Who is Uncle Wiggly Wings
After both world wars, there was a time of quiet battle between the Soviets and the Allies to the West that caused a lot of friction in a divided Germany. Within these harsh times, where the unrest lay beneath the surface, an event occurred called the Berlin blockade. This blockade meant that limited supplies were going into the Allied area of Berlin. As a solution, the allies began to transport supplies to their section of Berlin by plane, which was called the Berlin Airlift. The reintroduction of a flow of supplies wasn’t the only good thing about this historic event.
There is a man who was once known to the children of Berlin as the Berlin Candy Bomber or even Uncle Wiggly Wings. In truth, his name was Gail Halvorsen. He launched his own operative during the years span of the Berlin Airlife which he named operation Little Vittles, named after the airlifts operations name, Vittles. Halvorsen, when he wasn’t piloting planes, would wander the streets of Berlin, which is where he saw a group of children gathering around the fence where the airfield was based during the airlift. From these children, he discovered that many of the families in Berlin were starving still. The only treat that he had in his pocket was two sticks of chewing gum, which the children divided evenly between themselves. Seeing the selflessness of these children, Halvorsen told the children that he would drop sweets to them the very next day.
As he had said, Halvorsen dropped the sweets from not only his own supply but also those of his co-pilot and his engineer, using little parachutes. When he was asked how the children would know which plane to look out for, Halvorsen said that he would wiggle his wings, which is exactly what he did, and also how he earned his nickname as Uncle Wiggle Wings. He did this once a week for three weeks before Luitenant General William Turner found out about this unsanctioned mission. Instead of ordering the men to stop, he encouraged the continuation of this, with Halvorsen’s entire squadron becoming part of the force dropping sweets for the children of West Germany. Halvorsen became something of a hero to the children of West Germany. When others back in the USA found about Litte Vittles, many began to get involved with providing support and even sweets for the children that were receiving them. Confectioners and school children donated sweets while others raised money to continue to fund the operation. There was even an old woman, bound to her own home, who convinced her friends to help her make and sell handkerchiefs to make money for the operation.
While the start of the cold war was a scary and dangerous time, there was light in the dark. I suppose it is important to remember that every cloud has at least one silver lining. In times of great darkness, sometimes people can bring about the greatest of kindness to this world and inspire others to bring even greater light into this world.