‘Candy Bomber’ potential namesake for Provo Vet Center in proposed legislation

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“Candy Bomber” Lt. Gail S. Halvorsen, of Garland, Utah, who started the airlift’s “Operation Little Vittles” for candy-starved Berlin children, demonstrates how handkerchief parachutes were used to drop sweets. The 28-year-old lieutenant described the operation of the project at an interview in New York, Jan. 24, 1949. His duties with the Berlin airlift are ended, and he is in the U.S. for reassignment. His work of supplying the Berlin children with candy will be carried on under the supervision of Capt. Lawrence l. Caskey, of Enid, Okla. (AP Photo/Harry Harris)

OREM, Utah (ABC4) – Utah’s Congressmen are coming together to rename the Provo Vet Center after an iconic Utahn – the ‘Candy Bomber.’

Provo’s Col. Gail S. Halvorsen, the ‘Candy Bomber,’ served during the Berlin Airlift in 1948 and dropped candy rations from his plane to German children as he undertook airlift missions.

An estimated 250,000 parachutes with 21 tons of candy were dropped by Halvorsen and his fellow airmen to the children of Berlin as part of “Operation Little Vittles.”

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Following more than three decades of services and over 8,000 hours of flying time, the Candy Bomber retired from the military in 1974. Since then, he has continued engaging in humanitarian and community service, representing the U.S. Airforce abroad.

In addition to his community service, he could not go without some candy. He has re-enacted his famous candy drops in Berlin, the Middle East, and around the world in an effort to bring peace and relief.

Halvorsen has been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, a German Order of Merit, an Air Force Commendation Medal, and a Medal for Humane Action. He also founded the Gail S. Halvorsen Aviation Education Foundation, which advances aviation and STEM education, promotes youth leadership development, and encourages humanitarian service.

Halvorsen recently celebrated his 100th birthday.

Now, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) have introduced legislation to rename the Provo Vet Center in Orem after Col. Halvorsen. The bill would rename it to “Gail S. Halvorsen ‘Candy Bomber’ Veterans Center.”

Every other Utah lawmaker – Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Reps. Blake Moore (R-UT), Burgess Owens (R-UT), and Chris Stewart (R-UT) – are co-sponsoring the legislation.

For the final time, Col. Halvorsen took to the skies on July 3. He boarded a helicopter, flew over the Greater Zion Stadium, and dropped candy again.

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