In Memory of
Army Air Corps 2nd Lt.
Norman Eugene Bergen
Canistota, South Dakota
November 12, 1920 – May 24, 1944
Killed in Action in Berlin, Germany
Norman Eugene Bergen was
born on November 12, 1920, in Canistota, South Dakota, the oldest son of Rose
and Walter Bergen. Norman attended school in Canistota and graduated in the
class of 1939. While in school, he liked music and played in a high school band.
During the 1930’s, Norman took guitar lessons from the third grade teacher. As a
result, he and a couple other boys got together and made a group called the
“Beeler Boys.” He also helped his father in the paint and paper hanging
business. A neighbor and friend, Jean Niedert, remembers that Norman was “a
NICE guy! His nickname was “Husky”—because he wasn’t! He was tall and thin.”
After serving in the
Civilian Conservation Corps in the Black Hills for over a year, Norman enlisted
in the National Guard and was sent first to Camp Claibourne in Louisiana. Later
Norman was sent to various camps on the East Coast.
Norman entered the Army Air
Corps and was trained as a bombardier at Roswell, New Mexico. In the spring of
1944, 2nd Lt. Bergen was sent overseas and stationed in England, from
where he flew all of his missions.
On May 24, 1944, Lt. Norman
Bergen lost his life on a mission over Germany, where his plane was hit by enemy
fighters and only one member of Lt. Bergen’s crew survived. Lt. Bergen was
buried in the United States Military Cemetery in Belgium. Bergen was awarded the
Air Medal and the Purple Heart for his bravery and sacrifice in battle. At the
time of his death, he was survived by his parents, five sisters, and two
This entry was respectfully submitted by Rigel
Vargas, 8th Grade West, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South
Dakota, November 4, 2000. Information for this entry was provided by Virginia
Healy, Montrose, South Dakota, sister of Norman Bergen, and Jean Niedert, Salem,
South Dakota, childhood friend and neighbor.