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Missouri Veteran Remembers His Role in Berlin Airlift

This week marks the 60th anniversary of the start of the Berlin Airlift. It's the largest airlift for humanitarian purposes in history. American and British planes flew supplies to West Berlin, which the Soviets were blocking. The airlift was one of the first stand-offs in the Cold War. KSMU's Missy Shelton recently spoke with a veteran of the airlift who lives in Missouri.

on the electrical systems of airplanes. At the age of 18, the military sent him to Rhein-Main Air Base near Frankfurt, Germany where there was a need for his expertise.

Tusone helped by working on British and American planes...On average, more than 590 planes landed in Berlin each day. They often were on the ground at Templehof Airport for three minutes or less. Many of these planes left from Rhein-Main Air Base. Tusone says the emphasis was on big planes that could carry heavy loads.

In addition to transporting generators, the planes also carried in coal, diesel fuel, clothing and food. Tusone says there was a lot of wear and tear on the planes. And he had to work with a crew that consisted of people from other countries, many of whom had questionable training.

Besides to working at Rhein-Main Air Base, Hugh Tusone also worked at Wiesbaden, Germany during the airlift. He says the airlift had an impact on his life.

The Soviet blockade of Berlin ended on May 12th, 1949 but the airlift continued to build up a stock of supplies in West Berlin. The airlift officially ended on September 30th, 1949.