In 1941 David Berg was living alone with his mother and supported by her evangelistic ministry. He was also a 22-year-old man looking for a way to get out of military service on the eve of the United States' entrance into World War II. He first asked his physician for a medical deferment due to his "bad" heart. When that failed to impress the draft board, he received a mail-order ordination and applied for deferrment as a conscientious objector. Finally, he appealed for a military service exemption by having his mother swear an affidavit stating she was financially dependent on her son.
Despite his effort to avoid military service, Berg was ordered to report for duty in Miami, Florida, on December 19, 1941.
"Dec.19 Fri.: DAY I WAS INDUCTED INTO THE ARMY. My first day in Camp. Physical exam--passed in spite of heart trouble, paroxysmal tachycardia. Very blue. That had been my last hope. Worried about Mother & what she would do without me."
Berg's diaries from 1941-42 record approximately 30 days of military service before he was hospitalized with a fever and tachycardia (racing heart). Of Berg's 103 days in the army, 53 were spent in a military hospital. On March 31, 1942, he received a "complete disability discharge" for tachycardia and a heart murmur. He checked out of the army hospital the same day. Thirty days prior to his breakdown and hospitalization on February 7, 1942, Berg entered the following reflection into his diary:
"...I was drilling, marching, learning to use various tools, build bridges, and shoot a rifle (this latter I went thru' with because the company commander promised to excuse me from the rest of the training and put me in the supply room if I would just qualify with the rifle--I made "sharpshooter" rating with a score of 173). And all of which God has permitted because I murmured against being "tied to Mother's apron strings." Would God I had been content with the work He had cut out for me!--Especially as I had vowed to Him I would stand by Mother as long as she was able to carry on. May He in His tender mercy yet release me from this hell of being out of His will to the joy of His blessed service once more! I never truly appreciated the happiness I had enjoyed, although I did often realize I was greatly blessed. Nevertheless, I had that recurring longing to "prove myself a man," to be "on my own," all the time knowing I couldn't forsake Mother or the Lord's work."