Gail S. Halvorsen papers on military career, 1942-1974
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Halvorsen retains all rights to the materials except to allow them to be used in research. Proper credit must be given to the author when cited.
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.
2 oversize boxes
5 oversize folders
2 microfilm boxes
2 sound discs