Viggo Christian Bertelsen was born in Oakland, California, on October 13, 1911. He attended the University of California at Berkeley, California, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1932. He attained membership in Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society, Chi Epsilon Civil Engineers National Society and Theta Chi Fraternity. While there he was a member of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Unit, and upon graduation was commissioned Ensign in the US Naval Reserve, June 6, 1932. During the period June 1932 to December 1940 he was a member of the Inactive Reserve in the Twelfth Naval District. In 1937 he transferred to the Civil Engineer Corps of the US Naval Reserve, in the rank of Lieutenant (junior grade), and subsequently advanced in rank, attaining that of Captain, to date from August 1, 1954.
A Civil Engineer, he is a Registered Professional Engineer, State of California, and has been employed by the Bethlehem Steel Company, Fabricated Steel Construction Division, Alameda, California. He was later a partner with S. J. Bertelsen, doing Engineering and Construction contracting in Oakland, California. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Ordered into active Naval Service, he was assigned in January 1941 to the Third Naval District, New York, New York, where he was Resident Officer in Charge of Construction for design, procurement of materials and personnel on major cost plus fixed fee contracts for construction of the Naval Air Stations and Naval Operating Base at Trinidad, British Guiana and Bermuda. The Trinidad construction project was the first CPFF construction contract in the Atlantic area to be honored with the Army and Navy “E” Award. He continued to serve as such until February 1944, reporting the next month as Director of the Technical Section, Advanced Base Division, Bureau of Yards and Docks, Chicago, Illinois. In that capacity, he directed the procurement of materials, equipment and supplies for global operations of the Seabees.
From November 1944 until January 1946 he was Deputy Officer in Charge of Construction and Director of the Administrative Department for cost plus fixed fee construction in connection with the design and construction of contracts totaling $106,000,000 for creation of the Naval Ordnance Plant, Shumaker, California. This plant was built for production of “Tiny Tim” and other Rockets which were used during the closing months of World War II. For this service he was given a letter of commendation by the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, ADM. Ben Moreel, CEC, USN, for outstanding administration of these contracts. He was on terminal leave between January and April 1946, when he was released to inactive duty.
During the period April 1946-April 1951, he was a member of the Inactive Reserve for two years, after which he became Commanding Officer of Organized CB 12-11 at Vallejo, California.
Ordered to return to active duty, he was assigned in May 1951 to the Bureau of Yards and Docks, Navy Department, Washington, DC, where he served for over four years as Special Assistant for Contracts Labor Relations and later as Director of the Engineering and Technical Services Division. During this time he wrote and edited the Bureau of Yards and Docks’ technical Publication TPAD-10 “Contractor Labor Relations,” which was the first publication of its kind in the Department of Defense. For his services he received two letters of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy.
In November 1955 he was ordered to duty in connection with the Bureau of Yards and Docks Contracts, Madrid, Spain, where he was the Planning and Design Officer in Charge of Construction, engaged in the Spanish Bases Construction Program of the Air Force and Navy. Under orders of March 19, 1958 he became Resident Officer in Charge Construction, Bureau of Yards and Docks Contracts, Lemoore, and on September 22, 1961, he was transferred to the Military Auto Supply Agency, Detroit, Michigan. He was serving as Commanding Officer of that agency, when ordered detached in December 1963 for duty with Defense Supply Agency Administrative Support Center, Cameron Station, Alexandria, Virginia.
Captain Bertelsen has the Naval Reserve Medal with bronze star; the American Defense Service Medal; the American Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; and the National Defense Service Medal.