Charles Sid Bergh, Aviation Radioman Petty Officer 3rd Class
Charles Sid Bergh enlisted in the United States Navy Reserves in 1943 and served as the radioman in a TBF torpedo bomber crew during World War II over the Atlantic.
Born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1926, Bergh spent his childhood moving around in Villa Park, Illinois, during the Great Depression. When Bergh was fifteen, Pearl Harbor was attacked, and the country was at war. After graduating high school and working for a year as a machine operator, Bergh decided to join the military, inspired by the older men in the neighborhood who already enlisted. “It became the thing to do,” he says. He opted to join the Navy Reserve at seventeen in 1943 based on the suggestion of a neighbor who was home on leave.
Although Bergh initially wanted to be a small boat operator, he ended up in his second choice: the Naval Air Corps. He went to boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes. After which, Bergh went to the Memphis Naval Air Technical Training Center to train as a radioman and later, he received aerial gunnery training in Hollywood and in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Bergh served on a three-man crew in a TBF torpedo bomber and was stationed on the USS Croatan off of the East Coast. He flew countless patrols with his crew in the Atlantic scouting for German submarines, but he never engaged with the enemy. Bergh also recalls the hush-hush talk about the US capturing the German U-505 submarine. After leaving the service at nineteen, Bergh married his first wife, who has since passed away, had four children, and has remarried. He worked various jobs until settling with Western Electric, installing central telephone office equipment. In addition to his day job. Bergh also utilized his people skills to manage a number of jobs that supplemented his income, such as that of a ski school. Bergh also became heavily involved in the Veterans of Foreign War in Villa Park, holding a myriad of positions, and championing new programs to continue helping veterans of younger generations, with a sensitivity to the prevalence of PTSD.
Bergh looks fondly on his career in the Navy and doesn’t regret it. “I would say my sacrifice was an adventure,” he says and appreciates citizens’ gratefulness and admiration for veterans and hopes it continues.