All Hail, the Candy Bomber!

Col. Gail Seymour “Hal” Halvorsen, AKA the “Berlin Candy Bomber” or “Uncle Wiggly Wings,” passed away last week at age 101, leaving a life well-lived.

Hal, born in 1920 in Salt Lake City, joined the Civil Air Patrol and later the Army Air Force during WWII, spending the conflict at the yoke of transport aircraft in the Far East. By the time of Operation Vittles– the Berlin Airlift– the C-47 and C-54 pilot launched his own “Little Vittles” campaign, dropping candy via tiny parachute to the city’s children. Keep in mind this was just two years after the end of WWII, a period in which the Allies dropped a much different cargo over the German capital.

Hal’s effort was magnified and led to literally tons of candy dropped over the city in a quarter-million miniature parachutes, proving a strong signpost during the Cold War to which side would ultimately win the world’s hearts and minds.

Hal is seen below in a 10-minute interview with the American Veterans Center.

His funeral was attended yesterday by hundreds.

The Gail Halvorsen Foundation ( has the following information for those wanting to honor his memory.

At Gail’s request long before his passing he asked that in lieu of sending flowers that donations would be made to the following organizations as a memorial:

Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation (
Gail S. Halvorsen Aviation Education Foundation
Primary Children’s Hospital of Salt Lake City (
Your donation will be memorialized by the foundation of your choice, and your gift will help perpetuate the great work that these organizations perform.

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