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How Hershey's Chocolate Helped Power Allied Troops During WWII

How Hershey's Chocolate Helped Power Allied Troops During WWII


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It's one of the most celebrated feats of World War II: On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 troops stormed the beaches of Normandy during the D-Day invasion. Less known is that an unlikely snack helped power the Allies before, during and after the historic mission—Hershey’s chocolate bars.

In 1937, the U.S. Army approached the Hershey Company about creating a specially designed bar just for its emergency rations. According to Hershey’s chief chemist Sam Hinkle, the U.S. government had just four requests about their new chocolate bars: They had to weigh 4 ounces, be high in energy, withstand high temperatures and “taste a little better than a boiled potato.” The army didn't want the bar to be so tasty that soldiers would eat it in non-emergency situations.

The final product was called the “D ration bar,” a blend of chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, skim milk powder and oat flour. The viscous mixture proved too thick to move through the normal chocolate-bar manufacturing set up at the Hershey plant, so initially each bar had to be packed into its 4-ounce mold by hand.

READ MORE: How Allied Forces Overcame Disastrous Landings to Rout the Nazis

As for taste, well—most who tried it said they would rather have eaten the boiled potato.

The combination of fat and oat flour made the chocolate bar a dense brick, and the sugar did little to mask the overwhelmingly bitter taste of the dark chocolate. Since it was designed to withstand high temperatures, the bar was nearly impossible to bite into. Most men who ate it had to shave slices off with a knife before they could chew it.

Despite the U.S. Army’s best efforts to stop the men from doing so, some of the D ration bars ended up in the trash. Later in the war, Hershey introduced a new version, known as the Tropical bar, specifically designed for extreme temperatures of the Pacific Theater. By the end of the war, the company had produced more than 3 billion ration bars.

The bar was hardly the only sweet in the D-Day rations. Sugar was an easy way to pep up the troops, and the quick burst of energy it provided made a welcome addition to kit bags. Along with the D rations, troops received three days worth of K ration packs. These were devised more as meal replacements and not sustenance snacks like the D rations, and came complete with coffee, canned meats, processed cheese and tons of sugar. At various points during the war, men could find powdered orange or lemon drink, caramels, chewing gum and—of course—more chocolate.

In addition to chocolate, Hershey also produced parts for naval anti-aircraft guns. And the company wasn't the only food titan of the era that joined the nationwide effort to support American troops. Heinz created self-heating cans that could be lit with a cigarette, Kellogg’s supplied K-Rations for soldiers' breakfasts.

READ MORE: Hershey’s Once Violently Suppressed a Strike by Chocolate Workers


Milton S. Hershey

Milton Snavely Hershey (September 13, 1857 – October 13, 1945) was an American chocolatier, businessman, and philanthropist.

Trained in the confectionery business, Hershey pioneered the manufacture of caramel, using fresh milk. He launched the Lancaster Caramel Company, which achieved bulk exports, and then sold it to start a new company supplying mass-produced milk chocolate, previously a luxury good.

The first Hershey bars were sold in 1900 and proved so popular that he was able to build his own company town of Hershey, Pennsylvania. Hershey's philanthropy extended to a boarding school, originally for local orphans, but accommodating around 2,000 students as of 2016. [1] In World War II, the company developed a special non-melting bar for troops serving overseas. The Hershey Company, known as Hershey's, is one of the world's biggest confectionery manufacturers.


Chocolates were an afterthought

Today, Hershey is synonymous with chocolate. It wasn't always that way, though — Milton Hershey's first major foray into candy-making was in the world of caramel.

According to the Hershey Community Archives, Hershey failed twice before opening the Lancaster Caramel Company in 1886. Though the third try did end up being the charm, the company came close to completely failing.

Hershey was plagued with bad credit after previous failures, and his caramel company was in serious danger of failing, too. A bank cashier came to the rescue by co-signing the loan himself, giving Hershey the cash he needed for a batch of raw ingredients that would keep the company going. It started to grow, and by 1892 he was buying competitor's facilities. Hershey's caramels were made with the finest imported ingredients, and eventually included products called Paradox, Empire, Icelts, Jim Crack, and Roly Poly. His involvement in caramels was ultimately short-lived but profitable — he sold the caramel business in 1900 for $1 million. In today's money, that's almost $30 million.


Hershey’s Field Ration D bars did not melt in heat, and tasted “just a little better than a boiled potato”

The high energy chocolate bar was used by soldiers and was made palatable instead of tasty so that soldiers wouldn’t use it as a treat.

It all began in 1937, when Captain Paul Logan demanded light field rations for paratroopers during their long field deployment. The meal needed to be indestructible, pocket-sized, heat-resistant, and highly nutritious.

He thought that this might just do the trick, so he turned to Hershey’s for the ultimate military chocolate bar.

Hershey’s involvement in this important project began in April 1937, when Captain Paul Logan, met with William Murrie, the president of Hershey’s Chocolate, and with Sam Hinkle, Chief Chemist of Hershey’s. The men organized and decided to experiment with the production of a chocolate bar that would meet the nutrition needs of the US soldier.

Hershey Chocolate Factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania, 1976. Photo Credit

The requirements for the chocolate bar were simple. Captain Logan’s idea was not to make them too tasty, so the soldiers would only use them for emergencies. The taste was, reportedly, like something that was intended for baths, and it was supposed to taste “a little better than a boiled potato.”

Nevertheless, the high nutrition of the candy bar compensated for the horrible taste. The bar also needed to weigh four ounces and to withstand high temperatures during desert missions.

Murrie and Hinkle quickly told Milton Hershey, the main man behind Hershey’s, about the intriguing army project. He was very interested in this and instructed them to begin with planning and production.

Hershey was quite amused by the fact that the candy was supposed to be made not-too-tasty, a never before attempted feat of candy production.

U.S. military C-ration with a fudge bar (far left).

The technologists came up with “Field Ration D” bars a chocolate bar that met all of Captain Logan’s requirements. The bars were stabilized with oat flour, cacao fat, skim milk powder, sugar, and artificial flavoring.

They didn’t actually melt in the mouth: instead, they had the power to break the soldier’s teeth. Not even the insides of the chocolate bar tasted good.

D-ration bars were so full of cacao, the repulsive bitterness was gourmet torture for the US soldier’s taste buds.

Furthermore, the soldiers jokingly named the bar “Hitler’s secret weapon” due to the chocolate’s effect on the soldiers’ digestive systems.

