South Africa Participated in the Commemoration of the End of the Berlin Airlift on 12 May 2019
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Berlin AirliftMay 16th, 2019
Aircrews from the United States Air Force, the Royal Air Force, the French Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the South African Air Force: flew over 200,000 sorties in one year, providing to the West Berliners up to 12,941 tons of necessities in a day, such as fuel and food.
South African Air Force pilots had therefore been deployed to Bassingbourn, where they were trained for the Royal Air Force planes before they reported for duty at the British Air Force Base in Lübeck.
Under the auspices of the Berlin Mayor this unique humanitarian act and logistical masterpiece will be commemorated "in style" and the public was invited to a whole day of political, military and cultural activities on 12 May 2019 at Tempelhof Airfield. the South African Government and the South African Air Force were thanked for being part of the historic relief operation, which can be described as a true act of Ubuntu.
The Commander of the Airlift summarized the South African contribution as follows: "The South African Squadron has impressed all of us. They fulfilled their task in the endeavor 'Airlift' with such devotion and selflessness, that they were an inspiring role model for all of us".
For his bravery South African pilot Joe Joubert was also awarded a medal of honour after the Berlin Airlift. In the service of humanity, one South African flying officer lost his live in the humanitarian operation.