event in history, The Berlin Airlift.
Our Mission is to preserve this memory by preserving several aircraft used in the great event and creating "Flying Memorials and Classrooms" with the purpose of educating the public about this pivotal, yet forgotten, event in world history.
Founded in 1988, the Foundation has obtained and restored to flying condition, a Douglas C-54E transport aircraft, which helped support the C-54's which carried out this great mission. Named "SPIRIT OF FREEDOM", the aircraft is painted to represent the 48th Troop Carrier Squadron, one of the many groups which carried out the event. Inside, the "SPIRIT", is a genuine museum dedicated to the Berlin Airlift, filled with artifacts, displays, and information explaining this all important event in recent history.
In 1996, the Foundation has also taken on an even BIGGER challenge: The Boeing C-97. This large 4-engined aircraft is one of only 2 left flying in the world today. The Foundation purchased this aircraft in 1996, and is planning to create a flying exhibit dedicated to the Berlin Airlift and the Cold War.
German Ambassador Klaus Scharioth
with Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation President
Tim Chopp (at left) and Col. USAF (ret.)
Gail Halvorsen. (© German Embassy, Washington)
Timothy Chopp, founder and president of the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation, was presented with the prestigious Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by Ambassador Klaus Scharioth on January 18, 2011 in the presence of family, friends, Airlift veterans and crew members of his "Spirit of Freedom", an historic Douglas C-54 converted into a flying Airlift museum.
In his speech, Ambassador Scharioth praised Chopp's enduring commitment to preserve for future generations the legacy of the Berlin Airlift which, through the heroic efforts of the United States and her allies, saved more than two million blockaded Berliners from hunger, cold, and communist rule. He pointed out that since the creation of the New Jersey-based Airlift Foundation in 1988, Tim Chopp and his Spirit of Freedom have brought the story of one of the greatest humanitarian relief efforts of all time and of the lasting bond of friendship it created between the American and German people to countless audiences all over the United States as well as in Europe
Ambassador Klaus Scharioth awards Tim Chopp
the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic
of Germany. (© German Embassy, Washington)
Among the guests gathered for the occasion at the ambassador's residence in Washington was Colonel USAF (ret.) Gail Halvorsen, Airlift veteran and famed "candy bomber". Adding his words to Ambassador Scharioth’s, he reminded the audience of how this remarkable relief operation and the deeply felt gratitude of the Berliners forever changed the relations between the former enemies, and how the Berlin Airlift continues to stand out as a monument to the guiding principle of "service before self".
To end the ceremony on a lighter note, childhood friend and long-time flight crew member Danny Urbaniak gave some humorous insights into Tim Chopp’s resilience, resourcefulness, and his outstanding negotiating skills. He pointed out that the "Spirit of Freedom" had often taken off with just enough fuel in the tank for its next destination, but always managed to get enough gas for the trip home.
Ambassador Scharioth with Tim Chopp and the crew of the "Spirit of Freedom".
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The Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation is a non-profit educational group that exists to educate the public. We operate largely on donations and continued support by dedicated volunteers. Without your support, these aircraft will be scrap metal, and a great defining chapter in history will be gone. The Foundation is listed in IRS Publication 78 as a 501(c) (3) tax exempt charity. The Foundation tax exempt documents are available for public inspection upon request by writing to the Foundation at P.O. Box 782 Farmingdale, NJ 07727
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Created by: Pavan Mohan, Student, J.P. Stevens High School, Edison NJ - Kevin Kearney, Teacher, J.P. Stevens High School, Edison NJ