Hank Bergman

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Sgt. Hyman Bergman (U.S. Army)
Nickname(s) Hank
Born (1919-03-12)March 12, 1919[1][2]
Baltimore, Maryland Maryland
Died June 1, 2010(2010-06-01) (aged 91)[2][3]
Miami, Florida
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1943-1944-1945
Rank Sergeant
Unit 3rd Infantry Division, 30th Infantry Division, 88th Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War II, Cold War: Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, North Apennines, Po Valley, Sicily, Salerno, Anzio, Monte Cassino.
Awards Silver Star
Bronze Star
Combat Infantryman's Badge
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Bronze Battle Stars (4)
World War II Victory Medal
American Campaign Medal
Good Conduct Medal
Cold War Recognition Certificate
Honorable Service Lapel Button
Marksmanship Badge (United States)
Overseas Service Bars (4)
Presidential Memorial Certificate
Croix de Guerre with Palm (Division Citation)

Hyman "Hank" Bergman (March 12, 1919 – June 1, 2010) of Baltimore, Maryland,[1] was a U.S. Army combat veteran of World War II, who while serving with the "Blue Devils" of the 88th Infantry Division[4] was awarded the Silver Star[5][6][7] for single-handedly destroying a German machine-gun nest, while under enemy fire.[8]

Pre-World War II years[edit]

Bergman was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and grew up at 1543 North Appleton Street in the same neighborhood as professional boxer Jack Portney,film actor Steve Wayne (real name: Norman Weinberger),[9] and Steve's brother Don Wayne.[10]

According to a 1945 article in the Baltimore Evening Sun, while in high school (P.S. #91), Bergman lettered in baseball and football, but was more known for his baseball pitching abilities. He earned the nickname "Hank", because Baltimore fans said he reminded them of major league baseball star Hank Greenberg.With Bergman pitching, his high school baseball team from P.S. # 91, defeated P.S. # 115 to win the Baltimore City Championship in 1934.[11] He was also a member of Baltimore's "Easterwood Boys", a youth group associated with Easterwood Park. In 1936, Bergman played in the 1936 PAL Newspost American Softball Tournament.

After graduating from Baltimore City College (High School) in 1938, Bergman worked for the Crown Cork and Seal Company and played semi-professional softball for teams sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company. Also, Bergman joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CC) and worked on clearing swamps and building roads and highways. He also competed as an amateur lightweight boxer; compiling an undefeated record of 9–0-0 (9 knockouts)[12] which included a bout with Tony LaPonte.[13] Bergman received an honorable discharge from the Civilian Conservation Corps. Later, Bergman worked as an aircraft riveter at the Glenn L. Martin Company,prior to entering the United States military.

World War II service[edit]

Bergman was inducted into the United States Army on March 19, 1943.[14] He completed his basic training at Fort Meade, Maryland. His military occupational specialty and number was: Rifleman 745. On August 20, 1943, Bergman was shipped overseas to the European Theater of Operations. He served with the 3rd Infantry Division[15] (made famous by Medal of Honor recipient, Audie Murphy), the 30th Infantry Division, and the "Blue Devils" of the 88th Infantry Division. In Audie Murphy's autobiography, To Hell and Back, Murphy mentions a soldier named Bergman, but it's unclear if he meant Hyman Bergman.

As an infantry sergeant,Bergman was in fierce combat in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. His campaigns and battles included Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno(January 22 to September 9, 1944), North Apennines(September 10, 1944 to April 4, 1945), and Po Valley(April 5 to May 8, 1945).Bergman fought at Furcoli against the German 8th Mountain Division, Volterra against the German's 90th Panzer Grenadier Division, and at Magnacavallo against the 305th German Infantry (commanded by Major General Von Schellwitz). Also, he saw action at Anzio, Arno River, Bloody Ridge (Hills 184 and 188), Mount Belvedere|Belvedere, Brenner Pass, Capo d'Aqua, Cassino, Della Tombe, Furcoli Ridge, Frasinetto, Gothic Line, Hill 497 (above Furcoli), Itri, Monterumici Highway 64 sector,Mt.Alto,Mt.della Salere, Mt. la Fine, Mt. Cerrere, Mt.Passignano,Mt. Rotondo, Palaia, Palermo, Po Valley, Roncolla, Salerno, Sassaleone, Sicily, Volturno River, Verona and Vicenza.

