Halvorsen, Gail

Gail Halvorsen was born October 10, 1920 in northern Utah, where he grew up on a sugar beet farm, enjoying the great outdoor life the state had to offer.  Gail worked hard during those years, and he decided to look into a civilian pilot training program that he had heard about.  When the Pearl Harbour attack took place, his military career was fast-tracked, and he was dispatched to Miami, Oklahoma, where a Royal Air Force training school had been set up.  Gail had hoped to be a fighter pilot, but the army had other plans, and he ended up in Transport Command, flying between Mobile, Alabama and various destinations in South America, where he kept the submarine bases supplied in their efforts to win the Battle of the Atlantic.  When the war concluded, Gail was transferred to Berlin, ready to meet the demands of the postwar occupation.  The Cold War intervened at this point, and when the Soviets initiated the Berlin Blockade, Gail became part of the Allied Airlift that kept Berlin supplied during that tense time.  And it was here that he found his niche:  when he saw the suffering children in the city, Gail decided that their morale needed a boost too, and he set out to change that.  For his efforts he would famously be recognized as the “Candy Bomber” as he began dropping candy tied to small parachutes to those children.  Gail,and the other Allied pilots kept Berlin afloat in a difficult time, saving the lives and the democracy of the people they’d been bombing just a few years earlier.  Gail became a noted celebrity because of his efforts, so we count ourselves as very lucky to have spoken via zoom to him shortly after his 100th birthday.