George  Berry
George  Berry
George  Berry

George Berry

 George Berry was born in New Hampshire. As a youth, he joined the Boy Scouts and he always lived by the motto ‘be prepared’ throughout his life. He quit school in the 8th grade (though later he got his GED). His father worked in the woodworking field and George had to help him out. He saw what it did to his father’s hands and didn’t want this as a career. So at the age of 21, George joined the U.S. Army, partly because he knew they had good schools for mechanics; a field he excelled in. George went to automotive school in Atlanta, Georgia and engineer repair and maintenance school at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia.  He was a hard worker and loved figuring out how to make engines run smoothly. In fact, he was known as Mr. Fix-it! Some of his work included overhauling tanks and working with armored reconnaissance and airborne assault vehicles. George also received two bronze stars while serving in Vietnam.  In one instance, he drove through hostile territory to get to a depot for parts to repair their vehicles. George also worked as an advisor for the Vietnamese Army.  He retired in 1972 from Cameron Station, Virginia.

His first civilian job was with the Fairfax Motor Pool, where he did everything from repairing police cruisers to doing roadside assistance. After three years, he got a civilian job at Cameron Station. He started as an automotive mechanic foreman (WS-9) and within a year he received a promotion to WS-10 supervisor, not an easy accomplishment. George often worked 16 hours a day, but again he loved the work. He was even able to help out at the Fort Myer’s hobby shop!  During this time he also started repairing VHS players as a hobby.  After 23 years at this job he retired again.  At this time, he received an achievement medal for 35 years total government service.

George loves to tell the story of how he met his wife, Reiko. It was in 1953 at an Army Base on the island of Eta-Jima, Japan, when he was recovering from an emergency appendectomy. While walking down a street, he saw three young Japanese women.  One was quite shy, but she whispered to him to be careful. He asked her why she gave him a warning and she told him that she didn’t like to see anyone taken advantage of.  George knew that this quiet girl was not only beautiful, but honest as well; a trait he strongly admired.  After a few dates, they were in love, but George had to leave the country on a new assignment. He promised to write Reiko every day and she promised not to cut her hair until they met again. Four and a half years later, they met at a bar in the village of Otsu, with Reiko's hair falling near to her waist. They married and three years later had a daughter. In July of this year, George and Reiko renewed their wedding vows after nearly 60 years of marriage!