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Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Christmas Candy Bomber: A heartwarming true story

Best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful holiday season. There was no post last Wednesday as I was in the middle of a 13-out-of-14 day work stretch. The plus side of that is that it means this year (unlike last year), I am home for Christmas and New Year's Day.

After World War II ended in 1945, Germany was divided into West and East Germany. The Allies ran the west half and the Soviets the east half. In June of 1948, the Soviets began the Berlin Blockade, shutting down access to East Germany, including food-carrying freight trains.

The United States wouldn't take this lying down, and it certainly wouldn't allow the citizens of West Germany to starve. The Air Force created and executed one of the most amazing operations in history: the Berlin Airlift. Over the months that followed, thousands upon thousands of tons of food and supplies were flown into the city.

The operation itself is an amazing story all on its own. But inside that story comes the heartwarming tale of Gail Halvorsen, "The Candy Bomber", who came up with the ingenious idea of making tiny parachutes out of handkerchiefs and dropping candy to children along the way. In the video that follows, Tom Brokaw narrates, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings, and the Salt Lake Symphony performs "Christmas From Heaven", a beautiful tribute to Operation Little Vittles during the Berlin Airlift.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

The author is an airline pilot, flight instructor, and adjunct college professor teaching aviation ground schools. He holds an ATP certificate with a DHC-8 type rating, as well as CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, and IGI certificates, and is a former FAASafety Team representative and Master-level participant in the FAA's WINGS program. He is on Facebook as Larry the Flying Guy, has a Larry the Flying Guy YouTube channel, and is on Twitter as @Lairspeed.

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