Candy Bomber Reenacts Berlin Airlift

More than 160 children gathered alongside community leaders and service members last week at the South Texas Regional Airport in Hondo, Tex., as retired Col. Gail Halvorsen—known by most as the “Candy Bomber”—took to the skies once again in a vintage C-47 Skytrain. Halvorsen was a C-47 pilot assigned to Germany during World War II in support of the Berlin Airlift. He famously fastened his candy rations to parachutes made with cloth and string and dropped them from the aircraft. He told the local children they would know it was him flying above because he would wiggle his wings—earning him the nickname “Uncle Wiggly Wings.” Among the crowd was Heike Jackson, who was a six-year-old living in Berlin during the time of the war. “He was our savior,” she said. “We had nothing to eat.” Jackson, now in her 70s, attended the reenactment. “To see that wonderful man alive is amazing. … It’s a full circle somehow,” said Jackson, who brought candy to the event. Now 93, Halvorsen said, “I did it for the children, to see the smiles on their faces.” The Berlin Airlift reenactment took place Nov. 9. (Hondo report by SSgt. Jerilyn Quintanilla)(See also Halvorsen from the March 2013 edition of Air Force Magazine)