Terry L. Berg was born December 13, 1946, in Boise, Idaho. He was an only child. He enlisted in the U.S. Air force in 1965 and served four years until 1969 with his highest rank a sergeant. He trained in Texas and then was sent to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. He chose to go to Vietnam from there with the 377th Combat Support Group and was stationed at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, outside Saigon, in South Vietnam. He saw combat on his second day. His job was to guard the airplanes and he was one of about 75 dog handler teams that went out each night to patrol.
His dog, Sarge, was assigned to him after his owner was killed in the first attack after Terry arrived on base. Sarge was a 130-pound German shepherd that patrolled the perimeter around the base with Terry. “It was a two-week fight,” Berg said of the dog’s adjustment to a new handler. “I wanted him to work. He wanted to eat me. He used my arm as a hot dog. It was not fun, but we worked it out eventually.”1 Sarge detected enemy snipers trying to creep up close to the base. He saved Terry’s life on more than one occasion.
The 377th Air Base Wing was activated as the 377th Combat Support Group (CSG) on April 8, 1966, and assigned to Seventh Air Force, the air arm of Military Assistance Command-Vietnam (MACV). 2 The 377 CSG was responsible for operations and maintenance of the USAF portion of Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam, from April 8, 1966 – March 28, 1973. Responsibility included base defense and liaison with the South Vietnamese Air Force and support to Seventh Air Force. Tan Son Nhut AB underwent numerous enemy attacks during the group’s assignment there.
Terry was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal, granted for prolonged acts of heroism or meritorious service, for his combat actions in Vietnam.3 His unit was also awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.4
He worked a short time after his discharge at Douglas Aircraft as a parts inspector.5 He then attended Santa Monica Community College and graduated in 1975 from Cal State University-Long Beach with a degree in criminal justice and law enforcement, thanks to the GI Bill.
He moved to the Quad Cities, worked at the Rock Island Arsenal for 24 years in supply and inventory management, and was active in the employee union. He retired in 2003. Terry also joined the Scott County Sheriff Reserve in 1983, serving for more than 20 years. He was a life member of the Vietnam Veterans of America Quad Cities (IL) Chapter 776 where he was proud to serve on the honor guard.6 He married Barbara Lynch in 1988. He was a proud benefactor of the National Rifle Association and taught concealed carry classes for many years.
Terry died of a heart attack on January 15, 2015.