“World War II was over, and Berlin was in ruins. US Air Force Lieutenant Gail Halvorsen knew the children of the city were suffering. They were hungry and afraid. The young pilot wanted to help, but what could one man in one plane do?” Author: Michael Tunnel
In 1948, a single man was the inspiration for a USAF-led operation to drop candy behind enemy lines in post-WW II Germany. Lieutenant Gail Halvorsen came to be known as “Uncle Wiggly Wings” to the children and families in West Berlin. Deeply touched by the German children who survived the Allied bombing, Halvorsen resolved to drop chocolate and chewing gum to them during his regular flights with “Operation Vittles.” Beginning by asking his buddies to donate their personal candy rations, his efforts morphed into an all-out effort supported by the military and embraced by the American populace. Lt. Halvorsen continued his career with the Air Force after returning to the United States. When he returned to Berlin in 1970 as the Commander of the Air Force Base, he received many invitations to dinner from those who were now grown up. This rich historical story sheds a sweet light on how a caring person can inspire others to reach out to those who are suffering. Readers will be charmed by the pictures and illustrations that accompanied the letters of appreciation written by the children.
Recommended by: Roberta Ash, Eagle Branch Library
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