Posts Tagged ‘The Fairfield Ledger’

Jerry Yellin laid to rest with full military honors

January 22, 2019

Jerry Yellin was featured prominently with a 2-page cover story in The Fairfield Ledger on Monday, January 21, 2019. ​​Capt Yellin was laid to rest last Tuesday, January 15, 2019, with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery (Air Force Pubic Affairs). Ledger News Editor Andy Hallman spoke with Jerry’s sons Steven and Robert, and Fairfield friends Jim and Ginger Belilove. ​​The result is an amazing report on the former Fairfield resident and war hero. ​Click the title to see 13 photos above the article on The Fairfield Ledger website: Full military honors.

WWII fighter pilot Jerry Yellin buried at Arlington National Cemetery

wwii fighter pilot jerry yellin

WWII fighter pilot Jerry Yellin

Former Fairfield resident and World War II fighter pilot Jerry Yellin was laid to rest with full military honors Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Yellin flew the last combat mission of World War II, and achieved notoriety late in life for his advocacy of peace and reconciliation, and for raising awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder. Yellin died Dec. 21, 2017, at age 93. He was buried along with his wife of 65 years, Helene, who died in 2015.

“My father wanted to be buried with his fellow warriors,” said his son, Steven, a Fairfield resident, who petitioned to have Jerry and Helene’s remains buried at Arlington National Cemetery. “It was an incredible ceremony, very dignified and moving.”

To be buried with full military honors meant that Jerry’s remains were carried to the cemetery on a horse-drawn caisson, a wagon used to transport ammunition in earlier eras but which today is reserved for funeral processions.

“An American flag is draped over the caisson, and after the ceremony, four Marines take the flag off, and in perfect unison, fold it and give it to us,” Steven said.

Steven also arranged for the U.S. Air Force to perform a four-jet flyover, which he said was no easy feat. The A-10 jets came from the 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia. They performed the “missing man” formation typically used to honor a decorated pilot or political leader, whereby one of the jets peels off from the group to signal the dignitary’s passing.

“Sixteen squadrons in the Air Force wanted to do the flyover,” Steven said. “All Air Force pilots look up to my father as a hero.”

Extraordinary man

Steven estimated that 125-150 people attended the ceremony. Afterward, one of Jerry’s friends sponsored a dinner at a local hotel. People took turns speaking about how Jerry touched their lives.

“I lived with my father for the past three years in Orlando,” Steven said. “Living with Jerry Yellin was an extraordinary experience because he was so engaging, even at such an advanced age. His intellect was so sharp. For 2.5 years, he traveled two to four times per month everywhere in the country.”

Jim and Ginger Belilove were among a handful of Fairfield residents who traveled to Arlington to honor their late friend.

“Jerry really made his mark on the world,” Ginger said. “For the last five years of his life, he was extremely busy speaking on peace and reconciliation, and [about] Transcendental Meditation alleviating post-traumatic stress for servicemen.”

Steven said his father suffered from a severe case of PTSD. Of Jerry’s 32-member squadron, exactly half survived. Why did he live when so many others died? This question gnawed at him for years. Steven recalls his father telling him that, when he was flying missions over Iwo Jima, all he could think about was going back home. But when the war ended and he came home, all he could think of was returning to Iwo Jima.

In 1975, Helene and Jerry began practicing Transcendental Meditation. Jerry credited the technique with allowing him to live into his 90s.

Background

Since Arlington National Cemetery is the most well-known and coveted burial ground, being awarded a plot is a prestigious honor. In the biography of his father that he submitted to the cemetery authorities, Steven wrote about Jerry’s combat missions in the Pacific Theater.

Jerry enlisted in the military two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He graduated from his fighter pilot school in August 1943, and spent the remainder of the war flying combat missions with the 78th Fighter Squadron. Steven said his father strafed the island of Iwo Jima to assist the Marines in taking it in March 1945. Jerry participated in the first land-based fighter mission over Japan on April 7, 1945, and led the final mission of the war on Aug. 14, 1945. For his efforts during the war, Yellin was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with an oak leaf cluster and the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters.

Meeting Jerry

The Beliloves came to know Jerry when he stepped inside their business 10 years ago. The Beliloves run Creative Edge Master Shop, and Jerry was there because he needed a plaque. When Jim asked him what it was for, Jerry told him it was destined for Japan, to commemorate an incident that occurred during the war.

According to Jerry Yellin’s official website, two American B-29s crashed mid-air during a bombing mission over Japan in June 1945. A local soybean farmer came upon the wreckage, and gave a proper burial to the 23 Americans who died. The farmer was given a prison sentence for giving counsel to the enemy, but after his release, he commissioned the construction of a shrine as a memorial to peace. He raised money from the neighboring city of Shizuoka, which the Americans had been bombing. Even after this farmer died, others have kept alive the tradition of honoring deceased soldiers from both sides at this peace memorial atop Mount Shizuhata.

When Jim heard this story, he insisted on giving Jerry the plaque for free. Jerry accepted, on the condition that the Beliloves attend the ceremony in Japan with him. They agreed, and it became the first of many trips the Beliloves took with Jerry and his family.

Reconciling with Japan

Steven said his father “hated the Japanese” in the years immediately after the war, but his attitude changed while on a business trip to the country in 1982. Somehow, on the trip he felt a close kinship with Japanese people and their culture. That kinship would grow in the coming years thanks to his son Robert.

Robert is the youngest of the four boys (Steven, Michael and David). He visited Japan for a few weeks during college, and liked it so much he returned to the country later to work in an English school. He fell in love with a young Japanese woman named Takako, but he ran into a problem with her family.

