Rufus Herring served as a Lieutenant (Junior Grade) in the US Naval Reserve. Originally from Roseboro, North Carolina, Herring received his commission in December 1942. Assigned as the commanding officer of LCI(G)-449 (Landing Craft, Infantry-Gunboat), Herring participated in the invasions of Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. On February 17, 1945, LCI(G)-449 participated in the pre-invasion bombardment of Iwo Jima, shelling enemy positions as cover for Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) swimmers as they cleared beaches. Herring was grievously wounded by Japanese counterfire, but stayed in command of his boat, keeping his men in action in support of the UDT teams. Herring survived his wounds, but never returned to action.