John Joseph Bergen was born in Pennsylvania, on August 7, 1896. He enrolled in the US Naval Reserve Force as Chief Machinist’s Mate, at New York, on June 3, 1918, during World War I. He had training in USS Granite State between June and August 1918, and after reporting to the Receiving Ship, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sent to France for duty first at Paulliac, later at the US Naval Air Station, Brest. On November 15, 1918 he was ordered to return to the United States, and on December 3, 1918 was released to inactive status. His rating changed in July 1921 to Aviation Machinist’s Mate, he was honorably discharged from the Naval Service on September 30, 1921.
Appointed Lieutenant in the US Naval Reserve on July 16, 1926, he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander, on June 8, 1938; to Commander to date from March 26, 1942; and to Captain, to date from July 1, 1951. His selection for the rank of Rear Admiral in the US Naval Reserve was signed by the Secretary of the Navy on February 12, 1954; his promotion approved by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate on April 6, 1954.
Having participated in the regular training periods of the US Naval Reserve Officers during the years 1926 to 1942, while Director of Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, he was called to active duty on May 18, 1942. Reporting in the rank of Lieutenant Commander to the Navy Department, Washington, DC, he was promoted to Commander the same month, and served in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy until November of that year, when he was ordered to the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, for instruction. Upon completion of the course in June 1943, he reported to Commander Fleet Air, South Pacific, but was returned for hospitalization at the Naval Hospital, Corona, California, two months later.
From December 1943 until March 1944 he served at the Naval Air Center, Seattle, Washington, and in April 1944 was designated Chief of Staff and Public Relations Officer to the Commandant, Naval Air Base, Thirteenth Naval District, Seattle, Washington. He continued duty in that capacity until August 27, 1944, when he was detached for terminal leave, pending his release to inactive status in November 1944. He then returned to New York as President of his own business, John J. Bergen & Co., Ltd,; President of Graham-Paige Corporation; Chairman, Childs Co.; Louis Sherry Co.; and Director of various other companies.
Admiral Bergen has the Victory Medal for World War I service, the American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; and the Naval Reserve Medal.