Takako’s father refused even to meet Robert for the first seven months. Finally, the family met Robert for dinner at a restaurant. Takako’s three older brothers grilled him with questions, asking him about his background and his parents. They wanted to hear about his father.

“Uh oh,” Robert remembers thinking. “I told them that my father was in World War II, and that he fought at Iwo Jima.”

Upon hearing this, Takako’s father perked up. He wanted to know more. Robert explained that Jerry was a P-51 pilot.

“Once he learned that, the father was immediately in favor of the marriage,” Robert said. “He was a couple of years younger than Jerry, and was training to become a pilot, too. He said there are no enemies in the skies.”

The father said that anyone who flies a P-51 is brave, and that person’s lineage can be welcomed into the house. Robert breathed a sigh of relief.

Jerry and Takako’s dad, Mr. Yamakawa, met later on, and discovered they had much in common, becoming lifelong friends. The bonds of that friendship grew stronger with the birth of Robert and Takako’s three children: Kentaro, Simon and Sara. The decorated American fighter pilot who once hated the Japanese now had three Japanese-American grandkids.

Jerry’s legacy

The legacy of Jerry Yellin has been kept alive through his books, such as his autobiography “Of War and Weddings,” the tale of the final combat mission over Japan in “The Last Fighter Pilot,” his struggles with PTSD in “The Resilient Warrior,” and others. His official website is captainjerryyellin.com.

A documentary about Jerry’s life titled “The Last Man Standing” is in production. The director, Louisa Merino, met Jerry in Fairfield, and after hearing his stories, knew they must be made into a film. Steven said the documentary should be finished in the next six months, and that it will be shown at film festivals and eventually, he hopes, online.

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Below are scans of the newspaper cover story with part 2 on page 7. Click here to see a few previous posts, and the Jerry Yellin Memorial Service last year in Montclair, NJ January 20, 2018.

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Iowa press cover launch of new MEG’Array Solar Power Plant for Maharishi University Fri, Dec 14

December 30, 2018

It was a great day for Maharishi University of Management, Iowa Integrated Solar, Ideal Energy, the City of Fairfield, and the state of Iowa, as MUM’s new MEG’Array Solar Power Plant went live. The first and largest of its kind in the Midwest, this large solar array stores its own energy and is powered by AI allowing solar panels to follow the direction of the sun thereby generating more power than a fixed array. It will generate a third of the campus energy needs, operate behind the meter, and shave off costly peak demands. This is a big step towards fulfilling the University’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral within the decade. Here’s some regional news coverage.

Matt Kelley of Radio Iowa interviewed MUM President Dr. Hagelin in the morning and aired it at 1pm to over 70 Iowa radio stations: Maharishi University now features state’s largest solar power plant.

Matt Milner, editor of the Ottumwa Courier, had also interviewed Dr. Hagelin, then attended the event and published his article later that day: MEG’Array lights up MUM campus.

TV reporters from KYOU and KTVO attended the day’s activities. Each station broadcasts on two different networks, via cable and digital HD. KYOU runs on Fox 15 and NBC 15.2, while KTVO runs on ABC 3 and CBS 3.2. They interviewed Dr. Hagelin, Tom Factor, Troy and Amy Van Beek, along with Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy and Congressman Dave Loebsack.

Click on the headlines to watch their news reports: KYOU: Maharishi University of Management Solar Array and KTVO: Maharishi University goes green, installs solar energy.

Retired Des Moines Register Iowa columnist Chuck Offenburger tweeted our success: “Wow! Fairfield and Maharishi U, as often happens, are leading the way.”

All reports came out on Friday, Dec 14. The Fairfield Ledger ran our press release as an advance announcement, and sent a photographer to cover the event. Ledger editor Andy Hallman published a front-page report with 4 photos on Monday, Feb 17: University unveils huge solar array. If you can’t see it online, here is a PDF.

The solar power plant is fully operational now and research on it will be forthcoming by spring 2019.

See an earlier article written by Bob Saar for The Hawk Eye: Ideal Energy’s solar-plus storage system for MUM is first large-scale installation of its kind in Iowa.

The Fairfield Ledger’s Andy Hallman reports: @DAVID_LYNCH addresses @MaharishiU graduates

June 20, 2016

Lynch addresses M.U.M. graduates

By ANDY HALLMAN Ledger news editor | Jun 20, 2016

David Lynch

Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo: Filmmaker David Lynch addresses the graduating students of Maharishi University of Management Saturday in the Maharishi Patanjali Golden Dome. In the fall of 2013, the university debuted the David Lynch Master of Arts in Film program.

Saturday was a gorgeous day for a graduation as 366 students at Maharishi University of Management received their degrees in the Maharishi Patanjali Golden Dome.

The list of graduates included 268 graduate students and 98 undergraduates from 53 countries. The foreign country with the most students graduating was Ethiopia with 42, followed by China with 41. Nepal, Egypt and Bangladesh each had at least 10 students graduating. Nearly one half of the students graduating, 168, earned their degrees in computer science.

The graduating class included a few interesting pairs. Touch Phai and his son Pakrigna Phai, both from Cambodia, had the honor of receiving their degrees together Saturday. Brothers Christian and Nicolas Martina from Argentina graduated together, as did the brother-sister pair of Naamee and Nahshon Yisrael from Chicago.

The commencement speaker was someone the students and faculty have come to know well: filmmaker David Lynch. M.U.M. president Bevan Morris read a long list of accolades Lynch has earned in his career, such as his Golden Globe for Best TV Series for his 1990–1991 show “Twin Peaks,” which he is filming a new season of that will air in 2017.

