Colonel Gail Halvorsen, the man known as "Uncle Wiggle Wings" and the " Candy Bomber," began his military career as an aviation cadet in 1943. After earning his wings, he served as a transport and ferry pilot in the south Atlantic. When the Soviets blockaded Berlin in 1948, he was one of many transport pilots who helped sustain a 13-month airlift into Templehof Airport. He returned to the United States in 1949 to attend the University of Florida.
After graduating with a master's degree in engineering, he was assigned to the Wright Air Development Center as an engineer and program manager in cargo aircraft weapons systems. He was later assigned to the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division where he worked on the engineering development of space boosters for manned spacecraft, including the Dyna-Soar.
He also played a key role in the development of the Titan III launch vehicle and worked on development plans for advanced manned and reusable spacecraft, on space policy and procedures, and on the project for developing the manned orbital laboratory. On his final assignment, Colonel Halvorsen returned to Berlin where he served as Commander of Templehof Air Base and Air Force representative in Berlin.
Shown in the painting is one of the C-54 Skymasters used in the Berlin Airlift. On one of his first flights into Templehof, Colonel Halvorsen began rocking his wings and waving to the children near the runway. One day, he dropped small parachutes carrying candy and chewing gum to the children and thus began Operation "Little Vittles." He was awarded the 1948 Cheney Trophy for his humanitarian actions during the airlift.