by Joe Estridge
S/Sgt. John Berberich
My Grandfather John Berberich was a member of the 515th SQ. At first, when the group was stationed in Benghazi, Libya, he was a ground crew member. Later on when the group moved to Italy, he began flying and served as a waist gunner. He was also the camera operator aboard the aircraft. He flew 50 missions and earned the Purple Heart. He told me a few stories, so I'll tell a couple here. He told me that he earned the Purple Heart when a German fighter attacking his formation shot through the fuselage of his plane. A bullet grazed him on the neck. He said he told them he didn't want the award because it was just a graze, but they gave it to him anyway haha. He also told me about the time his plane was hit badly by flak and they had to make an emergency landing. They couldn't make it back to their base, so they had land at a nearby British base. He said when they touched down, the B-24 veered off the runway from a flat tire and crashed into a bunch of tents. Luckily there was no one in them. The Brits were pretty angry over that he said! After a while, the groups commanding officer Col. K.K. Compton picked the crew up in his personal B-25. On the way, they began going through some bad weather and the plane was bouncing around. My Grandfather started to get sick...he then threw up on the commanders plane! The guys we're making fun of him saying, "what's the matter Whitey, can't take it?!" (They called him Whitey because of his blonde hair). Once they landed, Col. Compton told him, "you're gonna clean that up..." Those are just a couple of stories, nothing too crazy. I wish he wrote a journal of some sort so I could know about more of his experiences. I will tell you that he was my main inspiration for joining the Air Force myself. Everything he told me just amazed me, the things they went through. These guys were truly the Greatest Generation.
Comments for John J. Berberich
Click here to add your own comments
Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Our veteran's stories.
The website 376bg.org is NOT our site nor is it our endowment fund.
At the 2017 reunion, the board approved the donation of our archives to the Briscoe Center for American History, located on the University of Texas - Austin campus.
Also, the board approved a $5,000 donation to add to Ed Clendenin's $20,000 donation in the memory of his father. Together, these funds begin an endowment for the preservation of the 376 archives.
Donate directly to the 376 Endowment
To read about other endowment donation options, click here.
DATES: Oct 12-15, 2023
CITY:Fairfax Co, VA
HOTEL: Westin Dulles hotel
2520 Wasser Terrace, Herndon, VA 20171
Click here to read about the reunion details.
Liberando: Reflections of a Reluctant Warrior
376th Bomb Group Mission History
Ten Men, A "Flying Boxcar," and A War