Gloria Berg, a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was a college student when World War II broke out. Ready and willing to join the war effort, Gloria began secretarial work at the Kellogg Army Air Base and later procured a job at the 11th Naval District at Coronado Island, where she met her first husband. She went on to sing professionally and travel around the world to visit her children.
In this interview, Gloria speaks about her experiences working as a secretary at the Kellogg Army Air Base and then the 11th Naval District at Coronado Island off the coast of San Diego, California. Gloria recounts her first marriage, having children, and her later job as a secretary at a flagship Bank of America after the war.
Wanting to Be a Part of the War Effort
I was very, very strong on working in the war effort. I felt that was very important. My folks really didn’t want me to quit college. They wanted me to stay, of course. But I felt I had to do something, and I think the war effort was very good. We had so much that we gave to the war—the rationing and all those things that we did.
And I just felt that I wanted to be part of it. I definitely did. And I was bound determined that’s what I was going to do. So they finally said, “Okay, if you wanna do that, all right.” And that’s why I started working at the air base.
Traveling the World to Visit Children
Two of my kids ended up in the State Department. And they worked for USAID and were overseas. I have lived in Africa. I’ve lived in Morocco. I’ve lived in Eritrea and Zimbabwe. By that time, by the way, I was in a third marriage of a man who was retired from the Navy. So I travelled all the time and visited my kids, and lived with them for periods of time.
So I enjoyed all of that very much, and they were very much into working for the State Department. The third one became a nurse, and still is. She runs a big home health care company.
Working as a Secretary at Kellogg Army Air Base
Kellogg Army Air Base was pretty important during the war. It was a pretty big place. And I went to work there as the secretary for the commanding officer that was in charge of personnel. And we had to not only do secretarial work, but we had to take minutes of meetings. And we took those with a recorder there, recording it, and then we also did it in shorthand.