Skip to main content

Halvorsen, Gail S.



  • Existence: 1920-

Biographical History

Gail S. Halvorsen (1920- ) is a pilot, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a local ecclesiastical leader in Arizona and Utah.

Gail Seymour Halvorsen was born on October 10, 1920 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was raised on farms in Utah and Idaho, and at age 21 earned a private pilot license under the non-college Civilian Pilot Training program in September 1941. After joining the United States Army Air Corps in June 1942, he was assigned to the South Atlantic Theater as a pilot flying transport operations.

After World War II he flew in the Berlin Airlift, where he became known as "Uncle Wiggly Wings", the "Chocolate Flyer", and the "Berlin Candy Bomber" after dropping candy attached to parachutes to the children of blockaded Berlin. His actions sparked interest in the United States, and individuals and groups all over the country donated candy and handkerchief parachutes to be given to Berlin children. He returned to the United States in January of 1949, five months before the end of the blockade.

After his return home he married Alta Jolley, with whom he later had five children, on April 16, 1949. He earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in aeronautical engineering at the University of Florida, finishing in 1952. Halvorsen graduated from Air Command and Staff College in 1958. He was assigned to the Air Force Space Systems Division and then the Foreign Technology Division of Air Force Systems Command working at air force bases around America and Germany. He served at Vandenberg Tracking Station in California working on the Dyna Soar missile project and the Titan III Space Launch Vehicle until 1970, when he moved back to Berlin with his family to serve as commander of Tempelhof Central Airport from 1970-1974.

Colonel Halvorsen retired from the military in 1974, when he moved to Provo and took a position as the Dean of Student Life at Brigham Young University until 1984. He served missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with his wife, Alta Halvorsen, in the England South Mission from 1986-1987, and in the St. Petersburg Russia Mission from 1995-1997. Throughout his retirement he has traveled extensively for numerous speaking events and candy drops, largely around the United States.

Gail and Alta Halvorsen had twenty-four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Alta passed away on January 21, 1999. Gail Halvorsen is now married to Lorraine Pace, who has three children, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

UPB files, May 3, 2018 (Gail S. Halvorsen; b. Oct. 10, 1920 Salt Lake City; returned from Berlin Jan. 1949; m. Alta Jolley Apr. 16, 1949; five children; Air Command and Staff College 1958; Vandenberg Tracking Station working on Dyna Soar; commander of Tempelhof Central Airport 1970-1974; ret. from military 1974 as a Colonel; Dean of Student Life at BYU 1974-1984; England South Mission 1986-1987; St. Petersburg Russia Mission 1995-1997; speaking events and candy drops; m. Lorraine Pace)

The Berlin Candy Bomber, 2006: p. 255 (towns in Utah and Idaho; pilot license Sept. 1941 from non-college Civilian Pilot Training Program; Joined Air Corps June 1942; flew transport in South Atlantic Theater; flew in Berlin Airlift; "Uncle Wiggly Wings" and "Chocolate Flyer"; candy drops in Berlin; Univ. of Florida Bachelor's and Master's degrees in aeronautical engineering received 1952; LDS ecclesiastical leader)

Deseret News, via WWW, May 3, 2018 (Alta Jolley Halvorsen d. Jan. 21, 1999)

Found in 52 Collections and/or Records:

Gail S. Halvorsen awards, 1938-2017

Identifier: MSS 2220 Series 2 Sub-Series 6
Scope and Contents

Contains awards, certificates, and plaques, both received by and awarded by Gail S. Halvorsen. Dated 1938-2017.

Dates: 1938-2017

Gail S. Halvorsen book proofs, 1948-2009

Identifier: MSS 2220 Series 3 Sub-Series 7
Scope and Contents

Contains photographs for the book proofs for the books: Candy Bomber by Michael O. Tunnel, The Berlin Candy Bomber by Gail S. Halvorsen, and Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot by Margot Raven. Dated 1948-2009.

Dates: 1948-2009

Gail S. Halvorsen CD-ROMs of digital photographs, 1998-2017

Identifier: MSS 2220 Series 2 Sub-Series 3 Sub-Series 10 Sub-Series 4
Scope and Contents

Contains CD-ROMS with photographs, many of candy bomber-themed events with Gail S. Halvorsen. Dated 1998-2017.

Dates: 1998-2017

Gail S. Halvorsen collection of art and literature on the Berlin Airlift, 1981-2014

Identifier: MSS 2220 Series 2 Sub-Series 3 Sub-Series 2
Scope and Contents

Contains art inspired by Gail S. Halvorsen, the Berlin airlift, and the history of flight. Includes scripts, songs, poetry, drawings and paintings, calendars, and postal items. Materials dated 1986-2014.

