Edward William Bergstrom was born in Duluth, Minnesota, on January 5, 1916, son of John E. and Annie Walgreen Bergstrom, both now deceased. He attended Duluth Junior College, where he participated in football and basketball, and was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science from the University of Minnesota in 1938. In August of that year he entered the naval service, was appointed an Aviation Cadet in January 1939, and was designated Naval Aviator on October 30, 1939. Commissioned Ensign in the US Naval Reserve on November 20, 1939, he was transferred to the US Navy in 1946 and subsequently attained the rank of Captain, USN, to date from November 1, 1958.
Completing elimination flight training at the Naval Air Station, Minneapolis, Minnesota in August 1938, and his flight training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, he first served as a pilot and Assistant Operations Officer in Patrol Squadrons 13 and 26, based at Ford Island, Hawaii, throughout 1940. In December of that year he was assigned to Patrol Squadron 102, based in the Philippines, and as Assistant Gunnery Officer of that squadron in December 1941 was shot down by three Japanese “Zero” fighters over cavite, and in turn shot down one “Zero.” VP 102 later operated from the Dutch East Indies and in April 1942 he reached Australia and was transported to the United States in the USS Mt. Vernon.
Captain (then Lieutenant, junior grade) Bergstrom was awarded the Air Medal and a Gold Star in lieu of Second Air Medal “For meritorious achievement in aerial flight as Plane Commander of Patrol Bomber in Patrol Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWO, during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific War Area” from December 8 to 15, 1941, and from December 18, 1941, to January 27, 1942, respectively, during which periods he completed five missions each and contributed materially to the success of his squadron.
From April 1942 until March 1943 he served as Gunnery Officer of Patrol Squadron 42 in the Aleutian Islands, participating in patrols from Kodiak, Gold Bay, Umnak and Adak. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross “For heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as Patrol Plane Commander during the Aleutian Islands Campaign against enemy Japanese forces from June 10 to 20, 1942…” The citation further states: “In spite of high winds, snow rain, and fog, Lieutenant Bergstrom took part in extremely hazardous scouting missions during the enemy bombing of Dutch Harbor and Umnak and, in the face of determined Japanese air assaults and anti-aircraft fire, he participated in all-night aerial patrols and bombing attacks on enemy ships in Kiska Harbor…”
He served as Ground Training Officer on the Staff of Commander Naval Air Intermediate Training Command from March 1943 until June 1945, having completed the course at Empire Central Flight School (Royal Air Force) earlier in 1943. During the latter months of the war, he served as Assistant Air Officer of the USS Yorktown, and when detached in November 1945 joined the USS Solomons as Navigator. He was a student at the General Line School, Newport, Rhode Island, from June 1946 until May 1947, and in June 1947 assumed command of Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron 114, at Kodiak, Alaska, remaining there until February 1949.
In March 1949 he reported to the Chief, Naval Air Reserve Training Command, Glenview, Illinois, and served for twenty-one months as Training Officer, Patrol and Fleet Aircraft Service Squadrons, and six months as Plans Officer, during the mobilization of Air Reserve Forces for Korean service. Detached in July 1951, he commanded Utility Squadron ONE, at Barbers Point, Oahu, until February 1953, and remained there as Executive Officer of Transport Squadron 21, participating in air support to forces in Korea during the latter period of United Nations hostilities against North Korean and Chinese Communist forces.
He was detached from Transport Squadron 21 in June 1955, and on his return to the United States became Executive Officer, Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Unit at the University of Utah. He served in that capacity until February 1958, then after brief instruction at Prospective Executive Officers School, San Diego, California, served as Executive Officer of the USS Salisbury Sound (AV-13) deployed to the Western Pacific Area. In February 1959 he reported to the Navy Department, Washington, Dc, for a tour of duty as Head, Mobilization Plans and Policies Branch, Personnel Plans Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Personnel and Naval Reserve).
On June 13, 1962, he was ordered detached from the Naval Department, and to duty as Commanding Officer, Air Transport Squadron SEVEN.
In addition to the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and Gold Star in lieu of the Second Air Medal, Captain Bergstrom has the Ribbon for the Presidential Unit Citation awarded the USS Yorktown and her Air Groups, and the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon (Patrol Squadron 42). He also has the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; National Defense Service Medal; and the Philippine Defense Ribbon.