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12/24/07-Mineola

Home For The Holidays With High Honors

If you drive through the quaint East Texas town of Mineola, you'll find that it's life as usual.  And on this Christmas Eve, life as usual is what U.S. Army Private First Class Sean Berry has been looking forward to. 

Private Berry, a gunner with the 984th Military Police Company, said he was traveling in a convoy in Iraq when things suddenly got out of control.

"We got a [rocket propelled grenade] from the right as we passed by an alley way," he said.  "It struck the ground, bounced up and hit our fuel can." 

The grenade hit his truck, sparking a fire. 

"I see the flames right there beside me, and I said, 'holy cow, this fire is a bit bigger than I thought it was'," he said.  

With bullets flying toward him, a fire blazing around him, and rounds of ammunition beneath him, Private Berry remained in his post, returning gunfire which helped his company escape. 

"I'm a gunner, so it's my job to shoot the enemy," he said.

For this soldier, it was just that simple -- an act of heroism which earned him a Bronze Star Medal with Valor.  An honor for him, which made the Berry Family's holiday happier and prouder. 

"We love him, we're proud of him.  He's our hero," said Daniel Berry, Private Berry's father.

"We prayed every day just for God to protect him, and he brought him home to us," said Jeanne Berry, Private Berry's mother.

Private Berry said he was just doing his job.  And others said he is inspiring a future generation of servicemen. 

"He's fighting for our country, and I hope that I can maybe do the same thing, some day," said Chris Berry, Private Berry's younger brother.

Layron Livingston, Reporting. llivingston@kltv.com

 

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