Commander Russell Elliott Berry Jr., United States Navy (Ret.), 79, of Beaufort, South Carolina and husband of Judith “Judy” Berry died Friday, March 26, 2021 at MUSC- Charleston.
Russell Elliott Berry Jr. was born March 21, 1942 in Staten Island, New York. He was the eldest of five boys born to Russell Elliott Berry and Emily Margaret Franck. Russell was predeceased by his parents and two brothers, Bruce Otto and Floyd William Berry. He is survived by his wife Judith “Judy” Berry; two children Michael Thomas Berry (Lisa) of Greensburg PA and Jennifer Lynn Wolfe (Kevin) of Denver NC; four grandchildren Dillon, Brendan, Ashley and Ryan; two brothers Guy and William; sister in law Sandra Palumbo; and nephews Stephen and Jeffrey Eggleston.
Judy and Russ met and married in 1981 in Washington, DC at the Navy Chapel.
Russ was raised in Bourne, MA on Cape Cod and graduated High School in Ogdensburg, NY. He graduated from the US Naval Academy (BS) and the George Washington University (MS).
Russ served 20 years in the United States Navy. He served as a naval aviator, engineering test pilot and Squadron Commanding Officer. Russ served foreign tours in Viet Nam and Egypt. Some of Russ’s personal decorations include Legion of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals, and an Egyptian Presidential Citation. He served as Navy’s chief engineer for procurement of SH-60B multi-mission helicopter. Russ retired as a Commander in 1983.
Following his naval career, he joined Sikorsky Aircraft in international program management and business development. He led major military helicopter acquisitions programs in Japan, Taiwan and Australia.
While working with the US Navy customer, he developed Navy Helicopter Master Plan which led to current Navy Helo Concept of Operations (CONOPS-1) in 2001 and reorganization of entire US Navy helicopter fleet. He was the primary author of Mission Essential Needs Statement (MENS) for Navy CH-60, folding in requirements for Vertical Replenishment, Combat Support and Combat Search and Rescue. This led to procurement of MH-60S program.
Russ led business development activities with US Navy customer wherein Sikorsky was awarded major acquisition contracts for over 500 MH-60R and MH-60S multi-mission helicopters.
Russ retired for a second time in 1997 to 170 acre farm in Orwell Township in northeastern Pennsylvania. Judy and Russ were stewards of their land for thirty wonderful years. His two Schnauzers- Rudy and Molly- were constant companions and left many special memories of the “immeasurable joy” they provided. They were confirmed “snowbirds”; Russ and Judy traveled in their motorhome for 12 years to Canada, the South and Southwest- finally making Beaufort SC their winter base (and final residence) in 2010.
A graveside service will be held at 11 o’clock Friday morning, April 9, 2021, at Beaufort National Cemetery with United States Naval Honors.