hood companions. Like all of us present he was experiencing a profound sense of loss. During one of the interludes in the ceremony, my companion said: ''It is because of Berkner that I am an air admiral. When we were in high school together he read a newspaper article stating that the Navy planned to give twenty high school students cadet training for the Air Reserve during summers and invited applicants. Berkner said to me, 'We are going to take them up on that.' I suggested that it was a pretty hopeless cause, but he felt the opportunity was important enough to be worth a try. Both of our applications were turned down, which led me to say 'I told you so.' Lloyd said, 'Look, we are going to that camp and going to do from the sidelines exactly what everyone else does. One day, two of the boys they picked will fall out, and you and I will fall in.' I followed Lloyd's lead and we did exactly what he proposed, getting up with the others at dawn and going through all the training routine. The officer in charge of the program came up to us one day after about two weeks had passed and said 'Hey! You two, come over here and get into line!' That was our admission to Naval Aviation!''3

Berkner served in the Naval Reserve until 1965, when he retired with the rank of rear admiral.


Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on February 1, 1905, Lloyd Berkner grew up in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. Already at age fourteen he was an enthusiastic radio amateur with his own station, 9AWM, and before entering college set a distance-speed record—using only homemade equipment—for relay-radio communication from Connecticut to Hawaii and back.4 At the University of Minnesota, where he studied electrical engineering, he worked with the university's experimental radio station to establish WLB, one of the Twin Cities' earliest broadcast radio stations. He also joined the Naval Aviation Reserve, took flight training, and devised, installed, and flight-tested a small VHF radio-communication system for small naval aircraft. (One wonders how he found time to do all this while completing his degree!)

For a year after graduating from Minnesota in 1927, Berkner

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement