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Vietnam Veteran and attorney, John Stevens Berry, adds new novel to long list of contributions to veterans

Posted at 7:01 PM, Jun 13, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — John Stevens Berry, who goes by Steve, founded Berry Law in 1965.

His son, who shares the same name, is now the man in charge.

They also share the experience of serving our country overseas. Something that has run in the family dating all the way back to the Civil War.

“We hear the bugle, we hear the drum, and yes, we go to the service of our country,” Steve said with pride.

All three of Steve's sons served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or both.

Steve served his military obligation through the Army National Guard — being commissioned after graduating from Stanford University.

He would then go to law school at Northwestern. After passing the bar, he offered to go on active duty through the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in Vietnam.

“My initial job was Chief Defense Council for II Field Force Vietnam.”

Serving a general court-martial jurisdiction of 88,000 soldiers, the largest in Vietnam.

“My boss, Col. Bob Jones, may he rest in peace, said other units could borrow me,” Steve said. “So then I started going outside of my jurisdiction.”

One of his most widely known cases was coined as the Green Beret Affair.

“I’ve had a lot of interesting cases, but it would be pretty hard to top that one.”

Steve represented Leland Berry, one of the six Special Forces officers, in the highly publicized 1969 cases. Steve was able to get the charges dropped.

“The guys told me that when they got on the plane, we call it the Freedom Bird, the pilot announced that they were on the plane, and everyone cheered them,” Steve recounts.

He wrote about the case in his widely known, 1984 novel ‘Those Gallant Men: On Trial in Vietnam’.

After his service, he continued to fight for his military brothers and sisters.

“I was representing veterans back before there was a US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims,” Steve said.

“He helped homeless veterans, veterans in legal trouble,” John told us. “He found, it was crazy that these veterans who were entitled to these benefits weren’t getting the benefits. Why are we not taking care of our veterans?”

John added, “We were doing most of our work pro bono at that time because we couldn’t get paid, but my dad felt a calling to help veterans get all the compensation they earned.”

“When they finally said you can practice Veterans Law, I already had 1,000 veterans,” Steve shared.

Today, Berry Law has veteran clients in all 50 states — and even one in Egypt.

On top of that, more than 30 percent of the Berry Law team is comprised of veterans and active military members.

Steve, though, has shifted his focus back to writing.

He recently released his fourth novel, ‘Foot Soldier: New and Selected Poems’, where he hopes to serve veterans again.

“I wanted to write something that many of my fellow PTSD veterans, and other people, might enjoy, might learn from.”

Steve said when he was originally diagnosed with PTSD, like many other veterans, he was in denial.

“I no longer have bad dreams about Vietnam. I have come to grips with PTSD and I’ve handled it, but I have dreams that I’m trying a case. Yeah. Wake up with a smile on my face.”

Steve tried cases in 24 states and two separate countries. You can learn more about John Stevens Berry by clicking here.

John Stevens Berry on the 1969 Green Beret Affair Web Extra

To purchase or learn more about his newest novel, click here.

Berry Law is a sponsor of the Mission: Service series on 3 News Now.

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