Adam Delfiner, Afomeya Bekele, Asaad Saad, Laure Muzzarelli

(left to right) Adam Delfiner, Afomeya Bekele, Asaad Saad, Laura Muzzarelli

Lynch’s speech was unconventional in that rather than deliver prepared remarks, he asked four graduating students to join him on stage and ask him questions. He insisted that he not be told of the questions ahead of time. The four students selected for this honor were Afomeya Bekele, Asaad Saad, Adam Delfiner and Laura Muzzarelli.

The students asked the accomplished filmmaker a wide range of questions about what makes a meaningful life, what the world will look like in 10 years and whether he would have done anything differently in his youth.

When Bekele learned she was one of the students who would ask Lynch questions, she turned to Facebook for advice on what questions to ask. She asked him when it was appropriate to trust one’s intuition, to which Lynch said that intuition should generally be trusted and that it was the No. 1 tool for artists, businessmen and women and many other careers.

Bekele said she particularly liked what Lynch said about getting ideas, which was that they are not so much invented as “caught.”

Saad is a computer science major and a graduate instructor. He sent emails to his students to ask what questions to ask, then chose the best ones. He asked Lynch about his interactions with the founder of the university, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Lynch has begun filming scenes for a documentary on Maharishi’s time traveling from northern to southern India, and Saad was curious when the documentary would be finished.

Lynch said of Maharishi that he was the “greatest master who ever walked the earth” and he gave out profound knowledge during his lifetime. Lynch said there were two keys to a better life: practicing Transcendental Meditation and drinking coffee.

On the question about his documentary of Maharishi, Lynch said that he was busy with the third season of “Twin Peaks,” but that once that is finished, he would be able to devote more time to finishing his other projects.

Andrew Rushing

Andrew Rushing

Andrew Rushing, who majored in Maharishi Vedic Science, was the school’s valedictorian and also gave a speech. Rushing said he had little more than a week to prepare his speech.

“My goal was to inspire the 2016 class to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and to encourage them to do great things,” he said.

During his speech, Rushing told the audience, “Just by being your true self, you act as a conduit for goodness in the world.”

Runzjao Xie

Runzjao Xie

Twenty-year-old business student Runzhao Xie was recognized as the youngest graduate. Xie graduated from Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment in 2012, and said he could have graduated from M.U.M. as early as last year but a professor whose class he needed was not available to teach it.

“My parents were both in education, so that got me interested in academics at a young age,” he said.

Xie said he specialized in accounting and took five accounting classes in a row before university officials advised him to branch out into other subjects. He has a summer internship with Andrew Bargerstock, chair of the accounting department.

John Hagelin

Physics professor John Hagelin speaks about the exciting opportunities and responsibilities he will have Sept. 12 when he becomes the university’s new president, taking over from Bevan Morris, who held the position for 36 years.

Also announced during Saturday’s ceremonies was that John Hagelin will become the university’s new president effective Sept. 12, known as Founder’s Day at the university. He will assume the role held by Bevan Morris for the past 36 years. For the first time in its history, M.U.M. awarded post-doctoral degrees Saturday, which it bestowed upon both Morris and Hagelin. (Correction: These new post-doctoral degrees were announced and described, but will be bestowed on Drs. Morris and Hagelin Sept. 12, 2016.)

Hagelin has been a member of the faculty at M.U.M. since 1984. In addition to teaching physics, he has held many positions of leadership such as director of the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy and president of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace.

Reprinted with permission. All photos taken by Andy Hallman for Ledger photo. The 4 photos, embedded here in the article where relevant, are in an online slideshow format, with their captions, underneath David’s photo, starting with John Hagelin. The article and 5 photos appear on the front page of Monday’s Ledger concluding on page 7.

Related news: @DAVID_LYNCH answers questions from students as part of the 2016 Commencement @MaharishiU | The Hawk Eye’s Bob Saar: Filmmaker David Lynch gives MUM commencement address in Fairfield and KTVO’s Stephen Sealey reported on Maharishi University’s special graduation ceremony.

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@MaharishiU Accounting Prof Andrew Bargerstock prepares students for XBRL certification – Ledger

January 17, 2014

College students learn difficult accounting program
By ANDY HALLMAN | Jan 16, 2014

Maharishi University of Management accounting professor Andrew Bargerstock teaches a class in which students are certified in an accounting program called Extensible Business Reporting Language. M.U.M. is the first college in the world to offer certification in the program as part of its academic curriculum. / Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN

Maharishi University of Management accounting professor Andrew Bargerstock teaches a class in which students are certified in an accounting program called Extensible Business Reporting Language. M.U.M. is the first college in the world to offer certification in the program as part of its academic curriculum. / Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN

Accounting students at Maharishi University of Management are getting a leg up on the competition.

Those students have the opportunity to become certified in a worldwide accounting standard. According to M.U.M. accounting professor Andrew Bargerstock, the university is the first in the world to offer this certification as part of its curriculum.

The standard is called Extensible Business Reporting Language, often referred to simply as XBRL. It is a way of creating an accounting document that allows the information to be easily transferred to government agencies such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The program requires a high level of computer coding knowledge. Bargerstock said learning how to use the program is no easy task because the students are bombarded with tons of technical computer jargon unfamiliar to most accountants.

“Accountants typically don’t have a lot of training in IT [information technology],” Bargerstock said. “They’ll know how to run ‘Quickbooks’ and ‘Excel,’ but they don’t know anything about the underlying coding. It’s a bit of a challenge. It takes a little bit longer for the water to seep into the sponge – a very dry sponge.”

