Monday, March 31, 2008

George E. Berry, Jr

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The Newsletter of the Westmoreland Bar Association / Vol. XIV, Number 5
September – October 2002
 
Veterans Day Salute: We Remember and Give Thanks
George E. Berry, Jr

December 8, 1941, I turned in my books and quit law school in the second quarter of my second year and enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a Yeoman 3rd Class. I was assigned to the Personnel Office of the Office of Naval Intelligence, in Washington D.C., from February to August of 1942, and then the U.S. Maritime Training Station, in Sheepshead Bay, N.Y., from September 1942 to July 1943, where I was promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade). I then spent the next two months at officer Training School, Fort Schuyler, Bronx, N.Y.

In October 1943, I reported to the Amphibious Training Bases at Camp Bradford, Norfolk, and Solomons, Md., and by December, was recommended to be an Executive Officer on an LST (Landing Ship Tanks).

A nucleus crew picked up our ship, LST 499, at Evansville, Ind., in January of 1944, and we sailed down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans, LA. January to march of 1944, we set out from Halifax, N.S., and crossed the Atlantic to Firth of Clyde, Scotland, in a 70-ship convoy.

During Exercise Tiger, a practice invasion at Slapton Sands on the south coast of England in April 1944, LST 499, one of 8 LSTs in a convoy escorted by one escort vessel, was attacked by German E-Boats. Three LSTs were torpedoed, and two sank, with a loss of over 800 Navy and Army personnel, and equipment.

LST 499 arrived at Utah Beach D-Day morning, June 6, 1944. We spent two days unloading , and on June 8, while on our way to a staging area to return to England, LST 499 hit an acoustic mine, and sank, with the loss of one officer and twelve enlisted men. I was awarded the Purple Heart.

June to August of 1944 was spent in survivor camps until I was assigned to and reported aboard LST 312 in Manchester, England. LST 312 had been hit by a buzz bomb in London.

I was promoted to Lieutenant in October 1944. On December 12, 1944, we left Plymouth, England, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a convoy, arriving in New York City in bitter cold weather and a blinding snowstorm on January 7, 1945. During the crossing, the convoy was attacked by a German submarine. DE escort torpedoed as it passed astern LST 312 dropping depth charges 400 miles northeast of the Azores.


In April 1945, I was assigned to LST 309 and sailed from Mobile, AL, through the Panama Canal. We spent a month in Hawaii for ship repairs, and arrived in the Philippines Islands on August 13, 1945, to October 19, 1945, I crossed the Pacific Ocean from San Pedro bay to San Fransico by Navy transport and returned to Greensburg by train. On November 30, 1945, I was released to inactive duty.


Pat-
This is an article from a 2002 newsletter I found online a few years ago. There is a service photo of George E. Berry, JR in Adobe Acrobat format (PDF) at that link.
-David
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