Bronze Star Medal[edit]

By direction of the President of the United States, under provisions of Executive Order 9419, February 4, 1944 (Sec. II, WD Bul. 3, 1944), a Bronze Star[7] is awarded to Sergeant (then Private First Class) Hyman Bergman, 30th Infantry, for exemplary conduct in ground combat against the armed enemy during the Naples-Foggia Campaign in the Mediterranean. BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY: /t/ Alfred E. Bonnwell, Adjutant General.

Combat Infantryman Badge[edit]

Sgt.Bergman was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge in 1944, his citation reads:

Headquarters Thirtieth Infantry APO # 3, Special Orders Number 147,EXTRACT 26 October 1944:UP WD Cir No. 186, 1944, VOCO dates indicated, the following named EM, former members of this organization, are awarded the COMBAT INFANTRY BADGE for exemplary conduct in action against the enemy: Pfc Hyman Bergman, 1 January 1944 by order of Colonel McGarr.[16]

Furcoli, Italy[edit]

Bergman's Company, Company B of the 349th Infantry Regiment, 88th Infantry Division was ordered to attack German army positions on Furcoli Ridge near Forcoli, Italy. The Germans were in caves overlooking a valley and had pinned down the 88th for months during the winter months(reference: The Blue Devils In Italy, page 195).

During the battle to take the ridge, Company B's commanding officer Capt. Robert E. Richard of Newark, New Jersey, lost a foot in a minefield(reference: The Blue Devils in Italy, page 195).

It was during this battle that Sgt. Bergman was awarded the Silver Star Medal(reference: The Blue Devils in Italy,copyright 1947,page 300,by John P. Delaney).

Silver Star Medal[edit]

Hank Bergman was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action.[7][8][17][18][19] His citation reads:

June 13, 1945, Headquarters 88th Infantry Division, US Army, APO # 88, General Orders, Number 75: Award of the Silver Star: Hyman Bergman, Sergeant, (then private), Company "B", 349th Infantry Regiment. For gallantry in action on April 15, 1945, near Furcoli, Italy. Sergeant Bergman displayed outstanding gallantry in attacking German positions while exposed in hostile fire. When Company "B" attacked Furcoli Ridge, the enemy was firmly entrenched in caves. As Sergeant Bergman's platoon advanced, the intensity of the fire became so terrific that the platoon was unable to move. Disregarding his own safety, Sergeant Bergman made his way forward alone, hostile fire cutting about him and shells bursting close by. Near the machine gun emplacement, he poured his fire into the dugout, killing one of the enemy, wounding and driving the others away in disorder. By his fearlessness in extreme danger and intrepid leadership, Sergeant BERGMAN destroyed the German machine gun position and enabled his platoon to advance. His gallant action has won the praise of his fellow soldiers and has reflected the fighting traditions of the American infantry soldier. Entered military service from Baltimore, Maryland. BY COMMAND OF GENERAL KENDALL. W.J.Zerger, Major, A.G.D., Asst. Adj. Gen., R.J. McBride, Colonel, G.S.C., Chief of Staff.

