2-22-07 - A Kansas National Guardsman was killed in Iraq this week. Sgt David Berry served with the 161 Field Artillery Unit out of Kingman and had been stationed in Iraq since March.
The 37-year-old Berry grew up in Anthony. KAKE News brought viewers his story in November, when he came home just before Thanksgiving for a surprise visit.
The military said he died when he was struck by an improvised explosive device
Family members say Sgt. Berry's unit was called to check out a mortar explosion Wednesday night. An explosive went off when they arrived and Sgt. Berry was killed. Seven soldiers were injured, including Jared Hays, a good friend of Berry's. He is in critical condition. There were two other soldiers from Anthony in that unit, and their families are awaiting word of their conditions.
"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Berry," said Governor Kathleen Sebelius. "He has made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our country and I ask Kansans to join me in offering prayers and sympathy to his family, friends and fellow soldiers."
"This is a sad day in the Kansas National Guard as we mourn the tragic loss of Staff Sgt. Berry," said Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. We will do everything we can to support them through this challenging time."
In April 1986, Berry enlisted in the Kansas Army National Guard with Detachment 1, Battery C, 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery, at Kingman, Kan., as an ammunition team chief. He graduated in 1987 from Advanced Individual Training as a Heavy Anti-armor Weapons Infantryman at Fort Benning, Ga. In 1997, he completed the Primary Leadership Development Course at Camp Ashland, Neb. In 2001, Berry completed his Basic Non-Commissioned Officer course for Field Artillery. In 2003, he completed the Multiple Launch Rocket System Crewmember course.
He had a total of more than 16 years of military service. In February 2005, Berry was awarded the Soldiers Medal, which is the highest peacetime honor that a soldier can receive. Berry was serving on active duty at Fort Leavenworth during Operation Enduring Freedom and while at home on leave came upon a single vehicle accident in Kingman County. The driver had lost control of the vehicle and crashed off the highway and the vehicle was on fire. Berry, at great personal risk, pulled the driver from the burning vehicle, saving his life. Maj. Gen. Bunting presented Berry with this medal while at his pre-mobilization station at Camp Shelby, Miss., prior to his deployment to Iraq.
His other awards include the Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Kansas National Guard Meritorious Service Ribbon, Kansas National Guard Commendation Ribbon, Kansas National Guard Emergency Duty Service Ribbon and the Kansas National Guard Service Medal.
Berry is survived by his wife, Kathleen, one stepdaughter, two stepgrandchildren, his mother, father, and sister.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Berry is the third serviceman from Kansas to die in Iraq in the last 7 days. A Marine from Dodge City and a soldier from Wichita have also been killed in combat.