‘Candy bomber’ shares sweet WWII experience

By Jenn Adams

LOGOS STAFF WRITER

Retired Air Force Col. Gail Halvorsen, also known as the original Candy Bomber or “Rosinenbomber,” spoke at the Texas Children’s Choir Presentation Nov. 8 at the University of the Incarnate Word.

Halvorsen revealed how he was given a quirky title, explaining to the audience at McCombs Center Rosenberg Skyroom that at the end of World War II, the allied forces divided Germany and the capital of Berlin into four occupied zones. Due to tension and disagreements between Soviet forces and Western allies, many of the zones occupied by the West were not allowed food supplies.

“They intended to starve the people,” said Halvorsen, “and I was one of the pilots that helped the people get supplies via the Berlin Air Lift.”

On one flight in particular, about 30 children had gathered to talk to Halvorsen through a fence in Berlin. After about an hour, not a single child begged for candy, which was unusual. He checked his pockets for some candy to share with them and handed them two sticks of gum he had in his pocket. The children divided those sticks between each other and treasured the offering.

Halvorsen then came up with the idea to deliver candy to thousands of children by air.

“There’s something magical about a candy bar, on a parachute, coming out of the sky,” he said.

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