Preschool-12 Bilingual Education in
Two Locations in the Bay Area

100th Birthday of Gail S. Halvorsen

We celebrate the Inspirational Berlin Airlift 'Candy Bomber’s' Birthday and the impressive milestone of Colonel Halvorsen’s life and his timely message of hope.

GISSV Celebration on October 9 & 10, 2020

Gail S. Halvorsen turned 100 on 10/10/2020! 
Happy Birthday from all of us at GISSV!

Instead of his usual public appearances, this year, Colonel Halvorsen had a private gathering surrounded by his family. And we contributed and sent our very special birthday greetings.

Students from both our campuses sent him a book filled with drawings, birthday greetings and a video in which they read the thank-you notes from recipients of the care packages in post-war Berlin.   

Birthday Video - Part 1:

Birthday Video - Part 2: In the following video GISSV Head of School Kathrin Röschel as well as German Consul General Südbeck and students representative for the GISSV community are wishing him happy birthday:



German - American Friendship(s) 

Gail S. Halvorsen's Letter and Video Message to Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin (April 2020):

On the occasion of the Berlin Airlift Anniversary on May 12, 2020 Gail S. Halvorsen sent this personal message to the Governing Mayor of Berlin and we have the honor to share his special timeless message with you.

*(For sound please click on the unmute button in the video menu.)
With German subtitles.

I encourage young people to continue to build bridges worldwide, especially between the US and Berlin. We are friends, we need each other, and must reach past politics to our shared humanity. - Gail S. Halvorsen

Saving the population of West Berlin by heroic deeds such as the ones by Hal Halvorsen and his fellow pilots lay the rock hard foundation for the close friendship between the German and the American peoples after World War II. This is a foundation we keep relying on and it has proved strong enough to weather even the hardest storms. We'll stay the course. - Hans-Ulrich Südbeck, German Consul General in San Francisco


Read here an interview Gail S. Halvorsen gave just recently - talking about his story and his 100th birthday on October 10, 2020 (English & German).

Colonel Gail Halvorsen - The Candy Bomber

During the time of the Soviet blockade in 1948, Halvorsen served as a C-54 pilot in the Berlin Airlift (Operation Vittles), helping to supply food and essentials to Berliners behind the lines. Halvorsen witnessed the challenging conditions the children were facing and launched his own mission deemed “Operation Little Vittles,” dropping an estimated 23 tons of candy via 250,000 parachutes. This act of kindness boosted the morale of those in blockaded Berlin and galvanized many in the United States to help with his mission.

When you go eyeball-to-eyeball with someone in need, and you’re able to do something about it, there’s no better feeling. - Gail S. Halvorsen

See his video biography
by the Utah Aviation Hall of Fame:

"What I remember most of Mr. Halvorsen's story is the emotional impact of what he and his fellow pilots faced when one week they were fighting against Germany in WWII, and a little later when the war was over, they had to switch gears, go back to Germany, and now rescue the people trapped in West Berlin. He would always answer that… It is all about humanity, especially with children." - Kathrin Roeschel, GISSV Head of School

This milestone is deeply personal for GISSV’s Head of School, Kathrin Röschel, who was the former Principal at the Gail S. Halvorsen Schule in Berlin. Over the years, Mr. Halvorsen, his family, and Mrs. Röschel formed a close bond that continues today.

Kathrin Roeschel reading the book Mercedes and the  Chocolate Pilot

Book List


Videos & Articles

Birthday Greetings from Berlin (Mayor) Der Regierende Bürgermeister von Berlin on Facebook, Oct 10, 2020: Berlin gratuliert mit einem besonderen Videogruß - Respond (with subtitles)

N-TV, Oct 10, 2020:  Rosinenbomber-Pilot wird 100 - Halvorsen will noch einmal nach Berlin

DPA, Oct 7,2020: Say it with sweets: West Berlin's 'Candy Bomber' turns 100

Berliner Morgenpost, May 2019: "Es ist schön wieder in einer Schule zu sein"

Video, Oct 2016: Gail S. Halvorsen visits the school named after him in Berlin-Dahlem.

Article Deutsche Welle, July 2013: The hero of the Berlin Airlift

Article, Nov 2010: An Unlikely Friendship: The German Girl and the Candy Bomber


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash