SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A Scottsdale soldier has made the ultimate sacrifice while serving his country as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Richard L. Berry was one of two servicemen killed Sunday by an improvised explosive device in Kandahar. They were on a dismounted patrol in the Zharay District when they were hit.
Berry and Pfc. Julian L. Colvin of Birmingham, Ala. were both assigned to the 508th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
Berry, a combat engineer on his third deployment, was 27 years old.
He joined the Army on Feb. 23, 2006, and was deployed to Iraq September 2006 to November 2007.
After joining the 82nd Airborne Division in May 2009, he was deployed to Afghanistan that August, returning home in February 2010.
“Staff Sgt. Berry was a tremendous Team Leader, Paratrooper and man and the Diablo Family will never forget all that he went through to overcome his injuries and experiences from the last deployment – just to join the team and deploy again,” said 508th Brigade Special Troops Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Peter S. Levola in a news release. “ He is an unforgettable hero.”
Berry’s awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart with one oak leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal with two knots, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal with Bronze Star, the Combat Action Badge, and the Basic Parachutist Badge.
Berry leaves behind a wife.
Armed forces from the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, less than a month after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
According to iCasualties.org, nearly 2,000 servicemen from all branches of the military have been killed in and around Afghanistan since the start of Operation Enduring Freedom. More than 40 of those were from Arizona. Another 268 Arizonans have been wounded while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Just a week ago, the Department of Defense announced the death of another Arizona soldier in Afghanistan. Staff Sgt. Carl Eric Hammar of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., died July 14, in Khost province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from enemy small arms fire. Like, Berry, he was on a dismounted patrol at the time of the attack.