Before Memorial Day, Canton Veteran Shares His WWII Story

CANTON, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Paul Berger calls Canton home now, but in World War II, he was patrolling Japanese-held islands in the Pacific Ocean.

The 95-year old Berger said he drafted into the Navy as a 17-year old high school senior.

"Patriotism was running very very strong, and a lot of my classmates joined up before they even got a high school diploma," he said.

Berger was assigned to a patrol torpedo boat, serving as a quartermaster for a year.

"We went out many, many nights, patrolling the coastline of Japanese-held islands, and received fire," he said.

A pivotal moment in Berger's military career came when his boat was mistakenly fired upon by an Allied plane. The friendly fire left four of the ship's 12 crew seriously hurt, and left Berger with invisible scars that have lasted a lifetime.

"I developed post traumatic stress, which still bothers me to this day," from that incident, Berger said. He credited the Veteran's Affairs Department with helping him deal with the post-traumatic stress.

Berger went on to graduate high school after his time in the Navy and earned a degree from MIT in engineering.

36 veterans including Berger were honored in a ceremony at Brightview Senior Living on Friday, where Berger currently lives. The senior living center had put up a wall of pictures from their residents' war days, which will remain up throughout the year.

WBZ's Suzanne Sausville (@wbzsausville) reports:

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Written by Chaiel Schaffel

(Photo: Suzanne Sausville/ WBZ NewsRadio: Paul Berger, WWII Navy veteran, stands in front of the Veteran's Wall at Brightview Senior Living in Canton.)

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