Bargerstock and 11 of his students have been certified in XBRL, so he knows just how difficult the program is to learn.

“I failed the test the first time I took it, and had to go over it and over it again,” he said.

The certification training is done online and includes instructional audio files. The first time Bargerstock tuned in to one of the audio courses, he reacted by saying to himself, “This is way beyond what I was expecting. There was so much jargon it sounded like a foreign language.”

Learning XBRL is no picnic but once the students complete the necessary training they will stand out from their peers. Recruiting firms have told Bargerstock XBRL certification will put M.U.M.’s students at the top of the pile of résumés when it comes time to look for a job.

“In job interviews, people will say whatever they need to to get the job, and they’ll be a chameleon who changes from day to day,” he said. “This certification shows the students have taken the initiative to learn something.”

The federal government has required businesses and organizations to submit their accounting records in XBRL format since 2011. Bargerstock said the advantage of XBRL is the numbers only have to be entered in the original accounting document and not in every report created from that document. When it comes time to create the reports for the various government agencies, each agency extracts from the document whatever it needs to create its own report.

In the past, accountants would have to tediously fill out reports for each government agency. Now, those reports are created automatically by the computer thanks to the way the information is coded.

Bargerstock introduced his students to XBRL certification last fall. Although he helped the students with their certification, they trained for the certification on their own outside of class and did not receive academic credit. Another group of six students began taking a class with Bargerstock in November in which they were receiving academic credit while obtaining XBRL certification. Those students will finish their class in February.

Reprinted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger. The article was on the front page of Thursday’s Ledger, five columns across the middle of the page, with a photo.

Added point of clarification from Andy Bargerstock: “The certification training does not teach the technical side (tagging) of XBRL. XBRL certification training is the first step towards competency. If any of our certified students get hired, they will need 2-3 months of intensive training in the technical aspects of XBRL.”

Related: @LauraSimon reports on @MaharishiU Accounting students gaining certification in new worldwide financial reporting standard.

Finding the needle in a haystack: MUM teaches data-mining class – Andy Hallman/Fairfield Ledger

December 14, 2013

Finding the needle in a haystack MUM class teaches students how to find useful information in a sea of data

Article & photo by ANDY HALLMAN, news editor for The Fairfield Ledger Dec 13, 2013

Maharishi University of Management professor Anil Maheshwari teaches a class on data mining at the school. The students learn how to glean insights from enormous data sets to help businesses serve their customers, among many other things.

Maharishi University of Management is becoming a key player on the national stage for its research into data mining.

Data mining refers to techniques for finding useful knowledge in a vast sea of information. Due to a recent partnership between IBM and MUM, university students have free access to IBM software to help them crunch huge data sets. They’re using those tools from IBM in a course titled “Business Intelligence and Data Mining,” taught by MUM professor Anil Maheshwari.

The IBM Academic Initiative offers participating schools course materials, training and curriculum development to 6,000 universities and 30,000 faculty around the world.

Maheshwari said modern computers have taken number crunching to new heights. They allow programmers to find correlations between sometimes seemingly unrelated variables. This kind of computing power is valuable for businesses because it allows them to fine-tune their advertisements.

Businesses collect reams of information about the demographics of their customers. Data mining allows them to sort through this information to find out who buys the product, such as whether the customers are mostly male or female, young or old, single or married, etc. Learning which variables are important and which are not is key to a successful marketing campaign.

“Data mining is just like mining into diamond,” he said. “You need a lot of skill and tools but also an artistic edge of identifying the diamond.”

Maheshwari said data mining holds the promise of being able to answer questions the way contestants do on a game show such as Jeopardy! He even mentioned a computer called “Watson” that has competed on the show. The computer is fed the question and then generates an answer based partly on how the words in the question correspond to encyclopedia articles in its database. Data mining power has reached a point where Watson’s sophisticated algorithms can arrive at the correct answer even when the question employs puns.

A computer that can answer questions after searching through a database would be useful to doctors who are trying to predict whether a symptom in a patient is likely to lead to a malignant or benign tumor. Data mining computers could search through thousands of cases to find which variables, symptoms in this case, predicted malignant tumors and which predicted benign tumors.

Such technology could be applied in other realms, too, such as finding out which students were likely to drop out of school based on data about previous drop outs.

Maheshwari said collecting large amounts of data is easier than most people think considering so much of it is publically available on the Internet. He said the government gathers massive amounts of data for everything under the sun. Accessing the data is not the tricky part – knowing how to separate the wheat from the chaff is. Actually, Maheshwari said the analogy he prefers is finding a needle in a haystack, because the vast majority of data in a database is useless in answering the researcher’s question.

In response to the growing need for experts in information technology such as data mining, MUM has introduced an online graduate certificate program in Management Information Systems. The program can be completed entirely online in one to two years.

This front-page news story is reprinted with permission from the Fairfield Ledger. Click on this link to see how it appears in that issue: FFLedger12-13-13_1A.

For more on the story, including a video interview with Anil Maheshwari, see http://link.mum.edu/DataMining.

Military veterans speak on need to increase resiliency: by Diane Vance, Fairfield Ledger

July 30, 2012

Military veterans speak on need to increase resiliency

Yellin, Travis: TM programs needed for veterans

By DIANE VANCE, Ledger staff writer | Jul 30, 2012

Howard Judge, left, of Fairfield, talks with Luke Jensen Saturday after the forum, Healing the Hidden Wounds of War. Jensen, a former Army Reservist from Story County, spoke about his struggles with posttraumatic stress after an Afghanistan deployment in 2009 and the help he found in practicing Transcendental Meditation. Photo by: DIANE VANCE/Ledger photo

Saturday’s forum in Fairfield about posttraumatic stress was a kick-off to promote the need to equip today’s military with more tools to increase resiliency, said Chris Busch, program director at the David Lynch Foundation.

