Hartvig Emanuel Berg
Branch: National Guard
Status: Killed in action
Date of Service: WWII
Home Town: Sinclair Township
179th Infantry Regiment Insignia
Hartvig Emanuel Berg was born February 21, 1918 to Jacob H. and Agnete Olson Berg in Clearwater County, Minnesota. Jacob was one of the early settlers of Clearwater County. He was born near Kirkenar, Solar, Norway and came to the U.S. in 1892 at age 23. He lived near Northwood in Worth County, Northern Iowa for several years where he farmed and did carpenter work. In the early 1900s he returned to Norway for a year and married Agnete Olson on January 31, 1901. They immediately packed their bags and began their honeymoon aboard ship on their way to America. They moved to the Fosston area of Minnesota in March of 1902, then settled permanently on a homestead in Sinclair Township, Clearwater County in the spring of 1904. Daughter Mimi was born in 1901, son Osval (Oswald) in 1906, son Alf in 1911, daughter Maria in 1915 and son Hartvig in 1918. One daughter and two sons died in infancy.
Jacob farmed 40 acres in Section 8 of Sinclair Township just north of the Seljord Church, which the family attended. He and Agnete lived on the farm for 41 years. (The land is still owned by a member of the Berg family.) Jacob built the Westby Schoolhouse, part of Seljord Church, and many houses and big dairy barns in the area.
Hartvig attended school near his home through the 8th grade at the Westby School his father built, then began helping his father out on the family farm. He was age 22 when he registered for the draft. He was tall and slim – 6’ and 137 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair.
Hartvig became a member of the “Tomahawks,” the 179th infantry regiment of the Army’s National Guard. The 179th became part of the 45th Infantry Division in 1942. It was sent overseas in 1943 and fought with distinction in Sicily and at Salerno. In August of 1943 the 45th Division was assigned to VI Corps, part of the U.S. Fifth Army, in preparation for the invasion of mainland Italy.
Hartvig was present when the 179th went ashore with the landings, advanced north along the Anzio-Albano road and captured the town of Aprilia. It was then deployed on the southeastern side of the Anzio beachhead. For the next few months the 45th Infantry Division was mostly stuck in place, holding its ground during repeated German counterattacks, and subjected to bombardment from aircraft and artillery. On 23 May, VI Corps went on the offensive, breaking out of the beachhead to the northeast, with the 45th Division forming the left half of the attack. By 31 May, the German defenses were shattered, and the 45th Division turned northwest, toward the Alban Hills and Rome.
Twenty-six-year-old Hartvig did not survive that month, however. He was killed in action on May 30, 1944. His body was interred in the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery at Nettuno, Italy where lay the other war dead from the liberation of Sicily, the landings in Salerno and the landings at Anzio Beach. Four years later Hartvig’s body was disinterred and returned to his family in Minnesota. He was buried in Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis on December 6, 1948.