|Lt. Berk was the navigator on the final mission of "Terry and the Pirates" when it crashed near Paris.|
Sidney Berk never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born as Sidney Berkovitz on April 29, 1917 in Florida. His Hebrew speaking parents were both born in Romania and came to America in 1908. His father was a grocery store proprietor and later a retail clothing merchant. Sid had four older sisters and two younger sisters. By 1940 Sid had completed four years of college and was working as a sales clerk.
He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on October 8, 1941. Perhaps he had relatives in Romania, repressed by the Nazis, that caused him to enlist before America was attacked.
He became a first lieutenant and B-17 navigator in the 367th Bombardment Squadron, 306th Bombardment Group, 8th Army Air Force.
On December 20, 1942, Lt. Berk was the navigator on the B-17 Terry and the Pirates when it was sent on a mission to bomb the German air depot at Romilly-sur-Seine. It was shot down by enemy fighter planes and crashed near Paris. Seven crewmen survived the crash and were made POWs, but Lt. Berk and two others were killed.
His remains were returned to be buried at the Old Jewish Center Cemetery in Jacksonville, FL.
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