Fellow Aviators’ Lives Intersect: President Uchtdorf and the Candy Bomber

Uchtdorf, Candy Bomber, Halvorsen
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf with Gail Halvorsen. Image via LDS.org.

This article was originally written by Gerry Avant for Church News. The following is an excerpt. 

When he was eight years old, Dieter F. Uchtdorf looked up at planes flying in and out of Berlin. He and his sister had traveled there from their home in Zwickau for an LDS youth conference in 1949. The planes were part of the Berlin Airlift. Years later, he learned that one of the airlift’s pilots was a fellow Latter-day Saint, Gail Halvorsen, the renowned “Candy Bomber.”

President Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, has no idea whether he saw Brother’s Halvorsen’s C-54 as it flew into and out of Berlin, but when he looks at a photograph of boys and girls standing on one side of a fence and Gail Halvorsen on the other, he can see himself at the Templehof airport. “I was their same age. I looked the same way that they did. I can picture myself there,” he said.

Although young Dieter and the American pilot didn’t meet during the airlift, they eventually became good friends. President Uchtdorf was honored on January 22 to present to his friend in behalf of the Living Legends of Aviation the Kiddie Hawk Children’s Award for his lifelong positive impact on children. President Uchtdorf, a former air force and commercial pilot, and Brother Halvorsen are fellow recipients of the Order of Merit of Germany.

Read the full article at LDS.org