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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Street Without Joy

Brief comment on my poem Street Without Joy

Several years before I went to Vietnam I read a book by Bernard Fall titled “Street Without Joy.” Fall was a French-American journalist who was killed while observing a battle between French forces and the Viet Minh during the First Indochina War.  

Highway 1 was the main communication route between Hue and Quang Tri. The French colonial forces carried out a major attack on the Viet Minh held area between Hue and Quang Tri in July–August 1953. The fighting was so fierce and bloody that the French troops dubbed that stretch of Route 1 “Street Without Joy.”

I was with Task Force Clearwater in the same area in 1968. Our base was at the mouth of the Cua Viet River. The Cua Viet flows though the area from the West and empties into the South China Sea. While I was there I wrote a poem about my experience and borrowed the title of Fall’s book for my poem.

         Street Without Joy

Verdant fields like manicured gardens,

 Laced delicately with blue and

Starkly contrasted against barren 

 Dunes and rust hills, flash by

As cool monsoon rains pepper

 The windows of the Huey

That carries me high above 

 The Street Without Joy.

Far below me unimposing.

 Ancestral homes are carelessly

Sprinkled across a patchwork of

 Rice paddies and stately hedgerows.

Majestic churches lift their 

 Spires in silent prayer as

Children tend water buffalo on

 The Street Without Joy.

Peace and tranquility seem to

 Pervade this pastoral scene,

The pain and ravages of war

 Long past and almost forgotten.

But, alas, it’s only a sad

 And transitory illusion, for

I know that Charlie still walks

 The Street Without Joy.