The Provo Veterans Center will soon be renamed the Gail S. Halvorsen “Candy Bomber” Veterans Center.
The United States House of Representatives passed Congressman John Curtis and Senator Mike Lee’s bill to rename the Veterans Center on Tuesday afternoon. It passed the Senate in December 2021 and is now heading to President Joe Biden’s desk for signing.
The bill was created to recognize the contributions made by Halvorsen and the stories behind his nickname “Candy Bomber” during the Berlin Airlift.
“Most Utahns know the story of ‘The Candy Bomber,'” Curtis said in a press release. “Gail Halverson symbolizes what’s good about Utahns and what’s good about our men and women in uniform. 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’m glad he’s now on his way to the president’s office to become law.
Halvorsen was 101 when he died on February 16.
“He was given the nickname ‘The Candy Bomber’ while serving in the Berlin Airlift, Operation Vittles, at the start of the Cold War,” the statement read. “In Berlin, Halverson shared two chewing gums with a group of German children who were clearly destitute with little to eat. Halverson began regularly attaching rations of candy to miniature parachutes to be dropped from his plane above Berlin.
“Lieutenant General William H. Turner, who was in charge of the Berlin Airlift, heard of Halvorsen’s efforts and officially expanded the idea into a full-fledged operation known as ‘Little Vittles’ as a game on the name of the larger operation.By the end of the Berlin Airlift, around 250,000 parachutes containing around 21 tons of candy had been dropped by Halvorsen and his fellow airmen as part of Operation Little Vittles.
According to the release, Rep. Curtis introduced the bill in the House and was supported by the entire Utah delegation, and Senator Lee introduced the bill in the Senate.
“Col. Gail Halvorsen represents the best of Utah and the best values of the Armed Forces,” Lee said. “In times of darkness and despair, Gail Halvorsen brought light and kindness, and her work and legacy continues. nowadays. It is an honor to sponsor this bill and rename the Provo Veterans Center after a great Utahn.