Two Navy officers bring history to life at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School
High school teacher Andrew Berry brought in two U.S. Navy officers for "show and tell" last week, providing his history class students with a real-life introduction to their next topic of study, America as a world power.
One of the officers just happened to be his son, Lt. Mason Berry, USN, who was accompanied by his girlfriend, Ensign Molly Meyerink, USN.
Photo by Taylor Smith
Lt. Berry, a helicopter pilot stationed in Guam, arrived home on leave March 16, after being away from Martha's Vineyard in military service for almost three years. Not one to waste a good classroom resource, his dad talked him and Ensign Meyerink, who is based in San Diego, into giving presentations about the Navy and their experiences to five history classes last Thursday and Friday at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School.
Lt. Berry's anecdotes about his experiences as a helicopter pilot, Ensign Meyerink's descriptions of life aboard a ship, some video clips and slides held an 11th grade history class spellbound during a presentation last Friday at 12:40 pm.
Providing some background, Lt. Berry, age 27, said he graduated from Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., the same one President Barack Obama's daughters attend.
"It's a Quaker School - Quakers, if they are anything at all, are pacifists - conscientious objectors - so immediately upon graduating from there, I decided to join the military," Lt. Berry said with a laugh.
He received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., graduated in 2004 with a degree in systems engineering, and service-selected the career path of U.S. Navy pilot.
Lt. Berry spent about two years in Pensacola, Fla., where he trained as a pilot, and then spent about a year in San Diego before being sent to Guam.
Photo courtesy of Lt. Berry
His first deployments included participation in Operation Talisman Saber, a joint exercise with the Australian Navy, and service as an MH-60S helicopter pilot in support of the Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier battle group in the Pacific.
After returning to Guam for about six months, Lt. Berry was deployed to northern Kuwait, where he piloted an MH-60S helicopter in medevac missions for all of Kuwait, southern Iraq, and the northern Arabian Gulf for nine months.
In describing conditions in Iraq, Lt. Berry said daytime desert temperatures rose to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and up to 140 degrees inside the aircraft. With 30- to 40-knot winds blowing in the summer, he said, "It was like holding a blow-dryer in front of your face all day long - on high heat."