Remembering the Berlin Airlift

SAT, MAY 16, 2009 (1:11:23)

Col. Gail Halvorsen (ret.), Charles C. Clay, and Doris Galambos share heartfelt and historic memories, while observing the 60th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. Heinz-Gerd Reese moderates the discussion. Wolfgang Krueger opens the event.

+ BIO: Gail Halvorsen

Colonel Gail Halvorsen is a retired career officer and command pilot in the US Air Force. He is best known for piloting C-47s and C-54s during the Berlin airlift (also known as “Operation Vittles”) during 1948–1949. Halvorsen would go on to fill several domestic and overseas assignments during the remainder of his Air Force career. He returned to Germany in the early 1970s, as the commander of Tempelhof Air Base in western Berlin.

+ BIO: Charles C. Clay

Charles C. Clay (pictured with his family) is the grandson of General Lucius D. Clay Sr. From June 1944 to February 1946, General Clay served with the 344th Bombardment Group as operations officer, squadron commander, and group commander. Following World War II, he remained in Germany and served as deputy commander and deputy for base services with the European Air Depot in Erding, Germany. He was a force behind the 1948-49 Berlin airlift and the rebuilding of West Germany. The younger Clay is a state senator representing Marietta, GA.

+ BIO: Doris Galambos

Doris Galambos (pictured with Gail Halvorsen and the Berlin Bear mascot) was 7 years old when she and her two brothers shared a piece of hard candy that dropped out of the sky over Berlin, Germany, where they lived. At the time, she didn’t know where the candy came from, but she never forgot it. A retired circus performer, she is now 68 and living in Sarasota, FL.

+ BIO: Heinz-Gerd Reese

Heinz Gerd-Reese oversees the airlift foundation, which is devoted to the financial support of the families of veterans of the airlift, airlift veterans associations, and the organization of student exchange programs. Reese, at the time the Berlin Wall collapsed, was attached to the office of the mayor of Berlin and dealt with the city’s relations with the allies, the international community, and in particular the practical problems caused by a divided city.

+ BIO: Wolfgang Krueger

Wolfgang Krueger is the executive director of the The Goethe-Zentrum (German Cultural Center) in Atlanta. The center supports and informs all those who would like to teach or study German and those interested in Germany and its culture. Through a variety of cultural events the center promotes international cultural cooperation and plays a large role in building bridges of understanding and in conveying an appropriate image of modern Germany.

Goethe-Zentrum Atlanta
Fall of the Berlin Wall Series
German Culture Series
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