Today, the House passed Congressman Curtis and Senator Lee’s bill to rename the Provo Veterans Center as the “Gail S. Halvorsen ‘Candy Bomber’ Veterans Center.” Congressman Curtis introduced the bill in the House, supported by the entire Utah Delegation. Senator Lee introduced the bill in the Senate.
“Most Utahns are familiar with the story of ‘The Candy Bomber’. Gail Halverson symbolizes what is good about Utahns and what is good about our men and women in uniform,” said Rep. Curtis. “We were all saddened by the news of his passing in February and this bill is a simple way to honor his legacy in Utah. I am pleased it is now on its way to the President’s desk to become law.”
“Col. Gail Halvorsen represents the best of Utah and the best values of the Armed Forces,” said Senator Lee. “In times of darkness and despair, Gail Halvorsen brought light and kindness, and his work and legacy continues to this day. It is an honor to sponsor this bill and to rename the Provo Vet Center after a great Utahn.”
The bill recognizes the contributions of Gail Halvorsen, including his participation in the Berlin Airlift and the story that most Utahns are familiar with and how he got the nickname “The Candy Bomber.”
Gail S. Halverson received the nickname “The Candy Bomber” while participating in the Berlin Airlift, Operation Vittles, at the start of the Cold War. In Berlin, Halverson shared two sticks of gum with a group of German children who were clearly destitute with little to eat. Halverson started regularly attaching candy rations to miniature parachutes to drop from his plane over Berlin.
Lieutenant General William H. Turner, who directed the Berlin Airlift, learned about Halvorsen’s efforts, and officially expanded the idea into a full-blown operation known as ‘‘Little Vittles’’ as a play on the broader operation’s name. When the Berlin Airlift ended, an estimated 250,000 parachutes containing approximately 21 tons of candy had been dropped by Halvorsen and his fellow airmen as a part of Operation Little Vittles.
After the enactment of this bill, Provo Veterans Center located at 360 State Street, Orem, Utah, will be known and designated as the “Col. Gail 24 S. Halvorsen ‘Candy Bomber’ Veterans Center.”