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How the ‘Candy Bomber’ touched and changed lives

Feb 17, 2022, 3:19 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 10:09 am
candy bomber covid, Gail Halvorsen aka the 'Candy Bomber' has recovered from COVID-19...
100-year-old "Candy Bomber" Gail Halvorsen tested positive for the coronavirus in December. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — From people in Germany to Hill Air Force base, condolences and memories are being posted following news of the death of the Utah man known as the ‘Candy Bomber.’

Gail Halvorsen was 101 years old.

The history behind his famous name

In 1948, Halvorsen was a young cargo plane pilot on a mission to bring supplies to war-ravaged Berlin. Moved by what he saw while he was on the ground, Halvorsen began dropping candy to the children outside of the base before landing.

One of those children was Regina Loveley, who lived there at the time.

“I do have memories of broken buildings, bombed-out buildings, rats in the streets, severe hunger, and Americans being my friends,” Loveley said.

She remembers getting her hands on a stick of gum and thinking it was the most wonderful treat in the world. But she said it went beyond what she was tasting.

“It gave me hope. And hope is probably the best gift he could have given us at this time,” she said.

Lovely decided she would move to the United States. She said that she vowed that she’d one day find the candy bomber – also known as “uncle wiggly wings” because he’d dip the wings of his cargo planes to signal the children he was there.

“He’s been my lifelong hero, and I’ve never met anybody kinder, more understanding, more giving. As I child, I had him on a pedestal,” Loveley said.

In July of 2020, Halvorsen marked the 72nd anniversary of the first candy drop. He died surrounded by family on Wednesday. Gail B. Halverson was 101.

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How the ‘Candy Bomber’ touched and changed lives