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One hell of a Good Man has gone home!

‘Candy Bomber’ who dropped sweets during Berlin airlift dies

A U.S. military pilot known as the “Candy Bomber” for his airdrops of sweets during the Berlin airlift after World War II ended has died

DENVER — U.S. military pilot Gail S. Halvorsen — known as the “Candy Bomber” for his candy airdrops during the Berlin airlift after World War II ended — has died at age 101.

Halvorsen died Wednesday following a brief illness in his home state of Utah, surrounded by most of his children, James Stewart, the director of the Gail S. Halvorsen Aviation Education Foundation, said Thursday.

DENVER — U.S. military pilot Gail S. Halvorsen — known as the “Candy Bomber” for his candy airdrops during the Berlin airlift after World War II ended — has died at age 101.

Halvorsen died Wednesday following a brief illness in his home state of Utah, surrounded by most of his children, James Stewart, the director of the Gail S. Halvorsen Aviation Education Foundation, said Thursday.

Halvorsen was beloved and venerated in Berlin, which he last visited in 2019 when the city celebrated the 70th anniversary of the day the Soviets lifted their post-World War II blockade cutting off supplies to West Berlin with a big party at the former Tempelhof airport in the German capital.

“Halvorsen’s deeply human act has never been forgotten,” Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey said in a statement.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox also praised Halvorsen, who was born in Salt Lake City but grew up on farms before getting his pilot’s license.

“I know he’s up there, handing out candy behind the pearly gates somewhere,” he said.

After the United States entered World War II following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Halvorsen trained as a fighter pilot and served as a transport pilot in the south Atlantic during World War II before flying food and other supplies to West Berlin as part of the airlift.

According to his account on the foundation’s website, Halvorsen had mixed feelings about the mission to help the United States’ former enemy after losing friends during the war.

But his attitude changed, and his new mission was launched, after meeting a group of children behind a fence at Templehof airport.

He offered them the two pieces of gum that he had, broken in half, and was touched to see those who got the gum sharing pieces of the wrapper with the other children, who smelled the paper. He promised to drop enough for all of them the following day as he flew, wiggling the wings of his plane as he flew over the airport, Halvorsen recalled.

He started doing so regularly, using his own candy ration, with handkerchiefs as parachutes to carry them to the ground. Soon other pilots and crews joined in what would be dubbed “Operation Little Vittles.”

After an Associated Press story appeared under the headline “Lollipop Bomber Flies Over Berlin,” a wave of candy and handkerchief donations, followed.

The airlift began on June 26, 1948, in an ambitious plan to feed and supply West Berlin after the Soviets — one of the four occupying powers of a divided Berlin after World War II — blockaded the city in an attempt to squeeze the U.S., Britain and France out of the enclave within Soviet-occupied eastern Germany.

Allied pilots flew 278,000 flights to Berlin, carrying about 2.3 million tons of food, coal, medicine and other supplies.

Finally, on May 12, 1949, the Soviets realized the blockade was futile and lifted their barricades. The airlift continued for several more months, however, as a precaution in case the Soviets changed their minds.

Memories in Germany of American soldiers handing out candy, chewing gum or fresh oranges are still omnipresent — especially for the older generation born during or right after the war.

Many fondly remember eating their first candy and fresh fruit during an era when people in bombed-out cities were starving or selling their family heirlooms on the black market for small amounts of of flour, butter or oil just so they could get by.

Halvorsen’s efforts to reach out to the people of Berlin helped send a message that they were not forgotten and would not be abandoned, Stewart said.

Despite his initial ambivalence about the airlift, Halvorsen, who grew up poor during the Great Depression, recognized a bit of himself in the children behind the fence and made a connection with them, he said.

“A simple person to person act of kindness can really change the world,” Stewart said.


Grieshaber reported from Berlin. Sam Metz contributed to this report from Salt Lake City.

