Carrier Will Fly 28 Airlift Veterans, Wives To Berlin Air
The Air Force
Association welcomed an announcement this week from Germany’s
biggest airline, Lufthansa, stating the carrier will commemorate
the 60th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift on May 27 by flying 28
US veterans and their wives to the Berlin International Air Show
(ILA 2008) for a special ceremony and celebration.
Lt. General Michael M. Dunn USAF (ret) and President of the Air
Force Association suggested the commemorative flights to Lufthansa,
and lauded the bravery and monumental effort of the allied aircrews
who in 1948-49 preserved the lives of two million Berliners. He
expressed AFA’s appreciation for Lufthansa’s efforts,
and the airline's generosity.
"This 60th anniversary is a reminder of the strong ties that
continue to bind Germany and the US, and Lufthansa is honored to do
its part in bringing these distinguished veterans together and
welcoming them in the City of Berlin as they celebrate this
historic occasion," responded Thomas Kropp, Senior Vice President
"When they were called upon by their country to save Berlin,
they answered the call without question," Dunn said of the Berlin
Airlift pilots and crews. "They flew their unarmed C-47s and C-54s
around the clock, at paper-thin intervals, and often under the most
horrendous weather conditions. They did all this under the constant
threat of attack. Yet they did not falter. Thirty-one of these
young men laid down their lives to save the people of Berlin. These
aging airmen are to be honored at this 60th Anniversary of this
historic event for their unstinting service to Germany and the US.
None deserve our gratitude more. They were heroes then, they are
heroes now and they will remain heroes to all those who cherish
The Berlin International Air Show expects Chancellor of Germany
Angela Merkel, US Ambassador to Germany William R. Timken, USAF
vice Chief of Staff General Duncan McNabb, and the "Chocolate
Bomber" Col. Gail Halverson -- among others -- to open the show
with a brief event in honor of the Veterans of the Berlin
In addition to the opening ceremony, many other airlift events
are planned including daily commemorative flights of the C-47s and
C-17 ("Spirit of Berlin"), Meet-the-Veterans-Sessions, band music
and an invitation only reception in honor of the veteran aircrews.
All show attendees are welcome to participate in these events.