Skip to comments.Berlin Airlift 'Candy Bomber' still dropping sweets from the sky after 70 years
Posted on 08/01/2018 5:27:08 PM PDT by CondoleezzaProtege
A World War II veteran who has been delivering sweet surprises from the sky for 70 years continues to brings smiles to the faces of children as the "Candy Bomber.
"There's something magical about a chocolate bar come floatin' out of the sky," Col. Gail "Hal" Halvorsen told ABC News. "It's tied on an actual parachute. Hopefully, some kids appreciate it."
Halvorsen, 97, started his candy drops when he was a U.S. pilot for the Allied forces during the Berlin Airlift. In 1948, the Russians cut off food and supplies to West Berlin, Germany. The United States and its allies started airdropping packages filled with flour, milk, meat and even coal to the starving city.
Ruth Cheever, who was born in Berlin around that time, said her city had gotten hit hard during World War II, which occurred years before the airlift.
"It's horrifying to a child. It's still embedded inside of your heart," she told ABC News.
Halvorsen, who was 27 at the time, was one of the pilots dropping packages into the city. He said he was inspired to do something special for the suffering children.
"I thought, 'Well gosh, I get a chocolate ration. I can share it,'" he said.
And so he did.
When he was released from the airlifts in 1949, Halvorsen flew to his hometown of Garland, Utah, where the tradition continued.
Williams said the purpose of the air drops is to bring more recognition to that time in history and help with funding the Gail S. Halvorsen Aviation Education Center.
"It's an integral part of the Berlin Airlift celebration," Halvorsen said. "If we get outside of ourselves in the road of life, for somebody who is struggling more than you are, then you're going to be rewarded in a way you'll never know."
(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...
by: William Lambers
It was seventy years ago this summer when West Berlin faced starvation from a blockade by the Soviet Union. America's heroic response to that crisis gives us hope to feed the hungry in conflict zones across the globe today.
Imagine if the roads, rails and waterways into your hometown were suddenly cut off by enemy troops. No supplies could move in under such a blockade. Soon there would be no food, gas, medicine, or anything else you need for daily life. You would have an emergency within days.
This is the situation West Berlin faced during the summer of 1948. As the part of Berlin under American control after World War II, it was also deep in the Soviet Union's occupied area of East Germany. So it was relatively easy for the Soviets to cut off access to West Berlin in an effort to take charge during the Cold War power struggle.
The 2 million people in West Berlin might starve to death if America could not bring in regular supplies. General Lucius Clay wrote it was one of the most ruthless efforts in modern times to use mass starvation for political coercion.
War might erupt over any confrontation with the Soviet blockade. West Berlin was at risk of falling to the Soviets.
The U.S. Air Force came to the rescue. The massive Berlin Airlift began in the summer of 1948 using planes to bypass the blockade and deliver life-saving aid to West Berliners.
An incredibly coordinated air operation of almost 300,000 flights brought in food, milk, fuel and other supplies West Berlin needed to survive. This required a massive scale up of air power.
As explained by General Clay, Operation Vittles, as the pilots designated the airlift, grew steadily from the few outmoded planes we had in Germany to the fleet of giant flying transports which on the record day delivered almost 13,000 tons to our three airports.
The airlift lasted for a year. This was a humanitarian marathon which the U.S. and its allies had the endurance. Eventually the Soviet Union ended the blockade. West Berlin was saved.
This was a crucial episode in the Cold War. The German people remembered who fed them in their time of need. It was America, the nation of hope and humanitarianism. One of the most striking images of the Berlin Airlift is U.S. pilot Gail Halvorsen dropping candy from his plane for the German children. The candy bomber, as he became known, symbolized the generous spirit of America.
Beautiful tribute to a great American success story.
“............Clinton referred to this happy warrior during a speech as she.”
Typical Democrat narcissist. It’s all about them, so why bother knowing about whom they speak. Of lesser importance you know.
EU human rights commission will put a stop to that - having kids being hit on the head with candy injuring them and those that didn’t get any would have their self esteem crushed - not counting cavities.
Christmas in July!
One day in July, he was filming plane takeoffs and landings at Tempelhof, the main landing site for the airlift. While there, he saw about thirty children lined up behind one of the barbed-wire fences. He went to meet them and noticed that the children had nothing.
Halvorsen remembers: " I met about thirty children at the barbed wire fence that protected Tempelhof's huge area. They were excited and told me that 'when the weather gets so bad that you can't land, don't worry about us. We can get by on a little food, but if we lose our freedom, we may never get it back.'"
