1LT WILLIAM A. BERRY, USMC,
1ST MARINE DIVISION AO, KILLED ON MISSION:
by Donald M. Ricks, CATCOM Editor, 12 May 2012
The above photo is a copy from LT Berry's North Jackson High School senior yearbook, 1960, courtesy of Michael W. Markel, a veteran-friendly citizen from North Jackson, Ohio. We commend the several citizens of that town who, like Michael, extended their great helping hand to document what is on this page.
Marine First Lt. William A. Berry, 24, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank C. Berry of 112 Howard Ave., Austintown, [Ohio] was killed in action at Quang Tri in Vietnam Sunday while flying a mission as an aerial observer.SOURCE: Youngstown Vindicator, 3-8-1967, page 1, column 1.
An officer with the 1st Marine Division, Sub-unit 2, Headquarters Battalion, Lt. Berry had been in Vietnam since July . He was shot through the head by rifle fire.
Lt. Berry's parents yesterday had received a letter from him dated the day before he was killed.
A graduate of North Jackson High School in 1960, and Mount Union College in 1964, Lt. Berry joined the U. S. Marines soon after completing his studies and went into officers' training (Continued on Page 14, Col. 3)
(Continued from Page One)SOURCE: Youngstown Vindicator, 3-8-1967, page 14, column 3. Transcribed by D. M. Ricks, Catkillers.org
school. He left in July from Camp Lejeune.
Lt. Berry had flown some 150 missions in Vietnam and had received two Gold Stars and an Air Medal. He had attended the Marine's embarkation school, winning the highest grades in his class, and the aerial observer school. He also spent three months at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba during 1965.
A story during September in the "Sea Tiger" [publication for servicemen in Vietnam by Stars and Stripes in Japan], described one of Lt Berry's typical missions in hunting out the Viet Cong.
Member of a reconnaissance team operating out of Chu Lai air strip, he was in one of two small airplanes that had spotted 150 Viet Cong in a narrow mountain valley. They [sic] job was to bring air strikes and artillery on the enemy after marking targests [sic] with smoke rockets slung on the underside of each wing.
Lt. Berry was strapped into the rear seat of a tiny single—engine Cessna O—1B, known as a "Birddog," searching the bush with trained eyes for sight of the enemy. He had only half his Vietnam tour behind him but already had more than 140 combat missions.
The Birddogs are Army planes, flown by Army pilots from Quang Ngai, and while their major purpose is to support the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, they fly on hunting missions three hours or more a day with a Marine observer.
"Wiggling into tight mountain passes, criss—crossing low over rice paddies, spiraling directly over hostile villages, these pilots and observers hunt the Viet Cong," the story said. "And when they find him, they hammer him to death with bombs from Marine jets or with heavy artillery fire originating several miles away in such cities as Quang Ngai, Tam Ky, Bien Son, or Chu Lai base itself."
This time Lt. Berry radioed the jets circling unseen in the clouds above, and directed them in to the marked target as he and his pilot pulled over to the right, then turned to find no trace of the enemy. Other jets, helicopters and CH-46 choppers arrived to complete the mission.
The two Birddogs hung around awhile," probing the now darkening canyons, fighting against the winds that seemed strong enough to hurl them against the mountain walls," the story continued, then headed home because of low fuel. For them it was another day."
Lt. Berry was born Aug. 30, 1942, in Warren [Ohio]. His mother was the former Agnes Lamb of West Virginia.
In high school Lt. Berry was a member of the band and active in various sports. At Mount Union he was a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity and in 1964 received the fraternity's Personality of the Year Award, both for the college and throughout the country. He was treasurer of the student senate, member of the Men's Judicial Board, the Men's Resident Council, King of the Mardi Gras, dormitory counselor and active in college sports, receiving his letter in varsity football.
He was also a member of First Federal Church in North Jackson which had collected clothing for distribution to the villagers in Vietnam.
Lt. Berry was engaged to Miss Linda Brown, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Brown of Lake Milton.
Besides his parents, he leaves two sisters, Mrs. Helen Trate of Warren, Mrs. Carol DeLancey of North Jackson, and a brother, Charles Berry of Horseheads, N. Y.
The body will be brought to Lane Funeral Home in Austintown.
Visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Virtual Wall for CPT [posthumous] William A. Berry.
EDITOR'S NOTE: On behalf of the 220th Aviation Company "Catkillers" and Friends, Charles Finch submitted forms and a donation sufficient to add a brick in honor of 1LT William A. Berry at Jackson Township Veterans Memorial, 12139 Sandy Road, North Jackson, Ohio 44451.
I just viewed your recent posting and was glad to see the local news article on Lt Bill Berry, Marine Aerial Observer (AO), who was KIA at Duc Pho while in the back seat of an Army 0—1.
On March 8, 1967, I flew from Marble Mountain [near Da Nang] to Chu Lai, the day after Berry was killed. I was his replacement with the four—man Marine AO detachment there. Amazingly, until this morning I have never seen a photo of him and certainly had not seen this article. Thanks for including me [in the notification]. It was very informative and brought back some specific memories of that day when I flew in the back seat of a Marine O1—C to Chu Lai, so many years ago. For your information, I was given the woeful assignment of packing Lt Berry´s personal effects for shipment to his parents in Ohio. Not an uplifting day for me, to put it mildly!
Rob Whitlow [1LT, USMC Aerial Observer, Marble Mountain and Chu Lai, South Vietnam, 1967—68]"
Editor Update, 20 July 2013: SEA TIGER Newwspaper Spotlights on 1LT William A. Berry:
The above and below mentioned links no longer work:
Use this direct link to the PDF file, Vol III, No. 5
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