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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:

Rena Abigail Kennedy Searles collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 8314
Scope and Contents

Contains a photograph, letter of evaluation, and proclamations associated with Kennedy's career in the Air Force. Some of these materials are written or signed by Gail S. Halvorsen, in his role as Kennedy's commanding officer. Materials date from between 1973 and 1977.

Dates: 1973-1977

Albert Winkler interview summaries

 Collection — Folder 1: [Barcode: 31197227650600]
Identifier: MSS 5897
Scope and Contents

Notes, most likely written by Albert Winkler, on some interviews conducted in 1985. Interviews summarized with the following: Clyde Everett Weeks Jr., Richard Baldwin, Gail S. Halvorsen, Ray T. Matheny, Frederick Weight and Ezra Ross Richards Sr. 9 leaves on a notepad.

Dates: 1985

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
Personal papers 7
Berlin (Germany) -- History -- 20th century 6
Amateur films 5
Latter Day Saint churches -- Missions -- England 5
Latter Day Saint missionaries 5
Latter Day Saint missionaries -- England 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
Mormon missionaries -- Russia 4
Mormons -- Germany -- History 4
Printed ephemera 4
Souvenirs (Keepsakes) 4
Art 3
Audiocassettes 3
Autobiographies 3
Berlin (Germany) 3
Brochures 3
Invitations 3
Latter Day Saint churches -- 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
Mormon missionaries 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
Latter Day Saint missionaries -- Russia 1
Latter Day Saints -- Germany -- History 1
Latter Day Saints -- Military service 1
Latter Day Saints -- Russia 1
Military decorations -- Germany -- History -- Sources 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
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