombing of Hickam Air Field and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on his 18th birthday. He was a part of the squadron who flew the final combat mission in the Pacific at the conclusion of World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mike Meares)

Capt. Steven Parsons, 47th Student Squadron assistant director of operations and Jerry Yellin, author and retired U.S. Army Air Corps Captain, take off in a T-6A Texan II on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 15, 2016. Yellin visited Laughlin as the guest speaker for Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 17-03’s graduation and was given an orientation flight while here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ariel D. Partlow)

Capt. Steven Parsons, 47th Student Squadron assistant director of operations and Jerry Yellin, author and retired U.S. Army Air Corps Captain, take off in a T-6A Texan II on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 15, 2016. Yellin visited Laughlin as the guest speaker for Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 17-03’s graduation and was given an orientation flight while here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ariel D. Partlow)

Jerry Yellin, author and retired U.S. Army Air Corps Captain, sits in the rear cockpit of a T-6A Texan II on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 15, 2016. Yellin was invited to be the guest speaker for Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 17-03 and received an orientation flight while here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ariel D. Partlow)
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Jerry Yellin, author and retired U.S. Army Air Corps Captain, sits in the rear cockpit of a T-6A Texan II on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 15, 2016. Yellin was invited to be the guest speaker for Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 17-03 and received an orientation flight while here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ariel D. Partlow)

Jerry Yellin, author and retired U.S. Army Air Corps Captain, walks on the flight line after an orientation flight on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 15, 2016. Yellin, participated in the first land-based fighter mission over Japan on April 7, 1945, and flew the final combat mission of World War II on the day the war ended. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ariel D. Partlow)
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Jerry Yellin, author and retired U.S. Army Air Corps Captain, walks on the flight line after an orientation flight on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 15, 2016. Yellin, participated in the first land-based fighter mission over Japan on April 7, 1945, and flew the final combat mission of World War II on the day the war ended. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ariel D. Partlow)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Laughlin’s student squadron received a visit from Jerry Yellin, author and retired U.S. Army Air Corps Captain, Dec. 13, 2016.

By invitation, Yellin was the guest speaker for Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 17-03, received an orientation flight and spoke during an all call while here.

"It was a pleasure speaking with a man as dedicated to military aviation history as Jerry Yellin," said Capt. Scott Molleson, 47th Operations Support Squadron assistant director of operations. "[Yellin’s] presentation of hope for those affected by the casualties of war was moving to say the least."

The class invited Yellin back after his visit in October where he mentored members of the 47th Operations Group by sharing his story and promoting resiliency.

“After meeting him in October and hearing his story, our class was truly inspired,” 1st Lt. Ujaval Patel, SUPT class 17-03 graduate. “He embodied the spirit we had through pilot training and he encouraged us to never give up on hope. From someone who had given so much to our country, his resiliency only enforced our faith in his message. That is what we wanted in our graduation speaker.”

There was nothing here Yellin hadn’t already seen before, but that didn’t take away the glisten from his eyes as he was brought back into the world of flying with an orientation ride in a T-6A Texan II.

The Florida-based speaker served as a fighter pilot in World War II from 1941 to 1945, flying the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt and the P-51 Mustang during combat missions in the Pacific.

Yellin participated in the first land-based fighter mission over Japan April 7, 1945, and flew the final combat mission of World War II on the day the war ended.

During that mission, Yellin lost his wingman in combat – he was the last man killed in a combat mission of the war.

Fast-forward 73 years, Yellin was right back where it started: at a pilot training base.