Jerry’s Last Mission (2021)

Directed by Louisa Merino (Managing to Win: The Story of Strat-O-Matic Baseball), this film is all about Jerry Tellin, a World War II fighter pilot from New Jersey who flew the last combat mission over Japan.

On August 14, 1945, fighter pilot Jerry Yellin flew the last combat mission of World War II to attack airfields near Nagoya, Japan, carrying with him instructions to continue the assault unless he heard the word “Utah,” a code signaling the Japanese surrender, which never came.

After his 19th mission over Japan, Yellin returned home to a dark life of survivor’s guilt and daily thoughts of suicide. Married with four sons, Yellin was forced to face his enemy once again when his youngest son moved to Japan and married the daughter of a Kamikaze pilot. Through deep agonizing soul-searching reflection, the two fathers eventually opened their hearts and their arms to each other.

By the time of his passing in 2017, Yellin had become an outspoken advocate for veteran mental health and co-founded Operation Warrior Wellness, a division of the David Lynch Foundation that teaches veterans transcendental meditation to help them better cope with the effects of PTSD.

I’ve been watching quite a few veteran-based documentaries lately and this is one of the better films that I’ve seen. It’s a film that will open your mind to the power of change, forgiveness and meditation.

Jerry’s Last Mission is available on AppleTV and iTunes from Utopia. To learn more, check out the official website.

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