When your grandpa gets in "that" mood and starts telling old war tales, you don't expect your reaction to be "awwww, so cute" -- you cover the ears of any children present and brace yourself for a sleepless night. And yet, there are plenty of real stories of war so ridiculously adorable that they make a Disney movie look like Vietnam. For instance, there's the time when ...
6The U.S. Air Force Bombs Berlin ... With Candy
Edward Miller / Hulton / Getty
Apparently it kinda sucked to live in Germany for a while. In 1948, after the country was split up among the winners of World War II, Russia decided to cut all rail and transport routes to Berlin in the hope that a little food deprivation would convince the democratic side of the city that communism is awesome. That's when the U.S. and the other Allied nations remembered that they had things called airplanes -- thus began Operation Little Vittles, also known as the Berlin Airlift, in which military planes spent a year dropping sweet democracy (also food) on the city as a huge "fuck you" to Stalin.
Berlin was now getting everything it needed, except one essential thing -- candy.
"I bet it's Skittles this time! Wait ... nope, more grain. Dammit."
Utah-born Air Force pilot Gail Halvorsen was moved by the sight of a bunch of candyless children in Berlin and gave them a pack of gum he was carrying, promising he'd return the next day with sweets they could actually swallow. So Halvorsen began dropping chocolate on the children with (hopefully unused) handkerchiefs as adorable little parachutes. He'd wiggle the wings of his plane so the kids would recognize him and brace themselves for the chocolate rain, earning him the name "Uncle Wiggly Wings." The whole thing was like something out of a children's book.
Gail S. Halvorsen
"Sorry, kids, ran out of handkerchiefs and went with TP today. That's not chocolate."
Of course, "magical deeds out of children's books" are strictly against regulation, so Halvorsen was told to cut that shit out ... until his bosses realized how much Germany loved them for doing this. That's when the Air Force deployed a bunch of planes whose sole purpose was to shower West Berliners with tons and tons of candy donated by the American Confectioners Association.
Hulton Archive / Stringer / Getty
Stalin panicked and ordered that they drop hot borscht on the kids to compete.
Even when the airlift ended in 1949 after the Soviets finally gave up, the now zit-filled and hyperkinetic Berlin children never forgot about Uncle Wiggly Wings. Halvorsen is still known throughout Germany for throwing candy at kids from high altitudes and had a couple of schools named after him. This is how Santa-like legends get started.