Michael Edward Berdy

Army of the United States
29 December 1943 - 26 December 1967
New York, New York
Panel 32E Line 061


Combat Infantry

National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Michael Edward Berdy

12 February 2000

Please enter a memorial for my cousin Captain Michael E. Berdy, born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on 12/29/1943. He was in the Army and died just a few days before he was scheduled to come home.

He was not killed in battle. The helicopter he was in crashed.

They are not forgotten.

Sandy Feinstein

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01 March 2002

I was an infantry platoon leader in the same company (A/2/8 Cav, 1st Cav) with her cousin, CPT Michael J. Berdy for about seven months in 1967. Berdy was the third platoon leader, call sign "PLATO", and I had the first platoon.

I would like to get in touch with Sandy Feinstein.

Tom Mancini
1st Cav 66-67
MACV 69-70

12 Nov 2005

As an OCS graduate "Class 8-65", Fort Benning, Georgia, I had the personal privilege and honor of having served as a platoon leader with Mike Berdy in Company A, 2d Bn, 8th Cavalry, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). I was the 1st platoon leader, he was the 3rd platoon leader. My call sign was JOKER, his was PLATO. Company Commander was BATMAN.

I don't remember exactly when he got to the unit, but I was already up-country when he arrived. I can assure you that he and I had some serious discussions about who was the better platoon leader, a West Pointer or a former NCO and OCS graduate. That discussion never came up again after 31 March 67 when our Company Commander (a Captain) interrupted one of those heated discourses about who was better and STERNLY reminded us that "he was the company commander and an ROTC graduate" and summarily dispatched us back to our platoons away from his Command Post.

On that evening, my platoon became engaged in an all night fire fight. We had been ambushed just as we entered into a cemetery. There were no casualties because we used grave markers/stones for protection. Between 1800 hrs 31 Mar and 0600 (light), 01 April Berdy and his platoon were able to move a couple of kilometers and get behind the VC. By morning all were summarily dispatched. No US casualties.

You have no idea how imaginative and humorous he was - especially when he frequently came to my aid in Vietnam. My platoon had a unique ability to always being able to find the enemy (usually of a size larger than my platoon).

As in the ambush described above (and a couple of others), Berdy's platoon would inevitably be dispatched by the CO to rescue us - but always at a price. Like having his platoon take credit for any of our VC/NVA KIAs (in addition to his). Or confiscating one of my personal CARE packages from my parents as a reward for his platoon having to rescue me AGAIN. Or wanting to know how many whiskey or beer rations I still had on my ration card.

As Mike Connor said, "He was a man of humor, conviction, imagination and drive, but most of all he had incredible courage."

Incredible Courage is definitely a true description of him. Never once did I ever question his platoon's ability to "rescue" my platoon. He and his platoon sergeant, like me and my platoon sergeant, took care of our men. Both platoons were so well trained they knew exactly what the other would do. It would simply be a matter of time before Berdy would reach us and all would be well again. Because we took care of them, they took care of us. And because we always took care of each other our casualty rates were very low. These two platoons typified the term "A Band of Brothers".

For a West Pointer, he was definitely a 'comrade in arms'.

Tom Mancini, CPT, Inf (Retired)
"the Joker"

04 March 2002

January 25, 1967: All afternoon we struggled upward through dripping jungle, up grades so steep we could reach straight out and touch the ground ahead of us, and so muddy and slick that we made progressed only by grabbing onto whatever was available, slipping back a foot for every two we advanced .... Finally at the top of whatever hill we had been ordered to climb with punji stakes everywhere ... I made the rounds, and met Lieutenant Michael E. Berdy for the first time.

Berdy, who about six feet tall with the build of a weight lifter, had light blond hair and was Jewish. When I first saw him he was trying to set up night positions and ambushes in disregard of the advice of his more experienced platoon sergeant.

After introducing myself, I asked Lieutenant Berdy come with me and examine some enemy fighting positions on the trail. Then, out of ear shot of his men, I shared with Lt. Berdy some lore about sergeants and lieutenants, and suggested he have more respect for his platoon sergeant's experience. I never saw Berdy make the same type of mistake again. Unlike some officers and NCOs, Berdy considered my advice and acted on it without discounting it because it came from a chaplain. This marked him in my eyes as an officer destined for greatness in the Army.

I was often with Berdy after that until I left the battalion in September. In November 1967 near Dak To, Berdy took command of Bravo Company 2-8 Cav, replacing Captain David Decker who gave his life near Dak To. On 26 December 1967, Berdy and eleven others died in the Chinook crash. At least eight of the eleven were in his company. Michael was one of four 2-8 Cav line commanders to die during a two month period in late 1967 and early 1968 -- a 100 percent "Killed" ratio for line company company commanders.

From a fellow soldier in combat,
Claude D. Newby
641 West 3300 South, Bountiful, Utah 84010

22 Apr 2004

Michael E. Berdy attended Public School 188, 3314 Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11224 (718.266.6380) from 1948-1955. Public School 188 is now named the Michael E. Berdy School in his honor.

Every spring, a group of 4th and 5th graders visit the Vietnam Wall and place flowers and remembrances under his name on the Wall.

From a teacher at P.S. 188,
Herman Darvick

10 Mar 2005

I was in the process of looking up on Google articles on my younger brother, who is serving as a rifle company commander in Afghanistan with the 25th Infantry Division, when I came upon this website. I had no clue that it existed. I am the nephew of the man some of you served with, Michael E. Berdy; he was my father's older, and only, brother. Small world I guess. It would be nice if any of you could provide any more insight into my uncle during the time you spent together. I know it would mean a lot to my father.

All of us have, or continue, to serve in the Army. My father, Andy, retired after 30 years as an Infantry Colonel, as did his father. My brother, named after his uncle, and I continue to serve, both as infantry officers, with myself having been in Iraq and my brother in Afghanistan. Please feel free to contact me at erik.berdy@us.army.mil. I will be sure to pass on any information to my father, who I know will appreciate this. Thank you.

From his nephew,
Major Erik Berdy

01 Oct 2005

My name is Rich Leamon and I grew up in Sea Gate with both Mike and Andy. I was just a kid when Mike went off to West Point, he was one of the older guys in the neighborhood that I really looked up to. I remember seeing him in his uniform, he looked like the "All American Boy", what every dad wants his son to grow up to look like and be like!

When he was killed, it really brought the war home and made us realize that Viet Nam wasn't a joke. They built the monument in Sea Gate across from Mike's house and all of us kids used to hang out there still not fully realizing what it was all about. In Jan 1972 I learned first hand about Viet Nam as it was "my turn" to serve. My tour was spent with the 366th Security Police Squadron at DaNang Air Base, RVN.

I am an "old man" (53) now and will never forget Mike or Andy and now my own son, Chris, is serving with the USAF. I can truly say that Mike will never be forgotten and I pray for his family, I can't imagine what the feelings are to lose a son or brother but when I found this site dedicated to Mike, I felt compelled to add my name to the list of people who knew Mike and will never forget him.God Bless.

Rich Leamon
Denver, Colorado 80229

A Note from The Virtual Wall

A CH-47A (tail number 66-19006) of C Company, 228th Assault Support Helicopter Battalion, was conducting a troop lift with five crewmen and 28 passengers aboard. As the aircraft was approaching for landing, the aft rotor assembly separated from the fuselage, followed shortly thereafter by the forward rotor assembly. The aircraft impacted in an upright position. Eight men died in the crash:
  • CPT Michael Edward Berdy, Alpha 2/8 Cav
  • 1LT Daryl Lee Ligons, HHB, 1/30 Arty
  • 1LT Thomas Milton Van Zandt, Charlie 2/8 Cav
  • SSG Allen D. Ford, Charlie 2/8 Cav
  • SGT Stephen Michael Vuga, Charlie 2/8 Cav
  • CPL James Lee Russ, Jr., Charlie 2/8 Cav
  • SP4 William H. Campbell III, Flight Engineer, C/228th ASHB
  • SP4 Barry Stuart Kyle, 228th ASHB

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his nephew,
Erik Berdy
Major, US Army
09 Feb 2000

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 11/18/2005