“We need to establish resilience in our warriors, not only for combat,” Busch told the audience of about 200 people attending Healing the Hidden Wounds of War Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s Stephen Sondheim Center for Performing Arts.

“The Veterans Administration is paying for two large studies about the effects of Transcendental Meditation on post traumatic stress disorder,” said Busch. “One of the studies is going on in Saginaw, Mich., and one in Minneapolis.”

Jerry Yellin signs a copy of his book, “The Resilient Warrior,” which the Warrior Wellness program of the David Lynch Foundation had available for donations after Saturday’s forum. Refreshments were served in the lobby while a four-piece band played music at Fairfield Arts & Convention Center after the program. (Photo by: DIANE VANCE/Ledger photo)

Another TM study is under way at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. A private university founded in 1819, Norwich is the birthplace of Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Military cadets volunteered to learn Tanscendental Meditation last school year.

Busch shared a video about the study, including feedback from the student soldiers who have practiced TM since autumn.

“At Norwich, we’ve always worried about the whole person,” said Norwich University President Richard Schneider, in the video, dressed in his two-star, major general U.S. Army uniform. “We’ve always concentrated on making very smart and very strong, great leaders; ethical leaders. I think TM will provide us another whole dimension of integrating all that and improving performance in all those areas. I haven’t found anything else that will do that.”

Cadets in the video speak about heavy class loads, being in leadership positions of responsibility and being tired; tired muscles, a tired mind and falling asleep in classes. Meditation brought noticeable change — in being more alert and muscles relaxing during meditation and experiencing a rejuvenated mind.

One student cadet said a difference he sees in his meditating platoon versus non-meditating platoons, is his “platoon is more professional, ‘more locked-on,’ they’re not joking around.

“It makes my job easier [in a leadership position] that the platoon is meditating,” he says. “Meditating definitely enhances their ability to understand what we’re essentially asking them to do. When I was a ‘rook,’ we had to have things explained three or four times before we finally got it right. Now, I can tell my rooks the first time, and maybe a second time and they’re getting it right.”

A freshman cadet said, “We’ve picked up a reputation on campus as ‘those weird people that meditate.’ I kindly point out to them the fact that we don’t fall asleep in class, we’ve got better PT [physical training] scores, we do better on tests, we have better uniforms, we don’t get yelled at as much as they do, and then they quiet down pretty quickly after that.

“I’d say the biggest benefit is the energy,” said the freshman. “In high school, I’d drink a whole thermos-full of coffee each day. I don’t have to do that anymore. It feels good not to have to rely on things like that and be able to do it myself.”

A female senior cadet said in the video she was at first a skeptic.

“Now that I’ve learned [TM], it’s great. I’ve directly seen the benefits. I’m a senior, and I’ve never earned a grade point average over 3.0,” she said. “This semester, I’ve taken 22 credits, four lab sciences and I have a 3.6. I don’t think I got that much smarter all of a sudden. The TM helps me focus so I get more out of study time.”

“ROTC commissions 70 percent of all the officers of the United States,” said Schneider, who with other administrators at Norwich learned TM a short time prior to the cadets’ learning.

“Can you imagine if by this experience at Norwich University, the birthplace of ROTC, we provide a very important tool in these young officers’ tool box they’ve never had the benefit of before; we can influence 70 percent of officers in a very short time. And we owe it to them to give them the best tools to win, and I think this is one of those tools.”

The five-minute, 13-second video is available on the David Lynch Foundation website.

Two of the main speakers Saturday were veterans Jerry Yellin and Luke Jensen.

Yellin, now a Fairfield resident, was a young World War II fighter pilot, who suffered from PTSD for 30 years before learning TM in 1975, “which genuinely saved my life,” he said.

“I’m here today to offer scholarships to any veterans, and their families, who want to learn Transcendental Meditation,” said Yellin who co-chairs the Warrior Wellness program begun in 2010, supported by the David Lynch Foundation.

He related his own story, including his wife’s support. Yellin and Helene married in August 1949.

“She never knew she married damaged goods,” said Yellin. “I know I caused her a lot of suffering. War had wounded me in places that can’t be seen.”

He also introduced Jensen, 33 years old: “No one understands combat like a combat veteran. I’m pleased to introduce my hero, Luke Jensen,” said Yellin.

Jensen, an Iowa native living in Story County, had deployed to Afghanistan in August 2009 as a member of the Army Reserves. He began experiencing severe stress, panic attacks, depression and suicidal thoughts shortly after arriving in Afghanistan.

A story in the Des Moines Register published a year ago, detailed Jensen’s struggles and life back with his wife and two young daughters when he returned home. Yellin had read that story last summer and called Jensen at work the next day and offered David Lynch scholarships to Jensen and his wife, Abi, to learn TM.

Saturday in Fairfield is the first time Jensen has told his story to a live audience. A video with the Jensens was created prior to Saturday, which told some of their story.

“Thank you Jerry for reaching out to me when I was in very dark space,” Jensen said. “Since learning TM in July 2011, I have less anxiety, my blood pressure is down, and I now know this practice has helped veterans from every generation of wars.”

Jensen recounted his story, from aspiring to work in law enforcement and fulfilling that in 2001, to daily suicidal thoughts and drinking to self-medicate in 2010 and 2011. His voice sometimes shook from nerves or emotion. He used the word “ashamed” frequently.

“TM helped my family come out of darkness, it brought me relief and gave me hope for the future,” said Jensen.