A selection of US military C-ration cans from World War II with items displayed. Photo Credit

Perhaps the troops’ complaints reached Hershey’s ear, and they reformulated the taste and texture of the choco bar. Thus, Hershey’s Tropical Chocolate Bar was born, as an answer to the unfavorable reviews by the US soldiers. It was slightly tastier and helped the US Army in fighting the good fight.

The prestigious Army-Navy “E” Production Award was awarded to Hershey’s Chocolate Corporation on the 22nd August 1942, for the ultimate military chocolate and its outstanding war effort.

This was certainly not an easily won award. Major General Edmund B. Gregory commended Hershey’s: “The men and women of Hershey Chocolate Corporation have every reason to be proud of their great work in backing up our soldiers on the fighting fronts.”

The Army-Navy “E” Award. It was an honor given to the companies and factories during WW II for “Excellence in Production” if the factories supply the army with top-quality war equipment. It was created to encourage production of war materials.

The success of the military candy bar was visible, as approximately 24 million bars were being produced every week. At the end of the war, Hershey’s produced more than 3 billion “Field Ration D” bars, playing their part in helping out the American GIs.The soldiers wouldn’t always eat the unappetizing bars.

As it turns out, they used them to trade for better tasting food with the unsuspecting civilians that weren’t acquainted with the chocolate’s bitter flavor.

The soldiers wouldn’t always eat the unappetizing bars. As it turns out, they used them to trade for better tasting food with the unsuspecting civilians that weren’t acquainted with the chocolate’s bitter flavor.


Contents

Early years Edit

After an apprenticeship to a confectioner in 1873, Milton S. Hershey opened a candy shop in Philadelphia. This shop was open for six years, after which Hershey apprenticed with another confectioner in Denver, where he learned to make caramel. [12] After another failed business attempt in New York, Hershey returned to Pennsylvania, where he founded the Lancaster Caramel Company in 1886. The use of fresh milk in caramels proved successful, [13] and in 1900, after seeing chocolate-making machines for the first time at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Hershey sold his caramel company for $1,000,000 [13] (equal to $31,108,000 today), and concentrated on chocolate. To people who questioned him, he said, "Caramels are just a fad, but chocolate is a permanent thing."

In 1896, Hershey built a milk-processing plant so he could create and refine a recipe for his milk chocolate candies. In 1899, he developed the Hershey process, which is less sensitive to milk quality than traditional methods. In 1900, he began manufacturing Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars, also known as Hershey's Bars or Hershey Bars.

Hershey, Pennsylvania Edit

In 1903, Hershey began construction of a chocolate plant in his hometown of Derry Church, Pennsylvania, later known as Hershey, Pennsylvania. [13] The town was an inexpensive place for the workers and their families to live, though the factory was built without windows, so that employees would not be distracted. To increase employee morale, Hershey provided leisure activities and created what would later become Hersheypark. The milk chocolate bars from this plant proved popular, and the company grew rapidly.

Hershey's Kisses Edit

In 1907, he introduced a new candy: bite-sized, flat-bottomed, conical pieces of chocolate that he named "Hershey's Kiss". At first, each was wrapped by hand in a square of aluminum foil. The introduction of machine wrapping in 1921 sped up the process and added a small paper ribbon to the top of the package, indicating that it was a genuine Hershey product. [13] Today, 70 million of the candies are produced daily. [14] Other products introduced included Mr. Goodbar (1925) (peanuts in milk chocolate), Hershey's Syrup (1926), semisweet chocolate chips (1928), and the Krackel bar with crisped rice (1938).

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Edit

Harry Burnett Reese invented Reese's Peanut Butter Cups after founding the H.B. Reese Candy Company in 1923. [15] Reese died on May 16, 1956, in West Palm Beach, Florida, leaving the company to his six sons. [16] On July 2, 1963, the H.B. Reese Candy Company merged with the Hershey Chocolate Corporation in a tax-free stock-for-stock merger. In 2020, after 57 years of stock splits, [17] the original 666,316 shares of Hershey common stock received by the Reese family represented 16 million Hershey shares valued at $2.5 billion, paying annual dividends of $51.4 million. [18] [19] In 1969, only 6 years after the Reese/Hershey merger, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups became The Hershey Company's top seller. [20] As of September 20, 2012, Reese's was the best-selling candy brand in the United States, with sales of $2.603 billion, and the fourth-best-selling brand globally, with sales of $2.679 billion. Only $76 million (2.8%) of its sales are outside the United States. [21]

Unionization Edit

Labor unrest came to Hershey in the late 1930s, as a Congress of Industrial Organizations-backed union attempted to organize the factory workers. A failed sit-down strike in 1937 ended in violence loyalist workers and local dairy farmers beat many of the strikers as they attempted to leave the plant. By 1940, an affiliate of the American Federation of Labor had successfully organized Hershey's workers under the leadership of John Shearer, who became the first president of Local Chapter Number 464 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers' International Union. Local 464 still represents the Hershey workforce.

M&M's Edit

Shortly before World War II, Bruce Murrie, son of long-time Hershey's president William F.R. Murrie, struck a deal with Forrest Mars to create hard sugar-coated chocolate that would be called M&M's (for Mars and Murrie). Murrie had a 20% interest in the product, which used Hershey chocolate during World War II rationing. In 1948, Mars bought out Murrie and became one of Hershey's main competitors. [22]

Kit Kat and Rolo Edit

In 1969, Hershey received a license from Rowntree's to manufacture and market Kit Kat and Rolo in the United States. After Hershey's competitor Nestlé acquired Rowntree's in 1988, it was still required to honor the agreement, and so Hershey continues to make and market the products in the U.S. The license would revert to Nestlé if Hershey were sold. [23] This became a sticking point in Hershey's failed attempt to attract a serious buyer in 2002, and even Nestlé rejected Hershey's asking price, feeling that the economics would not work. [24]

Cadbury's Edit

In 1988, Hershey's acquired the rights to manufacture and distribute many Cadbury-branded products in the United States (except gum and mints, which are part of Mondelēz International). In 2015, they sued a British importer to halt imports of British Cadbury chocolate, which reportedly angered consumers. [25] [26] A merger between Mondelēz and Hershey's was considered but abandoned in 2016 after Hershey's turned down a $23 billion cash-and-stock bid. [27]

Other 20th-century sales and acquisitions Edit

In 1977, Hershey acquired Y&S Candies, founded in 1845, and became the makers of Twizzlers licorice candies.

In 1986, Hershey's made a brief foray into cough drops when it acquired the Luden's cough drops brand. By 2001, though, the brand had been sold to Pharmacia (now part of Pfizer), [28] and Luden's eventually became a product of Prestige Brands. [29] Hershey's kept Luden's 5th Avenue bar.

