Eric Herzberg, Lance Corporal
June 7, 1986-October 21, 2006
During his freshman year at Severna Park (Maryland) high school, Eric decided to try out for the football team. This was challenging enough, especially for being the new kid in town. The fact that Eric had NEVER played football probably didn’t even enter his mind. He played Junior Varsity that year on defense. Even though he was not as experienced as other players, Eric gave 110% on every play and never quit.
The next year, as a sophomore, Eric decided to try out for wrestling. His wrestling coach, Paul Joyce, who now mentors Eric’s brother Matthew, remembered Eric’s manners and even keel from working with him on the junior varsity wrestling and football squads.
“He was a coach’s dream,” Mr. Joyce said. “I never had to yell at him for lack of effort. He might not have been one of the better players, but it was not from lack of effort.”
Looking for something to keep them occupied after football season, Matthew and Eric decided to try rugby. Both boys were relatively small compared to the other players but they were ferocious hitters. They both loved the physical challenge of the competition. I also think they enjoyed being covered with mud.
Soccer was probably Eric’s best sport. He earned a nickname of “The Iron Curtain” from his teammates because of his defensive play.
When the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001, Eric started to discuss joining the military in earnest. He wanted to make a difference and help prevent these attacks from happening again. His early intentions were to join the Army and become an Airborne Ranger. He wanted to be part of the elite.
He soon changed his mind about the Army because “the training wasn’t as intense as the Marines”.
His Roman Catholic faith also guided his decision to join the Marines and helped him convince his mother of the surety of his vocation. He viewed his desire to serve in the military as a “calling”.
After high school graduation, Eric joined the Marine Corps. He announced his intention to “go to Iraq and be in the front lines so I can make a difference”. After boot camp and SOI Eric was assigned to his regular unit as a machine gunner with 3/2, where he met his friend and fellow Marine Justin Carman.
On Oct. 21, Justin Carman saw as Herzberg was shot while they patrolled Anbar province, an insurgent stronghold.
In the sleepless nights after his son's death, Eric F. Herzberg spent his time sending e-mails to people who had signed an online condolence book.
One note in particular caught his attention. It was from the mother of Justin CarmanThe online posting set off an exchange of e-mails that has led to the creation of two scholarships to benefit students in Maryland and Florida.
Graduating seniors from Severna Park High School, Cpl. Herzberg's alma mater, will be eligible to receive up to $5,000 over two years to attend a university, college or vocational school. In Carman's hometown in Hillsborough County, Fla., students will have the opportunity to receive the same amount.
The scholarships are a tribute to a son who followed in his father's military footsteps. The elder Herzberg was a graduate of West Point and served as an Army officer for five years.
"Usually it's the older generation that leaves a legacy for the younger generation to step into," said Herzberg, who lives in Laurel. "I made a commitment to him when I said goodbye that I would spend my life living up to the legacy he started."
Eric was survived by his mother, Gina Barnhurst, father Eric Herzberg, sister Katie and brother Matthew. Katie graduated from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania in 2007 before attending the Ross School of Veterinary Medicine in the West Indies. Matthew graduated from Severna Park high school and enrolled at Towson University