Berra, Lawrence, S1c

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Seaman 1st Class
Last Primary NEC
GM-0000-Gunner's Mate
Last Rating/NEC Group
Gunner's Mate
Primary Unit
1945-1946, GM-0000, NAVSUBASE New London/Groton
Service Years
1943 - 1946
GM-Gunner's Mate
Seaman 1st Class

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Carl Mottern (The White Buffalo), AW1 to remember Berra, Lawrence, S1c.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
St Louis
Last Address
Montclair, New Jersey

Date of Passing
Sep 22, 2015
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Famous People Who ServedUnited States Navy Memorial
  2014, Famous People Who Served [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2014, United States Navy Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1943, Recruit Training (Bainbridge, MD)
 Duty Stations/ Advancement Schools
NTC (Cadre/Faculty Staff) Bainbridge, MDUSS Bayfield (AP-78)NAVSUBASE New London/Groton
  1943-1943, 00-0000, NTC (Cadre/Faculty Staff) Bainbridge, MD
  1944-1945, GM-0000, USS Bayfield (AP-78)
  1945-1946, GM-0000, NAVSUBASE New London/Groton
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1945 World War II
  1944-1944 Normandy Campaign (1944)/Operation Overlord
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Southern France Campaign (1944)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
In 1972, Berra was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The No. 8 was retired in 1972 by the Yankees, jointly honoring Berra and Bill Dickey, his predecessor as the Yankees' star catcher. Yankee television announcer Michael Kay introduced Berra on Old Timers Day as "one of the best known faces on the planet."]

On August 22, 1988, Berra and Dickey were honored with plaques to be hung in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. Berra's plaque calls him "A legendary Yankee" and cites his most frequent quote, "It ain't over till it's over." However, the honor was not enough to shake Berra's conviction that Steinbrenner had broken their personal agreement; Berra did not set foot in the Stadium for another decade, until Steinbrenner publicly apologized to Berra.

In 1996, Berra received an honorary doctorate from Montclair State University, which also named its own campus Yogi Berra Stadium, opened in 1998, in his honor.

In 1999, Berra appeared at No. 40 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and fan balloting elected him to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. At the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, Berra had the honor of being the last of the 49 Hall of Famers in attendance to be announced. The hometown favorite received the loudest standing ovation of the group.

On July 18, 1999, Berra was honored with "Yogi Berra Day" at Yankee Stadium. Don Larsen threw the first pitch to Berra, to honor the perfect game from the 1956 World Series. This was a part of the celebration to mark the return of Berra to the Stadium, which ended his 14-year feud with Yankees' owner George Steinbrenner. The feud started in 1985 when Steinbrenner promised Berra an honest chance as manager, then fired him in the third week of the season. Berra vowed to never return to Yankee Stadium so long as Steinbrenner owned the team. On that day, Yankees pitcher David Cone threw a perfect game against the Montreal Expos, only the 16th time it had ever been done in Major League history.

In 2008 Berra was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

In 2009 Berra appeared in the documentary film "A Time for Champions" recounting his childhood memories of soccer in St. Louis.

Yogi passed away peacfully on 9-22-2015, at the age of 90.  He was a beloved figure both within and beyond the baseball community.  
Hand.............SALUTE!    Fair Winds and Follwing Seas, Shipmate Berra!

Other Comments:

In the wartime spring of 1943, a 17-year-old baseball hopeful named Lawrence Peter Berra didn't know quite what to expect. The stumpy, moon-faced kid better known as Yogi was getting his first taste of professional baseball, a $90-a-month neophyte with the Norfolk (Va.) Tars of the Class B Piedmont League.

Normally a tranquil city of 180,000, Norfolk was another part of the New York Yankees fertile farm system. But Norfolk wasn't normal or tranquil during World War II. Overwhelmed by the war industry, the port city had been transformed into a jam-packed habitat of 750,000, a population mostly tied to the burgeoning naval bases and construction shipyards, following Pearl Harbor.

To the shy youngster from a close-knit Italian neighborhood in southwest St. Louis, the whiff of war was everywhere. Norfolk was teeming with servicemen and defense workers. And Berra was on borrowed time as a civilian.