In 1996, Hershey purchased the American operations of the Leaf Candy Company from Huhtamäki.

In 1999, the Hershey Pasta Group was divested to several equity partners to form the New World Pasta company (now part of Ebro Foods).

21st century Edit

On July 25, 2002, it became known that the Hershey Trust Company was seeking to sell its controlling interest in the Hershey Foods Corporation. The value of Hershey stock rose 25% in a single day, with over 19 million shares traded. Over the following 55 days, widespread press coverage, as well as pressure from Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher, the community of Hershey, and Dauphin County Orphans' Court Senior Judge Warren G. Morgan, led to the sale being abandoned. The seven Hershey trustees who voted to sell Hershey Foods on September 17, 2002, for US$12.5 billion to the William Wrigley Jr. Company (now part of Mars Incorporated) were removed by Attorney General Fisher and Judge Morgan. [30] Ten of the 17 trustees were forced to resign and four new members who lived locally were appointed. The former Pennsylvania Attorney General, LeRoy S. Zimmerman, became the new chairman of the reconstituted Milton Hershey School Trustees. Mr. Zimmerman has publicly committed to having the Milton Hershey School Trust always retain its interest in The Hershey Company.

In 2005, Krave Jerky was founded by Jon Sebastiani after he trained for a marathon and looked for a healthy source of energy. [32] Alliance Consumer Growth, a private equity group, invested in Krave Jerky in 2012. [33] Hershey's purchased the company in 2015 for $240 million. [34] Hershey would later in 2020 sell Krave Jerky to Sonoma Brands, the food industry incubator founded by Sebastiani in 2016. [35]

In July 2005, Hershey acquired the Berkeley, California-based boutique chocolate-maker Scharffen Berger. [36] In November 2005, Hershey acquired Joseph Schmidt Confections, the San Francisco-based chocolatier, and in November 2006, Hershey acquired Dagoba Organic Chocolate, a boutique chocolate maker based in Ashland, Oregon.

In June 2006, Philadelphia city councilman Juan Ramos called for Hershey's to stop marketing "Ice Breakers Pacs", a kind of mint, due to the resemblance of its packaging to a kind that was used for illegal street drugs. [37]

In September 2006, ABC News reported that several Hershey chocolate products were reformulated to replace cocoa butter with vegetable oil as an emulsifier. According to the company, this change was made to reduce the costs of producing the products instead of raising their prices or decreasing the sizes. Some consumers complained that the taste was different, but the company stated that in the company-sponsored blind taste tests, about half of consumers preferred the new versions. As the new versions no longer met the Food and Drug Administration's official definition of "milk chocolate", the changed items were relabeled from stating they were "milk chocolate" and "made with chocolate" to "chocolate candy" and "chocolatey." [38]

In December 2011, Hershey reached an agreement to acquire Brookside Foods Ltd., a privately held confectionery company based in Abbotsford, British Columbia. [39]

In April 2015, the Hershey chocolate plant on East Chocolate Avenue in Hershey Pennsylvania was demolished to make way for mixed-use development. [40]

In 2016, Hershey acquired barkTHINS, a New York-based chocolate snack foods company that expected to generate between $65 million and $75 million in revenue for that year, for $290 million. [41] [34]

An August 2016 attempt to sell Hershey to Mondelez International was abandoned because of objections by the Hershey Trust. [23]

In 2017, Hershey acquired Amplify Snack Brands, Austin, Texas-based maker of SkinnyPop, in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.6 billion. [42]

In September 2018, Hershey announced to buy Pirate Brands from B&G Foods for $420 million in an all-cash deal. [43] [44] [45]

In August 2019, Hershey announced it would purchase protein bar maker One Brands LLC for $397 million. [46]

In October 2019, Hershey's announced a collaboration with Yuengling to produce a limited release collaboration beer titled Yuengling Hershey's Chocolate Porter, becoming Hershey's first licensed beer partnership. [47]

Unable to have children of his own, Milton S. Hershey founded the Hershey Industrial School in 1909 for white orphaned boys. [48] In 1918, three years after the death of his wife, Milton Hershey donated around $90 million to the boarding school in trust, as well as 40% of the Hershey Company's common stock. [49] The school's initial purpose was to train young men in trades but eventually shifted to focus on preparation for college. [49] The Hershey Trust Company has exercised voting rights for the school and has been a trustee since its founding. [50]

Many of its designs resemble Hershey chocolate products, such as the Hershey Kisses street lights. [51] Milton Hershey was involved in the school's operations until his death in 1945. The Hershey Industrial School was renamed the Milton Hershey School in 1951. [52]

The first plant outside Hershey opened on June 15, 1963, in Smiths Falls, Ontario, and the third opened on May 22, 1965, in Oakdale, California. [53] In February and April 2007, Hershey's announced that the Smiths Falls [54] [55] and Oakdale [56] [57] plants would close in 2008, being replaced in part by a new facility in Monterrey, Mexico. The Oakdale factory closed on February 1, 2008. [58] Hershey chocolate factory in São Roque, Brazil, was opened in August 2002. Hershey's Asia operations are largely supplied by their plant in Mandideep, India. [2]

Visitors to Hershey can experience Hershey's Chocolate World visitors center and its simulated tour ride. Public tours were once operated in the Pennsylvania and California factories, which ended in Pennsylvania in 1973 as soon as Hershey's Chocolate World opened, [59] and later in California following the September 11, 2001, attacks, due to security concerns. [57]

On September 18, 2012, Hershey opened a new and expanded West Hershey plant. The plant was completed at a budget of $300 million. [60]

On March 9, 2018, Hershey broke ground to expand its Kit Kat manufacturing facility in Hazle Township, Pennsylvania. The expansion project has a $60 million budget and is expected to create an additional 111 jobs at the facility. [61]

  • In July 1998, a number of 100 g (3.5 oz) milk chocolate bars being sold for fundraising events were recalled because they may have contained traces of almonds not listed in the ingredients. [62]
  • In November 2006, the Smiths Falls production plant in Ontario temporarily shut down and several products were voluntarily recalled after concerns over Salmonella contamination possibly found in soy lecithin within their production line. It was believed that most of the products involved in the recall never made it to the retail level. [63][64]

Hershey has made large contributions to education. One of their most notable contributions was the Elizabethtown College Honors Program. [65] The program was established in 1999 and is funded partially through the endowment.

