AMERICAN LEGION DEPARTMENT OF TEXAS

GEORGE S. BERRY

COMMANDER

1947-1948

Commander Berry was born in Lubbock, Texas on 15 September, 1898. He was educated in Texas public schools, Texas Christian University and Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee. He served in World War I as Private, 13th Service Company, U.S. Army Signal Corps. In business, Commander Berry was a lawyer. His civic and fraternal affiliations included membership in the Baptist Church, Kiwanis Club, The Masonic Orders, and the Lubbock County and State Bar Associations.

 

 In the American Legion he served as Adjutant and Post Commander of Allen Brothers, Post No. 148 in Lubbock, Department Judge Advocate(1944),5th Division Commander(1947) and was elected Department Commander at the Fort Worth Convention on 30 July,1947.

 

The Department Executive Committee(DEC) met in September 1947 and voted to dispense with two of its service officers in view of newly established and expanded Texas Veterans Affairs Commission. By February, 1948, it became obvious that those positions and three others should be, and consequently were restored. The men appointed were placed in each of the regional offices of the Veterans Administration. They were Fred Brookman at Waco; Sid Lowery at Lubbock; Albert Brown at San Antonio; A.H. Tyner at Dallas and Wilson Turner at Houston.

 

Through his Rehabilitation Committee, Commander Berry followed the activities of the Veterans Administration hospitals. Work was completed on the Veterans Administration hospital at Big Spring and the domiciliary at Bonham was started, bed capacity was increased at McCloskey and new hospitals were to be erected at Marlin, El Paso and Houston. Texas.

 

Fighting men had traditionally returned home when their fighting was done and been given an opportunity by the State to acquire Texas land in personal ownership, but there was no longer a frontier and no more free lands. The Texas General Land Office, since the middle of the war, had been considering legislation which would enable veterans to acquire Texas land. The Legion supported such legislation and urged passage of the Veterans Land Bill. The bill was passed and signed by Governor Beauford Jester before the end of the year 1948. In effect the bill with the support of the people of Texas, authorized the sale of state bonds in the amount of $25,000,000 through a newly created Veterans Land Program. The program was initiated in 1949, and with the establishment of a Veterans Land Board as the administrator, operations began. The Veterans Land Board proceeded objectively to purchase 200 tracts of farm and ranch land per year, and then sell these to veterans for the same price, on long term mortgages at low interest rates. The State of Texas would lose no money; Texas veterans could obtain Texas land. Pronto! New Frontier!

 

 Americanism programs were active and exciting, Oratorical contest were held in San Antonio, Boys State was held at the State School of the Deaf in Austin, Al Barach of Houston was elected Governor and Albert Hildredth,Jr. of Houston, Lieutenant Governor, while 322 other boys cheered. The two boys represented Texas at boys Forum in Washington, D.C., where Hildredth was elected Vice President.

 

One hundred and sixty Junior Baseball teams registered and played in Department tournaments. The Austin buddies of Travis, Post 76, placed first in the state finals at Paris, Texas and won the regional tournament over Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.

 

Commander Berry had worked closely with Past Commander Gieseke, all year long in their support and direction of the program which brought WW II dead home. The reburial program, in fact, kept all the Posts busy in family assistance and ceremonial services.

 

Fifty-one new Posts were formed during the year.

 

Membership at year-end was 103,457