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What work was like in my old office about a 100 pounds ago! (No its not an Abrams, it’s an Israeli Merkava mk4 firing)

Good News for a change! I am so grateful!! Manly Stuff This great Nation & Its People

Happy Birthday, Mr. President! Lord how I miss you!

Ronald Reagan

Ronald reagan Memes

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Leadership of the highest kind Manly Stuff

Sounds to me to be one Hell of a good Officer!

In 1935, Adolf Hitler approached a man and offered him the position of ambassador to the United Kingdom.

The man was Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, a great German general of the First World War who had orchestrated successful guerrilla campaigns in Africa and fought until the end of the war without suffering a battlefield defeat. For this, he was decorated with Germany’s highest military honors and was at that moment one of the greatest living German military men, commander of the only German army to surrender undefeated in WWI.

Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck

As the commander of many soldiers of African descent, he was progressive with his treatment of race, holding his Black comrades as equals and protecting them from discrimination by white officers and even superior commanders. All of his soldiers were fanatically loyal to him.

Lettow-Vorbeck, with his hard-headed, pragmatic view of race, was not all too fond of Hitler.

Adolf Hitler

So when Hitler asked him if he would be his ambassador to the UK, Lettow-Vorbeck refused him quite harshly.

How harshly? Well, in the 1960s, a former officer under Lettow-Vorbeck was interviewed by British author Charles Miller, and said this:

MILLER: I understand that von Lettow told Hitler to go fuck himself.

OFFICER: That’s right, except that I don’t think he put it that politely.

This man stood straight up and personally told Adolf Hitler, one of the most important and most terrible men ever, to go fuck himself. That’s pretty savage.

Manly Stuff


The hospital can be the site of some of the most powerful of human experiences.
(Source: Daan Stevens, Unsplash)


It was late on a Monday evening at the VA hospital. I had been at it since 6 a.m. and was in for a long night and day. I walked into the dimly lit room and could tell at a glance the man was dying.

His breath came thick and heavy. His chest heaved with the struggle. I called him softly by name. To my surprise, he stiffened slightly. I had mistakenly thought him too far gone for conversation. I soon discerned he was lucid and could answer my questions, albeit only in brief spurts.

He was not an exceptionally old man, but he was clearly spent. A combat veteran of the Korean War, he had been diagnosed with a squamous cell carcinoma of his sinuses five years before. The radiation and chemotherapy had burned out his olfactory and optic nerves, leaving him completely blind and without his sense of smell or taste. He was utterly deaf in one ear and had 70% hearing loss in the other. His salivary glands no longer functioned, so he had to constantly sip from a cup of water. He also had a profound diabetic neuropathy that robbed him of sensation in his hands and feet.

As if that weren’t enough, two years prior his cancer had metastasized to his lungs. Now he lay before me unable to see, taste, smell or feel and only barely able to hear as he drowned incrementally in his own fluids. He was by far the most pitiful human being I had ever imagined.

In pathetic gasps, he told me the details of his medical odyssey. I got to his social history, and he reported two packs of cigarettes a day, daily alcohol consumption and heavy drug use for 35 years. As he clearly did not drink, smoke or do drugs now, I innocently inquired as to when he had stopped those things.

Without hesitation, he gave me a specific date. I asked him what was significant about that day, and he replied, “That’s when I gave my heart to Jesus.”

This opened the floodgates, and he enthusiastically explained the details of his spiritual transformation. He called himself a messianic Jew, claiming Jesus had forever changed his life.

As I listened enraptured, he told me not to feel sorry for him. He said he hated being sick, but because of his illness, he had been able to lead his daughter and one of his chemotherapy nurses to Jesus. He said he could clearly see God’s will in his illness. The strength and confidence he exuded were superhuman.

By the time I finished the interview, we were both exhausted. I checked his medication orders a final time and put him to bed.

In his final hours, the man used his last words to pray for me and my family until he could no longer speak.


