Candy bomber drops by the BYU campus

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Whitney Hales
Gail Halvorsen, the candy bomber, visited the BYU campus on Oct. 12. He signed photos and greeted people in the Harold B. Lee Library. (Whitney Hales)

The candy bomber made a stop on the BYU campus on Wednesday, Oct. 12, when families and students lined up to meet the man who delivered candy to children during the Berlin airlift. 

Gail Halvorsen, former pilot in the U.S. Air Force, dropped candy from his plane to German children from 1948 to 1949. He tied handkerchiefs and used them as parachutes for the drop, and a commanding officer later authorized Halvorsen’s unofficial operation, meaning more pilots could drop candy to the children.

The operation expanded when American associations donated candy to the cause and young children assembled parachutes in Massachusetts. The pilots had dropped more than 250,000 candy parachutes by January 1949.

Whitney Hales
Halvorsen greeted people and posed for photos for more than two hours. (Whitney Hales)

The documentary “Meet the Mormons” shared the candy bomber’s story in 2014, moving audiences with his example of service and compassion. 

Halvorsen signed photos during his visit to the Harold B. Lee Library and greeted a long line of admirers, including families and BYU students.

Halvorsen said he wanted BYU students to learn what matters most from his story.

“The pleasure of happiness in life doesn’t come from more money or a bigger house, but attitude, gratitude and service before self,” Halvorsen said.

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