Making his 19th annual visit to the Outer Banks on Sunday, Colonel Gail Halverston and the Candy Bomber is one of those feel good stories that deserves retelling.
The year was 1948. A political iron curtain split the east from the west in Europe and in Germany the divide was particularly destructive. Germany was divided into East and West Germany and in the heart of East Germany, Berlin was also a divided city.
East Germany was controlled by what is now Russia, and hoping to gain complete control over Berlin, they forbid all land transport to the city.
What followed was the Berlin Airlift, a remarkable and successful effort to supply a city with a population of more than 1,000,000 the food fuel and medicine they would need to survive. From June 1948 until September of 1949, led by the United States, from the US, Canada, Great Britain France and Germany flew day and night to supply necessities of life.
Then Lt. Halverston was one of those pilots, and as he came into land at Berlin Airport, he saw children lined up at the gate. Knowing that the airlift was concentrating on delivering what the city needed to survive and candy for children was not on that list, Halverston decided to do something about that.
He began dropping candy with small parachutes attached to the children below. When his commanding officer found out what he was doing, the reaction was….unfavorable…until the American newspapers told the tale of the Candy Bomber.
Colonel Halverston, now 98 years old, was back again this year, in the same C54 that flew the Candy Bomber run 70 years ago.
The aircraft with four propellors, was once the workhorse of militaries around the world. Graceful and beautiful in flight, the Candy Bomber reenacts that mission or kindness every year, dropping candy for the children of Dare County at the Dare County AirPort. Click here and check out some of our wonderful villa rentals in Outer Banks!