Touched, Halvorsen reached into his pocket and took out two sticks of gum to give to the children. The kids broke it into little pieces and shared it; the ones who did not get any sniffed the wrappers. Watching the children, so many of whom had absolutely nothing, Halvorsen regretted not having more to give them.
Halvorsen recorded that he wanted to do more for the children, and so told them that the following day he would have enough gum for all of them, and he would drop it out of his plane. According to Halvorsen, one child asked "How will we know it is your plane?" to which Halvorsen responded that he would wiggle his wings, something he had done for his parents when he first got his pilot's license in 1941.
I watched a series called "Ice Pilots". Pretty good if like the old planes.
There were more than a few civilian pilots...
Warms the cockles of my heart...I was stationed there 66-69.
The way this is written, one would be thinking that the airplanes flew over Berlin and parachuted the supplies without landing. Once again this is poor reporting and poor editing. The MSM wonders why we don't trust it, well not only are they proven to be biased but they can't report clearly either!
“One of the most striking images of the Berlin Airlift is U.S. pilot Gail Halvorsen dropping candy from his plane for the German children. The candy bomber, as he became known, symbolized the generous spirit of America. “
And after 50 years of Cold War and a trillion dollars, what do we have to show for it?
The Germans hate us, vote for communists and buy oil and gas from Russia.
A colossal waste of time and resources on our part.
Instead of candy we should be sending them a bill.
My Father got into trouble during WWII for giving, well trading candy to a German kid, for eggs.
His battalion commander Lt. Col. Scott happened to see it. He gave Daddy an oral reprimand. It seems eggs were somehow easy to sabotage.
If its buffalo I think its a Curtiss C46.
We should have destroyed Stalin right after Hitler. Nobody agrees with that. They accept what is and not what could have been: no Communism to fill most of the post WWII void. Now we have Muslims carrying the torch. History and people is bizarre.
It’s Buffalo. Buffalo Bill is cool.
Certainly the airlift did not drop its supplies but landed and offloaded them.One of the most striking images of the Berlin Airlift is U.S. pilot Gail Halvorsen dropping candy from his plane for the German children. The candy bomber, as he became known, symbolized the generous spirit of America,
Second, relations between the conquering allies and the surviving German population were tenuous as a hangover of the scorched earth approach of Hitler and Stalin. The Red Army brutally raped every female person in Berlin, multiple times. And while they were not doing that, the American forces which occupied West Berlin - emphatically including their top officers -were not exactly friendly to German civilians, either. This was so true that when
Halvorson was not only acting on his own initiative, he risked disapproval from his chain of command. But the thing that turned it around was the PR effect it had. The chain of command found out about it from reporters who put the commanders in the place where they found it politic to approve. It was kind of taken out of their hands.
Halvorson was sent back to the US to be on some TV shows, and ended up raising big bucks for additional candy. At a certain point they realized that they had so much candy that parachuting it all was not practical - and they decided to make a specific shipment of the candy to Berlin for a huge Christmas party.
Yes, definitely not the C-47. Must be the C-46.
“...And after 50 years of Cold War and a trillion dollars, what do we have to show for it?
...Instead of candy we should be sending them a bill.”
Neatly summarizes the relentless refusal of Americans to acknowledge geostrategic realities. Condescension of the most disagreeable sort: we think we’re too good, too moral to dirty our hands with the problems of the rest of the world.
The USA was founded as a trading nation; the “city on a hill” stuff was ex post facto propagandizing, to help us feel good about ourselves.
No trading nation can cut itself off.
“We should have destroyed Stalin right after Hitler....” [shanover, post 15]
Easy to say, tougher to do.
In his book _Winston’s War_, Max Hastings writes that on VE Day, the Red Army fielded 480 divisions. All the rest of the Allies together fielded 129 divisions at maximum strength. The Allies lacked the capability.
In subduing the Third Reich, the Red Army did most of the destroying. And the dying.
In late spring 1945, when Winston Churchill was still UK Prime Minister, he did direct the Imperial General Staff to plan a ground campaign, to force the Soviets out of Poland. After mulling it over, the Combined Staffs didn’t peg the chances of success as very high.
But the chief stumbling block was reckoned to be public opinion. The people of Britain, America, and the other Allied nations were tired of war by then; it was estimated that they would topple their own governments before they’d consent to yet more combat.
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