Lieutenant General Lawrence Snowden - USMC (Retired)
- 1942 BS in Commerce, University of Virginia
- 1950 MA in Personnel Administration, Northwestern University USMC Professional Training:
- 1942 Officer Candidate Course, Marine Corps School, Quantico, Virginia
- 1943 Combat Skills Training, Marine Corps Schools (various locations)
- 1945 Administrative School, Marine Corps School, Quantico, Virginia
- 1958 Senior Officer School, Marine Corps School, Quantico, Virginia
- 1968 Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Washington, D.C.
- 1968 Advanced Management Course, Graduate School of Business (Harvard University)
Summary of Professional/Employment History:
- 1942-1979 United States Marine Corps Retired rank of Lieutenant General – Last position held — Chief of Staff, Headquarters Marine Corps
- Platoon Leader
- Company Commander
- Staff Officer, Plans and Policies Division (HQMC) Staff Officer, Test and Evaluation Secretary, Tactics and Techniques Board Executive Officer
- Logistics Officer
- Operations Officers
- Battalion Commander
- Assistant Director of Personnel (HQMC) Inspector General of the Marine Corps Chief of Staff, U.S. Forces, Japan
- Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Policy Principal Deputy to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chief of Staff, USMC
- Quantico, Virginia Camp Lejuene, N.C. Marshall Islands Saipan
- Iwo Jima, Japan
- Paris, France
- Washington, D.C.
- 1979-1983 Hughes Aircraft International Service Company (Tokyo) Position: Vice President,
- Far East Area
- American Chamber of Commerce in Japan Position: President
- Recalled to active duty by the Secretary of Defense
- Commission Member, Department of Defense Commission on Beirut International Airport Terrorist Act.
- Hughes Aircraft, Ground Systems Group Position: International Vice President
- Snowden International Associates (Tallahassee, FL) Position: President
Note: Lt. Gen. Snowden considers himself in the middle of his “third career” – one of a very active volunteer in numerous organization and activities in Tallahassee, including the FL Department of Elder Affairs, the Boy Scouts of America, the Economic Club of Florida and his church. He has also been very active in the Leon County Horseman’s Associations and the Tallahassee Dog Obedience Club
Summary of Advocacy On Behalf of Veterans
Lt Gen. Snowden retired in Tallahassee, Florida in 1988. Since settling here he has taken a very active role in promoting and honoring military/veteran organizations through keynote/guest speeches at banquets, memorial dedications and awards programs. A list of these speeches is attached at the end of this section.
Lt. Gen. Snowden, at the request of then Governor Chiles, assisted with organizing a new state agency, the Department of Elder Affairs. Lt. Gen. Snowden helped identify critical needs and solutions for the state’s aging population, including veterans. Lt. Gen. Snowden assisted the newly formed Veterans Affairs Board of Governors in their initial organization and procedures. He drafted speeches for the new Board to deliver around the state informing Florida’s elderly of the new State Agency.
For the last 19 years, Lt. Gen. Snowden has lead the annual Joint Reunion of Honor to Iwo Jima and Guam that allows veterans the opportunity to retrace and recount their military service in the Pacific Theater. Gen Snowden is the highest ranking survivor of the battle. He also serves as Chairman-Emeritus of the Iwo Jima Association of America (IJAA). He believes these trips are “good for the soul” and promote the feeling of the “warrior brotherhood” between American and Japanese survivors. Over the 19 years that these trips have taken place, Lt. Gen. Snowden has established a strong relationship with the Japanese government that assures their continuing support. Lt. Gen. Snowden is looking forward to leading the delegation to Iwo Jima in March 2015 honoring the 70th anniversary of the battle. Other anticipated attendees include the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the American Ambassador to Japan and high ranking Japanese government officials.
Lt. Gen. Snowden is actively involved in military/veterans associations, especially those with local chapters in Tallahassee. He is asked routinely to be the keynote speaker at memorial dedications, awards presentations and banquets.
Some examples include the following:
- 2006 Keynote address and dedication of the Havana, Florida Veterans Memorial, flag-raising and unveiling of a monument to prisoners of war and soldiers killed in action.
- 2008 Keynote speaker at the dedication of the Veterans Memorial Park in Monticello, Florida. The centerpiece of the park is a monument to Earnest “Boots” Thomas, a native of Monticello who helped raise the first American flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.
- 2009 Keynote speaker and honoree of the Wreaths Across America program. Their topic was Pearl Harbor and General Snowden was able to give his perspectives on WWII.
- 2012 Keynote speaker for the Jefferson County VFW Post 251 to present a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of USMC Corporal Ernest Sneed. Corporal Sneed was one of thousands of African American men to train at the Marine Corps’ Montford Point Camp, N.C. Lt. Gen. Snowden recounted the history of what the Montford Marines endured as the first black men allowed to join the Marine Corps and credited them as being important catalysts for needed social change in the military during that time in history. Lt. Gen. Snowden acknowledges their service and said, “They endured discrimination and disrespect because of the color of their skin. But many of them died just as other Marines, fighting for their county.” Those words still have efficacy today.
