SALT LAKE CITY — What do you get when an LDS Church leader, the world-famous “Berlin Candy Bomber” and actor and sci-fi pilot Harrison Ford all walk into the same place?
There is no punchline, just a photo of the three aviators together at a Living Legends of Aviation ceremony awarding Utah native Col. Gail Halvorsen for his role in helping children during the Cold War as the “Berlin Candy Bomber.”
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, posted the photo, stating he was honored to present Halvorsen with the Kitty Hawk Children’s Award.
“May we each find opportunities to serve and bless the lives of God’s children as Brother Halvorsen has,” Uchtdorf stated.
The post adds that after presenting the award, Uchtdorf and Halvorsen met another man famous for flying a distinctive vessel.
“Later that evening, I was privileged to be in a photo with Brother Halvorsen and Harrison Ford. Our 95-year-old Candy Bomber looked almost the youngest between the Millennium Falcon pilot and me—a former airline captain.”
The LDS leader from Germany is well-known among members of the faith for his stories of aviation, which the pilot often weaves into religious addresses.
Halvorsen was born in Salt Lake City and grew up in Utah and Idaho, and he was stationed with the U.S. Army Air Corps during the Berlin Airlift. During the missions to airlift supplies into Berlin, Halvorsen was touched by the sight of children in the Soviet-controlled portion lined up near the airfield.
He offered the two pieces of gum he had in his pockets and watched about 30 kids share it out among themselves, and he promised to send more sweets their way.
Halvorsen organized the donation of candy, which he would then drop into Berlin in addition to other official supplies. He told children to watch for the plane that would wiggle its wings, earning him the nickname, “Onkel Wackelflugel (Uncle Wiggly Wings).The man’s act of kindness soon grew into a much larger effort with soldiers and eventually civilians and candy companies donating to the cause, which made regular airdrops of chocolate, gum and other candies to various places in Berlin.
See the video below to watch Col. Halverson share his story during a visit to FOX 13 in 2013.