UTAH (ABC4) – The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to rename the Provo Veterans Center after famed “Candy Bomber” Gail S. Halvorsen.
A lifelong Utahn, Halvorsen was a U.S. Air Force pilot who served during World War II in Berlin.
Halvorsen became a U.S. Army Air Force pilot as a 22-year-old in 1942, and a few years into his service, undertook a mission under his own initiative that earned him international favor and gave him a nickname that would stick for the rest of his life.
During a time when over two million German citizens were cut off from food supplies, Halvorsen began dropping parachutes filled with candy from his plane, raising the spirits of war-torn children in the area.
He named his candy-dropping venture “Operation Vittles” and inspired a movement from other American pilots to follow suit. It’s estimated Halvorsen and company dropped over 250,000 parachutes, totaling around 23 tons of candy to the children of Berlin.
Halvorsen passed away on February 16, 2022, at the age of 101.
Utah Representative John Curtis introduced the bill in the House of Representatives while Senator Mike Lee introduced the bill in the Senate.
“Most Utahns are familiar with the story of ‘The Candy Bomber’. Gail Halvorsen symbolizes what is good about Utahns and what is good about our men and women in uniform,” said Rep. Curtis. “We were all saddened by the news of his passing in February and this bill is a simple way to honor his legacy in Utah. I am pleased it is now on its way to the President’s desk to become law.”
“Col. Gail Halvorsen represents the best of Utah and the best values of the Armed Forces,” said Senator Lee. “In times of darkness and despair, Gail Halvorsen brought light and kindness, and his work and legacy continues to this day. It is an honor to sponsor this bill and to rename the Provo Vet Center after a great Utahn.”
After the bill goes into effect, the Provo Veterans Center will be renamed to “Col. Gail 24 S. Halvorsen ‘Candy Bomber’ Veterans Center.”