Funeral is sweet farewell to the Candy Bomber

Feb 22, 2022, 6:41 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:49 pm

PROVO, Utah — Tuesday marked a touching sendoff for a man who dedicated his life to serving his country, church and family.

Col. Gail S. Halvorsen was laid to rest at the Provo Cemetery with people from across the globe present to say their respects. He was 101. One touching tribute was from Halvorsen’s own grandson.

“To be in the military as well, is kind of following in his footsteps,” Ryan Williams said. He played taps at the cemetery for his grandfather and shared some encouraging words of advice he was once told.

“Live a life of service for others and have integrity. He showed us how to do that.”

Halvorsen leaves behind five children, four of whom spoke to KSL TV after his death and before his funeral. The American pilot first became known when in 1948 he became a notable part of the Berlin airlift that brought humanitarian aid to the bombed-out and blockaded German city.

Halvorsen was known as the Candy Bomber after he put together bundles of candy to drop over Berlin for children. After his military career, he went on to serve his church as a missionary.

“He believed in God. He knew where he got his strength from, and I would encourage everyone to learn from that,” William said.

Gail Halvorsen was born in Salt Lake City in 1920 and grew up on small farms in Idaho and Utah. In 1948, Halvorsen was one of the pilots in the U.S. airlift that saved 2 million Germans from starvation as the Soviet Union blockaded West Berlin in an attempt to take it from the Allies. Halvorsen flew planeload after planeload of flour and coal.

“They could have a flight unloaded in about 10 minutes and we’d be on our way to get another load,” Halvorsen said.

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Funeral is sweet farewell to the Candy Bomber