Berry Law

Captain Berry (right) receiving his Bronze Star at II Field Force.

Before he founded Berry Law Firm, John Berry Sr. served three tours in Vietnam, where he earned the Bronze Star.

During his service, John transferred from Infantry to the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps and worked as chief defense counsel for Vietnam’s largest general court martial jurisdiction.

John’s role took him throughout Vietnam, protecting the rights of GIs. His journeys included successfully defending members of the 5th Special Forces against murder charges.

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I shed a little blood

While scrambling for cover during an artillery barrage at Cua Viet, I fell and injured myself I scraped off some skin and shed some blood. But, alas, no purple heart.

I Shed a Little Blood

One of my responsibilities when we came under attack from NVA artillery at Cua Viet was to report it up the chain of command to headquarters in Saigon. That posed a bit of a problem during an artillery attack. While everyone else was keeping their head down I had to find an opportunity to get to the communications bunker and send out my message.

One night we began to receive incoming and I lept from my bunk and ran for my little hole in the ground. I was wearing only my skivies (military slang for underwear) and no shoes.  

At the first lull in the bombardment I decided to make a run for it and took off at full speed. I ran through our sleeping hooch, out the other door and proceeded to the communications bunker.

It was pitch black because no lights were allowed. I couldn’t see the obstacles in my path and tripped over a metal shipping pallet. I fell hard and skinned my shins from foot to knee. I recovered and went on into the bunker and sent out my message to Saigon. When I finished I retreated to my little corner “office” and sat down. It was only then that I noticed that I was bleeding profusely from the scrapes on both shins.  

About that time our Chief of Staff, a crusty old Marine colonel walked up to me, looked at my bleeding legs and said, “Probably hurts like hell, Son, but it doesn’t merit a purple heart.”

I have to tell you that the purple heart medal is one I never coveted.

Captain Herman Hughes, US Navy, Retired