Dates: 1981-2014

Gail S. Halvorsen collection of artifacts, 1948-2011

Identifier: MSS 2220 Series 2 Sub-Series 3 Sub-Series 14
Scope and Contents

Contains artifacts, including parachutes, hankerchiefs, other textiles and memorabilia related to Halvorsen's post-military retirement. Dated approximately 1948-2011.

Dates: 1948-2011

Gail S. Halvorsen collection of audio recordings, 1977-2008

Identifier: MSS 2220 Series 2 Sub-Series 3 Sub-Series 10 Sub-Series 2
Scope and Contents

Includes speeches, interviews, audio books, and broadcasts featuring Gail S. Halvorsen on audio cassette. Discusses the Berlin airlift, Operation Little Vittles, the life of Gail S. Halvorsen, and Gail S. Halvorsen's personal beliefs. Tapes are in English and German. Materials dated 1977-2008.

Dates: 1977-2008

Gail S. Halvorsen collection of books, 1925-2017

Identifier: MSS 2220 Series 2 Sub-Series 3 Sub-Series 12
Scope and Contents

Collection of books on the Berlin Airlift, German history, the Air Force, and related topics. Dated 1925-2017.

Dates: 1925-2017

Gail S. Halvorsen collection of brochures, 1949-2015

Identifier: MSS 2220 Series 2 Sub-Series 3 Sub-Series 9
Scope and Contents

Includes brochures, mostly from Germany, relating to WWII and its aftermath. Materials dated 1949-2015.

Dates: 1949-2015

Gail S. Halvorsen collection of computer discs, 1998-2018

Identifier: MSS 2220 Series 2 Sub-Series 3 Sub-Series 10 Sub-Series 3
Scope and Contents

Contains a variety of computer discs. All relate to Gail S. Halvorsen or the Berlin Airlift. Some are materials used by Gail S. Halvorsen for presentations. Dated 1998-2018.

Dates: 1998-2018

Gail S. Halvorsen collection of ephemera from schools, 1989-2017

Identifier: MSS 2220 Series 2 Sub-Series 3 Sub-Series 3
Scope and Contents

Contains items given to Gail S. Halvorsen by schools in recognition of Operation Little Vittles. Includes projects created by school children and learning packets related to the Candy Bomber. Materials dated 1989-2017.

Dates: 1989-2017

Additional filters:

Archival Object 49
Collection 3
Berlin (Germany) -- History -- Blockade, 1948-1949 32
Air pilots, Military -- United States 20
Retired military personnel -- United States 19
Letters 11
Photographs 10
∨ more
Cold War 7
Electronic mail messages 7
Mormon missionaries 7
Personal papers 7
Berlin (Germany) -- History -- 20th century 6
Amateur films 5
Mormon Church -- Missions -- England 5
Mormon missionaries -- England 5
Mormon missionaries -- Russia 5
Mormons -- Germany -- History 5
Slides (Photography) 5
United States -- Military -- History 5
Audio-visual materials 4
Awards 4
Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.) 4
Families 4
Military 4
Military records 4
Printed ephemera 4
Souvenirs (Keepsakes) 4
Art 3
Audiocassettes 3
Autobiographies 3
Berlin (Germany) 3
Brochures 3
Invitations 3
Mormon Church -- Missions -- Russia 3
Periodicals 3
Posters 3
Tempelhof Central Airport (Germany) 3
Videocassettes 3
World War, 1939-1945 3
Artifacts 2
Book design 2
Books 2
Histories (Literary works) 2
Interviews 2
Maps 2
Military orders 2
Newspapers 2
Papers (Documents) 2
Politics, Government, and Law 2
Scrapbooks 2
Video tapes 2
Air forces 1
Airforce officers 1
Airplanes 1
Articles 1
Berlin Wall, Berlin, Germany 1961-1989 1
Biographies 1
Brazil 1
Certificates 1
Children -- Photographs 1
Children's drawings 1
Children's writings 1
Church Educational System 1
Compact discs 1
Correspondence 1
DVDs 1
Documents 1
Drawings 1
Family vacations 1
Fan mail 1
International Relations 1
Military decorations -- Germany -- History -- Sources 1
Mormons -- Military service 1
Mormons -- Russia 1
Negatives 1
Notes 1
Parachutes (Life-saving equipment) 1
Photograph albums 1
Pins (Jewelry) 1
Plaques, plaquettes 1
Poetry 1
Postcards 1
Prints 1
Proclamations 1
Programs 1
Propaganda, German -- Germany -- History -- Sources 1
Public schools -- Students 1
Public speaking 1
Research (Documents) 1
School records 1
Scripts (Documents) 1
Sound Recordings 1
Speeches, addresses, etc. 1
Tours 1
Video recordings 1
Women and the military -- United States 1
Workbooks 1
+ ∧ less