The night was busy, something or other requiring my attention throughout the evening. The next morning, I met the man’s wife and daughter and found their faith was up to the challenge.

The day was long, and he gradually declined. By 6 p.m. the next day, I was thoroughly spent but dropped by to check on my sickest patient before heading home.

He was gasping in an oxygen mask, his wife, daughter and a nurse in attendance. I took his hand and explained I was going home for the night. He took a surprisingly firm grasp on my arm and pulled me close, his strongest voice now little more than a whisper. With his other hand he reached up, removed his oxygen mask and immediately began turning blue. With literally his dying breath, the man prayed for me.

He did not pray for me to alleviate his pain or conjure some miraculous cure. Instead, he prayed for me and my ministry in the hospital. He prayed for the well-being of my family. He prayed I might enjoy the abundant life in Christ he had enjoyed. He prayed until he could no longer speak.

I replaced his oxygen mask and slid to the floor, stunned. Right there, in front of him, his family, the VA nurse and God himself, I wept like a child. I weakly thanked him before heading home, now having quite a lot to ponder.

The next morning, I arrived at the hospital early to find his condition worse still. At 10:47, with my arm around his wife’s shoulders, I watched him die. I had known him less than three days, yet I count him among my dearest friends. He showed me how to die well.

I look forward to seeing him again.

Manly Stuff Our Great Kids Stand & Deliver

Now here was a REAL Man!

Manly Stuff This great Nation & Its People

Something that I like to hear on Gray Days like this one

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What a Hell of a man & Stud!!!!!!!!!!

A menage a trois on the high seas! Two naked German deckhands and five women on the go – no wonder British adventurer James Wharram was infamous for so much more than his daredevil Atlantic crossings

Boatbuilder, sailor, adventurer and designer James Wharram was a man of multifarious interests who approached life very differently from the rest of us.

He was obsessed with Polynesian fishing boats. Apart from sailing, he loved politics, reading — and strong, clever, independent women. And he was never the sort to tie himself down to just one life partner.

‘Many men are in need of two women in their lives, one to complement the other,’ he told the Sunday Pictorial newspaper in 1959. ‘Many are like myself and are capable of walking the tightrope of human relationships necessary to do it.’

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He was something of a celebrity at the time — frequently in the papers and on television with Sir Edmund Hillary in New York — because, three years earlier, he had made the 3,000-mile journey from the Canaries to the West Indies in a flimsy, 23 ft, plywood and glue, double‑sided canoe called Tangaroa. It was named after the Polynesian god of the fish and sea, and he had designed and built it in a barn near Manchester Airport.

No GPS in those days, of course, nor did he take a chart-plotter; no state-of-the-art gear. Nothing, really, that Christopher Columbus wouldn’t have used centuries before.

He took very few clothes (‘What’s the point when they get ripped off by the wind all the time’); more than 200 books, from Plato to thrillers; 300 lb of wheat and oats; 70 lb of discounted dates; and two coffee grinders.

Shipshape: James Wharram with arms around Jutta (left) and Ruth in 1955

Shipshape: James Wharram with arms around Jutta (left) and Ruth in 1955

Ah, yes, and not forgetting his small, perfectly-formed crew, which included a terrier called Pepe and two fresh-faced, frequently-naked German girls — Jutta Schultze-Rhonhof, 18, and Ruth Merseburger, 30 — who doubled as cook, navigator, bosun, helmsman, hairdresser and below-deck lovers.

‘They are both in love with me and I love them. If I could marry them both, I would do it tomorrow but, sadly, it is not allowed,’ said James, who has just died aged 93 after an epic life of free love on the ocean wave.

So instead, they lived, and sailed, as a joyous nautical ménage à trois — the first of a series of similar arrangements that stretched happily through James’s wonderfully rich life.

