Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Harold T. Berc 1914-2012

From the March 1st Chicago Tribune.

WWII Navy vet, attorney dropped anchor in Chicago: City native helped secure funding for the USS Arizona Memorial.

A Chicago attorney for over 60 years, served in the South Pacific during World War II and as national commander of AMVETS helped to get funding to complete the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

Died at age 97, February 26th. Born in Chicago and lifelong resident. Law degree from DePaul University in 1937. Opened law practice.

After Pearl Harbor joined Navy and served in reserves after the war until 1953. During the war, served on the battleship USS Washington and the cruiser USS Reno. He received a Bronze Star while a fire director aboard the Reno fighting the fire on the aircraft carrier USS Princeton in the Philippines Oct. 24, 1944.

Participated in ten Naval engagements. From Feb. 1, 1945 until end of the war taught at an officers tactical radar school in Florida.

From 1959 to 1960 he was national commander of the AMVETS and met with President Dwight D. Eisenhower and won support for $250,000 to complete the Arizona Memorial saying the money represented the standard burial allowance for each of the 1,100 sailors killed on the ship.

In the mid-1990s, Mr. Berc played a role in securing the 8-ton anchor from the USS Chicago which is now mounted at the east end of Navy Pier.

Quite a Life. One of the Greatest Generation. --GreGen

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