(Brentwood, California 6/25/11) An unusual World War II veteran from Brentwood, Marcella Ruth Herzig, died June 16th at the age of 90, further dwindling the number of veterans of that historic war until soon, there will be no more. Yes, a WOMAN veteran of WW II.
Ms. Herzig was an extremely beautiful young woman who stunned the recruiters when she showed up to enlist in the Navy Air Corps when World War II broke out.
She was shipped out to boot camp in Rochester, New York, then was assigned to tower duty in Livermore, California at a Navy airstrip which is now the site of the Lawrence Livermore Labs.
While on duty she became acquainted with Robert Taylor, the movie star, who was a pilot and had also enlisted in the Navy Air Corps. They saw each other frequently when he was in and out, and became friends.
She was easy to be friends with. That included the girls in high school who could have resented her because of her beauty and tried to compete with her but that was not the case. She was not spoiled or self centered. Indeed she was humble with what appeared to be a shy streak. She never wanted to be the center of attention. Her respect for others along with her strict ethics drew people to her.
Even though most of her friends had died during her 90 years, she continued to make a lasting impact on everyone she met, resulting in the Brentwood Funeral Home Chapel being nearly filled for her Memorial Service on June 20th.
Uniformed officers from United States Volunteers (US-V), under the direction of Major Timothy Vaughn, performed a special flag folding ceremony and presented the flag to her son, Franklin, along with a buglar playing “Taps.” It was a proper send-off for one of America’s finest.
The last veteran of World War1 died recently, ending that era. World War II Veterans, rightly called, "The Greatest Generation," are dying off at a rate of 2000 a day, meaning there will come a day in the near future when the last of that generation will take a final furlough as well.
Thanks are owed to these veterans who put their own ambitions and hopes for the future aside so that we could fulfill our own. Their memories should be kept in the highest level of honor in our hearts for what they did for America.