Twins honor area veteranThere are many ways to give to one’s country. Serving in the armed forces. Serving one’s community. Serving as an elected official. Paul Bergman, the Minnesota Twins honorary flag raiser at the game in Minneapolis July 17, has done all three.
By: Fox Sports North, Lake County News Chronicle
There are many ways to give to one’s country. Serving in the armed forces. Serving one’s community. Serving as an elected official. Paul Bergman, the Minnesota Twins honorary flag raiser at the game in Minneapolis July 17, has done all three.
Bergman was honored at Target Field as part of an ongoing effort to salute veterans at the park and giving them the honor of raising the flag before the game.
It all began on a humid ship in the middle of the Gulf of Tonkin. Young Fire Control Technical Missiles Second Class Paul Bergman, or FCTMC2 for short, was assigned to the cruiser USS Chicago. He had enlisted at the age of 18 and had been chosen to be in charge of missiles.
“My job was the Talos missile maintenance,” Bergman said. “It was an anti-aircraft missile, and we made sure that, through daily testing, that they were operational.”
Bergman’s days were a cycle of 12 hours working and 12 hours rest. One day would be 12 hours of drills, and then 12 hours of rest. The next day would be 12 hours of working in the missile house, testing the missiles, followed by 12 hours of rest. And repeat for 14 months.
“We’d sleep in tiers of three, but as you got rank, you’d start getting the middle rack,” he said
It was hot, humid, sticky work, it wasn’t all that cramped or terrible, Bergman recalled. “It wasn’t that bad, now that I’m looking back at it,” Bergman said. “When I was living there, I probably was complaining about it.”
After two tours, Bergman came back to his hometown of Two Harbors. After selling cars for a while, he and his wife opened a restaurant, the Vanilla Bean.
Asked to compare his café’s food with the food on USS Chicago, Bergman said: “The café is probably one of the very few cafes that make everything from scratch. Everything’s homemade there. And on ship, man, I remember watching them crack green eggs”
“It’s a lot better at the restaurant,” Bergman said.
He’s also on the Lake County Board of Commissioners.
It’s part of an ongoing theme in Bergman’s life: giving. Beginning in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, and extending to the waters of Lake Superior, he has learned the lesson of giving.
“When you’re over in a war zone, people sometimes don’t feel well, and you always give it a little extra because you want to make sure that the missile maintenance is the best that it can be, because there’s 1,200 people on that ship. They’re expecting me to make sure that when the bird goes away, it hits the airplane.”
Bergman enlisted in 1968 right out of high school in Two Harbors.