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Fred S. Bertsch Jr. collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 08.0134

Scope and Contents

This collection relates to retired U.S. Navy Captain Fred S. Bertsch Jr. who served as the Engineer Officer during World War II in the Pacific Theater of Operations on the destroyer U.S.S. Case and the Korean War as a naval aviator.  The collection includes a daily handwritten log journal of activities aboard the U.S.S Case which begins with his eyewitness account of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, including the attack of the U.S.S. Arizona Battleship, through the end of 1943.  The collection also contains 133 original color slides, and digitized prints of the slides, taken by Bertsch Jr. aboard the U.S.S  Case during the Aleutian Island campaign in 1942, additional photographs, documents, artifacts, newspaper articles, and two publications authored by Bertsch Jr.


  • Created: 1941-1991
  • Other: Majority of material found within 1941-1943
  • Other: Date acquired: 04/20/2012


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Florida State University Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Biographical or Historical Information

Retired U.S. Navy Captain Fred S. Bertsch Jr. was born October 8, 1920, and grew up in Holland, Michigan. He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve during his junior year at Hope College and spent the following summer vacation as an unpaid sailor aboard the U.S.S. Wyoming battleship. Toward the end of his senior year, he was recalled to active duty. He graduated from Hope College in 1941 and entered the U.S. Navy as an ensign. Stationed at Pearl Harbor at the outbreak of war, he survived the attack and served almost three consecutive years of combat on the destroyer USS Case (DD-370) in the Western Pacific. Experiences documented in his handwritten journal include the Japanese Pearl Harbor attack,  Midway Island, Aleutian Island campaign, and Guadalcanal campaign. He married Ensign Lorraine Timmer of the United States Naval Reserve (Women's Reserve) on October 16, 1943, in Elmendorf Chapel, New York, NY.  Lorraine served with the Women's Reserve from 1943-1945 in the Communications Annex, Washington, D.C. After World War II, Capt. Bertsch attended flight school and was designated a naval aviator. He served 18 months flying combat patrol missions over and around Korea from 1950 to 1952. He transferred into the Naval Reserve in 1957 and returned to Holland, where he taught math at Holland High School and later was principal from 1964 to 1978. Upon retirement, he moved to Stuart, FL with Lorraine.  Lorraine passed away on August 23, 1997, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  Bertsch Jr. remarried Dorothy Kirk Bertsch in 1998. Bertsch Jr. was active in business, subdividing several properties along Lake Macatawa and engaged in several other entrepreneurial activities. He was a member of the Macatawa Bay Yacht Club, serving two terms as Commodore. He also was a member of the Holland Rotary Club, serving a term as district governor. Bertsch Jr. passed away on October 10, 2012, in Palm City, FL and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Bertsch Jr. was also a gifted amateur photographer and captured all of the images in this collection.  He designed a dark room aboard the U.S.S. Case to develop his photographs. Moreover, he published two books based on his naval experiences before World War II entitled My Paradise, Dad's Hell and another book about his experiences during World War II entitled Every Day is Navy Day. In addition, his experiences during the Pearl Harbor attack are published in Voices of My Comrades: America's Reserve Officers Remember World War II, edited by Carol Adele Kelly.

Link to oral history interview of Fred S. Bertsch Jr. conducted by the National Park Service on December 5, 2001:  [url=][/url]

Note written by


1 boxes

2 items (2 books)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Transferred from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience to FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives in July 2022.

Source of Acquisition

Fred S. Bertsch Jr.

Method of Acquisition


Fred S. Bertsch Jr. collection
Michael G. Kasper
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US