Lanham, Md., Feb 28, 2012 – AMVETS Past National Commander Harold T. Berc passed away Monday, Feb. 27, 2012. Mr. Berc is survived by his stepson, James B. Fadim, and a number of nieces and nephews.
A graduate of DePaul University, Mr. Berc was a naval officer and saw action in World War II. He participated in 10 major naval engagements aboard the Battleship USS Washington (BB 56) at Guadalcanal and the Anti-Aircraft Cruiser Reno (CL 96). For his participation during these engagements, Berc earned the Combat Bronze Star.
Berc held many positions in AMVETS prior to his election as the national commander in 1959. He had many accomplishments during his year as commander but his enduring legacy was his involvement with the USS Arizona Memorial. He was instrumental in establishing a concept of burial allowance for the 1102 men entombed in the USS Arizona.
Berc discussed the genesis of the concept in his official report following his term of office. “I used my meeting with [President Eisenhower] to point out the gross injustice of the involuntary burial of 1102 crewmen in the hull of the Arizona,” said Berc. “Ike not only agreed that a congressional appropriation of the amount (the Veterans Administration gave $250.00 burial allowance per service member) needed would not be vetoed, but he authorized me to herald widely his position. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Berc’s affiliations include AMVETS Greater Chicago Post 1, American Legion, Jewish War Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Naval organizations as well as Chicago Press Veterans Association, the United Nations Association and the Northwestern Club of Chicago. He was also a past president of the City Club of Chicago, and past president of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers. For many years, he was an American Delegate to the General Assemblies of the World Veteran’s Federation.
A private funeral service will be held Thursday, 10:30 a.m., at the Piser Chapel, 9200 N. Skokie Blvd.