John Herrera
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John Herrera
  • March 14, 1926 - January 11, 2018
  • San Antonio, Texas

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San Antonio, TX 78218
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John Herrera Sr., age 91, passed away on Thursday, January 11, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. John was born to Valentine Herrera and Petra Arizola on March 14, 1926, in Los Angeles, Texas. His father was a blacksmith for Harris Brother's Ranch, his mother a housewife.

John married Alicia Avila in May 1944, and within a month joined the U.S. Army. After basic training he was assigned to the 550th Night Fighter Squadron and immediately deployed to the Philippines. The 550th Night Fighter Squadron provided air defense against the Japanese for both day and night missions against enemy troops. As World War II continued, he was actively engaged in the Philippines Liberation and Air Combat Borneo campaigns. He shared many memories of his time in the South Pacific Theatre. One memory he shared with his children was of the Borneo headhunters who became the soldiers' allies.

During his WWII service, John Herrera was awarded many decorations and commendations. He earned the Asiatic Pacific Campaign medal with three bronze stars, the Philippines Liberation medal with one Bronze Star, the Victory Medal, the Overseas Tour ribbon with two service bars, the WWII Army Marksman Carbine Ribbon, and the Good Conduct Medal.

In 1948, John reenlisted and volunteered for the 82nd Airborne and successfully completed airborne training at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, where he earned his Airborne Qualification Badge and Airborne Glider Badge. The 82nd Airborne was designated a specialized force in parachute operations with a unique mission to deliver parachute assault operations into "denied areas." The 82 Airborne was considered the most strategically mobile division and the most highly trained infantry division during combat campaigns. With over 60 jumps, John earned the highest award possible, a Master Parachutist Badge.

John Herrera reenlisted in the "Regular Army" and attended Infantry School in Ft. Benning, Georgia where he earned an Expert Infantry Badge. John was honorably discharged on April 14, 1966 with a National Service Defense Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Good Conduct medal with three oak leaf clusters.

After his retirement, John worked for the Crystal City Sheriff's Department. He was then hired as a Federal Police Officer by the Veteran's Administration Hospital. He retired again. After his second retirement, John continued his commitment to fellow veteran's health and safety. He volunteered twenty to forty hours a week for the next 15 years. John would feed, dress, play games and just visit with the "old veterans". He volunteered until he was eighty seven years old.

Fellow veterans, active military personnel, veterans health care personnel, and those in the community who understood and appreciated his sacrifices to his country as a WWII and an 82nd Airborne veteran held John Herrera in high regard, and recognized him as a hero.

Visitation will be on Sunday January 28th from 2-5 pm at Sunset Funeral Home. The Funeral Service will be on Monday, January 29th at 9:00 am with burial to follow at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.