VFW in Action

Article excerpt

VFW members and Posts demonstrating community service.

Airlift Association-VFW Honor Sacrifices

Of the 33 Americans who died during the Berlin Airlift, some have been remembered by VFW Honor Guards.

During the early days of the Cold War, 33 Americans gave their lives so that the people of Berlin could survive. On June 24, 1948, the Soviets cut off all ground transportation into the Western sectors of the city, which meant eventual isolation for some 2.5 million Berliners.

The only way in or out was by air-that's where the U.S. came into play. On June 25, C-47s transported 80 tons of food and medicine into the city, flying over 100 miles of Soviet-occupied East Germany.

Daily flights continued for months, and in 1949, the West gained its first victory of the Cold War when the Soviets lifted the blockade. The Allied Berlin Airlift had delivered some 2.3 million tons of supplies.

More than 50 years later, the Berlin Airlift Veterans Association (BAVA) started Operation Remembrance, intended to perform memorial services at the graves of some who died during the airlift.

"We wanted to let the families know that their loved ones were not forgotten," said Lewis Whipple, vice president of BAVA and commander of Post 5099 in Benton, La. …