Sometimes, like Jutta and Ruth, there were just the two ladies. Later, there were as many as five, who jokingly nicknamed him ‘His Lordship’. All were bright, boat-mad, strong, attractive and worked alongside him in his world-famous boat design business. Between them, they provided James with two adored sons, ganged up on him when he was annoying and laughed a lot. Somehow, it worked — for all parties.

‘We were both in love with this man and we were both happy and great friends,’ wrote Jutta and Ruth. ‘We were sharing not so much a man as an idea — and a life of freedom and achievement. We were never jealous.’

It is a sentiment mirrored more than 60 years on by Hanneke Boon, his final surviving life partner and soulmate, who spoke to the Mail this week from her home in Cornwall.

‘He was open and honest and appreciative of every woman for her own qualities. He never made one of us feel left out,’ she says. ‘Because it was always based on respect and openness and having a common aim and goal — building and sailing boats together. We had a goal we all worked on.’

Though on top of all that, James did, of course, have something else. Tall, strong-minded and charismatic, with enormous hands and feet, he had a zing, a spark, and a magnetism, according to Hanneke.

‘Yes, he was attractive. Physically, he was light and strong. He was true and honest to his ideals and he was sexually strong as well, so there was no problem that he had several women. That just gave him more vigour and strength,’ she says.

But for now, back to the winter of 1956, his epic voyage on Tangaroa with his crew of gutsy fräuleins.

For five long weeks, they wrestled towering waves, violent storms, and a marine termite that gobbled through a large section of the flimsy hull.

Sailing high: James¿s catamaran the Spirit Of Gaia in 2018

Sailing high: James’s catamaran the Spirit Of Gaia in 2018

‘Time and again, death seemed certain as our tiny craft was hurled about like a cockleshell in the mountainous rollers,’ James later recounted.

But they baled furiously, clung to each other and, whenever the sun appeared, lolled luxuriously naked.

Jutta, despite terrible seasickness, did the catering on a spirit cooker; Ruth, the navigating. They took turns to polish the deck, and goodness knows what else — and very happy they all were, too.

And when, finally, five weeks later, the boat was ripped to pieces on a reef off the coast of Trinidad, the girls stripped off and paddled to shore on rafts accompanied by a shoal of sharks, while James set off with a sharp knife in search of coconuts on another raft.

‘We were a very special sort of family,’ said Jutta. ‘Sex was only a tiny part of our very full lives and virtually unimportant, but we were two women and one man.’

And even in those teeny cabins, barely the size of an upended wardrobe, it did happen. Because soon, it transpired that Jutta’s seasickness was morning sickness and son Hannes was later born in Trinidad, where they lived in a bamboo raft house they built themselves.

All of which caused quite a ripple among the snooty sailing fraternity, who were already ruffled by James’s blunt comments about boat design — and his northern accent.

Some were outraged, others resentful and churlish — putting Tangaroa’s epic voyage down to wind ‘drift’.

Many were just downright jealous. After all, as James’s mother once put it: ‘They did look so very happy and healthy.’

Not that James cared.

‘What really got ‘them’ was that ‘my girls’ were not only good at sailing and navigation, but very good at building boats, too. And in addition, they looked beautiful,’ he said.

So, ignoring all the winks and nudges, the trio got to work building the marginally sturdier 40 ft Rongo, named after the Polynesian god of war, to sail back home again. Born in 1928, the son of a builder, James was never one to blend in with the other boys from his council estate.

As a child, he read obsessively, and from the age of 12 — when he was introduced to sailing on a trip on the Isle of Skye — almost all the books he checked out of Manchester Central Library were about boats.

‘I decided what I wanted to do was the sail the oceans,’ he said. ‘But specifically in boats in the ancient Polynesian construction of two joined canoes.’

Technical college was ditched when, for his 19th birthday, he received a passport for a climbing holiday in Switzerland.

It was here that his adventuring truly began — and not just up mountains.