In 2015, Hershey announced a commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative to help build a sustainable supply chain to support basic nutrition for children in Ghana. [66]

Hershey's long-term focus on children and families has yielded long-standing partnerships with organizations such as Children's Miracle Network, Ronald McDonald House, and United Way (UW). In 2016, the company donated more than $486,200 to those organizations. [67]

Hershey has been criticized for not having programs to ensure sustainable and ethical cocoa purchases, lagging behind its competitors in fair trade measures. [68]

The "Raise the Bar, Hershey!" campaign was launched in September 2010 by Global Exchange, Green America, the Oasis Trust, and the International Labor Rights Forum. The purpose of the Raise the Bar Campaign was to pressure Hershey to commit "to take immediate action to eliminate forced and child labor [. ] from Hershey's cocoa supply" "to sourcing 100% Fair Trade Certified cocoa beans by 2012 for at least one of its top five selling chocolate bars [. ] making at least one additional top five selling bar 100% Fair Trade Certified every two years thereafter" and that "the majority of Hershey's cocoa across all products will be Fair Trade Certified by 2022". The pressure was particularly directed at Whole Foods Market, which announced on October 3, 2012, that it would cease carrying Hershey's Scharffen Berger line. [69] The Campaign stated, "Whole Foods' decision follows more than 40 natural food retailers and coops publicly expressing concern about carrying Scharffen Berger and Dagoba products as a consequence of the giant chocolate maker's refusal to address child labor in its supply chain". [69] The same day, Hershey's announced it would "source 100 percent certified cocoa for its global chocolate product lines by 2020 and accelerate its programs to help eliminate child labor in the cocoa regions of West Africa". [70]

In 2019, Hershey announced that they could not guarantee that their chocolate products were free from child slave labor, as they could trace only about 50% of their purchasing back to the farm level. The Washington Post noted that the commitment taken in 2001 to eradicate such practices within 4 years had not been kept, neither at the due deadline of 2005, nor within the revised deadlines of 2008 and 2010, and that the result was not likely to be achieved for 2020 either. [71]

In 2021, Hershey was named in a class action lawsuit filed by eight former child slaves from Mali who alleged that the company aided and abetted their enslavement on cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast. The suit accused Hershey (along with Nestlé, Cargill, Mars, Incorporated, Olam International, Barry Callebaut, and Mondelez International) of knowingly engaging in forced labor, and the plaintiffs sought damages for unjust enrichment, negligent supervision, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. [72]


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If you&rsquove ever traveled to Israel, visited a kosher supermarket or even just have some Israeli cousins who visit from time to time, you may have encountered Elite chocolate, Israel&rsquos premier and much-beloved chocolate company. Think of them like the Israeli version of Hershey&rsquos, minus the theme park, with (slightly) tastier offerings.

We are pretty obsessed with Israeli chocolate over here at The Nosher and we even set out to the arduous task of ranking our favorite kinds of Israeli chocolate. And who can blame us &mdash even Gal Gadot and Jimmy Fallon love Israeli chocolate.

But it&rsquos impossible to go through a list of Israeli chocolate bars without noticing the dominance of Elite, which actually has a fascinating history.

Elite was started in the 1920s in Latvia, when the company was originally called &ldquoLaima,&rdquo which means luck in Latvian. By the 1930s, Laima was exporting its sweets to France, the UK and Egypt, among others. But in 1933, with the Nazis&rsquo rise to power, one of the company&rsquos three partners, Eliahu Promchenko, moved to Israel with his family. And he brought with him machines and, more importantly, experts in sweets.

In 1934, the company opened a factory near Tel Aviv. During World War II, Elite won a contract to supply chocolate to the British army and Allied forces stationed in the area. Promchenko even opened a factory and a store in Beirut, but managed to close it before Israel&rsquos War of Independence in 1948. In 1958, Elite started making instant coffee, a recognizable brand in Israel and on the world kosher scene.

In the 1970s, Elite merged with Liber, another sweets factory, which meant the company now was selling favorites likes Mekupelet chocolate bars, the iconic Israeli gum brand Alma and even became the licensed seller in Israel for Bazooka gum. In 1997, Elite was purchased by Strauss, which is currently the largest food company in Israel, And it&rsquos still making Israel&rsquos most beloved chocolate bars.

Hungry for more? Watch our short video, but be ready for the chocolate cravings.


The Berlin Candy Bomber

In times of difficulty, turmoil and loss, we look for goodness, hope and joy. And sometimes we find them in ways we never expect – like in the moments enjoyed by the kind gesture of a chocolate bar.

After WWII ended, Russian forces blocked the Allied control areas of Berlin. As a result, two million German citizens were cut off from food, coal and medicine. Water and land access were blocked, leaving the sky as the only avenue in.

I t was June of 1948 when Col. Gail S. “Hal" Halvorsen, a U.S. Air Force pilot who served during World War II, was assigned to the Berlin Airlift to deliver much-needed food, fuel and supplies to the Berliners. The effort was called Operation Vittles by the US and Operation Plainfare by the British.

One day, early in his mission, the 27-year old Col. Halvorsen spotted a group of German children gathering at the barbed-wire fence along the Berlin airfield. It was common to see children clamoring for attention from the U.S. troops because they often wanted candy and sweets. But this group wasn’t looking for a treat, these children were looking for signs of hope and freedom.

They asked about the airplanes and how many supplies they could carry. They wanted to understand the reasons for their condition and learn more about the what the world was doing to help them. Seeing they had nothing and were hungry, Col. Halvorsen offered two sticks of gum, which was all he had. He expected them to ask for more, but the children were grateful for the kind gesture and just wanted to hear about Halvorsen’s aircraft missions.

Wanting to give them more, Hal made a bold promise. He promised he would bring them more treats, as long as they agreed to share them. But he would not hand the treats through the fence – he would drop them from the sky. He told them that they would know it was him in the air because he would wiggle his wings as he approached.

Hal combined his candy rations with other servicemen to make parachutes of chocolate and gum out of handkerchiefs and string. On July 18, 1948, Operation Little Vittles took to the air. Hal kept his promise to those children, dropping parachutes of sweets from the sky. The children below scrambled to catch the candy-laden parachutes. People began calling him Uncle Wiggly Wings and The Berlin Candy Bomber because of these heroic acts of kindness.

News of Operation “Little” Vittles (the special name given to the candy parachute drops) soon reached the U.S., which sprung children and candy makers of every kind into action to contribute candy to the mission. From there, the rest is history. By the end of the Berlin Airlift in September 1949, American pilots dropped more than 250,000 parachutes and 23 tons of candy to the Berlin children.

