<h3>Berlin Airlift: 60th Anniversary Commemoration</h3>

Monday June 30, 2008

### Berlin Airlift: 60th Anniversary Commemoration
What is it?

The United States Army commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift June 26-29, 2008, at Wiesbaden Army Airfield. The Berlin Airlift is the largest humanitarian airlift in history. From June 1948 to May 1949, the resolve of the Western allies neutralized the Soviet blockade of West Berlin by creating an "airbridge" for resupply. As a result, the Soviet Union lost its bid to control all of Berlin. The Berlin Airlift transformed the relationship among the Western allies and German citizens. U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden conducted several events to celebrate the airlift's anniversary.

What has the Army done?

The mayor of Wiesbaden and garrison commander addressed German and American dignitaries, as well as 24 airlift veterans, at a breakfast on the airfield. A departure ceremony of vintage aircraft commemorated the first Berlin Airlift sorties. An open house also included a U.S. Air Force (USAF) fly-over, a parachute demonstration and a candy drop by the original "Candy Bomber," Colonel Gail Halverson, USAF (Retired). During the airlift, a then 21-year old, 1st Lt. Halverson began dropping homemade handkerchief parachutes with candy from his cargo aircraft as he brought supplies to West Berlin. Halverson's kindness became a symbol of goodwill to the oppressed Berliners and people of war-ravaged Germany, cementing future German-American relations.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

Sustained community outreach is an important means of interacting with citizens of our host nation, allied and partner governments, as well as Americans living abroad. At a time when the Army's formations and supporting communities are transforming for the 21st century, it is vital that we remain connected to our host nation neighbors. In 1948, the commander of the U.S. Occupation Zone summed up our reasons for not retreating from Berlin: "We are convinced that our remaining (in Berlin) is essential to our prestige in Germany and in Europe. Whether for good or bad, it has become a symbol of the American intent."

Why is this important to the Army?

Since the Berlin Airlift, the Wiesbaden community has shown great support for its Army garrison and Soldiers. Through our continued partnerships with German leaders and citizens, we build relationships that improve support to our garrisons--positively impacting the quality of life of our Soldiers and Families. The success of the Berlin Airlift represented the first victory in the Cold War and began the erosion of communism in Europe. These celebrations help us all remember these historic events and provide opportunities for fellowship, strengthening the bonds between us that are critical to building tomorrow's coalitions.


Web Sites:
ArmyGermany Web site

U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Web site

DOD Berlin Airlift Web site

Related Articles:
Wiesbaden celebrates Berlin Airlift anniversary

Wiesbaden prepares for 60th Anniversary of Berlin Airlift

Berlin Airlift veterans return to Germany for anniversary"


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"I'm very proud of being a part of it. I know that we affected history big-time. We call it the first victory of the Cold War. Because of the Berlin Airlift, Europe is free. All of Europe would have ended up communist if we were run out."

- Air Force Staff Sgt. Dub Southers

Berlin Airlift veterans return to Germany for anniversary"


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