- In June 2013, Lt. Gen. Snowden was the Keynote speaker at the dedication ceremonies for the Leon County Schools Veterans Wall of Remembrance. The Wall memorializes the 11 Leon County students who died in service to our country while in uniform since 1991.
There are many more, but these few illustrate the kinds of events and activities that are the beneficiaries of Lt. Gen. Snowden’s time and wisdom.
Summary of Civic Activities and Contributions
Lt. Gen. Snowden is a Past Chairman of The Economic Club of Florida. Since its establishment in 1977, this prestigious club is on the South’s most important forums for distinguished speakers on issues of the day. It’s roster of speakers has included national and international figures ranging from Presidential candidates and diplomats to leaders of business and finance. Among the club’s membership are past Governors, Florida Cabinet members and Supreme Court Justices.
Lt. Gen. Snowden is also the leader of a Marine Corps Lunch Group that meets every Monday. This organization sponsors a Marine Corps Birthday Celebration for Marines in the North Florida area.
Lt. Gen. Snowden is one of the leaders of a group of military veterans at Westminister Oaks Retirement Community that sponsors community service projects and creates a monthly forum for its members to share their military experiences. Frequently, Lt. Gen. Snowden speaks at these programs or organizes programs where others make their presentations.
Awards and Honors
Military Awards (Major):
- Distinguished Service Medal (2)
- Legion of Merit (5) with Combat “V”
- Joint Service Commendation Medal
- Purple Heart (2)
- Army Commendation Medal
- Second Order of the Sacred Treasure (awarded by the Emperor of Japan)
- Boy Scouts of America (Suwannee River Area Council) – The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and Silver Beaver Award.
- The Economic Club of Florida – Distinguished Floridian Award of Lifetime Achievement.
Lt. Gen. Snowden is universally recognized as one of the nation’s most distinguished Marines. There are few men or women with three stars on their chest and the record of service to America that justifies each one of them, After more than 37 years of active duty in the Marine Corps, Lt. Gen. Snowden chose Tallahassee, Florida to be his home. Since then, he has devoted his considerable talents and precious time to enhancing the State’s civic, business, elderly and veteran communities.’ Lt. Gen. Snowden’s life as an active duty officer and as a retired veteran epitomize the qualities the Hall of Fame seeks to honor.
His professional accomplishments in the Marine Corp, from Platoon Leader to Chief of Staff of the United States Marine Corps, as well as those in the private business sector are detailed in an earlier section. They won’t be repeated here other than to point out the obvious successes he has enjoyed in every single mission he has ever undertaken. Florida has been the special beneficiary of Lt. Gen. Snowden’s commitment to excellence and service for 26 years. Simply having a Marine officer of Lt. Gen. Snowden’s status has elevated the veteran community to new heights and created opportunities to promote Florida’s large veteran community and even larger elderly population.
Lt. Gen. Snowden may be best known as the highest ranking surviving military officer who fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima. A member of what is respectfully acknowledged as the “Greatest Generation,” his commitment to the veterans of all recent wars- WWII, Korean, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan- is unquestioned and arguably, unmatched.
Lt. Gen. Snowden is a living witness to events that changed the course of modern history. His lasting legacy is not those three stars on his chest, but rather, the way he has translated his personal experiences as a Marine officer into important lessons in history, humanity and humility for the broader community. To this very day, at the age of 93, Lt. Gen. Snowden continues to tell the stories, to cement friendships with former enemies, to heal the wounds of the families who have lost loved ones, and to provide the rest of us with a reminder of just how important our veterans and their families are to our success as a democracy.
One of Lt. Gen. Snowden’s most notable and lasting contributions has been the Reunion of Honor, founded in 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima. As the Chairman-Emeritus of the Iwo Jima Association of America, Inc., he continues to lead an annual trip to Iwo Jima and Guam for veterans and their families and those interested in military history. It gives veterans an opportunity to recount their military service in the Pacific Theater and to find some measure of closure and peace in their later years.
The success of the Reunion of Honor is built on the valuable relationships and mutual trust that Lt. Gen. Snowden established with Japanese government officials. Just last year, a diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo remarked that it “was moving to see the oldest surviving veteran of the battle retired Lt. Gen. Lawrence Snowden, bow to the Japanese delegation before delivering remarks on behalf of the Iwo Jima Association of America.”
Long before Lt. Gen. Snowden retired to Florida, he was the head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and was relied upon by the governors and trade representatives to promote and protect U.S. interests before the Japanese government with distinction and honor.
Lt. Gen. Snowden, like most truly great men, is humble and hardworking. Despite his experiences as a combat-tested warrior, he describes himself as “one of the most fortunate men in the world” and attributes his success to “faith in his brother Marines and faith that he was going to make it.”
As fellow Floridians we can bask in the glow of his reflected glory. Lt. Gen. Snowden has earned a place in the Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame.