Theresa Berry pins a general star on a uniform worn by her husband, Brig. Gen. Mark H. Berry, during a promotion ceremony July 15 at the 188th Fighter Wing. Berry became the first officer from the 188th to be promoted to brigadier general in more than 25 years. (National Guard photo by Airman Cody Martin/188th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)
Maj. Gen. William Wofford, Arkansas National Guard adjutant general, left, administers the Oath of Office to Brig. Gen. Mark H. Berry July 15 at the 188th Fighter Wing during a promotion ceremony. Berry became the first officer from the 188th to be promoted to brigadier general in more than 25 years. Berry will serve as the Arkansas Air National Guard chief of staff. (National Guard photo by Airman Cody Martin/188th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)
The family of Brig. Gen. Mark H. Berry pins on general stars on Berry’s uniform during his promotion ceremony. Berry became the first officer from the 188th to be promoted to brigadier general in more than 25 years. (National Guard photo by Airman Cody Martin/188th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)
Brig. Gen. Mark H. Berry delivers a speech July 15 at the 188th Fighter Wing during his promotion ceremony. Berry became the first officer from the 188th to be promoted to brigadier general in more than 25 years. (National Guard photo by Airman Cody Martin/188th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)
by Airman 1st Class John Hillier
188th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
7/16/2012 - FORT SMITH, Ark. -- People gathered from across the state of Arkansas to show their support as Col. Mark Berry was promoted to the rank of brigadier general today in a ceremony at the 188th Fighter Wing.
Brig. Gen. Berry has served as Arkansas Air National Guard chief of staff since May 2012, and has more than 20 years of active-duty service and 15 years as an Air Reserve technician.
Most recently for the 188th, he served as the 188th Maintenance Group commander for the last 11 years. During his tenure in this position, he oversaw maintenance operations at the 188th for both the A-10 Thunderbolt II "Warthog" and the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
"Brig. Gen. Berry has always been a tremendous asset to the 188th," said Col. Mark Anderson, 188th Fighter Wing commander. "He made significant contributions to the combat capability and overall mission effectiveness of the 188th and his demanding, high standards of excellence contributed to some of the safest, most mission-effective flying years on record for fighters in the Air National Guard. His diligence helped facilitate the largest aircraft conversion in Air National Guard history one month early despite the Air Force facing months of limited sortie availability due to fleet-wide wing cracks which grounded most A-10s worldwide. We look forward to his leadership and direction in his new position at Arkansas National Guard Joint Force Headquarters."
As chief of staff, Berry assists Brig. Gen. Dwight Balch, Arkansas Air National Guard commander, and Maj. Gen. William Wofford, Arkansas National Guard adjutant general, in formulating, developing and coordinating all programs, polices and plans, ensuring the combat readiness of the Fort Smith-based 188th Fighter Wing; Little Rock Air Force Base-based 189th Airlift Wing, which is the only Air National Guard C-130 training wing; Little Rock AFB-based 123rd Intelligence Squadron; National Guard Marksmanship Training Center, based at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, North Little Rock, Ark.; and 154th Weather Flight, based at Little Rock AFB. Berry also oversees Arkansas' approximately 2,000 Active Guard Reserve and traditional Guardsmen.
"General Berry is a man of integrity and character and extremely deserving of the promotion to general officer," Wofford said. "He's had a very diverse career with several deployments and assignments. Our young officers should take notice and learn from him. He has done it the right way."
While the attendees at the ceremony had their thoughts on Brig Gen. Berry, his thoughts were foremost on Airmen from the 188th who were recently sent into harm's way.
"Right now it's about 35 minutes after midnight in Afghanistan, and there are more than 300 men and women from the 188th Fighter Wing, among the many Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, putting their lives on the line, serving this country because this country asked them to serve." Berry said in a speech. "They are incredibly talented, dedicated, men and women who accomplish the remarkable while serving in a demanding, dangerous and austere environment."
Berry is the fourth member of the 188th Fighter Wing to be promoted from the wing to the rank of brigadier general, the most recent being Brig. Gen. (retired) H.D. McCarty, a former chaplain with the 188th who pinned on brigadier general in July 1986. Before that, Maj. Gen. Charles W. Harris, former 188th Fighter Wing commander, was promoted to brigadier general in 1985 and appointed commander of the Arkansas Air National Guard.
Brig. Gen. Edward Schneider became the first general officer from the 188th when he was promoted to brigadier general in 1980 and appointed as assistant adjutant general for Air, Arkansas National Guard.
Berry served in a diverse array of assignments during his years as an enlisted Airmen and officer. He enlisted in the Air Force in August 1974 and served as an air traffic controller. In 1981, Berry was assigned to the Nevada Test Site, Las Vegas, Nev., in direct support of presidentially directed projects and programs in the Department of Energy and Department of Defense Special Projects and Testing.
Berry attended Officer Training School in 1985, followed by his assignment to the 2110th Communications Squadron, Vance Air Force Base, Enid, Okla., as chief of Air Traffic Control Operations. In 1988, Berry assumed duties at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea as deputy chief, Air Traffic Control Operations in support of the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. After his return from the Republic of Korea, Berry attended the Ira C. Eaker Center for Professional Development and was subsequently assigned as assistant professor of aerospace studies, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Ark.
Upon his separation from active duty in 1992, Berry joined the 188th Fighter Wing as a public affairs officer. Berry was assigned as 188th Support Group commander in July 2001 and as 188th Maintenance Group commander in November 2001. With more than 11 years logged in his most recent position at the 188th, Berry was the longest-serving maintenance group commander in the Combat Air Forces.
Berry was also vice chairman of the Air National Guard A-10 Aircraft Maintenance Council from 2008-2011 and most recently was president of the National Guard Association of Arkansas.
"Back in 1974, I didn't know if I would graduate from Basic Training, much less be standing before you as a general officer," said Berry. "Even a year ago, I wouldn't have dreamed this day would come, either."