On May 12, just as he celebrated his 18th birthday, Yogi received a notice from Uncle Sam to take his pre-induction physical. A postponement enabled him to finish the baseball season, and he batted a respectable .253 in his first year in organized ball. Berra caught people's attention with an incredible 23-RBI performance in a doubleheader against Roanoke.

But the ballgames would be over for a while. He would become one of 4,000 minor-league ballplayers in the war effort. As eager as any young fellow to serve his country, Yogi opted for the Army. He was led to believe he had a month to report, giving him enough time to visit his parents and three brothers and sister back home. But the recruiting officer told him differently. "You're in the Navy now," he was told. And so the future baseball legend reported for six weeks of boot training in Bainbridge, Md., then to Norfolk, of all places, at the Little Creek base for amphibious training. He had not a clue as to what lay ahead.

A bit bored by the daily regimen, Yogi decided to volunteer for a new kind of Navy boat, called the Landing Craft Support Small (LCSS) Rocket Launcher. He later admitted being attracted by the word "rocket," sensing adventure, like something out of the Buck Rogers comic books he'd been reading.

"I didn't think about it being dangerous," he said of his new duty. "Anyway, I wanted to be doing something."

Rocket boats - 36-foot wood-and-steel crafts with six-man crews and armed with six twin-fifty machine guns and twelve rockets - had been tested the previous year by the American and British navies. They were to play a major part in the coming invasion of Europe. They demanded that the men learn their jobs well. Lives were depended on teamwork. The mission was also a top-drawer secret.

For five weeks, Seaman 2nd Class Lawrence Berra and his comrades trained intensively at Little Creek. After the secret training, they were moved to Lido Beach on Long Island, then embarked across the Atlantic for a dangerous day that would change history.

The D-Day invasion was set for June 4, 1944. But General Dwight Eisenhower cancelled the perilous operation because of torrential rain and near-hurricane winds. Yogi, a devout Catholic, never lost faith. Admittedly bothered by the tension and waiting for what Eisenhower called "Operation Overlord," the code name for the invasion of southern France, Berra believed he was too young to die. He didn't dwell on the magnitude of it all.

In the still-dark morning hours of June 6, Yogi Berra's boat was lowered out of the Bayfield and into the English Channel. They were a few miles from the shore of Normandy, and would wind up 300 yards off Omaha Beach. "Our job was to help soften the German defenses for the troops who were wading ashore behind us," Berra said. "We went in ahead of the LCIs and blasted with our rocket guys, knocking out gun emplacements and obstacles."

The rocket boats worked as a team. They fanned out, 100 yards apart, then dashed right toward the beach. When the invasion started, Berra could barely see the sky because there were so many planes, flares and explosions. There was one moment when all the fire and flame of the invasion got to him and he poked his head up over the side of the LCSS. "Get your head down" yelled his commander, "if you want to keep it on."

When The Longest Day ended, the Allies paid a heavy price. Luckily for Berra's boat, no one died during the invasion which landed the Allied troops, who eventually liberated France and helped bring Germany's defeat 11 months later.

For the next two weeks, the LCSS crews worked the Channel, constantly on alert for German air raids. Then they were sent to Bizerte, Africa, preparing for another invasion of a stretch of land in France known as Yellow Beach. It was there Yogi was grazed in the hand by a German machine-gun bullet, before the LCSS rockets blew out the Nazi nest of gunners. When the Americans landed and secured the beach, Berra remembers the Frenchmen greeting them, coming out of shelled homes with bottles of wine and bouquets of flowers.

Over the years, Berra has remained low-key about his service, as he has been as humble as everything else in his remarkable life. He became one of baseball's premier players, gaining fame as a great New York Yankees catcher from 1946-63. He was named Most Valuable Player three times, and won more world championships (10) than anyone in the game's history. He is beloved and known by millions for his unwittingly wise aphorisms ("it ain't over til it's over"). His namesake museum and learning center on the campus of Montclair State (N.J.) University teaches thousands of students each year the importance of character education.

Like many veterans of World War II, Yogi Berra maintains a reserve and dignity that symbolizes his generation.

"I never said that I was in the service, unless someone asked me," he said. "There are other things to think about."

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