Sidney Berry led men into combat in two wars and was wounded in both conflicts, yet the most trying period the highly decorated officer faced in a distinguished Army career occurred during his stint as head of the U.S. Military Academy, when a cheating scandal roiled West Point just before the first female cadets arrived on campus.
“That was the most difficult assignment he ever had in his life because it was such a difficult time,” his daughter, Nan Berry Davenport, said Thursday.
She said her father, a retired lieutenant general, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease on July 1 at a retirement home in Kennett Square, Pa., outside Philadelphia. He was 87.
Berry was superintendent of the academy in 1976 when a major cheating scandal engulfed West Point, with 152 cadets eventually expelled for violating the academy’s code of honor. The scandal particularly pained Berry, a member of West Point’s Class of 1948 and a former history instructor at the academy.
Berry was born on Feb. 10, 1926, in Hattiesburg, Miss. He accepted an appointment to West Point rather than enlist during World War II. Assigned to the 35th Infantry Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division, his unit was headed to Japan for training when the Korean War broke out in June 1950.
Berry was awarded two Silver Stars in Korea, where he received battlefield promotions to captain and then major. He earned two more in Vietnam, where he commanded combat units.