The Chocolate Pilot
Before I got donations from big candy companies, the children of America were sending me donations, and sending me money so we could go to the base exchange and buy the things to drop to the children of Berlin.Gail Halvorsen
As a United States Air Force pilot flying supplies into Berlin during the Soviet blockade, Gail Halvorsen conjured a special idea for lifting the spirits of children of West Berlin. He delivered packages of gum and candy by attaching them to small parachutes, and dropping them from his C-47 to the children who gathered to watch from the airfield below. The deliveries earned Halvorsen the nicknames the "Chocolate Pilot" and "Uncle Wiggly Wings." His packages offered hope to the children of the besieged city of Berlin whose young lives had been plagued by war.
The candy deliveries rallied the support of communities and school children in the United States. Since the Berlin Airlift, known as "Operation Vittles," had its stateside headquarters at Westover Air Force base in Chicopee, Massachusetts, officials established the headquarters of "Operation Little Vittles" in the same town.
Read about the efforts of the Chicopee townspeople and children in "Operation Little Vittles" in accounts from local newspapers during the Berlin Airlift.
Read newspaper excerpts about the recreation and commemoration of "Operation Little Vittles" in the town of Chicopee 50 years later, and learn where those who took part in "Operation Little Vittles" as children and leaders are today: