Uncle Wiggly Wings

Lieut. Gail S. Halvorsen,

Lieut. Gail Halvorsen acquired a lot of nicknames during his time in the United States Air Force: The Chocolate Flyer, The Chocolate Uncle, Gum Drop Kid, The Lolipop Flyer, and, of course, Uncle Wiggly Wings (to name a few). If most of these seem to have a sweet sort of theme, that’s because candy is Halvorsen’s legacy. Here’s why:

Uncle Wiggly Wings

Halvorsen's Hobby

Checking over the candy

So Halvorsen dropped packages filled with candy for the children in Berlin—thus all the sugary nicknames. But what about “Uncle Wiggly Wings?

The plane with the wiggly wings

Halvorsen’s candy operation grew as more and more people pitched in with candy and helped attach the bundles to the parachutes. Soon it became a full blown operation, named “Little Vittles,” and donations poured in. What started as three boxes of candy on makeshift handkerchief parachutes grew to around 850 pounds of candy for Halvorsen and the rest to drop. Multiple plane crews joined in dropping the candy bombs every other day over Berlin, and the grateful recipients sent back the parachutes with thank you notes, drawings, and sometimes presents. At one point a thankful little girl sent Halvorsen her teddy bear, which became one of his favorite possessions.

Candy Bomber

Teddy Bear gift from a grateful childFor more on Halvorsen and his unusual operation, take a gander at the results of this search. You could also try searching any of his other nicknames for even more articles about his work then and now. And try out the search and browse pages on Newspapers.com to find results on other topics or to look through the pages of years past.