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NEWS | June 7, 2012

Aircrew Training Center dedicated to Col. Halvorsen

By Lt. Col. Joseph Meyer 15th Airlift Squadron Operations officer

June 15 will be a special day for the 437th Airlift Wing and Joint Base Charleston. Bldg. 108, the C-17 Aircrew Training Center, located on the corner of East Hill Boulevard and Bates Street, will be dedicated after one of our finest mobility legends; (ret.) Col. Gail Halvorsen during a ceremony at 8 a.m.

The Halvorsen C-17 Aircrew Training Center will be a timeless reminder of the contributions that Halvorsen made and continues to make on a global scale.

During his 1948 assignment supporting the Berlin Airlift otherwise known as Operation Vittles, Lt. Halvorsen instituted Operation "Little" Vittles by dropping small parachutes laden with candy to the children of Berlin after learning of their plight. Lt. Halverson's self-initiated act of kindness became the humanitarian heart that motivated aircrews and fueled hope for over two million Berliners.

Furthermore, it coalesced America's support for the operation and proved to be the tipping point for a hearts and minds campaign that eventually countered Soviet desires to dominate Berlin and the region.

The Airmen of Team Charleston's Total Force Team, the 437th Airlift Wing, 628th Air Base Wing and the 315th Airlift Wing proudly serve on the front line of our nation's defense by providing Hope's Global Reach in all core mobility missions.

Superbly trained and ready to answer the call, Team Charleston is the backbone of our nation's ability to respond anytime, anywhere; delivering hope to nameless victims in every corner of the globe via airlift, airdrop and special operations. Just as Lt. Halvorsen's signature wing rock and candy-laden 'parachutes' gave hope to a city under siege, a glimpse of Charleston's distinctive C-17 tail flash provides hope today to warfighters, displaced civilians, and victims of natural disaster

Colonel Halvorsen's simple acts of kindness answered the call of an entire city in its darkest hour and established a legacy of selfless service. This is the very same sense of "service before self" that has become a core value for Mobility Airmen across the Air Force. His acts also helped prove the strategic value of airlift as a national military capability. The Halvorsen C-17 Aircrew Training Center will distinctly memorialize the contributions that Col. Gail S. Halvorsen made to our Air Force and the nation, and will forever ground today's Airmen to our proud airlift legacy.