by Brookdale Senior Living
10 November 2017

Bravery Earns Purple Heart

Joseph Bergamo is a resident at Brookdale Emerson in New Jersey who served in World War II during the height of the battle for control of the European mainland. During this time he bravely faced true adversity and danger that ultimately earned him the Purple Heart.

The Army drafted Joseph in 1944 ahead of the Allied invasion of Europe on D-Day. After training at Camp Blanding in Florida he traveled to Liverpool, England, where he waited three days before being sent to the beaches of Normandy as a replacement solider. Once in Europe, his group marched from Normandy to Luxemburg to fight in the Battle of the Bulge. This would prove to be the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the United States during World War II.

During the battle, Joseph and five other soldiers were tasked with the mission eliminating a German machine gun nest. The mission met a perilous obstacle when a group of German soldiers found them and began to fire on them. His group tossed grenades at the Germans, but still took heavy fire from the machine guns. The machine gun fire wounded Joseph in the head, chest, and wrist. His group needed to find their unit and they ultimately crawled through the snow under the cover of darkness to get past the German machine gun nest.

Joseph was transferred to a military hospital where he could receive proper treatment for his wounds. These wounds entitled him to the military decoration of the Purple Heart. The Purple Heart is awarded members of the military who are wounded by an instrument of war at the hands of an enemy combatant. 


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