Vereinigung Cockpit mourns the death of Gail Halvorsen

Monday, 21 February 2022

Vereinigung Cockpit mourns the death of Gail Halvorsen

In deep mourning, the German Airline Pilots' Association Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) says goodbye to one of the most famous Berlin Airlift pilots, Colonel Gail Halvorsen. He passed away at the age of 101.

VC President Stefan Herth says: "We bow our heads to Gail Halvorsen and say goodbye to a great pilot who was a close friend of our association. His life and his actions have been and will remain a lasting symbol of reconciliation and of international understanding. We will miss him."

Gail Halvorsen actively supported VC in bringing the World Conference of International Air Line Pilots' Associations to Berlin for the 70th anniversary of the Airlift. In Halvorsen's spirit, the conference which welcomed participants from more than one hundred countries was held under the slogan "Building Bridges".

Colonel Halvorsen, as a pilot of the Airlift, had been the first to start dropping sweets for the Berlin children on parachutes made of handkerchiefs on the approach to Berlin. After a short time, his action led to "Operation Little Vittles", in which more than 23 tons of sweets were dropped over Berlin between September 1948 and May 1949.

Halvorsen was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit and was, among other things, commander of the 7350th Air Base Group at Berlin's Tempelhof Airport.