COLUMBUS (WCMH) — John Bergman, along with 24 other men, was recruited into the Army for a top-secret mission.
“We were recruited by Roosevelt’s staff,” he said.
And why would the President of the United States want to recruit a mathametician?
“Codebreaking,” Bergman said.
To break the coded messages going back and forth by both the German and Japanese commanders in Europe and the Pacific.
Bergman and his colleagues helped Allied forces gain an edge in the war. It’s estimated that the war ended two years earlier than it would have without the codebreakers, saving an estimated 2 million lives.
But it came at a price: secrecy. Bergman was not allowed to share what he had done during the war with anyone, not even his family.
“The hardest thing everyone of our men was to keep that secret back, especially me from my wife,” he said. “I did not want to lie to my wife. I believed in marriage and it was important.”
Even though it was tough to live with such an enormous secret, Bergman has no regrets about what he did.
“I’m glad I served. It was hard. I wasn’t physically a soldier, I was a math soldier, but I did my job” he said.