This Military Service Page was created/owned by
Terrence Rioux, TM2
Bergmann, Frederick, ND2.
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Home Town Newport, RI
Last Address S. Baptist Street Newport, RI
Date of Passing Aug 15, 1986
Location of Interment Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates Not Specified
Last Known Activity
I heard a few years after I left Det. 201 that my good buddy TM2(DV) Fred Bergmann was very ill. He had developed an abdominal cancer. He passed away in the summer of 1986. I received a telephone call from one of the guys in Det. 201 asking me if I'd like to participate in a memorial service and in scattering Bergy's ashes off his beloved King's Beach in Newport. Of course, my immediate answer was "Yes!" before he could finish his sentence.
I first met Fred Bergmann in the summer of 1976. I'm embarrassed to say that I don't know a lot of details about his Navy service, such as where and when he went to boot camp, his active duty stations, when he got his discharge, etc. I knew him when we both served as reservist Navy divers with Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, Detachment 201. The following are exerpts from my TWS profile about Fred:
Terrence M. Rioux
I can't remember the exact date, but sometime in the summer of 1976 I made a fateful scuba dive at King's Beach in Newport, Rhode Island. At the end of a pleasant dive, I removed my fins and began walking out of the water. As I neared the shoreline, a shortish, gray-haired man approached me and said, "You're a Navy diver, aren't you?"
"Well, yes, I was a Navy diver, but I got out about a year ago. How"d you know that?"
"Your UDT swimmer's vest gave you away. Nobody wears those except for navy divers!"
My cover was blown. I had enlisted in Uncle Sam's Navy in 1970 and had served on active duty until 1975. I was a Navy diver first class when I got discharged. I didn't have enough money to buy one of those new-fangled buoyancy compensators, so I used my old UDT inflatable vest that was issued to me when I served aboard the USS Coucal.
My King's Beach acquaintance was TM2 Fred Bergmann, or Bergy for short. We chatted about navy diving for a while, and then he asked me if I wanted to re-enlist. A new diving reserve unit was being established at the Fall River, MA Reserve Center. Since I was working as a seasonal life guard for the stingy state of Massachusetts, the prospect of some added income outweighed my qualms of returning to the world of inspections, haircuts, "YES SIR!" and spit-shined shoes. The rest, as they say, is history.
Anyone who has served time as a minion of Uncle Sam can tell you what it"s like to stay in the infamous 'transit barracks' as a lower enlisted man. Transit barracks are temporary quarters for enlisted men and usually consist of open bays of up to 80 or so bunks (aptly called 'racks' in the navy), stacked three high. Every fart or buzz-saw snore echos from the walls. At about 0200 the first rowdy drunks slam-bang their way through the corridors. Actual sleep in such an environment is impossible. Transit barracks are the usual accommodations for reservists on weekend duty or ACDUTRA. Fred owned a nice home near downtown Newport and took pity on me. He let me stay with him during weekend duty, and later when I got married, my wife would use Fred's hospitality as well on my duty weekends. For that, I remain forever grateful.
Part of the routine for reservist navy divers included the dreaded Saturday morning physical training. Since I was appointed the unit Diving Supervisor and was in pretty good shape, I lead the torture. We warmed up with such delights as 8-count bodybuilders, pushups, and 'hello-darlings' (my favorite), and then a 4 mile run up the 'Burma Road' on the Newport Navy Base. In the early days, Fred struggled and earned for himself the nickname 'Old Pear Shape.' In the last year of my service, Fred had slimmed down and became quite fit, while the civilian life had been a little too good to me, so our situations reversed. He took glee in that, and he was extremely proud when he completed Phase Training and achieved qualification as U.S. Navy Diver.
Bergy was exceptionally proud of qualifying as a U.S. Navy diver, so it was fitting that his old shipmates bid farewell as we committed his remains to the sea. The uniform of the day was diver green work shirt and cap, UDT trunks, and gray coral shoes, just as we wore so often on dive station. Of course, being the packrat I am, I kept the stuff in my old seabag. I carefully starched the shirt and hat, as did everyone else. We were so squared away that you could practically cut your fingers on the sharp creases. We stood in a circle on the beach, while LDCR Simonson played taps with his bugle. About halfway through, a brief, but intense cloudburst drenched us. All the starch in everyone's uniform wilted and ran down in great white globs. To a man, we knew that Fred was up on that cloud having fun with us one last time. Then, we swam out about a hundred yards offshore in a column of two, formed a circle over the deep water, and passed the box containing Bergy's ashes to each man until it was empty, and silently swam back to shore. We then all drove downtown to Bergy's favorite watering hole, a place called Friends, toasted him liberally with his favorite beverage (Mt. Gay rum, seltzer water, and lime juice), and recounted our favorite Bergy stories.