Korean War vet guest speaker at West Central

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Korean War vet guest speaker at West Central

 

By Rich Holm
Contributing Writer

 

When West Central hosts its Veterans Day program on Nov. 11, the school’s guest speaker will be one of its own, 1948 grad Bob Bergman.

As a teenager Bob wanted to “see the world,” so he joined the Navy in March 1949 and served four years, first in Alaska on the Aleutian Islands, and then his final three years in the Philippines. He earned the rank of second class petty officer.

Bob said, “I was proud to serve and do my part. After my enlistment I was assigned to the Seabees, in which I did air base maintenance in Alaska before building airfields in the Pacific.”

Bob took advantage of the GI Bill after his service and earned his BA degree from the University of Iowa before coming home to help at the local locker.

Bob’s dad, Albert, ran the Maynard Locker. Bob’s mother, Dorthea (Nugent), had another son, Kenneth. Both he and his younger brother, Bob, served in the military at the same time.

“Mom was especially proud of her family serving Uncle Sam,” said Bob, who is now 83.

Bob would marry Regina Kissner. They met at an earlier wedding when her sister married Bob’s good friend, Dick Bartels. Bob and Regina exchanged rings in 1954 and will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary next year.

Bob celebrated his Honor Flight out of Waterloo on Sept. 16. He flew to the nation’s capital with other Korean War veterans. It was a trip he will never forget.

He pointed out, “It was my first trip there and one every veteran should take. We saw all the memorials and got to visit Arlington National Cemetery. I made new friends along the way, and it was great to visit with other veterans and relive experiences.”

Regina is especially proud of her husband, preserving all of his trip mementoes and pictures.

One scrapbook was given to Bob by the West Central third-graders. Inside the booklet are hand-drawn pictures by the children, thanking Mr. Bergman for his service.

On Veterans Day Bob hopes to thank each third-grader personally as he talks to the entire school to share his service stories and his trip to Washington, D.C.

He will tell them how proud he is to be a veteran and why it is important to serve both a person’s country and community.

Bob served on the West Central school board for 10 years. He and his wife are members of Maynard American Legion Post 245 and Auxiliary.

Bob and Regina’s three children are Bob and his wife, Janelle of Maynard; Beth Ann and her husband, Russell Buhrow of Allen, Texas; and Gary, at home in Sherman, Texas.

The Bergman kids have given their parents seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

The West Central Veterans Day program begins at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11. The public is invited to attend.

 

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