Marine corps pilot
Colonel (Retired) Gerald “Gerry” Berry had an extensive military career, spending 25 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Colonel Berry was born in Anaconda, Montana and later commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 1 January 1968. He completed flight training in November of 1968 and transferred to HMM-161 in the Republic of Vietnam in January of 1969. He participated in multiple operations, including Operations Frequent Wind and Eagle Pull, during his tenure in Vietnam supporting the Marine Corps. His most memorable operation was on April 29-30, 1975, as part of Operation Frequent Wind. He flew a CH-46 helicopter (known as “The Lady Ace”) non-stop for over 18 hours during the evacuation of Saigon. His mission culminated with the successful airlift of U.S. Ambassador Graham Martin out of Saigon, signaling the end of the Vietnam War. Returning from Vietnam in February 1970, Colonel Berry was ordered to OV-10 transition training at Meridian, Mississippi. He served in multiple positions afterwards as Assistant Director of Training, Flight Instructor, Operations Officer of MAG-24, and as Assistant Director for Procurement. Colonel Berry is a 1983 graduate of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and a 1988 graduate of the Naval War College with follow on assignments as an Executive Officer of the Basic School, G-3 of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, and as the Commanding Officer of both MAGTF 1-90 and 4-90. In July 1991, he assumed command of Marine Aircraft Group 36, overseeing 60 aircraft and 3,000 men to support fleet operations during Operation Desert Shield. Throughout his career he continued pursuing excellence by training Marines and shared his story into retirement. Colonel Berry’s military decorations include three Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Single Mission Air Medals, the Air Medal (46 awards), the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon. After serving 25 years, he retired from the Marine Corps in 1993 at the rank of Colonel.