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Heads Up: ‘Candy Bombing’ today in Flowery Branch

POSTED: April 24, 2009 11:11 p.m.

Uncle Wiggly Wings is coming to Flowery Branch.

Retired Air Force Col. Gail Halvorsen, the original "Candy Bomber" of Berlin Airlift fame, will recreate the dropping of parachute-equipped chocolate bars today in a field off Thurmond Tanner Parkway.

Halvorsen earned the nickname "Uncle Wiggly Wings" after he told German children in postwar Berlin that he would wiggle the wings of his aircraft to let them know when he was flying above with his sweet cargo. Halvorsen’s airborne deliveries of chocolate and gumdrops to the war-torn region later was dubbed "Operation Little Vittles."

Since those days, Halvorsen, now 88 and living in Arizona, has continued to spread goodwill, making candy drops across the nation and in other countries, often in conjunction with his longtime church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Today’s Candy Bombing is part of a "In Praise of Heroes" program and canned food drive organized by area Mormons.

"We asked him to come out and raise awareness and emphasize the point that everyone can be a hero," said Kelly Ladd, a spokeswoman for the Sugar Hill Latter-day Saints church that organized the event. "It was a little thing that he did, but it made such a difference in the lives of those children."

Halvorsen will drop the candy from a small two-seater airplane piloted by another person. Hershey’s has donated 800 chocolate bars with 600 parachutes to help bring them down softly, Ladd said.

The day will culminate with an "In Praise of Heroes" community concert at the church, featuring a choir comprised from several congregations and the North Gwinnett band.


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