Col. Halvorsen remembers, “how grateful they [children] were to look up at the sky and see parachutes with fresh HERSHEY’S candy bars coming to them from the airplane over their head.

It was a wonderful feeling to have that kind of support from The Hershey Company.” Hal concludes, “The small things you do turn into great things.”

Col. Halvorsen continues his love of giving far beyond retirement. The Gail S. Halvorsen Aviation Education Foundation was established in 2016 to help children gain a passion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines while learning about the principles of attitude, gratitude, and service before self. After all, as Hal always says, it’s the little things that put you on the path of life, the small acts of kindness.


Several dozen miles from the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, the town of Hershey pumps sweet chocolate smells from a 2-million-square-foot manufacturing plant. Street signs with cocoa-inspired names such as Chocolate, Java and Granada mark tree-lined avenues lit by lamps shaped like Hershey Kisses. Everything in this town of about 13,000 residents seems to reflect the Hershey's Chocolate Company that spawned it. To understand how an area once was home to little more than dairy farms was transformed into the headquarters of America's largest chocolate and confectionary maker, one must understand the man behind the transformation: Milton S. Hershey.

Hershey was not born with a clear, predestined path to becoming the king of a vast chocolate empire and one of the country's richest people. He was born in a fieldstone farmhouse on September 13, 1857, near Derry Church, the small town that would eventually become Hershey, Pennsylvania. He was the only surviving child of Henry and Fanny Hershey, both descended from the Pennsylvania Dutch. The family was of Mennonite stock, and the tradition instilled the young M.S. Hershey with hard-working and frugal values that he would keep for the rest of his life.

As soon as he started his schooling at seven years old, Hershey appeared headed for a rough education. He changed schools often, attending seven different ones as his family moved throughout the region. The lack of constancy led him to finally drop out at 14 and pursue an apprenticeship instead. He first worked with the publisher of the pacifist newspaper Der Waffenlose Waechter, German for "The Unarmed Watchman." There he slowly learned that he was not cut out for the printing business. He was fired when he angrily threw the owner's hat into the printing machinery.

Hershey's mother then paid to send him to apprentice with Joseph H. Royer, a confectioner in nearby Lancaster. Hershey worked at Joe Royer's Ice Cream Parlor and Garden, a popular spot for the townspeople. He enjoyed the work much more than that at the printer, and Royer soon promoted him to candy-making duties in the kitchen.

After four years of learning the trade, the 19-year-old Hershey decided to start his own candy business. With his apprenticeship savings and $750 from his mother and aunt, he headed to Philadelphia to make his fortune. He rented a three-story building on Spring Garden Street, spending his days boiling, stretching and cutting caramel and his nights selling them for pennies. He then expanded into selling nuts and baked goods. Yet despite his efforts and constant financial help from his mother's family, Hershey could not keep his fledgling business profitable. The venture folded after six years, and he returned to Lancaster.

Successive attempts at selling his candy ended similarly. He arrived in Denver in 1882 just in time for a local depression that hampered his work. Similar travels to Chicago, New Orleans and New York City also failed. Problems pestered Hershey, ranging from unforgiving landlords to young troublemakers setting his cart on fire and sending his horse bolting. Money problems followed him, and New York police finally confiscated his candy-making equipment after he defaulted on a payment. He used his last few dollars to buy a ticket back to Lancaster and to ship his remaining things home. At 30, he was nearly bankrupt.

These early failures did not squash Hershey's spirits. He set out to once again raise capital for another business, but this time no relative would offer help. None trusted his track record. He finally amassed enough money from loans to rent a warehouse that once housed one of Thomas Edison's electric plants. In addition to his caramel duties, he worked on the side as a handyman and salesman in order to make ends meet, and his mother and aunt helped wrap the candy that he churned out. And finally, luck smiled on him.

An English candy importer named Decies happened to taste one of the caramels. He asked Hershey if he could sell them in England. Hershey had never thought of that before, but he knew his product was suited for export in Denver he had learned to use fresh milk in his creations, which would stay fresh longer than others.

Business boomed for his "Crystal A" caramels. Orders poured in faster than he and the workers he hired could fill them. Only four years after arriving back in Lancaster, he was not only renting the whole building but had also built two new floors and bought adjacent properties. He soon had to build plants in other cities, including branches in New York and Chicago. All of them churned out his many caramel creations, which he gave exotic names like Lotuses, Cocoanut Ices, Icelets and Uniques. Hershey continued playing an everyday role making them despite the newfound success. He would help in the Lancaster plant, shoveling cinders into dump carts and rolling candy. The boss who would eventually become known as "Dad Hershey" needed to be personally involved, eating with his workers in the cafeteria and persuading construction workers to teach him a little of their trade.

While keeping his hand in all areas of his business, Hershey reserved the bulk of his attention for the sweets. Although chocolate became vital to production, Hershey initially used it only to coat some of his candies. In 1892, he had attended the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It was here that the future chocolate king saw and bought chocolate-making machinery from Germany. More than a hundred "novelties" were coated with that chocolate, and they became some of his best sellers. He told his cousin, "Caramels are only a fad. Chocolate is a permanent thing."

He was able to pursue this when the American Caramel Company, his chief competitor, offered $1 million — roughly $24 million today — to buy Crystal A in 1900. After the sale, he surrendered the factory, machinery, stock, formulas and trademark. However, he refused to sell his chocolate rights and the needed equipment. He rented a wing of his former factory and was soon selling his new line. "This was the best business deal I ever made, because most of my competitors became my customers," he said.

Business soon outgrew the rented wing in Lancaster, and Hershey began looking for a new place. He considered another site in Lancaster and places in Baltimore and Yonkers, New York. Eventually, he decided to forego cities entirely and picked a spot next to Spring Creek near his hometown of Derry Church. The site was near the many dairy farms that he would need, and a nearby quarry could supply building materials. The location was also relatively close to the ports of Philadelphia and New York.

Surveyors arrived in January 1903, and construction began that March. In a race with construction, M.S. Hershey tinkered with a new formula for making chocolate. Milk chocolate in particular was not popular at the time it was a luxury good produced exclusively and in secret in Switzerland and Germany. Hershey wanted to produce it in mass quantities and make it affordable for all. He spent weeks experimenting, using powdered milk as the Swiss used and then trying cream and sugar. The heating temperature, cooking time and order of ingredients were all subject to manipulation during the many 16-hour workdays put in by Hershey and his staff. For a while it seemed as though construction might finish before the right recipe was found.

