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Pilot and Everyday Hero to Visit Utah State University

Aubree Thomas


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Candy Bomber

Colonel Gail Halvorsen, a.k.a. the Candy Bomber, will share his experiences as a pilot during the Berlin Airlift at the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences Dean’s Spring Seminar, Thursday, April 12 from 7-8 p.m. at the Taggart Student Center (TSC) Sunburst Lounge. This event is free and open to the public.

Halvorsen briefly attended Utah State University prior to undergoing pilot training for the U.S. Army Air Corps. During the Berlin Airlift, Halvorsen started Operation Little Vittles to provide the children of Berlin with chocolate and candy. The operation started small, but quickly turned into a national project with pilots dropping candy every other day.

“Gail Halvorsen listened to his heart and made a very small decision one day to share two sticks of gum with some German children,” said Andreas Wesemann, assistant professor in USU’s Aviation Technology Program. “That one decision changed not only his life, but the lives of thousands of children and the hearts and minds of millions, not just during the Berlin Airlift, but also for the many more who would read about his legacy.”

Halvorsen was recognized as national hero for his efforts, and became known by many nicknames, including the Candy Bomber, Uncle Wiggly Wings and the Chocolate Flier. He had a distinguished career in the U.S. Air Force, accumulating more than 8,000 flying hours and 31 years of military service.

Wesemann encouraged students and the public to attend the lecture to be inspired by someone who made a big impact on history.

“Gail has lived a full life of giving back and by sharing his story,” he said. “Come be inspired, encouraged and uplifted and see someone who lived history in Berlin and changed the world.”

Earlier on the day of the seminar, Halvorsen will participate in USU’s Second Annual Aviation Career Conference from 1-4 p.m. in the TSC Sunburst Lounge. Aviators and other professionals will meet in small groups with interested students from any major to share advice on career goals, professionalism, career opportunities and networking.


Learn more about Halvorsen at:

Writer: Aubree Thomas,
Contact: Andreas Wesemann,