An OEF VIII Sky Soldier sent me the link to this story from the Leesville Daily Leader in Leesville, LA. Thank you Jay!
The Mission Training Complex at Fort Polk, LA was recently named in memory of CSM Thomas Berry who passed away in 2005. CSM Berry was a member of th 173d Airborne Brigade that was stood up on Okinawa and the first Army unit deployed to Vietnam. He served in Vietnam for seven years straight.
From the Leesville Daily Leader: "When the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk decided to name its Mission Training Complex for retired Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Berry, they chose to honor the life of a soldier who earned a reputation as a source anyone could turn to for help — from privates to four-star generals.
According to those who served with Berry, the decorated Vietnam veteran spent his life committed to the soldiers under his guidance. He continued that commitment after retiring from active duty, taking a job at the JRTC where he could continue to work with his beloved soldiers."
The accolades bestowed upon CSM Berry from military personnel are numerous. And the stories of his committment to anything and everything he did are inspiring.
“He never quit anything he started and he always gave it his best shot,” Taylor said. “We had an annual 52-mile race in Panama that pitted the senior NCOs against officers. The officers had an advantage because, typically, we could choose from a younger group, plus we had Special Forces, Rangers and Infantry troops to choose from.
“The commanding general and command sergeant major always ran the last five-mile leg. When the baton was passed to me, Command Sergeant Major Berry was nowhere to be seen. I was taking my time when I happened to look over my shoulder and here comes Berry. He was running barefoot because his shoes had rubbed blisters on his feet, but he didn’t stop. His feet looked awful, but that was how he was about everything.”
I hope you will go read the entire story from the Leesville paper about CSM Berry. I regret that I never had to privilege of meeting this great American treasure.