The breakthrough finally came from John Schmalbach, a trusted worker from the Lancaster plant who visited for a single day. After a few hours, he found the combination of chocolate-making elements that Hershey wanted. The many trials finally yielded the Hershey Process, which would form the basis for the company's production for decades. The chocolate made with this recipe could be stored for several months without spoiling and although the fermentation of milk fat caused a slightly sour hint that Swiss chocolate lacked, Americans would come to expect the taste from their chocolate. In fact, other American manufacturers would have to add that taste to suit public demand.

The factory officially went into operation in the winter of 1904. Work slowed in Lancaster, and then transferred completely to Derry Church. As workers changed locations and new ones were hired, Hershey set about accommodating them. From the outset, he planned to build an entire town around his manufacturing complex. As Michael D'Antonio described it, the plan called for "a perfect American town in a bucolic natural setting, where healthy, right-living, and well-paid workers lived in safe, happy homes." Experience had taught the boss that employees appreciated being treated fairly. The town plan allowed them to live independently in a true community, complete with churches, stores, public trolley transportation and a fire department where he volunteered. Homes had modern amenities such as electricity, indoor plumbing and central heating during a time when less than 8% of American homes were wired for power. Architects also had instructions to give each new house its unique style and charm. In the following years, an amusement park, golf courses and a zoo were added to the budding community.

Milton Hershey credited his wife Kitty with the idea for his next great venture: a school for underprivileged boys. Kitty noted that although the childless couple traveled all over Europe and lived comfortably, they still had more money than they could spend. She suggested putting some of it toward a boarding school. Hershey dreamed of guaranteeing the students the well-rounded education that he never had. In addition to the usual writing and math, he wanted them to learn practical skills. "I want to see that every one of them learns a trade," he said. "Let them learn to earn their own livings. Some will want to be farmers, and they ought to be taught the best methods of farm management. But there will be others who want to be electricians, carpenters, type-setters or plumbers. We'll give them a chance to learn all these things."

Hershey thereby deeded 486 acres of farming land to the Hershey Trust Company for the construction of a school for orphaned boys. The Hershey Industrial School, which would later be renamed the Milton Hershey School, took in its first two students in 1909, followed by others from Lebanon, Harrisburg and beyond.

Jack Kerstetter, one of the thousands who have attended the school, compiled some of his recollections in his memoir, Behind the Chocolate Curtain. He described the place as one "set apart from the outside world, not as a fence around any school, or as a stone wall separating East and West Berlin, but just an invisible curtain founded by a man who had an idea and shared his love" (Qtd. Hinkle, 2004). Kerstetter wrote of how Hershey established a student work program whereby twelve-year-old pupils could earn 25 cents and then graduate to 50 cents at 15. The businessman also taught them to budget, encouraging them to put half of their earnings and allowances into a savings account. Upon graduation, he sent them into the world with $100, the same amount he had carried sewn into his jacket pocket as he had struggled to make a living.

In the early years, students lived in the very homestead on which Hershey had been born. Eventually the student body increased to the point of needing additional rooming space, and other buildings were converted to dormitories and kindergartens. Almost every year brought additional students, and that trend accelerated when the school started accepting girls as well as boys.

In the meantime, Hershey's company was growing as quickly as his school. In 1919, it earned $58 million, roughly equivalent to $273 million today according to the U.S. Federal Reserve. Mounting sugar prices associated with the ongoing world war caused problems, but even they could not topple the company. Although his company ran a deficit and had to allow a bank to mortgage the property and oversee control, M.S. Hershey increased production and efficiency company-wide to return Hershey's to the black by 1921.

Hershey also took the lead in securing his workers. During the Great Depression of the 1920s and 1930s, he gave jobs to about 600 construction workers from the area. Hershey ignored the advice of those close to him who said it was not the proper time to start a building campaign. Hershey saw that the community needed help and that supply costs were low. While much of the rest of the country sat unemployed, Hershey's workers built new hotels, schools, a community center, a stadium and a sports arena. All these new sights also created jobs in the tourist trade.

The Hershey influence stretched far beyond American soil. During World War II, for example, Hershey's supplied American troops in Europe and the Pacific with more a billion chocolate bars. Special "Ration D" or "Tropical" bars did not melt in the hot and humid Pacific theater. Parts of the plant in Hershey were even dedicated to churning out munitions. After the war, the company was awarded five Army-Navy E Production Awards for its service.

The Hershey brand expanded beyond those iconic chocolate bars and Hershey Kisses with such goods as Twizzlers, Icebreakers, Reese's, Almond Joy, Milk Duds, Mr. Goodbar, Bubble Yum and dozens of other varieties. Besides becoming the largest chocolate maker on the continent, the company also started new ventures. Hershey's Chocolate World, a visitor's center, opened with mascots, presentations, shows, shops and restaurants. The trust company ran, and continues to run, the Hershey Bears professional hockey team, Hersheypark, Hersheypark Stadium and the GIANT Center, all of which are situated in the town of Hershey.

Hershey kept busy in his old age with these investments and others things. He opened the doors of his mansion for the country club. He continued having business lunches with his managers, keeping close tabs on the company he founded. He still made regular appearances in the experimentation grounds at the factory. His nurses listened to many stories about his youth and his time with Kitty. On his 80th birthday, 6,000 Hershey's employees threw him a party at the arena, complete with a 3-foot-tall cake, four local bands, flowers, speeches and the children from his school.

Time finally caught up to Milton S. Hershey on October 13, 1945, when he died of a heart attack at 88. He died at the Hershey Medical Center a year after retiring from the board, and he is buried next to his parents and wife in the cemetery of the town that bears his name.

Before he died and without public fanfare, Hershey had willed the vast majority of his wealth to the Milton Hershey School through the Hershey Trust. Thanks to the stock shares and assets, the school is one of the wealthiest in the world. Its 1,300 students and staff enjoy about $66 billion in assets for its programs. More than for the huge company he built — with its nearly 14,000 employees and $4 billion annual sales — or for his personal riches, M.S. Hershey's legacy will endure through things such as his school. After all, this was a man who often proclaimed, "Business is a matter of human service." His public projects, his philanthropies and the true community he built all serve as lasting reminders of that conviction.

The new era without the long-time leader brought new challenges for the Hershey's. The brand's different branches developed sometimes strained and confusing relationships among one another. The commercial enterprises grumbled over their ownership by the Milton Hershey School and its trust. Other candy giants, particularly Mars and Nestlé, posed new competitive challenges.

Even if fierce competition within the industry and internal problems slowed growth, Hershey seems to have risen to the challenges. The company recorded about $4 billion in sales in 2005, led in part by active development of new goods for the new century, such as candy for dieters and variations of old favorites. Times have changed dramatically since the business officially began operating under the Hershey name in 1894, but it has shown it can adapt. Perhaps still greater challenges lay ahead.


