Chilly Conflict ‘Sweet Bomber’ Gail Halvorsen dies at 101


The Gail S. Halvorsen Aviation Training Basis said on Facebook that he died surrounded by household after a short sickness.

Halvorsen gained fame — and his nickname — through the 15-month Berlin Airlift following World Conflict II. The Western Allies flew planes throughout Germany day by day to drop essential provides into West Berlin, which had been blockaded by the Soviet Union.

In this 1949 photograph, Gail Halvorsen demonstrates how handkerchief parachutes were used to drop sweets.
After assembly some German youngsters and promising to ship them sweet, Halvorsen started dropping sweets connected to tiny improvised parachutes from his airplane, according to the Berlin Aircraft Historical Foundation.

“Two million individuals in Berlin wanted meals, principally girls and youngsters. And so I felt excellent about serving to the previous enemy, as a result of they had been grateful,” Halvorsen informed CNN in 2009.

He grew to become recognized to younger Berliners because the Chocolate Uncle, and acquired stacks of mail with thanks and requests.

Halvorsen spent most of his youth and retirement years in Utah. On Thursday, the state’s governor mourned his loss. “Gail Halvorsen is a world hero who demonstrated extraordinary compassion and kindness throughout a really darkish time in world historical past,” Gov. Spencer Cox mentioned in a written assertion. “We mourn his loss however rejoice his exemplary life and legacy.”

The German Embassy in the US tweeted its appreciation for Halvorsen’s gesture Thursday, writing: “Thanks on your kindness, Colonel.”
Halvorsen acquired a Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 as a member of the Civil Air Patrol. He traveled often, effectively into his 90s, recounting his story. Halvorsen recorded a video for his basis lower than per week earlier than his dying advising individuals, “Have an perspective of gratitude.”

“Gail was a person of deep and sure religion,” his basis mentioned. “Religion in God, religion in his nation and religion in his mates.”

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