Yellin, Travis: TM programs needed for veterans

At Healing the Hidden Wounds of War forum, Jerry Yellin, told about his inspiration to ask for a division of Operation Warrior Wellness to teach Transcendental Meditation to help military veterans.

It came from a personal experience, a tragedy of another soldier’s family that had Yellin pursue a program to help veterans.

“I asked what was the cost of current treatment for veterans with post traumatic stress when I met with the deputy of the V.A. administration,” he said.

The 2006 and 2007 Veterans Affairs cost of mental health support to veterans of all wars, was $15 billion and $18 billion, said Yellin.

“We have so many young veterans who have been to Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Yellin. “They will live another 50 to 60 years … and mental health costs could be $20 billion each year?”

That provides an economic motivation to have Transcendental Meditation programs available on a large-scale basis for veterans, he said.

Fred Travis, a Maharishi University of Management professor and director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition, also said larger-scale TM programs are needed for veterans.

“The Veterans Administration will approve TM for a veteran on a one-at-a-time basis,” he said.

“We still recommend that TM is a part of a treatment program, not the only part,” said Travis. “Work with professionals.”

Travis explained how post traumatic stress works on the brain.

“The Amygdala part of the brain tags important events to file away in your memory,” he said. “It tags each detail; it’s permenantly stuck on. Every experience is tagged with strong emotion.

“Post traumatic stress is a natural reaction to unnatural events. So once all these events are tagged with strong emotion, the person now feels they have to be completely in control. You experience hyper-vigilance and can’t rest. We also know from research that when someone is experiencing PTS, the brain’s frontal lobes turn off. The frontal lobes are the ‘CEO’ of the brain. When it’s not functioning properly, you don’t have the brain power to find a solution; you only see the problems,” said Travis.

“TM takes the mind beyond just coping,” he said. “If we could do something beforehand to increase resilience, how much better.”

— Diane Vance, Ledger staff writer

This cover story was posted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger

Other post-event coverage: Mark Newman: Courier: Iowa soldier seeks peace of mind through meditation and medication and KTVO News: How one soldier regained his life with help from WWII veteran and TM for PTSD. Pre-event coverage: WHO TV 13: WARRIOR WELLNESS: Healing Hidden Wounds | Des Moines Register: Fairfield and Ames war veterans team up to bring meditation (TM) to fellow Iowa vets with PTSD | Fairfield Ledger cover article by Diane Vance: Combat stress subject of public forum Saturday | KTVO: Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD | Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation: AmesPatch article by Jessica Miller | Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness | TM Blog: “TM saved my life”—Suicidal Afghanistan war veteran who suffered from PTSD

Fairfield Ledger cover article by Diane Vance: Combat stress subject of public forum Saturday

July 26, 2012

Combat stress subject of public forum Saturday
Travis to speak at forum

By DIANE VANCE, Ledger staff writer | Jul 25, 2012

Jerry Yellin

Two U.S. Army veterans, more than five decades apart in age, and a five-wars-with-U.S.-involvement difference, will share their stories and their experiences in making peace with the effects of war and combat, in the hope of reaching other wounded veterans.

World War II P-51 fighter pilot, Fairfield resident, author and co-chair of Operation Warrior Wellness, Jerry Yellin and Luke Jensen, a 12-year Army Reserves Military Police soldier, Operation Enduring Freedom/Afghanistan veteran from Story County will join in a public forum at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.

The forum, Healing the Hidden Wounds of War, is open to everyone at no charge.

“The military is experiencing an extreme suicide rate,” said Yellin. “The July 23, 2012, Time magazine has a story, ‘War on Suicide’ on the cover. One U.S. soldier commits suicide each day. Why?”

Another chilling statistic: More soldiers have died by suicide than have been killed in combat in Afghanistan.

“A representative from the Surgeon General’s office is coming to our forum in Fairfield,” said Yellin.

Yellin and Jensen are authorities on the effects of combat stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Yellin describes suffering from it for 30 years; Jensen is healing after struggling for nearly two years.

Yellin tells his story in his published book, “The Resilient Warrior.” He was 17-years-old on the day Japan attacked the U.S. navel fleet at Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

“It felt as if someone had invaded my home, and I had to do something about it,” he wrote.

When talking about his story, Yellin says, “I lost 16 friends, other pilots. Do you want to hear their names?”

And he recites the 16 names beginning 69 years ago, how they died and when they died.

Yellin flew 19 long-range bombing missions over Japan from his base in Iwo Jima, in the company of 11 “other young pilots, all of them friends,” none who lived to return home.

But he returned home, to New Jersey, in December 1945. In his book, he describes himself as a former captain, a combat squadron leader, and a fighter pilot, but “emotionally I was just a 17-year old high school graduate. I was a lost soul, with no one to talk to and no real life experiences to fall back on,” he wrote.

“During the war, I had a purpose, it was clearly defined,” said Yellin from his 88-years’ perspective. “When I came home, I was completely empty.

“I developed an addiction — to golf,” he said. “I had no interest in working, no interest in furthering my education.

“I had dreams about my friends killed, I had nightmares about the ones lost and no bodies recovered,” he said. “I couldn’t think about the guys killed during the day.”

“Stress is like a virus of the brain,” said Yellin. “It needs something to relieve that stress. The best way I’ve found for relieving that stress is Transcendental Meditation.”

His wife Helene saw Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Merv Griffin TV show in 1975, and became interested in learning TM. After his wife and one of his sons learned, Yellin also decided to take the TM course.

“Thirty years after World War II, I found TM could take my stress away,” said Yellin.

