Bernard Arnold Fleck was born in Brooklyn, New York, on June 4, 1916, son of Augustus B. and Vanda Sedleska Fleck. He attended Cooper Union Night School of Engineering, from which he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Chemical Engineering, and on October 25, 1940, was commissioned Ensign in the U.S Naval Reserve. He subsequently completed flight training, was designated Naval Aviator on October 24, 1941, and through normal advancement and his transfer to US Navy after World War II, he attained the rank of Commander, to date from July 1, 1953.
Following training as an Aviation Cadet at the Naval Air Station, Floyd Bennet Field, New York, and Pensacola, Florida, he was assigned to Transitional Training Squadron, Atlantic, for further instruction from October 1941 to February 1942. He then joined Patrol Bombing Squadron 83 to serve as a pilot until May 1943, and during the next three months was Engineer Officer of Patrol Bombing Squadron 107. He is entitled to the Ribbon for the Presidential Unit Citation awarded Patrol Squadron 83, and was personally awarded the Air Medal:
“For meritorious achievement in aerial flight as Co-Pilot of a Patrol Plane during anti-submarine operations in the Atlantic, March 30 and December 13 and 14, 1942; July 31 and August 1 and 4, 1943. Completing his fifth mission, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Fleck contributed materially to the success of his squadron in conducing effective hold-down and search operations and in delivering depth-charge attacks against hostile submarine…”
From August 1943 until September 1944 he served as Maintenance Officer of Patrol Bombing Squadron 114. When detached he reported to the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, where he completed a course of instruction in February 1945, and was a flight Instructor during the next nine months at the Naval Air Station, Miami, Florida. From November 1945 until February 1946 he served as Engineering Officer at the Naval Station, Daytona Beach, Florida, and for six months thereafter he was attached to the Staff of Chief, Naval Air Advanced Training, at the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville.
In August 1946 he reported for duty with the Bureau of Aeronautics General Representative, Central District, Dayton, Ohio, where he served until July 1947 in the Piloted Aircraft Division. He was next assigned to Transport Squadron 5, based at the Naval Air Station, Seattle, Washington, and served as a pilot in that squadron until January 1950. During that year to follow he was a student at the General Line School, Monterey, California, and from January 1951 until January 1953 was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, DC. (Air Section, Naval Intelligence Division).
He served as Executive Officer of Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron 104 during the period January 1953 until March 1955, after which he a tour of duty in the Office of the Bureau of Aeronautics General Representative, Eastern District, New York, N.Y. Under orders of February 3, 1958, he reported to Airborne Early Warning Squadron 15, and on January 14, 1960, was ordered detached and to duty as Bureau of Naval Weapons Representative, Thiokol Chemical Corporation, Reactor Division, Denville, New Jersey.
In addition to the Air Medal and Ribbon for the Presidential Unit Citation awarded Patrol Bombing Squadron 83 for heroic service in Atlantic waters off South American, Commander Fleck has the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; and the National Defense Service Medal.