In 1942, the Hershey Hotel Was a Chocolate-Scented POW Camp

Escorted by agents of the U.S. State Department and the Pennsylvania Motor Police, their caravan of cars wound up a hill past hastily assembled guard shacks and a barbed wire fence. The automobile passengers had difficulty perceiving the incongruity of their destination—a five-story brick edifice with a Spanish-style tile roof, hundreds of windows, wide open terraces and carefully manicured gardens overlooking dairy farms, a school for orphans, a large factory and a blacked-out company town. This was a prison unlike any other, and it was to be their new home.

After succumbing to a German offensive in the spring of 1940, the French government agreed to an armistice that nominally kept France and its colonies intact, even as her capital became occupied territory and many of her citizens Nazi captives. A collaboration regime governed the unoccupied portion of the state from the town of Vichy, as Free French forces vowed to carry on the fight in France’s colonies.

The United States initially granted Vichy France full recognition as Franklin Roosevelt sought to neutralize French military assets and encourage opposition to the Nazi occupation force in northern France. From the outset, however, American officials were distrustful of the Vichy French diplomats sent to the United States.

Vichy France’s ambassador to the U.S., Gaston Henry-Haye, was dining at the Chinese embassy on November 8, 1942, when news reached him about Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of French North Africa. Four days later Germany invaded the remainder of France to protect its southern flank, and the Vichy regime was compelled to hand over its American diplomats to the Nazis. Given the situation of these citizens, Secretary of State Cordell Hull began reconsidering the status of the Vichy officials on American soil, even though France and the U.S. were not technically at war. Henry-Haye and his compatriots soon found themselves in a strange kind of diplomatic limbo, fated to become pawns in the increasingly volatile fight between Axis and Allies.

Vichy France Ambassador Gaston Henry-Haye. (Photo: Public Domain/WikiCommons) 

Ten years earlier it was not war but the state of economy foremost in the minds of Americans, including confectionery king Milton Hershey and those who inhabited the factory town he built. Because its products remained relatively affordable, the Hershey Chocolate Corporation fared better than many companies during the Great Depression. Demand for construction workers and prices for building materials were plummeting, so Milton Hershey seized the opportunity to serve his altruism, his penchant for a bargain and his dream of building a grand hotel on Hershey’s highest point. In spite of its scale, its unique design and its luxurious furnishings, the Hotel Hershey was completed in just 18 months and opened in 1933. Hershey defended its extravagance: “Other men have their yachts to play with. The hotel is my yacht.”

With war looming in the late 󈧢s, Milton Hershey shrewdly sought out government contracts to develop cocoa-based products specifically for military rations. The relationships developed in this arrangement may be what led Hotel Hershey general manager Joseph Gassler to extend an extraordinary invitation to Secretary Hull in regards to his Vichy French problem on Nov. 12, 1942:

I have the honor to advise you that Hotel Hershey has placed its facilities at your service … I shall be very happy to have these people as our guests and assure you, my dear Secretary, that we will do our utmost, in every respect, to give the high standard of service which the famous Hotel Hershey knows how to give.

The specifics of his offer asked $7.50 per day to house adults and $4 for children and guards with the State Department picking up the tab for incidental expenses and gratuities. With the war pilfering both his customers and his staff, Gassler, who was also a close confidant to Milton Hershey, perhaps saw the predicament of the Vichy diplomats as an opportunity to improve his employer’s fortunes and standing. A mere two days later the New York Times published a large aerial photo of the Hotel Hershey under the headline, “Where French Diplomats Will Be Housed.”

The second-floor entrance to Hotel Hershey. (Photo: Matt Chan/flickr)

The first group of detainees to arrive at the hotel included Henry-Haye, seven members of his Washington, D.C. staff and their families. For the next 10 months, as many as 94 French citizens—those the State Department deemed a security risk—attached to consulates in New York, Chicago and elsewhere had the opportunity to experience, in the words of the Times, “one of the most secluded vacation spots in Central Pennsylvania.” Although not allowed to leave unescorted, the French were able to avail themselves of the sprawling lawns, rose gardens, a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, a game room and the large patio offering a stunning view of a nascent Hershey Park. A makeshift chapel offered Sunday mass, and a lycée gave the children some semblance of normalcy.

The fountain in the lobby of the Hershey Hotel. (Photo: Public Domain/WikiCommons) 

Few of Hershey’s citizens knew much about what was happening on the hill above them, although two busboys at the time, John Vetrulli and his cousin William Cognoli, later recalled some details in a 1993 newspaper interview. The French dressed formally for meals, which often included Burgundy wine paid for by the U.S. government (the detainees paid for mixed drinks). Henry-Haye allowed his large Dalmatian to accompany him to the dining room. The children seemed happy enough, and Vertrulli even traded a stamp collection with one French boy for $10 and some French coins.

According to State Department reports, however, the adults among the detainees bristled at any attempt at control, “behaving like spoiled children … with utter disregard to the rules and regulations regarding their boundary limits.” The French made up excuses for doctor’s visits and shopping excursions, spoke disrespectfully with the guards and even vandalized hotel property. Swastikas appeared on the snow-covered lawns, and one gentleman who used the caddyshack as a makeshift art studio was found to be painting a portrait of Philippe Petain, the collaborationist head of Vichy France.

Philippe Pétain, Chief of State for Vichy France, at his final meeting with the departing American ambassador William D. Leahy, 1942. (Photo: Public Domain/WikiCommons)

Only Henry-Haye and 16 others remained by September 30, 1943, as many of the French, particularly those with families, had agreed to work with the Allies and were released. No longer wishing to bear the expense for so few prisoners, the State Department moved the Vichy diplomats to a smaller establishment in Warm Springs, Virginia, closer to other detained Axis officials. A prisoner exchange with Germany did not happen until early 1944 in Lisbon, where the well-fed Henry-Haye commented to one American just out of a Nazi internment camp, “You have indeed lost a lot of weight.” Although he was re-appointed mayor of Versailles upon his return, Henry-Haye was barred from public office after the war.

On October 1, 1943, the Hotel Hershey immediately re-opened its doors to the public. After several renovations in the intervening years, including the 2001 addition of a spa offering chocolate-inspired treatments, the Hotel continues to offer a one-of-a-kind experience to those who can afford its luxuries. While many went without the luxury of liberty during World War II, this episode in Hershey showcased the United States’ commitment to diplomacy during a time when war overshadowed other ideals and notions of comfort.