His other three sons also learned and eventually, the family moved to Fairfield.

Since 2010, Yellin has been on a mission to help veterans, and their families, from any wars, learn TM to relieve stress, he said.

“I don’t want other veterans to go through what I went through,” he said.

Through Operation Warrior Wellness, supported by the David Lynch Foundation, offering this help, learning TM, is given at no cost to veterans and families.

Yellin has spoken about PTSD and TM in New York, Washington, D.C., South Dakota and Los Angeles. But it isn’t only from the podium to large crowds he makes his appeals; Yellin also deals up close and personal.

A year ago, his son brought home the Des Moines Register with a front-page story that grabbed Yellin’s attention.

“I don’t read newspapers a lot,” he admitted. “But the July 17, 2011, Register had the story of a young man, Luke Jensen and his family living in Story County, ‘A War with PTSD.’”

Luke Jensen

Des Moines Register writer Reid Forgrave wrote about Jensen, who grew up in a loving family, always wanted to be in law enforcement and joined the Army Reserves after high school.

The news story tells about Jensen’s hiring at the police department in Nevada, Iowa, in 2001, his yearlong deployment after 9/11 to seaports around the country, then upon returning, his advancement in local law enforcement. He worked on the Central Iowa Drug Task Force as an undercover cop, making drug buys, drug busts and felony arrests.

By 2009, he and his wife had two young daughters. His unit was called up to deploy to Afghanistan. He wasn’t looking forward to leaving his family, but it was his commitment and he would be deploying with his close-knit group of military buddies. But then, just before the unit left the states, the mission changed and the unit was split into smaller groups and dispersed to seven separate bases.

Jensen experienced soldiers dying and artillery fire shaking his bed day and night. Within a month, he felt defenseless, helpless, sleepless and eventually hopeless. He lost 25 pounds and experienced panic attacks all day long. He sweated profusely and was depressed. After 53 days he was medically evacuated.

Going through seven weeks of therapy at Fort Campbell, Ky., before returning to Iowa didn’t help. Relaxation classes, yoga and prescriptions didn’t help.

One April night in 2010 Forgrave wrote, Jensen finished drinking a 12-pack of beer and argued with his wife. He got his 45-caliber pistol and “stalked around his house, crouched toward the floor, making strange noises. ‘You don’t know what I’ve seen!’ he screamed at his wife” at 3 a.m.

When she said she was calling police, after locking herself and daughters in the bathroom, Jensen screamed he’d kill himself, wrote Forgrave.

That one-night crisis de-escalated, but Jensen was still very unbalanced. Then he lost his job as a Story County deputy. The family started going in debt.

Jensen vacillated between not sleeping and sleeping all the time. His blood pressure, at age 32, was very high. He was put on blood pressure medication. And he kept thinking about suicide, something he hadn’t really stopped thinking about since serving in Afghanistan.

He continued with counseling therapy and took a job in Story County Veteran Affairs Office, helping other veterans access services and file claims. He was making improvements, accepting his war experiences and his mental breakdown from it.

That’s the story Yellin read in the newspaper last summer. The following day, he called Story County Veterans Affairs Office and asked for Jensen.

“Yeah, he called me at the office,” said Jensen. “He told me he was an 87-year-old guy who knew what I’d been going through.”

“I told him about TM and offered to bring Luke and [his wife] Abi to Fairfield and learn TM, and it wouldn’t cost him anything,” said Yellin. “I told him I’d do anything I could for him. We put them up in a Fairfield inn, fed them and each of them took the TM course.”

It was all paid for through Operation Warrior Wellness.

“Jerry [Yellin] and I are still in constant contact,” said Jensen. “He wants to help other veterans and so do I. I have Jerry’s book in my office. I have brochures about TM and offer them to anybody who’s interested. Anytime I go to a conference or a training for Veterans Affairs, I do some local promoting about Transcendental Meditation and Operation Warrior Wellness. It has sparked some interesting conversations. And since I’m 33 and have been to Afghanistan, more younger veterans are finding their way into the office.”

Jensen said in the year since learning TM he has been able to get off his anxiety medications and sleep-aides, lower the doses on his blood pressure medication and depression medication.

“I’m sleeping much better,” he said. “I’m attending night classes through William Penn University, studying business management.

“I’ve recommended TM to family members, and besides my wife, an uncle and a cousin also learned.”

Abi also appreciates Yellin’s outreach.

“I felt we had a lot of support from family and had close military ties with Luke’s unit. I thought when he came home, we’d just go back to our former lives,” she said. “Even though I knew he had suicidal thoughts, I thought all that would go away once he was home again. I thought I was strong enough to overcome all of this.

“I didn’t want to know about all the hidden wounds, I didn’t want Luke to be changed,” she said. “One thing I’ve always adored about Luke is he’s a very tender, loving father.

“But I got to the point of being so overwhelmed,” said Abi. “I had a lot of anxiety about money. Seeing the changes in Luke was scary.”

She said learning TM over a weekend last summer, gave her hope.

“After one week of practicing TM, I could face what I needed to do, about money, about healing … it just blows me away,” she said. “Luke and I meditate together. It has helped so much. He’s better, a better husband, a better father, a better man, even now than he was before going to Afghanistan. He’s a happy guy to be around. And he’s become a good public speaker, I’m looking forward to this forum on Saturday.”

Yellin encourages anyone interested in the topic to attend Saturday’s forum

“We prefer if people register at www.operationwarriorwellness.org/iowa if they are attending,” he said.

Travis to speak at forum

Along with Luke Jensen and Jerry Yellin, Fred Travis. a professor at Maharishi University of Management and director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition, will present information at Saturday’s forum, Healing the Hidden Wounds of War.