His first love affair was with a Swiss girl who shared his birthday. Then there was the young Viennese psychologist whom, James claimed, saw him as ‘a wild, primitive sexual animal’; an actress who cost him a job when he missed a sailing to hook up with her; and Pat, an American who sent him a book called Boat Building In Your Own Backyard as a goodbye gift.

From then on, his passions were twofold — women and recreating the perfect Polynesian fishing boat.

He took jobs everywhere he could to learn his craft: on a Thames barge, in the stores at Thornycroft boat-builders and on a trawler off the west coast of Ireland.

He built the Tangaroa in 1955 while working on building sites where they called him ‘professor’ because he wore glasses and read sailing books during every tea and lunch break.

Having sailed to Germany and back, he prepared Tangaroa for its Atlantic crossing at Falmouth, despite endless warnings it would never succeed.

Even his father declared: ‘I wouldn’t sail that contraption on a pond in a park.’

The women, meanwhile, popped up, as if by magic, wherever he went. He met Ruth, a German au pair several years his senior in 1951 when he was pottering around the Lake District.

Three years later, he literally swam into Jutta, the daughter of an economics expert in the West German government, while practising underwater techniques in a pool in England.

All three had little interest in the dreary grey monogamy of post-war Britain and set up house together building boats.

After the nightmares of their first crossing in 1956, it’s a wonder any of them were up for the return. But they were — and it was far worse.

It took nearly ten weeks in terrible weather, their food ran out and they survived on scraps for the last fortnight.

But they did it, the first West-to-East crossing of the Atlantic by a catamaran.

On their return they established a thriving business in self-build James Wharram designs, first in Pembrokeshire, where his entourage expanded to five ladies, and later Cornwall.

Of course, it wasn’t all peace and love at Chez Wharram.

While he could be funny, loving, engaging and make quick, sometimes life-or-death decisions at sea, on shore he was lost.

‘He can be the most useless and stupid man, incapable of finding his own shirt,’ said Jutta.

He never learned to drive and left all the finances, cooking, cleaning and shoe cleaning to the women.

Close: An elderly James with Ruth (left) and Hanneke in 2005

Close: An elderly James with Ruth (left) and Hanneke in 2005

The first major road bump came in 1961 when Jutta, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from her wartime experiences at the hands of the Red Army, could suddenly cope no more and took her life, aged just 24.

Ruth and James were devastated. They limped on — caring for little Hannes — until others joined his entourage and filled the gap.

Hanneke first met James when she was just 14 and on a camping trip with her Dutch, boat-mad family: ‘My father was a sailor — we all were — and had read about James.’

They became an item five years later when he was in his 30s: ‘There was obviously a spark there.

‘At the time he was living with several other women — including the wonderful Ruth — so I joined a group, which I found rather attractive.’

They stayed together and Hanneke is mother to James’s second son, Jamie. Hanneke credits Ruth — rather than James — as the person who made it all work so well, because she made the whole set-up really welcoming.

Together, this new trio co-designed Spirit Of Gaia, a 63 ft catamaran, and between 1994 and 1998, sailed her round the world. In James’s 80th year, they undertook the Lapita voyage, a 4,000-mile trip following an ancient Pacific migration route on two double canoes, from the Philippines to the remote Polynesian islands of Anuta and Tikopia.

Five years later, Ruth passed away, but Hanneke and James continued to sail together until latterly, his battle with Alzheimer’s became too much for James to bear, and on December 14, 2021, he took his own life.

Perhaps because of his unconventional lifestyle, public recognition came late in life — in 2018 he finally won a lifetime achievement award from Classic Boat Magazine — but he wasn’t bothered.

Over 60 years, he and his team sold more than 10,000 sets of catamaran build plans to boating enthusiasts all over the world and he became a cult figure and hero in boating circles.

He also never lost his great enthusiasm for women — as lovers, friends, colleagues, crew — always insisting: ‘I couldn’t have achieved anything without ladies.’