Honoring "Berlin Candy Bomber" Hero From Both Sides
by Utah Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Nicholas Perez
Ret. U.S. Air Force Col. Gail Halvorsen, known as the “Berlin Candy Bomber”, was honored by top leadership from the Utah Air National Guard, Utah National Guard, and Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany with the laying of two wreaths at his gravesite on May 20, 2022. Col. Halvorsen was laid to rest on February 22, 2022, at the Provo City Cemetery. He passed away at the age of 101.
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Gail S. Halvorsen, known as the “Berlin Candy Bomber", passed away February 16, 2022 at age 101. Col. Halvorsen is one of the most recognized veterans of the Berlin Airlift who gained notoriety for dropping candy to German children behind the Soviet blockade from 1948-1949. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by David Perry)
Family, friends, community leaders, and dignitaries attended the wreath-laying ceremony to honor and once again celebrate a man who, not only, touched so many lives but who made a significant impact on the relationship between Germany and America.
“The Utah Air National Guard is honored to be a part of today’s wreath-laying ceremony,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel D. Boyack, Commander of the Utah Air National Guard, “Paying our respects to not only an American hero but a German hero as well.”
The first wreath was laid to represent the Federal Republic of Germany in the name of the German Ambassador Dr. Emily Harbor and the second wreath was laid for the Governor of the state of Hesse, Germany, Volker Bouffier.
Halvorsen earned international fame for his humanitarian actions during the Berlin Blockade and Berlin Airlift. From 1948 to 1949, his fellow service members dropped 23 tons of candy on the residents of Berlin during his operation “Little Vittles.”
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Gail Halvorsen, known as the “Berlin Candy Bomber", was laid to rest in February 22, 2022, at the Provo City Cemetery. He was honored with two military wreaths from the German delegation on May 20 2022 for his heroic efforts during the Berlin Airlift from 1948 to 1949. (Utah Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Perez)
“Gail Halvorsen, with his candy on a handkerchief as a parachute and his wiggling wings, were a symbol of light and hope in such a dark time,” said Brig. Gen Frank Gräfe, defense attaché from the Federation of Germany to the United States. “But not only were his actions during the Berlin Airlift remarkable, but he became the symbol of German/ American friendship.”
Halvorsen dedicated his life, after the war, to building the foundation and emotional bonds to expand and solidify the friendship between the United States and Germany.
“Gail Halvorsen is a prime example of how one person can change the world,” said Brig. Gen Gräfe. “He was always smiling and is one of the most popular Americans in Germany.”
Not only will the U.S. Air Force never forget the outstanding work and dedication Halvorsen had during his life and career, but the people of Germany will never forget the “The Berlin Candy Bomber.”
Minor editing without impacting story facts.
Our Heroes, America's Best | America's Greatest Heroes | Uncommon Valor
Americans | We The People | Answering The Call | One Nation Under God | Give Thanks
Love and Pride of USA | National Will | God and Country | America, My Home!
Honoring The Fallen | Don't Weep For Me | Remember The Fallen | Tears For Your Fallen | Our Wounded
Our Valiant Troops | I Am The One | Brave Young | Answering The Call | The U.S. Marines | Brave Blue
Veterans | Citizens Like Us | Vietnam War Veterans | Spouses Serve Too