Col. Gail Halvorsen, popularly known as the “Candy Bomber,” has a legacy of kindness behind him for his deeds after World War II. Unfortunately, he recently passed away at the age of 101.
KSL TV 5 reports the benevolent veteran passed away Wednesday evening at Utah Valley Hospital. Halvorsen is renowned for his work after WWII. The moniker “Candy Bomber” came about because he dropped treats to children during the Berlin airlift after the war. This act helped improve United States relations with the country and helped raise West Berlin’s spirits.
Many outlets and organizations are mourning his passion, including the German Embassy. Taking to Twitter, they thanked him and provided a heartwarming picture showing him happily waving to a crowd. Additionally, they wrote German President Steinmeier once stated Gail Halvorsen “built a bridge of humanity and compassion” between Americans and Berliners.
“RIP Colonel #GailHalvorsen. Berlin’s ‘Candy Bomber’, has passed at 101 years-old,” the tweet reads. “When supplies were short during the Berlin Airlift, he dropped candy from his plane for the children of the city, inspiring Operation “Little Vittles”. Thank you for your kindness, Colonel.”
Halverson once disclosed what inspired the candy drops and it was a meeting at a fence with German children. “I turn to leave, and a voice came to me clear as a bell, I’m sure it was the Holy Ghost. Says, ‘Go back to the fence.’ It was a command,” he said.
He obliged and pulled out two sticks of gum. Instead of fighting over the gum, the kids shared it. He then got the idea to drop candy bar rations. Using little parachutes he made, on his next flight, he wiggled his plane’s wings to drop the candy to the children below.
Another WWII Veteran Known as ‘Harmonica Pete’ Also Recently Passed Away
Gail Halvorsen isn’t the only beloved WWII veteran to sadly pass away lately. Pete DuPre, known affectionately as “Harmonica Pete,” died last month.
Pete’s daughter Mary Ann DuPre announced the news on Facebook in late January. According to her, the 98-year-old passed away “peacefully” with Mike, his son, by his side. “Dad lived an inspiring, incredible life and left an indelible mark on everyone who knew him. He will be sorely missed,” she wrote.
DuPre served as a combat medic during WWII, the Greatest Generations Foundation states. He gained his nickname after his performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the United States Women’s National Soccer Team match in 2019. After that, he formed a relationship with the team and performed at other sporting events.
Shortly after the viral event, he spoke to Fox & Friends to talk about it and how playing his harmonica meant a great deal to him. “It represents my country, my people, and, it’s a marvelous thing for me to be sitting in this position right now to amplify that,” he said. “To just get it across, that the U.S. is a great place and we are trying to maintain peace around the world.”