HomeNewsArticle Display

Remembering the Berlin Airlift

70th Anniversary Berlin Airlift ceremony

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and German Ambassador Dr. Emily Haber lay a wreath during the 70th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift ceremony at the Air Force Memorial, Arlington, Virginia, Sept. 16, 2018. The Berlin Airlift, a herculean humanitarian airlift effort, broke the Soviet Union’s blockade of West Berlin and shattered previous airlift records. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

70th Anniversary Berlin Airlift ceremony

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson speaks during the 70th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift wreath laying ceremony at the Air Force Memorial, Arlington, Va., Sept. 16, 2018. The event was hosted by the German Embassy, Air Force Association and the Berlin Airlift Veterans Association. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

70th Anniversary Berlin Airlift ceremony

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson speaks during the 70th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift wreath laying ceremony at the Air Force Memorial, Arlington, Va., Sept. 16, 2018. The event was hosted by the German Embassy, Air Force Association and the Berlin Airlift Veterans Association. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

70th Anniversary Berlin Airlift ceremony

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and German Ambassador Dr. Emily Haber lay a wreath during the 70th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift ceremony at the Air Force Memorial, Arlington, Virginia, Sept. 16, 2018. The Berlin Airlift, a herculean humanitarian airlift effort, broke the Soviet Union’s blockade of West Berlin and shattered previous airlift records. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

70th Anniversary Berlin Airlift ceremony

A C-17 Globemaster III flies over the Air Force Memorial during the 70th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift wreath laying ceremony Arlington, Va., Sept. 16, 2018. The Berlin Airlift broke the Soviet Union’s blockade of West Berlin and shattered previous airlift records. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

70th Anniversary Berlin Airlift ceremony

A wreath is displayed during the 70th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift wreath laying ceremony at the Air Force Memorial, Arlington, Va., Sept. 16, 2018. The event was hosted by the German Embassy, Air Force Association and the Berlin Airlift Veterans Association. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

70th Anniversary Berlin Airlift ceremony

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson speaks during the 70th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift wreath laying ceremony at the Air Force Memorial, Arlington, Va., Sept. 16, 2018. The event was hosted by the German Embassy, Air Force Association and the Berlin Airlift Veterans Association. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) --

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson discussed the significance of the 70th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift during a commemoration ceremony at the Air Force Memorial Sept. 16, 2018, in Arlington, Virginia.

The operation was initiated by the U.S. Air Force, the Royal Air Force and other allied forces in 1948 after Soviet occupational forces cut off supply channels to West Berlin. Lasting from June 26, 1948 to Sept. 30, 1949, the airlift provided over two million residents of West Berlin with food and other supplies.

“During the height of this remarkable operation that we commemorate today, American and British planes took off from, or landed at, [Berlin] Tempelhof Airport every 45 seconds,” Wilson said. “It took 60,000 Airmen to keep the Berlin Airlift going, and in doing so, we helped keep them alive.”

The Berlin Airlift is considered a building block and symbol of the alliance and friendship between the U.S. and Germany, and demonstrated the mission capability of the U.S. Air Force.

“We actually delivered more than two million tons of merchandise, which included coal, food and more, and we did this over more than 200,000 flights,” said Maj. (ret.) Ray Roberts, now president of the Berlin Airlift Veterans Association.

Wilson also shared a story when then-Gen. Lucius Clay, the commander in chief of U.S. Forces in Europe, at the time, asked then-Col. Curtis LeMay if he had any planes that could carry coal.

“[He answered] well, general, the Air Force can deliver anything, anytime, anywhere.” Wilson smiled. “Some things never change.”

During her speech, Wilson reflected on some of the artwork in the Pentagon that depicts the historical event.

“There’s one that always catches my eye when I walk by,” she said. “It is the iconic photograph of children standing on rubble, looking up as a C-47 comes in to land, bringing food and hope to Berlin. It’s a reminder of the ties that bind our nation together and have for 70 years.”

For more information about the Berlin airlift, visit:

http://airman.dodlive.mil/2018/09/10/sweet-taste-of-freedom/


Engage

Facebook Twitter
The opening of Cargo City successfully transitions operations from the #USAF & Coalition Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Ba… https://t.co/K73PkhjpNY
RT @AirmanMagazine: It started as a dare between two pilots... The @usairforce Hurricane Hunters save lives by flying through hurricanes t…
RT @ActingSecAF: Thanks to this crew for making the right call and saving the life of a fellow service member. https://t.co/cP4KCIQFgD
The Space Test Program-2 will provide the #USAF with insight into the SpaceX booster recovery and refurbishing proc… https://t.co/qYhlj7Je9V
RT @ActingSecAF: Happy birthday @USArmy. 244 years of defending our nation. @SecArmy https://t.co/AfMoPxwbd8
RT @DeptofDefense: “They’re really noisy, but I love them.” This @USAirForce F-15 Eagle crew chief from the @142ndFW shares his motivation…
Today, America recognizes the birth of Old Glory with its own holiday. Flag Day was first celebrated in 1877 to mar… https://t.co/wqoEjdqQFy
#FollowFriday! @ActingSecAF Matthew Donovan is responsible for the affairs of the #USAF, including the organizing,… https://t.co/28IlKOKWMq
.@NellisAFB fixed wing aircrews are flight-testing new prototype helmets this summer, thanks in part to an accelera… https://t.co/4HSUGSk3Qg
The 2019 @warriorgames Opening Ceremony is set for 6/22 @AmalieArena w/@HunterHayes! Stay up to date with your… https://t.co/u34QuBnpdo
.@AETCommand's latest #podcast series dives into "Developing Mach-21 #Airmen," providing visibility on recruiting,… https://t.co/CGSHJonQAT
RT @ActingSecAF: Thanks to the support of Congress, the @usairforce is developing game changing technology. #fasterandsmarter https://t.co/…
#DYK, Flight equipment has historically been designed to fit males because there are statistically more male… https://t.co/iJnSp1pV74
.@AirForceReserve #Airmen rescues an 8yr old boy from flood waters, in Prague, Oklahoma. #USAFhttps://t.co/Y4efafIkO6
#DYK, Individuals w/ disabilities comprise a large part of the #USAF civilian force. As part of the American Disabi… https://t.co/LOP14Xhg4j
Two of #AirForce's newest aircraft complete receiver certification, moving one step closer to enhancing #warfigtherhttps://t.co/F6pvB6PEac
.@HQAirUniversity's Squadron Officer School students collaborate to explore ways #AI can solve #AirForce issues and… https://t.co/QBCFwaGUdh
Vandenberg #AirForce Base is set to support the @SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch, carrying the RADARSAT Constellation… https://t.co/PohIOze3HC