In this section you’ll find out about fellow airlifters. You are a pretty amazing group. Rank doesn’t matter as each of you were important. We’ll lead off with our President Chuck Childs in the left seat of the cockpit and then head for the runway! Soon we’ll be flying in the Southern Corridor with members information and sidelights. You’ll learn the amazing things our members do and have done both in and out of service. There are remarkable stories to be told and you’ll find them here.
BAVA member Edwin Gere wrote a great book about our members called “The Unheralded”. The book is out of print but It offers biographies on both British and American airmen. Ed put many unheralded hours fact checking, writing, editing, and publication. He has agreed to allow us to use material from that book in this section and his cooperation is greatly appreciated. From his book we’ll also tell you about the real hero’s, those who paid the supreme sacrifice for Berlins freedom. Check this Biography section often and read about some great people, your fellow BAVA members and maybe you.
Any photos you want to have on this site can be sent to:
Eddie Ide, 15 North College Ave, Newton NC 28658 or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Chuck Childs – President of BAVA
Chuck Childs (Lt. Col. USAF, Ret.) of Rapid City SD was re-elected President of the Berlin Airlift Veterans Association at the reunion in Great Falls MT in September 2015. He retired from Ellsworth Air Force base SD in 1961 after a long career.
During WWII he was a B-17 Pilot in the 2nd Bomb Group, 15th Air Force out of Italy and 37 combat missions. He was the Pilot for 30 of those missions. After the war he flew the Berlin airlift and then followed by flying the C-119 cargo plane supporting ground troops during the Korean War. He was the recipient of seven air medals and the Distinguished
Flying Cross (2).
During the Berlin Airlift in 1948 & 1949 he flew 196 round-trips missions as a pilot of a cargo carrying C-54 aircraft flying food, coal and supplies into the blockaded city of 2.4 million persons. He flew from Wiesbaden Air Base, near Frankfort in Western Germany, into the beleaguered city located deep in the Russian controlled zone surrounding the city.
After Korea he served in the Strategic Air Command until retirement. In his leadership role with the BAVA he draws upon his military experience and skills exercised as the District Executive of the Black Hills Council of the Boy Scouts of America, a position he held for about 10 years after leaving the Air Force. Later he served ten years as a State Probation Officer before a full retirement in 1983. “Chuck”, as he is known in Rapid City played drums in many regional jazz and dance bands.
One of his first responsibilities was to organize and lead fellow BAVA members and families to Berlin for the official celebration of the 65th Airlift. While in the Berlin, Childs shared in accepting the thanks and gratitude expressed by the Mayor, city officials, and individual Berliners.
His group along with members of the British Berlin Airlift Veterans participated in a memorial service and other events honoring the airlifters.
Jake Schuffert – Airlift Cartoonist
Jake Schuffert had a knack of creating humor during the Airlift with his irreverent
cartons about the life and times of the airlifters and their bosses’. Published in the Task Force Times newspaper, Schuffert was a radioman on General Tunner’s own a/c. His cartoons played up everything disagreeable about the Airlift, but they brought a smile to the readers’ faces. They also improved moral helping to overcome the poor living and working conditions of the airlifters. General Tunner was his only censor.
Eddie Ide – Legacy Editor
Eddie has had a lifelong enthusiasm for aviation history. His interest in the Berlin Airlift began in 1993 when he was Publicist at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (PA) International Airport Airshow. The airshow hosted the C-54E “Spirit of Freedom” an aircraft that participated in Berlin Airlift support in 1948-49. It is a now a flying museum about the airlift owned and flown by the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation (BAHF). (www.spiritoffreedom.org). He served as Vice President of the foundation for 12 years.
As a planner and speaker for the historical foundation Eddie researched the airlift and met with many military participants and German recipients. One part of his task was the planning and participating in a 70 day Berlin Airlift 50th Anniversary tour of Europe with the “Spirit of Freedom”.
Seeing Berlin and meeting its people was the stimulus for a continuing quest to learn everything about the airlift. Although now retired from BAHF his interest continues with the Berlin Airlift Veterans Association as a board member and editor of the “Legacy” , the quarterly newsletter and as a life member of the Air Force Association. His studies, interviews and museum visits all contribute to speaking engagements in the eastern half of the country.
In 2000 he crewed the C-54 to Hickory NC and while there for an airshow he met Laurel, the woman he would marry 14 months later while the aircraft was flying above the NC county where they would live. Tim Chopp, President was at the controls of the “Spirit of Freedom” and was also the best man. Laurel is perhaps one of the last Berlin airlift brides.