Charlie Simms and the Berlin Airlift

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Here is some living history for you: today is the anniversary of the start of the Berlin Airlift in 1948 click here.  Our very own Charlie Simms participated in the Airlift as a member of Air Transport Squadron Six (VR-6.)  Charlie talks about flying out of Frankfurt beginning in December 1948 aboard C-5’s which took off every 3 minutes for Berlin loaded with everything from coal to dehydrated potatoes.  Charlie noted that as they approached Berlin and if for some reason they were waved off from landing, they had to return to Frankfurt in order to get back in the rotation and complete their mission.   

I found the following link to a Navy document that provides a record of VR-6’s involvement in the Airlift.  (On Page 8 there is a humorous note about their baseball team defeating a team from  another squadron the 7371st by a score of 17-2 and then comments that “Six errors by the VR-6 team resulted in the 2 runs by the 7371st.”  Gracious winners weren’t they?)   Charlie is mentioned on Page 9 for having flown 100 missions (click here and scroll to Pages 8 and 9.)
Charlie also told me that when he had his gall bladder operation a few years ago, his surgery was performed by a German doctor who was originally from Berlin.  In talking to the doctor, Charlie learned that the doctor not only remembered the Berlin Airlift from when he was a young boy but also recalled what a great thing it was for his family and relatives to have received the much needed supplies.  The doctor told Charlie he would repay him by doing a good job on his bladder. 

Following is a copy of Charlie’s  Citation for the AIR MEDAL:
AD2 Charles H. Simms, USN 6771983, from 13 January 1949 to 11 June 1949, as a aerial engineer of a transport-type aircraft, successfully completed one hundred missions from bases in Western Germany to Berlin in connection with the Airlift, OPERATION VITTLES. Confronted with difficult schedules and maintenance problems and the constant need to keep his aircraft in flying condition, this airman’s efforts contributed to the delivery of many hundreds of tons of food and supplies to the people of Berlin. His technical knowledge, competence and devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon him and the United States Air Force.

Herr Charlie, Jerry and Jimmy

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