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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First realization of what death is and the thought that came to my mind with that realization.


I had been in Vietnam for two weeks and was waiting to be assigned to a unit. I had not yet experienced combat. It was October 1967 and I had enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating high school in Houston Texas.

One of the Marines who had been in country for some time asked me if I wanted to go to graves registration. It was an opportunity to take a ride and get away from the sitting and waiting for an assignment with not much to do in that time.

When we arrived at graves registration there were a row of bodies, all Marines. There was a body bag lying beside each body, but some of them were not in their bag. I could see the tag on the toe of one of the bodies. I saw some with unattached arms and legs lying beside them. I walked past, and immediately knew the meaning of death, and the reality of these people no longer being here.

It was something I had never experienced and the reality had replaced my perception of death as it had been portrayed in the movies, and comic books. I counted twelve Marines in the row and walked past almost in a trance unable to comprehend what I was seeing and feeling.

When I looked up I saw a dead looking bush off to my left, withered, except for one white bloom. My thought was “as long as I can perceive that one white flower I’m still here, and I will do everything I can and fight as hard as I can to remain here to continue to see that white flower.”