Warriors in their Own Words

Remarkable stories of war told by the men who fought for a proud nation. Their words. Their voices. Our first episodes tell riveting stories from World War II, then we move on to the Vietnam War and other dramatic conflicts.

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COL Gail S. Halvorsen: The Candy Bomber

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After World War Two, Germany was split up and occupied by the United States, France, Britain and the Soviet Union. In June of 1948, the U.S., France, and Britain announced they were creating a unified West German currency. Joseph Stalin opposed this unification, and cut off land routes from Berlin to West Germany.

In order to bypass the land routes, bombers transported supplies (primarily food) and delivered them to West Berlin in what was called Operation Vittles. Colonel Gail S. Halvorsen was one of several pilots recruited to fly these missions.

One day, after sneaking out and flying to Berlin for some R&R, COL Halvorsen met some local children who were survivors of the war. Talking with them changed his life, and he decided he wanted to do something to help them. He returned to base, gathered as much candy and gum as he could, fashioned parachutes with handkerchiefs, and put all the goodies inside. The next day, he flew over West Berlin and dropped the parachutes full of candy out of his bomb bay.

The children were delighted. COL Halvorsen did this several more times, and gained international acclaim for his actions.

To learn more about COL Halvorsen, check out his book, The Berlin Candy Bomber.


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