Po Valley[edit]

According to an article by Sergeant Marvin Posner, U.S. Army Infantry, who served with the "Blue Devils" of the 88th Infantry Division, and the 10th Mountain Division, Posner was in Italy's Po Valley hunkered down in a foxhole while shells and bullets whistled all around; "Suddenly, someone jumped into the foxhole, finger on the pin of a grenade, and landed on Marvin's shoulders.It was Hank Bergman, a member of the Easterwood Boys, friend of the Jackson Club guys and a neighbor. " What the hell are you doing here?" questioned Hank when he recognized Marvin. Hank had been ordered by his captain to take out a German machine gun nest about 15 yards atop a knob. Still holding the grenade pin, Hank jumped off Marvin's shoulders, crawled on his belly and headed for the right flank while Marvin attempted to distract the Germans' attention. They were fighting for their lives against a superior weapon-the fastest machine gun in the world used by the Germans that could replace an empty barrel in one-fifth of one second just by a flip of the lever. Marvin killed one German manning the machine gun. A loud bang was heard. A grenade thrown by Hank, a former baseball pitcher, destroyed the enemy's machine gun nest."[citation needed]

Military medals and awards[edit]

Sergeant Bergman was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge, World War II Victory Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Battle Stars, American Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, Honorable Service Lapel Button,Honorable Discharge Emblem, Marksmanship Badge with Rifle Component Bar, Cold War Recognition Certificate, Division Citation (not individual)349th Infantry Regiment (88th Infantry Division):Croix de Guerre with Palm, 4 Overseas Service Bars ("Hershey"), and the Presidential Memorial Certificate. Bergman was a veteran of World War II and the Cold War.

Post War years[edit]

Hank Bergman's place of separation from the service was at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. After he received his Honorable Discharge from the United States Army, he attended college on the G.I. Bill.

Following his return to Baltimore, Bergman was approached by the Democratic Party and asked to run for political office. However, he decided to seek a career in education instead.

Bergman married his wife Anne(Polish born film/theater actress Anne G. Sterling[20]) in 1946, and the couple moved to Miami Beach, Florida, where Hank graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor's Degree in Education in 1952. Later, he earned Masters and Specialist Degrees in Education from Nova Southeastern University.

Educational career[edit]

Bergman was a 6th grade elementary school teacher for 32 years, and was a 20-year member of the UTD (United Teachers of Dade County). He taught for two years in the Baltimore, Maryland school system. Bergman's career with Miami-Dade County Public Schools lasted for 30 years. He taught two years at Madie Ives Elementary School, and 28 years at Fienberg-Fisher Elementary School (previously known as Central Beach and Leroy D. Fienberg Elementary School).

Chess Competition[edit]

Hyman Bergman's avocation was chess. In the 1960s, he became an avid player and was a 30 year member of the Miami Beach Chess Club (2000 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida).

In 1967, Bergman defeated the club's top players Maurice Donath, Norman Mendelson, and Samuel Sinclair to earn a match with Anthony Santasiere.

On Saturday, May 11, 1968, at the Miami Beach Chess Club in Miami Beach, Florida, Bergman defeated Anthony Santasiere (Billed as "The American Chess Champion") in a simultaneous exhibition, with Santasiere playing against 21 opponents. Santasiere, had defeated future world chess champion Bobby Fischer in 1957. Santasiere scored 12 victories, three draws, four defaults, and lost to Hank Bergman and Irving Lynch.

Later Years[edit]

From 1972 to 2010, Bergman trained his son, Sherman Bergman in boxing and kickboxing. The younger Bergman posted a 17-4-0 (17 knockouts) amateur boxing record, and a 61-9-1 (61 knockouts) kickboxing record.[21]

In 1980, Bergman wrote an article entitled: It Happened To Me, for Soldier of Fortune Magazine; recalling his experiences on Furcoli Ridge in which his actions earned him the Silver Star Medal.

Hank Bergman lived with his wife and son in retirement in the North Beach section of Miami Beach, Florida, and was active in community service.

Bergman became involved with the pop-tab recycling campaign to support the Ronald McDonald House in Miami, Florida. The McDonald House provides comfort, support, and housing to families that have seriously ill children being treated in area hospitals. According to three Miami Herald newspaper reports, since 2004, Bergman personally collected over 25,000 pop-tabs to aid the campaign.

Death[edit]

On June 1, 2010, the day after Memorial Day, in Miami, Florida, Hyman "Hank" Bergman died suddenly and unexpectedly while being treated in a local hospital following a brief illness.