US Navy is ‘under cyber siege’ from Chinese hackers hemorrhaging national secrets

Posted On April 29, 2020 15:48:21

An internal US Navy review concluded that the service and its various industry partners are “under cyber siege” from Chinese hackers who are building Beijing’s military capabilities while eroding the US’s advantage, The Wall Street Journal reported March 12, 2019.

Chinese hackers have repeatedly hit the Navy, defense contractors, and even universities that partner with the service.

“We are under siege,” a senior Navy official told The Journal. “People think it’s much like a deadly virus — if we don’t do anything, we could die.”

Breaches have been “numerous,” according to the review. While China is identified as the primary threat, hackers from Russia and Iran have also been causing their share of trouble.

Sailors stand watch in the Fleet Operations Center at the headquarters of US Fleet Cyber Command/US 10th Fleet, Dec. 14, 2017.

(US Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Samuel Souvannason)

Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer launched the recently concluded review in October 2018, warning that “attacks on our networks are not new, but attempts to steal critical information are increasing in both severity and sophistication.”

“We must act decisively to fully understand both the nature of these attacks and how to prevent further loss of vital military information,” he added.

In one high-profile incident lin 2018, Chinese government hackers stole important data on US Navy undersea-warfare programs from an unidentified contractor. Among the stolen information were plans for a new supersonic anti-ship missile, The Washington Post reported in June 2018, citing US officials.

That and a second breach led Navy leadership to order the review.

The Journal described the findings of the internal Navy cybersecurity review as “dire,” adding that the report “depicts a branch of the armed forces under relentless cyberattack by foreign adversaries and struggling in its response to the scale and sophistication of the problem.”

The Navy and the Pentagon reportedly “have only a limited understanding of the actual totality of losses that are occurring,” meaning the situation could be even worse than the Navy fears.

Last week, The Journal reported that Chinese hackers have targeted more than two dozen universities in the US and elsewhere in an attempt to steal military secrets, particularly those related to maritime technology.

The Navy is not the only US military service branch in China’s crosshairs.

Adm. Philip Davidson, head of US Indo-Pacific Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in April 2018 that Beijing is snatching anything not nailed down — “stealing technology in just about every domain and trying to use it to their advantage,” Stars and Stripes reported.

A US defense official previously told The Journal that China was targeting America’s “weak underbelly,” saying that cybersecurity breaches are “an asymmetric way to engage the United States without ever having to fire a round.”

China has repeatedly denied engaging in cyberattacks against the US or other countries.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

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MIGHTY HISTORY

Higgins Boats

Higgins Industries designed and built two basic classes of military craft.

The first was landing craft, constructed of wood and steel and used to transport fully armed troops, light tanks, field artillery, and other mechanized equipment and supplies to shore. These boats helped make the amphibious landings of World War II possible.

Higgins also designed and manufactured supply vessels and specialized patrol craft, including high-speed PT boats, antisubmarine boats, and dispatch boats.

LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel)
The LCVP was the most famous landing craft designed and produced by Higgins Industries. It could land soldiers, and even jeeps, on a beach. LCVPs were used in North Africa, Europe, and the Pacific during the war.

From the Eureka.
The LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel), the best-known landing craft designed by Andrew Higgins, evolved from a boat he created before the war for use in the swamps and marshes of Louisiana. Trappers and oil companies needed a rugged, shallow-bottomed craft that could navigate these waters, run aground, and retract itself without damaging its hull. Higgins developed a boat that could perform all these tasks: a spoonbill-bowed craft he called the Eureka. Over time he modified and improved his craft and found markets for it in the United States and abroad.

. to the LCP(L)
During the 1930s Higgins tried to interest the U.S. Navy in adapting his shallow-draft Eureka for use as an amphibious landing craft. The navy showed little interest, but Higgins persisted. After a long struggle, he finally secured a government contract to build modified Eurekas for military use. The new boat was called the LCP (Landing Craft, Personnel) and, later, the LCP(L) (Landing Craft, Personnel, Large). In its most advanced form the LCP(L) measured 36 feet in length. It could transport men from ships offshore directly onto a beach, then retract itself, turn, and head back to sea.

The LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel) was developed because the U.S. Marines needed a boat capable of transporting vehicles to shore. Higgins adapted the LCP(L) to meet this requirement. He replaced the LCP(L)'s rounded bow with a retractable ramp. The new craft was tested for the first time on May 26, 1941, on Lake Pontchartrain. It carried a truck and 36 Higgins employees safely to shore. The LCVP became the military's standard vehicle and personnel landing craft. Thousands were in service during the war.

New Orleans" Home of the Higgins Boats
"If Higgins had not designed and built those LCVPs, we never could have landed over an open beach. The whole strategy of the war would have been different."
--General Dwight D. Eisenhower

The city of New Orleans made a unique and crucial contribution to America's war effort. This was the home of Higgins Industries, a small boat company owned by a flamboyant entrepreneur named Andrew Jackson Higgins. The story of Higgins' role in the war is little known today, but his contribution to the Allied victory was immeasurable.

World War II presented Allied war planners with a tactical dilemma--how to make large amphibious landings of armies against defended coasts. For America this was a particularly thorny problem, since its armed forces had to mount amphibious invasions at sites ranging from Pacific atolls to North Africa to the coast of France.

Higgins' contribution was to design and mass-produce boats that could ferry soldiers, jeeps, and even tanks from a ship at sea directly onto beaches. Such craft gave Allied planners greater flexibility. They no longer needed to attack heavily defended ports before landing an assault force. Higgins' boats were used in every major American amphibious operation of World War II. His achievements earned him many accolades. The greatest came from General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who called Higgins "the man who won the war for us."

From the Bayou to the Battlefront
Before World War II Andrew Higgins operated a small boatyard, building workboats designed to operate in the shallow waters of Louisiana's bayous. During the 1920s and 1930s America's military began exploring ways to make amphibious landings. Higgins became involved in this effort, adapting designs for shallow-draft boats he had developed for peacetime uses. His company created amphibious assault craft capable of shuttling men and equipment quickly and safely from ship to shore. When the war came, business boomed. Higgins built new factories with mass production lines and employed thousands of workers. He even opened a training school for boat operators.

New Orleans Naval Giant During World War II Higgins Industries grew from a small business operating a single boatyard into the largest private employer in Louisiana. The company turned out astounding numbers of boats and ships. In September 1943 the US Navy had 14,072 vessels. Of these, 8,865 had been designed and built by Higgins Industries.


Watch the video: NEW HERSHEY CHOCOLATE (May 2022).