Travis is a published researcher about the functions of the brain and effects of Transcendental Meditation on the brain.

“The main point to remember, is experience changes the brain,” he said.

That is, whatever we view, are exposed to, listen to, learn or experience, affects our brains.

“Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a natural response to an unnatural event,” said Travis. “The brain’s Amygdala attaches an emotional tag to any experience to remember it.

“PTSD is a way of the brain wanting you to remember an event, except it also causes hyper vigilance and low self-esteem and makes those experiencing PTSD not trust others,” said Travis.

“Just as experience can change the brain, Transcendental Meditation can change the brain,” he said. “When meditating in TM, the person transcends thought, which allows the brain to reset itself. If affects the body and the mind.

“How can I say this? Because we have research to back it up.”

Front page article reprinted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger

See: Military veterans speak on need to increase resiliency: by Diane Vance, Fairfield Ledger  |  WHO TV 13: WARRIOR WELLNESS: Healing Hidden Wounds  |  Des Moines Register: Fairfield and Ames war veterans team up to bring meditation (TM) to fellow Iowa vets with PTSD  |   KTVO: Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD  |  Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness  |  Mark Newman: Courier: Iowa soldier seeks peace of mind through meditation and medication  |  KTVO News: How one soldier regained his life with help from WWII veteran and TM for PTSD  |  TM Blog: “TM saved my life”—Suicidal Afghanistan war veteran who suffered from PTSD

Finding peace in Fairfield by Diane Vance

April 13, 2012

Finding peace in Fairfield

By DIANE VANCE, Ledger staff writer | Apr 12, 2012

At the Transcendental Meditation Blog, www.tm.org/blog, Mario Orsatti wrote on April 4, the TM.org website was flooded with visitors the week following Oprah Winfrey’s televised take on TM, Fairfield and her October visit here.

The hour show, one in her series of “Next Chapter” programs first aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network TV channel April 1. It was repeated on Easter Sunday and will air again at 6 p.m. this Sunday. Video segments also are available online.

It’s resulted in “thousands of Americans learning the TM technique,” Orsatti wrote.

While Oprah’s endorsements have propelled other products, some may doubt her embrace of TM will make much difference in Fairfield.

However, the planners and shakers in the TM community are preparing.

A summer session will be newly offered at the Maharishi University of Management, moving its annual graduation ceremony to May 26, rather than its typical mid-summer date.

“Experience the Self” course, offered as a one- or two-week course in July, promises to address consciousness, one’s body and mind, allow participants to discover sustainable living projects, relax in nature and celebrate the cultural opportunities of Fairfield.

As I mentioned in my introduction column the fourth day of Ledger employment in October, I was a student at M.U.M. in the Spring 2010 semester. It was not my first time on campus.

I moved to southeast Iowa in the summer of 1997 with my former husband and two children. We had moved after five years in a small town north of Davenport, after my spouse left 13 years of active duty Army in 1992. (Yes, this San Diego native has now lived in the Midwest 20 years!)

At my job at Keokuk’s newspaper the Daily Gate City, I heard remarks about those weird “flyers” up in Fairfield.

As the education reporter, many press releases from schools around the state and region passed through my desk. I began learning more about M.U.M.

When Vedic City, became incorporated, we drove up here to look around. Dirt lanes took us past cute little white houses with golden topknots and white picket fences.

In October 2007, my spouse and I traveled to Fort Hood, Texas, (where we lived in 1981) to hug our youngest good-bye. His Cavalry Scout unit was deploying to Iraq for 15 months. He was on the older side of 23 years of age.

Having a child at war makes it hard to breathe.

He was at a remote place in the Diyala Province. His care packages needed to include the basics, such as razor blades, toothpaste, etc. He asked for canned soup because it could be heated on the Bradley’s radiator when they spent days at a time away from base camp.

Sending a small Christmas tree and chocolates (chocolates and other meltables can only be mailed October-March) comforted me probably more than my son.

Still, the weeks dragged on. And on. I had a large wall map of Iraq on the wall of my cubicle. I read daily Associated Press stories about Iraq and the U.S. military. I always volunteered to do the stories on local veterans and active military.

When a press release about an April 2008 David Lynch weekend landed in my in-box, I investigated.

The TM promise of stress relief kept calling. I signed up, received a scholarship for the four-day weekend, came to Fairfield and fell in love with this place.

I was delighted to see, and hear, John Hagelin, because I had watched “What the Bleep Do We Know” video a few years earlier. I was astounded to see Donovan, a musician from my youth! And though I didn’t know who David Lynch was, I enjoyed his interaction with all of us visitors that weekend.

I traipsed around in the light rain and mud to view the on-campus green house and one of the golden domes. I ate organic, vegetarian meals (new experience).

And yes, I learned TM that weekend, in a comfortable, non-threatening space from a sweet woman, Linda Mainquist, who happens to be married to Mario Orsatti, where I started this column.

I have to admit to being sort of a slacker; I don’t always make time in my day for 20 minutes each morning and evening. But TM has helped with my stress levels — a good thing!

My son returned from Iraq in January 2009 having survived through two I.E.D.s blowing up the Bradleys he rode in.

And I have survived — and hopefully thrived; through my son-in-law’s year deployment to Guantanamo in 2008; both Army “sons” in Iraq in 2009 and 2010; and my divorce in 2010.

Calming peace is good to have in any form it comes.

Diane Vance is a Ledger staff writer. See other Columns by Diane Vance.

Reprinted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger.

See NPR: Fairfield, Iowa: Where ‘Art Belongs To Everyone’


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