Bergman's funeral service was held on June 7 with full-military honors. His interment was at Lakeside Memorial Park in the Garden of Heroes (Miami, Florida).[1][22]

On October 12, 2010, Bergman was issued a Presidential Memorial Certificate signed by the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.

Honored in Miami Beach[edit]

Bergman was honored on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 in a service at his former school, Fienberg-Fisher Elementary in South Beach, Miami Beach.[23] A plaque in his name[24] was dedicated in the school's Garden of Heroes, and rests before the World War II Memorial Soldier Statue.[25]

Over 400 guests attended including Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen,[26] Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega,[27] Assistant Police Chief/and future Chief Raymond Martinez,[28] Principals Shirley Velasco (Miami Beach Adult and Community Education Center), Maria Zabala (Fienberg-Fisher Elementary School), and Rosann Sidener (Miami Beach Senior High School), along with honor guards from the Miami Beach Police Department[29] and the Junior ROTC of Miami Beach High School.[30][31]

Bergman was also remembered in the Miami Herald on Veteran's Day, November 11, 2010.[32]

In November 2011, the Miami Beach Police Department's Honor Guard placed a wreath of flowers at Sgt. Bergman's memorial plaque at Fienberg-Fisher Elementary's School in a pre-Veteran's Day service.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=89044946
  2. ^ a b "Legacy.com". Legacy.com. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  3. ^ legwarmers1980 Ballet Lady+ Add Contact. "HBergman-Obit | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  4. ^ legwarmers1980 Ballet Lady+ Add Contact. "vetday2010 | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Index of Recipients of U.S. Military Awards". Homeofheroes.com. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  6. ^ American Jews in World War II – - Hesperides – Google Books. Google Books. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c "World War 2 Awards.com – BERGMAN, Hyman "Hank"". Ww2awards.com. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b legwarmers1980 Ballet Lady+ Add Contact. "eveningsun | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  9. ^ Steve Wayne (I) – Biography
  10. ^ http://www.thefrontpageonline.com/articles1-4801/donwayne89remembered
  11. ^ legwarmers1980 Ballet Lady+ Add Contact. "baltimorechamps34 | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  12. ^ http://www.boxing-scoop.com/show_boxer.php?boxer_ID=12115
  13. ^ legwarmers1980 Ballet Lady+ Add Contact. "Laponte-Bergman | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  14. ^ "US National US National Archive". Aad.archives.gov. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  15. ^ History of the Third Infantry ... – United States. Army. Infantry Division, 3rd – Google Books. Google Books. September 23, 2008. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  16. ^ https://secure.flickr.com/photos/10814403@N06/5596640662/
  17. ^ "Index to Army Silver Star Recipient in World War II". Homeofheroes.com. December 7, 1941. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  18. ^ Index to Army Silver Star Recipient in World War II[dead link]
  19. ^ American Jews in World War II – - Hesperides – Google Books. Google Books. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  20. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5683010/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
  21. ^ Sherman 'Big Train' Bergman – Biography
  22. ^ https://secure.flickr.com/photos/10814403@N06/5045233191/
  23. ^ http://www.miamibeachadult.com/jobs/newsletter.pdf
  24. ^ legwarmers1980 Ballet Lady+ Add Contact. "hbplaque | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  25. ^ legwarmers1980 Ballet Lady+ Add Contact. "11-9-10 | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  26. ^ legwarmers1980 Ballet Lady+ Add Contact. "Plaque | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  27. ^ legwarmers1980 Ballet Lady+ Add Contact. "chief | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  28. ^ legwarmers1980 Ballet Lady+ Add Contact. "Ast.Chief Raymond Martinez | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  29. ^ legwarmers1980 Ballet Lady+ Add Contact. "Nov.9,2010 | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  30. ^ legwarmers1980 Ballet Lady+ Add Contact. "guardhonor | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  31. ^ legwarmers1980 Ballet Lady+ Add Contact. "honored2010 | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  32. ^ legwarmers1980 Ballet Lady+ Add Contact. "vetday2010 | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved December 7, 2011.