SEVERNA PARK, MD, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, K CO, 3D BN, 2D MAR, (RCT-5, I MEF FWD), 2D MAR DIV, CAMP LEJEUNE HABBANIYAH, IRAQ, 10/21/2006
An athlete, a fan of Irish and patriotic country music, a wicked video gamer and rugby player, Eric loved his country and his Catholic faith. He was 20 years old when he died.
Eric was born at Madigan Army hospital at Fort Lewis, Washington. His father, Eric Herzberg, was an Army officer at the time. Eric was involved in gymnastics, soccer, and baseball as a young child. He also enjoyed tormenting his sister Katie, who was two years older than him. His brother Matthew was born two years after Eric. Matthew and Eric were best friends for their entire life. All three kids enjoyed jumping on a little trampoline setup in Katie’s room. They especially enjoyed pushing each other off and seeing who could make the most consecutive jumps from the trampoline to Katie’s bed and back. It was during this time that Eric announced his patriotic intentions because he loved to sing “You’re a Grand Ole Flag” while jumping on the trampoline.
In June of 2000, when Eric was 14, the family moved to Severna Park, Maryland. It was this point that Eric discovered a love of paintball. He and Matthew would play as much as possible. Both boys became very skilled at not getting hit and shooting their father multiple times, sometimes even when he was on the same team as them.
During his freshman year at Severna Park 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.
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.
When the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001, Eric started to discuss joining the Marine Corps in earnest. He wanted to make a difference and help prevent these attacks from happening again. He signed an early intent letter and began working out with other future Marines every Saturday during the end of his junior year in high school. He continued to work out every Saturday in his senior year. 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 successfully completed boot camp in October of 2005 and the School of Infantry in March of 2006. Eric was assigned to his regular unit as a machine gunner with the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force headquartered in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Eric deployed to Iraq on July 14, 2006. He was killed October 21, 2006, “while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province.”
At Eric’s funeral, his Severna Park wrestling coach, Paul Joyce, stood to praise Corporal Herzberg. “He was a coach’s dream,” Mr. Joyce said. “I never had to yell at him for lack of effort. Eric was a great kid, never absent, never cursing, and was never in trouble”
“You have heard of young athletes that you need to mold, who need to be shown, shown the right way,” he said. “Eric was not someone who needed molding. Eric showed us.”