BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — He is quite possibly Kern County's last Pearl Harbor survivor. Bob Berman celebrated his 101st birthday recently and is still going strong.
It's a 'veterans voice' that doesn't like talking about his service during World War II, however, there was no shortage of appreciation from the local community for this old Navy man!
What seemed to be a never-ending stream of military vehicles, cars, and trucks rolled through Brookdale Riverwalk on Friday. Local residents and veterans turning out in droves to honor Berman on his 101st birthday.
Bob was a signalman aboard the U.S.S. Maryland battleship. Over the years he hasn't talked much, if at all, about his time aboard "Fighting Mary".
The ship was damaged during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Saved only perhaps by the U.S.S. Oklahoma, which prevented Japanese torpedoes from reaching her.
But she was repaired. The first of many times the Maryland had to be patched up. The battleship took part in a dozen battles and support missions during the march across the Pacific. And Berman was on the bridge for each confrontation, including a torpedo attack in the battle of Saipan and kamikaze planes at Leyte Gulf and Okinawa.
That came in May of 1945. Following repairs, the U.S.S. Maryland was headed back to the war when they got word it was over.
Berman now spends each birthday with his Bakersfield family. As he gets older the celebrations get bigger and tastier.
Bob was treated to a virtual trip on the Honor Flight this year and awarded a medal and other swag for this swabbie. And just like the U.S.S. Maryland, Bob is unsinkable with a commitment to the country that never gets old.