Sweet surprise: Pilot recreates ‘Candy Bomber’ flight for kids in Gilmer

East Texas News at 6.
Updated: May. 22, 2019 at 6:25 PM CDT
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GILMER, TX (KLTV) - Children gathered at the Flight of the Phoenix Aviation Museum in Gilmer witnessed the recreation of a historic event that took place during World War II.

On Wednesday, pilots recreated what’s known as the Candy Bomber. During World War II, Col. Gail “Hal” Halvorsen, dropped candy to children in Berlin after Russia cut off their food supply.

Fast forward to 2019 and some East Texas children were taken back to World War II.

A hundred 5th graders ran toward sweet victory, as small bags of candy dropped from the sky.

World War II had just ended and it was a time when Berlin was cut off from civilization by Russia.

“The allies, France, Britain, and America realized they had a problem,” said Steven Dean, president of the Flight of the Phoenix Aviation Museum in Gilmer.

A large population of people was starving; in comes America, along with their pilots, dropping food by air into the city of Berlin.

But one pilot believed the children of Berlin deserved more.

Pilot recreates 'Candy Bomber' flight for kids in Gilmer

“He had the idea to bring candy, drop candy, so that night he talked to his bunkmate and said, ‘let me have your candy ration and I’ll take mine and we’ll make some parachutes and drop candy to those kids,’” Dean says.

Halvorsen soon became known as ‘the Candy Bomber.’ And one of those German children now has East Texas ties.

“He was actually one of the kids standing at the fence and talking about this candy, flying airplanes dropping candy,” said Hawkins Police Chief Manfred Gilow.

Gilow, born and raised in Germany, grew up hearing stories of his grandfather and the impact that small piece of candy truly made on his life.

“It’s awesome, with the history and my child being involved, it’s fantastic, it’s a great feeling,” Gilow said.

The Flight of the Phoenix Aviation Museum hosted the event; a museum in Gilmer that preserves patriotic history.

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