Leo Goldberg was born in Manhattan on July 25, 1919, and grew up in Brooklyn. He tried to enlist in the army after he graduated from high school but was rejected because of poor eyesight. After a series of low-paying jobs, Goldberg headed to Waterbury in July of 1940, hoping to find a job in one of the town’s many booming factories. He quickly got hired as a saw sharpener at the Scovill Manufacturing Company and also enjoyed a brief romance with Ethel Leopold (sister of Ray Leopold). In the spring of 1942 he received a draft notice from his Brooklyn draft board. His supervisor applied for a deferral for Goldberg, but Leo asked for the deferral to be discontinued. He was inducted into the army as a private in October of 1942.
After basic training in Corvallis, Oregon, Goldberg was assigned to the Headquarters Detachment of the 150th Ordnance Battalion, promoted to Sergeant, and placed in charge of the motor pool. In late 1943, his outfit joined Patton’s 3rd Army in England. They arrived in France in mid-July 1944 with the responsibility to keep munitions flowing to a number of front line units. In December of 1944, while driving a jeep toward Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, Goldberg collided with an ambulance, shattering his kneecap. He was sent back to the United States for recuperation.
In July of 1945, while hospitalized, he rekindled his relationship with Ethel Goldberg of Waterbury and they were married on May 19, 1946. When Goldberg’s injury had fully healed, they returned to Waterbury where he owned and operated a bicycle and locksmith store. They have three children.