Anyone who has been to Air Force Basic Training, Officer Training School or has studied for Air Force enlisted promotion knows the story of the first major successful Air Force operation after the service’s separation from the Army: the Berlin Airlift. Of course, being Air Force myself and having been stationed in Berlin, I got tired of hearing about the "great AF victory," and after a few months in country this statue became nearly invisible to me. (That’s my former residence behind the trees.)
Platz der Luftbrücke (Airlift Plaza; literally Air-bridge Plaza) is a monument to “Operation Vittles” (1948-1949), in which the United States Air Force transported all manner of supplies to West Berliners in the wake of the Soviet Union’s road and rail blockade of the city. For a full history of the chain of events, go here.
Remember that West Berlin was surrounded by Soviet-occupied territory on all sides. Basically, the Soviets were attempting to starve the West Berliners out in order to make a clean sweep of the territory. They wanted revenge and reparation for the Nazi's carnage. Our forces didn’t allow it to happen, however. Additinally, of course, the United Kingdom, France, Australia,Canada, South Africa and New Zealand joined with us in keeping the residents supplied; yet another "Coalition of the Willing."
Ultimately, 277,804 flights would be made and 2,325,809 tons of food and supplies would be delivered to Berlin.
This operation is considered the first victory in World War III (the Cold War). Here’s a link giving the RAF’s perspective of the events in discussion.