Annette M. Nierenberg Howards, Corporal USMCWR

Submitted by :

Jeff Howards Sgt, USMC 1973-1977

Corporal Annette Howards, USMCWR.  She enlisted in 1944 and was discharged in 1946.

She was assigned to Air Base Group-2 (ABG-2) first at NAS North Island and then at MCAS El Toro, working in the Tool Crib supporting the mechanics working on F4Us coming back from the Pacific for an overhaul which is where she met my father, Pfc Bernie Howards. They were married immediately after her discharge on April 26, New York.

The Marine Corps Muster Roles show the following entries:

NAME:Annette M Nierenberg
STATION:Aviation Women’s Reserve Squadron-7, U S Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, California
Name:Annette M Nierenberg
Muster Date:Jan 1945
Station:Aviation Women’s Reserve Squadron Eight, Abg-2, Nas, San Diego, California
Name:Annette M Nierenberg
Muster Date:Jul 1945
Rank:Private First Class
Station:Aviation Women’s Reserve Squadron Eight, Air Base Group Two, Usmcas, El Toro, California
Name:Annette M Nierenberg
Muster Date:Jan 1946
Station:Aviation Women’s Reserve Squadron Eight, Abg-2, Mcas, El Toro, California
Name:Annette M Nierenberg
Muster Date:Apr 1946
Station:Discharged At Awrs-9, Mar Air, West, Usmcas, El Toro , California

She was a life member of the WMA and the Wisconson Veteran Association, attending meetings and reunions on a regular basis. In 2007 I escorted her HQMC at 8th and I where she donated a lot of her memorabilia to their museum, and to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico where she attached her dog tags for posterity on the Dog Tag Wall.  While viewing the WM display a large group of younger (20s-30s) visitors came by and were amazed to meet a real life WWII WM standing in front of the displays. 

In 2010 she participated in a Honor Flight to DC which set the record at that time for both the most Women Vets and the most Marines on one flight.  She was very active with the local chapter of the Marine Corps League and the WVA, and literally died with her boots on, suffering a heart attack in 2013 while on a camping trip in Northern Wisconsin with other Women Vets.  She wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Honor Guards from all the local Veterans Associations were present at her funeral. 

Abstract of her Oral History
Howards, a Bronx, New York native, discusses her World War II service in the Women’s Marine Corps with the Air Base Group 2, and her experiences as a woman veteran in Wisconsin. Howards talks about her decision to enlist and her family’s disapproval of that decision.
Entering the service in 1944, Howards experienced WWII civilian life in New York; she comments on blackouts, war bonds, and rationing. She details basic training at Camp Lejune (North Carolina) comparing it to men’s training and touches upon being the only Jewish woman at Camp Lejune. Stationed in the tool room at Camp Elliott (California) she relates social activities, treatment of women Marines, and dating on base. She touches upon caring for tools at El Toro (California), following the war from the base, and marrying a Marine. Howards discusses her post-war experiences as a newlywed including the difficulties finding housing and shortages of household goods. Howards did not use any veterans’ benefits, and through this discussion provides an in-depth look at the problems and isolation facing women veterans. In the late 1980s
she joined the Women Marine Association and the Marine Corps League and speaks at length about those organizations and the increased recognition of women veterans.