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Pine Mountain Georgia Fire Department News

March 18, 2015
Fire Department Assists with Candy Drop

More pictures below article

On March 18, 2015, the Harris County – Pine Mountain Airport hosted a commemorative Candy Drop and asked Pine Mountain Fire Department to be a part of the event.

The original Candy Drops took place during the Berlin Airlift.

At the end of World War II, Germany and its capital city of Berlin where split. East Germany and East Berlin were occupied by the Russians. West Germany and West Berlin were occupied by the Allies, mainly the United States, Great Britain and France. In an effort to squeeze the Allies out of West Berlin, the Soviets closed road and rail traffic into the city.

The Allies answered the challenge by starting the Berlin Airlift. For West Berlin residents who were suffering through post-World War II, along with the blockade of basic foods, fuel and supplies, the C-47s and C-54s became a lifeline, ferrying in supplies.

One of the C-54 pilots was Gail Halverson, who began dropping candy to children as he flew into Tempelhof airport. The candy was attached to small parachutes made by Halverson.

Tales of the candy drop quickly spread and seeing the delight this brought to desperate children in a beleaguered city, other pilots and crews began dropping candy as well.

The Berlin Airlift soon began transporting more tonnage of supplies than had been delivered by road and rail. The Russians capitulated and ended the blockade.

As part of the Thunder in Valley Air Show held in Columbus, a commemorative Candy Drop was held at the Harris County – Pine Mountain Airport, with elementary school children invited to participate.

The Candy Drop was conducted by a C54 Skymaster – known as “The Spirit of Freedom” - a survivor of the Berlin Airlift and original candy drops.

The 70-year old lumbering four-engine transport is in actuality a flying museum. The fuselage is filled with dioramas depicting the Berlin Airlift along with artifacts of the event.

The students were presented with a history lesson on the Berlin Airlift and how the Candy Drops came to happen. Afterward, they were allowed to climb on board the Skymaster, view the dioramas and artifacts, and ask questions.

After the tours were completed, the old airplane rumbled into the air, overflew the airport, and the candy drop began.

Much as happened during the Berlin Airlift, candy floated down from the airplane on parachutes made from handkerchiefs. The candy was Hershey chocolate bars as chocolate bars were the treat dropped during the candy drops.

Once the aircraft had passed overhead, the children were allowed to run onto the parking apron and get the candy.

The Skymaster landed, bringing to an end the formal part of the program though more tours of the aircraft were given.

The Candy Drop was brought to the airport by the Spirit of Freedom Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation. Local sponsors included First Peoples Bank, Disaster Services, and Eastern Aviation Fuel.

Pine Mountain firefighters and Harris County EMS personnel were present to deal with any mishaps, but none occurred.

A number of the children took the opportunity to climb in and on the fire apparatus.


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Pine Mountain Tourism Association
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