Death of a Distinguished Marine – Veteran Of Iwo Jima, Vietnam, And Korea, Lt. Gen. Lawrence F. Snowden

Retired Lt. Gen. Lawrence F. Snowden, center, places a flower wreath at the base of the Reunion of Honor monument during the 70th Anniversary Reunion of Honor of the Battle of Iwo Jima.

On Saturday 18th February, Charlottesville lost one of her most distinguished sons, Retired Lt. Gen. Lawrence F. Snowden, at a hospice in Florida.

Lt. Gen Snowdon was born Lawrence F. Snoddy Jr., in Charlottesville on the 14th April 1921 and changed his surname to Snowden in 1972.  He joined the Marines in February 1942 after graduating with a degree in commerce from the University of Virginia.

In 1945, Snowden, then a Captain, led one of the Marine companies ashore at Iwo Jima.  His 230 marines were in the second wave ashore, and by the time the month-long battle ended, half of his company were killed, and Snowden was wounded.  He was evacuated as a result of his injuries but hitched a ride back, with three other officers, on a plane taking mail and relief supplies of blood back to Iwo Jima as the battle was still raging.

After WWII, Snowden remained in the Marines and saw service in the Korean War, where he held the rank of major and was a battalion executive, and in the Vietnam War where he led the 7th Marine Regiment in many search-and-destroy missions against the Viet Cong.

This courageous and distinguished officer accumulated a chest full of medals, including two Purple Hearts, two Navy Distinguished Service Medals, and five Legion of Merit awards, of which two were for combat, Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

His funeral service was held on Tuesday 21st February in Tallahassee, Florida, where Snowden had lived for a long time.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE