Col. Gail S. Halvorsen (Ret.), author of the book “The Berlin Candy Bomber,” will speak at 10 a.m. Nov. 18 at the Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana, Calif.
Halvorsen joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in June 1942. After World War II, he flew in the 1948-1949 Berlin Airlift where he became known as “Uncle Wiggly Wings,” the “Chocolate Flyer” and the “Berlin Candy Bomber.” Halvorsen is being recognized this month at Chapman University alongside Earl Albers, of Silver Spring, Md. The former U.S. Army sergeant worked with German children in the 1940s teaching them to play baseball, chess and basketball and tutoring them in chemistry, history and math.
Lyon Air Museum, a Southern California showcase for vintage military aircraft and automobiles, will host Halvorsen and Albers as they relate their adventures in Germany to a gathering of Laguna Beach High School students. The event is open to the general public.
The Soviet blockade of West Berlin began in June 1948. During the 15-month airlift (Operation Vittles), American and British pilots delivered more than two million tons of supplies to the city.
Halvorsen was flying C-74 Globemasters and C-54 Skymasters out of Mobile, Ala., when he was called to join the airlift against the blockade. It was Halvorsen’s decision to airdrop candy to German children (Operation Little Vittles) that clinched an ideological battle and earned him the lasting affection of a free West Berlin. The Soviet blockade ended May 12, 1949. Airlift flights continued until Sept. 30, 1949, to build up reserves.
For more information: LyonAirMuseum.org