View Full Version : Operation Santa Claus

12-24-2012, 07:48 AM
Thousands of tiny parachutes bloomed in the Berlin night sky in December, 1948. They did not herald an invasion, or another one of the incendiary bombing raids that had ravaged the city during World War II. They were, instead, part of "Operation Santa Claus." Each little chute held a doll or a toy or a piece of candy, floating down to Berlin children waiting eagerly below on hills of rubble.

Operation Santa Claus was the brainchild of one Lt. Carl S. Halverson, U.S. Air Force. Halverson was one of fliers keeping the city alive during the Berlin Airlift, and on his constant flights in and out of Tempelhof airfield he had begun parachuting down little bags of candy. Like all the later toys and treats dropped by his companions, they were paid for completely out of his own pocket.


The lack of sleep, and the constant airlift traffic, took its toll. Some 55 Allied pilots died, including 28 Americans. Crews washing fuselages free of coal dust developed skin diseases usually limited to miners.

Yet the airlift began to work. The Berliners themselves helped, 20,000 of them, men and women, volunteering for some measure of redemption by laying down a third airfield in the French zone. When the Soviets refused to remove a blocking radio tower, a French demolition team simply blew it up.

The cargo total soared, to 4,500 tons a day by December, 1948; 5,500 by February, 1949. By early spring the figures were up to 8,050 tons a day, and the record for a single 24-hour span reached 13,000 tons. Far from being beaten, Berlin was rapidly becoming one of the most prosperous cities in a Europe still recovering from the war.

On May 12, 1949, the Soviets acknowledged the futility of the blockade by ending it. By that time the Allies had made 277,264 flights into the besieged city, carrying 2,343,315 tons of supplies—or almost one ton for every man, woman, and child in Berlin.

source: https://www.kevinbaker.info/e_ag_ba.html

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

12-24-2012, 11:07 AM
And to you Tom. You are so thoughtful and this tribute speaks volumes about you.

12-24-2012, 11:29 AM
And to you Tom. You are so thoughtful and this tribute speaks volumes about you.


12-25-2012, 01:37 AM
That was such a great achievement in such a difficult time. America and Americans at their best.

12-27-2012, 01:18 AM
My Da' told me of it, then gave me a framed copy of Kipling's poem: "If"... I was about 14.