The Candy Bomber
Between the years of 1948 and 1949 Berlin Airlift pilot Lt. Gail
Halvorsen was so struck with the friendliness and excitement of the Berlin
children that he wanted to do something special for them and to spread
a little cheer to their beleaguered times in Berlin during the blockade.
Lt. Halvorsen decided to start his own operation and named it "Operation
Little Vittles" He practically bought out all the candy
available where he was based and out of strips of cloth created miniature
parachutes and attached the candy to them. At the beginning, Lt. Halvorsons
buddies gave up their rations of candy and gum and also their handkerchiefs
to help the cause. The American Confectioners Association asked Lt. Halvorsen
how much candy and gum he could use. They sent tons of candy and gum to
Westover AFB for processing. 22 schools in Chicopee Massachusetts converted
an old fire station into a Little Vittles headquarters. They made parachutes,
tied on candy or gum and sent the finished product to Lt. Halvorsen at
Rhine Main AFB. When the supplies came on line at Rhine Main all of Lt.
Halversons squadron and others helped drop the candy and gum. They then
air dropped the candy over the city of Berlin (including East Berlin until
the Russians told them to stop ) to the eagerly waiting children. By January
of 1949 Lt. Halvorsen had air dropped more than 250,000 parachutes loaded
with candy on the city of Berlin bringing a little joy to the nearly 100,000
children of Berlin during the Russian blockade.
News of this also spread to the U.S. government and Lt. Halvorsen
was chosen to receive the Cheney Award for the year of 1948. "For
an act of Valor, Extreme Fortitude, or self-sacrifice in a humanitarian
interest. " When
the crowds of children became too large the safety of the children were
primary concern. So the crew would drop the candy in areas around the city
where they saw children playing. Candy was also sent to children in schools,
hospitals and so on. Of course the Russians tried to discredit this effort
by claiming that children had destroyed a cemetery near Templhoff where
the candy was dropped but in the end, there was no basis for this outlandish
Some of the other names for Lt. Halvorsen
Uncle Wiggly Wings
The Schokoladen Flieger
New Exciting book by Gail Halvorsen
( The Berlin Candy Bomber
This exciting book is the history of how the Berlin Airlift
and the indomitable Berliners broke the Soviet siege of West Berlin in
1948-1949. It is the first hand account of a pilot who flew the Airlift.
Several documentary films and Germany will celebrate the victory in 1998-99.
The book describes the thirty children the pilot met across a barbed wire
fence at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin. The children did not beg for gum
or candy. They hadn't had any of those luxuries for months. The boys and
girls were so grateful for flour and dried food flown to them each day
that they wouldn't lower themselves to be ungrateful beggars.
How to Order
The book can be obtained from Gail S. Halvorsen,19 E Southfield Road,
Spanish Fork Utah 84660 ( 1 many--mid December each year) and 1525 Dove Way,
Amado, AZ 85645 (mid December--30 April) , for $20.00 The first edition, published in 1990,
was sold out and it was just republished in September 1997 with a new chapter
of 28 pages and photos. Indicate in your reply that you are responding
to this page and a donation of one dollar will be made by the author, on
the sale of each book, to each of the following organizations: Berlin Airlift
Veterans Association, the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation and the
Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. This offer is limited
to the first 1400 books.
The book price has changed from $17.00to $20.00 due to the
fact that the publishers cost has doubled. The original stock of books
has run out so to compensate the publishing cost the price has been
raised by three dollars. However, the Author ( Gail Halvorsen ) has said
he will pay the stateside postage on orders.
On 19 June 2001 a new generation aircraft
aircraft loader was delivered and accepted at
Dover AFB and christened
the "Halvorsen Loader" . There will
be about 300 built and deployed
world wide. In 2000 he was inducted into the
"Utah Aviation Hall of
Fame" and in 1999 he was inducted into the
Airlift/Tanker Hall of Fame.