Native Banderan honored at Marine Corps Ball
By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer
As the oldest Marine in Augusta, Georgia, Vera Anderwald King, 87, participated in the time-honored tradition of the Cake Ceremony, the highlight of which celebrates the birthday of the Corps.
Joining her for the occasion were her daughter Ginny King, son Jesse King and other family members. Her third child, Henrianne King Westberg was unable to attend.
When the US Marine Corps Women's Reserve was organized during World War II, King received permission from her parents to enlist at the age of 20 instead of the required age of 21. She was one of five siblings who served in the military and joining up was a no-brainer. "We were at war," King explained matter-of-factly as her reason for deciding to serve. She was Bandera County's first female Marine, inducted into the Corps on Dec. 12, 1943, and discharged June 22, 1946.
At boot camp at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, as a Private, King was assigned as secretary to the Chief of Recreation and Athletics, Dan Magill, at Cherry Point, North Carolina. As soon as Congress passed a law allowing female Marines to serve outside the continental United States, King volunteered. She was selected by the Marine Corps Adjutant General on individual orders to report to Fleet Marine Force Pacific in Honolulu. There she served as secretary to the Inspector General, the section in charge of discipline, audit and postal services. One of her most memorable moments during her active duty period was "crossing the Pacific Ocean, heading toward Pearl Harbor, under the threat of possible attack from enemy Japanese submarines."
After V-J Day, Staff Sgt. King was reassigned to Los Angeles as secretary to the Chief of Rehabilitation.
She was platoon leader for the last group of women Marines to leave Hawaii in late December, 1945.
She married fellow Marine, Lafayette King, in 1948. For 31 years she worked for the Veterans Administration. King remains an active member of the Marine Corps League and the Women Marines Association.
The daughter of the late Tom and Eleanor Anderwald of Bandera, she attended St. Joseph's School and graduated from Bandera High School. At the time King served in the Marine Corps, the Anderwalds had three other children in the service, Sgt. Vincent Anderwald, US Army; Lt. Louise Anderwald, Air Corps Nurse; and Lt. Thomas Anderwald, Air Corps. Thomas died in a flying mission over the North Sea in May of 1945. At the same time, the eldest son, James Anderwald, was serving in the Merchant Marine. In 1952, a fifth child, Jerry Anderwald, served in the US Air Force in Alaska with the rank of Sergeant.
King has two sisters still living in Bandera, Dorothy Anderwald Callahan and Joan Anderwald Walters.