Halvorsen and His C54 Return for 18th Time
Sometimes we need reminders of how good people can be, and when that is the case, think of Lt. Colonel Gail Halvorsen—the original Candy Bomber, who will be returning to the Dare County Airport for the 18th time, flying his C54 and dropping candy parachutes to hundreds of kids.
The date of the Candy Drop this year is December 17; try to make a point of going this year. This will probably be the last visit from the aircraft. Halvorsen is now 97 years old and the Candy Bomber plane is the same one he flew over Berlin.
The story begins in 1948.
Berlin, surrounded by Communist East Germany, had become a city under siege. The Russians, determined to bring West Berlin into the communist fold, had sealed off all land transport to the city, believing that as things got desperate, the citizens of the Berlin would turn to them as their savior.
They failed to account for either the resilience of the Berlin citizens or the can do attitude of the American military. Mounting what is still the largest air supply effort ever, the Americans and their allies landed one plane every 90 seconds for 15 months to feed and supply a city of two million.
Then Lt. Halvorsen was part of that effort and every day as he flew over the airfield, he would see children gathered around the fence that marked the boundary. Sending word to them, he said he would signal it was his airplane buy wiggling his wings and then he would drop candy to them.
He has acknowledged in interviews that he would have gotten in A Lot Of Trouble, but the American press got wind of the story and before his CO could do anything it was an international sensation.
Soon almost every airplane was tying small parachutes to candy and dropping it to the children of Berlin.
The event will take place at the Dare County Airport on Roanoke Island. Flight time is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.