National Geographic : 1949 May
Her Favorite Airlift Pilot Is the One Who Drops Candy Bars Smiles like hers bloomed on thou sands of young Berlin faces as a re sult of "Operation Little Vittles," a project invented by Lt. Gail S. Hal vorsen, the "Chocolate Flyer." Shortly after he reported for duty as an airlift pilot, Halvorsen was be sieged near Tempelhof by ragged urchins pleading for candy. Dis mayed at having only a small supply, he told the youngsters he would drop some from his C-54 the next time he came over. The children didn't forget; neither did Halvorsen. As his plane ap proached the Tempelhof runway, he saw the urchins waiting below. Down went Halvorsen's candy ration in handkerchief parachutes. Thereafter, the "chocolate drop" became a daily ritual. Other airlift crews joined in, and at the Wies baden Air Force base a GI hobby club spent one night a week making tiny parachutes. By January, when Halvorsen re turned to the United States on leave, more than 250,000 midget parachutes had been dropped, each bearing from two to four candy bars. American confectioners and private citizens sent tons of gifts to be dropped. Fenno Jacobs from Black Star Fenno Jacobs from Black Star With These Berlin Youngsters, It's "Hi, Yank!" Instead of "Heil Hitler!" Their clothes look warm and durable, but shoes are leaky affairs of worn-out imitation leather. Most important for the moment, however, are a candy bar and a rag doll. Millions of such chil dren represent the material from which the Allies hope to build a democratic, self supporting nation. The program of GYA (German Youth Activities) aims to teach trades to boys and girls, change their thinking habits, and set them new goals in life. Said General Omar N. Bradley, Army Chief of Staff: "Hitler might never have gained power, and World War II might never have been fought, if Ger man boys had been brought up in our more free, demo cratic way, instead of being regimented and trained as a mass of embryo soldiers."