Galesburg Register-Mail from Galesburg, Illinois on May 11, 1973 · Page 8
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Galesburg Register-Mail from Galesburg, Illinois · Page 8

Galesburg, Illinois
Issue Date:
Friday, May 11, 1973
Page 8
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Page 8 article text (OCR)

8 Golesburg Raplster-Moil, Gotcsburo. Friday, Moy 11, 1973 He's Doing Okay David Berry, left, chats with a friend at second tour of duty. He married his high Columbia, S. C. Berry lost both legs in Viet- school sweetheart, and they're expecting nam when he was 19, and regrets the loss their first child in June. UNIFAX only because it prevented him from doing a Amputee Classic By ROBERT GREEN COLUMBIA, SC. (UPI) - A common reaction of a man who loses his limbs in battle is to overcompensate—to excel at work and at school. David Berry is a classic example. Berry lost both legs in Vietnam when he was 19 Today, two years later, he regrets the loss largely because it prevented him from going on a second tour of duty with the Marines in Vietnam. A poor student at Cardinal Newman High School in Columbia, he now is on the Dean's List at the University of South Carolina. He has married his high school sweetheart, Rosina. They expect their first child in June. Pretty Much the Same "He's changed more being married and being with Rosina than losing his legs," says Bruce Nowak, a close friend who has known him since grammar school. "But he is still pretty much the same guy I've never seen anybody adjust like that. It was almost like a miracle." The biggest change that his auburn-haired wife sees is that "it calmed him down. He always seemed to be getting justs, Displays ensation into fights in high school." "I can't realize I was even in Vietnam," he says, smiling as he often does. "Sometimes I hear a gun go off or see something about Vietnam on the TV, then I remember." Berry turned down a desk job with the Marines because he did not want to be "an office |pogie." He had been an infantryman with G Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Division, for four months when he led his patrol through brush steaming away its heavy dew in the risen sun June 23, 1970., te He hardly felt the pressure of the fishing line on his leg. It tripped a 105mm artillery round. The booby trap wounded Berry and 12 other men and killed Berry's best friend, Buck Lacost of Ironwood, Mich. Berry was lifted out within 20 minutes by a helicopter that remained under fire as it hovered then whirled away. Philadelphia the Worst Berry spent a day at a hospital in Da Nang, a month at the U.S. Air Force Hospital on Guam and 10 months at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital. "The (Philadelphia) hospital was terrible," Berry says. "There were rats running around everywhere. If you went to sleep, a rat would come out and nibble your hand. The (doctors and nurses didn't do what they were supposed to do." The Veterans Administration gave Berry $12,500 for the Colonial style house he lives in. He is unable to adjust well to artificial limbs, so he spends Imost of his time in a wheelchair. A ramp built especially for his chair leads from the kitchen to the garage He got $2,800 in 1971 for a car and several hundred dollars more for the special equipment he nesded to drive it by hand Trading that car in and adding his own savings, Berry recently bought a 1973 Cadillac. His 100 per cent disability, together with his educational allowance, gives Berry more, than $900 per month, says Paul Bochicchio, field director for the VA's Southern region. All Berry 's medical expenses are taken care of by the VA and his wife and coming child also are entitled to benefits, including shopping at the PX and commissary at nearby Ft Jackson. However, because he is an amputee and under 25, Berry has to pay $900 a year for auto insurance. Sergeant Leaves Marines To Help Black Struggle By JUSTIN BAVARSKIS BOSTON (UPI) - Gerald Lynch joined the Marines in the fall of 1967, a time when Newark and Detroit were fresh scars on the nation's face and many blacks looked askance at one of their own who volunteered for military service. He spent a year in Vietnam and fought at Khe Sanh. By the time he left the Marines as a sergeant, Lynch said his thinking had shifted from advancing his own lot to advancing the lot of all blacks. A husky 5-feet-6 with a neatly trimmed beard, short Afro, fashionable clothes and impeccable manners, Lynch, 26, lives in a scrupulously clean third- floor apartment in Boston. He is studying urban and Afro- American affairs full time at Boston State College and also works full time as a counselor for juvenile delinquents for the Youth Activities Commission. Needed Independence A high school track and football star and an excellent student much of the time, Lynch said he felt it necessary early in life to assert independence. He said racial slurs and incidents at school "made hate for whites build up inside me, but I realized that hate would only bring about my own destruction." He got a scholarship at, Northeastern University and was doing quite well, aiming for a degree in business administration, until he lost interest. In October, 1967, he joined the Marines because, "He figured if he made it there, he ,had it made completely," said his^father. Speaking of his Vietnam experiences, Lynch said he was in Phu Bai in South Vietnam when Martin Luther King was assassinated. He said a drunk white Marine shouted, "It should have happened a lot sooner. Another time, on a convoy driving through streets crowded with South Vietnamese children begging for food, Lynch said the white next to him split open a child's head with a carton of C-rations. "I hit him with my rifle. Everybody looked at me like I was the criminal," Lynch said. One Common Line—Survival Such incidents "brought tiny hatreds welling up inside me," he said. But in situations such as the battle of Khe Sanh in 1968, he said, "Everybody manages to cast aside all considerations of race and everybody thinks along one common line and that is survival." j After Vietnam, Lynch spent a| year at the Whidby Naval Air Station near Seattle. He made sergeant, ran the Marine Corps Globe and Anchor Club and lived virtually as a civilian. When the time for his discharge came Oct. 1, 1970, he said he resisted the temptation | to stay in the military. "Life was good there," he said. "But I couldn't stop myself from thinking about the situation my .people were in back home. I ifelt guilty. I had to come back..." Lynch worked for two months as a mail handler at the post office, then quit and collected unemployment compensation for six months. Eleganza, Inc., a white-owned mail order firm in Brockton, Mass., which sells fashionable clothes primarily to young black men, then opened an experimental retail store, j Lynch got the job of managing it. He Used to Explain "We were being exploited to the hilt," he said. "I knew a shirt we sold for $16.95 cost us less than half that. I used to sell at my own discount. I'd explain to the brothers how much we sold the stuff for and how much we paid for it." Lynch said he felt he was not advancing as quickly as he should at Eleganza and was disturbed by the sense of exploitation. He quit and went to Boston State. He also found work with the! Youth Activities Commission. ( "He's one of the best people wej See 'Sergeant'— (Continued on Page 11)

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