Retired officer reflects on wartime career

  • Published
  • By Holly Birchfield
  • 78 ABW/PA
A retired Air Force nurse shared her experience as a specialty care section chief at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, with more than 100 people from the community at the Museum of Aviation's Hangar One on May 21.

Marie Berry, wife of Col. Warren Berry, 78th Air Base Wing commander, presented her talk, "The War Through the Eyes of a Nurse at Landstuhl, Germany" at a luncheon benefiting the museum's foundation.

The luncheon was the first in a series the foundation will hold to support the World War II Hangar scheduled to open in October.

June Lowe, executive vice president of the Museum of Aviation Foundation, said she's very pleased with the first luncheon's turnout.

"Next month, there will be a ribbon cutting on the new building, and then we will schedule other lunches leading up to the opening of our new building, a World War II building in October," she said.

Ms. Lowe said the base commander's wife was the ideal speaker for the first luncheon.

"We heard Mrs. Berry tell a story one day," she said. "She was talking to us in a group about what it was like as a nurse in Germany, being able to receive patients from the war. We thought a great way to start our series of events leading up to the opening of our World War II Building would be to find out what's happening with our (servicemembers) today."

Ms. Lowe, like many who attended the luncheon, had to choke back tears upon hearing Mrs. Berry recall experiences of treating military members who had sustained serious injury from improvised explosive devices, rocket propelled grenades, and other brutal attacks.

Mrs. Berry's words brought to life the time when she and her team cared for a staff sergeant who had shrapnel removed from his spinal chord, narrowly escaping paralysis.

The sights, sounds, and smells that accompanied her role as a nurse were revived in the midst of the crowded hangar.

Reflecting on her memories stirred the mother's emotions.

Mrs. Berry said her experiences gave her a new perspective.

"I gained a new appreciation and understanding for the human spirit and for the patriotism and the honor of serving your country," she said. "It didn't matter what the sacrifices were, everybody had a common purpose and they just kept going and going to take care of their fallen brother or sister in order to get right again."

For Kati Falzone, a consultant with Robbins Gioia who works in the 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group, the speaker offered inspiration.

"She's an incredible woman," she said. "It was a pleasure to hear abut her experience. It was an honor to be here and listen to her story."