Ben David Snowden
Master Sergeant
DET B-50 (PROJECT DELTA), CCS, MACV-SOG, 5TH SF GROUP, USARV
Army of the United States
Georgetown, Texas
September 01, 1937 to June 15, 1967
BEN D SNOWDEN is on the Wall at Panel 21E, Line 108

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Senior Parachutist
 
Combat Infantry Badge
 
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Republic of Vietnam Paratrooper
 
Ben D Snowden
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08 November 2001

Ben David Snowden served in Southeast Asia on three different occasions as a member of the 5th Special Forces Group. Ben was known as a man who went after what he wanted and one who stayed with it until it was obtained. He believed in the Vietnam cause and believed his serving on foreign soil would help divert the Communistic regime from infiltrating into the United States. He was instrumental in helping the South Vietnamese learn how to build schools, churches and bridges and to defend themselves. He established great relationships with the Montagnards (mountain people) and the people of Vietnam.

Those of us, who knew Ben, loved him and his keen sense of humor and adventurous spirit. He is deeply missed.

A memorial from his sister,
Carra Snowden Elkins
carra@ameliabullock.com



Ben D. Snowden      Ben D. Snowden

 
17 November 2001


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To the Dad I never met.

You're in my thoughts on Veterans' Day, and almost every day in between.

Your children miss you, but are proud of the sacrifice you made.

We love you,
Sharla, Lisa, and Volker

Sharla Snowden Green
4201 N. Fairmount Rd. Signal Mountain, TN 37377
dgreencabin@aol.com




25 March 2002

Until recently, basically all our family knew of Ben's military career was the info given previously. We did not find out until recently (35 years later) the extent of his military prowess. Thanks to the marvels of the internet and the fact that so much of this information is now declassified we have discovered that Ben was a member of a highly skilled group of ace fighting units consisting of Army Green Berets, Air Force Air Commandos and Navy Seals. Information regarding Ben's last mission is in a book on pp. 103-107 written by three-tour SOG veteran Major John L. Plaster entitled "SOG, The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam".

The Studies and Observations Group was "the most secret elite U.S. military unit to serve in the Vietnam War - so secret its very existence was denied by the government." According to John Plaster's book the group answered only to the Pentagon and the White House and his book gives an account of "SOG's stunning operations behind enemy lines - penetrating heavily defended North Vietnamese military facilities, holding off mass enemy attacks, launching daring missions to rescue downed U.S. pilots. From sabotage to espionage to hand-to-hand combat, these are some of the most extraordinary true stories of honor and heroism in the history of the U.S. military."

The SOG's operations in Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam are spellbinding and although it was painful to hear in excruciating detail of some of these missions, we are thankful to men such as Major Plaster and the other brave men of SOG for sharing their stories with us.

At the time of his death, Ben was assigned to Detachment B-50, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). He was a member of MACV/SOG, Project Omega, Forward Operating Base Two, Operation Daniel Boone on 15 June 1967.


 
03 May 2006

My name is Cadet Bierschenk.
I grew up in Georgetown, Texas and I attend UT Austin.
I am very thankful for our heroes of the past
and I wanted to add a memorial to MSG Snowden because
he is from my hometown and he accomplished everything I
wish to accomplish in my army career.
Although I never met MSG Snowden,
I will always remember the sacrifice he made for our country.

Cadet Eric Bierschenk
bierschenk@mail.utexas.edu

 
11 Nov 2006


I just wanted to say a few words about my daddy.
Although I never met him, I know that he loved me.
I was 5 1/2 months old and my sister was 2 years old when my daddy was killed.
He loved and died doing what he did best,
fighting for our country.

Although he is greatly missed,
I am very proud to be his daughter.

Love and missed deeply,
your baby Lisa (Little Bit)

Lisa Lynn Conner (Snowden)
1185 Mtn Creek Road Apt 1205, Chattanooga, Tn. 37405
conner.lisa@comcast.net

 

The 5th Special Forces Group's Detachment B-50 was known as "Project Omega" and specialized in long-range recon and intelligence-gathering missions in and across South Vietnam's border regions.

A photo of MSG Ben Snowden, back row, right, during service in Vietnam,
posted at the VFW Post named after him in Georgetown, Texas.
Ben D Snowden

Ben D Snowden

Although accounts vary, it appears that Sergeant Snowden was flying as a passenger aboard a RVNAF CH-34 "King Bee" helicopter in support of the extraction of a recon team which had been engaged by North Vietnamese troops. The helicopter was heavily hit by ground fire and was forced to withdraw.

SGT Snowden is the only known fatality aboard the aircraft. One report on the macvsog.org site states that the King Bee pilot returned to the patrol's location in another helicopter and extracted the six-man team.

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Ben D Snowden


From the American Statesman, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 the headline read: Georgetown veteran slain in Vietnam to receive medal after 45 years. Read about the efforts to get Ben's Silver Star for the presentation in March 2013.

In 2002 the family requested information and replacement medals; those are shown below. Ben served three tours in Vietnam and the Bronze Star was from one of the first two tours. Ben's brother John did not know which tour that MSG Snowden was on when he received the Bronze Star.

The Silver Star was awarded 40 something years after he was killed in action through the efforts of the VFW post in Georgetown who contacted many of the men that he served with and got documentation and a recommendation from them. That mission on June 15, 1967 was a classified mission and awards were not given at the time.


John Snowden, older brother of Ben Snowden, and Roger Widdows, right,
holds a shadow box of with Ben's picture and service medals from
Vietnam outside of the VFW Post named in his honor in Georgetown.
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A photo of MSG Ben Snowden, from the VFW Post.
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Major General Phipps and Staff present Silver Star to Betty Snowden.
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MSG Snowden's wife Betty with daughters Sharla and Lisa and son Volker at awards ceremonies.
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Collage of Information at ceremony.
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MSG Snowden was married with three children (Sharla, Lisa, and Volker) when he died. His wife, Betty, never remarried.

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At the time of his death, MSG Ben David Snowden was survived by wife Betty (1938-2017), his two daughters Sharla Snowden Green, Lisa Snowden Conner, and son Volker Holt. Betty passed away on May 5, 2017 in Tennessee where she was living with her daughters.

In addition MSG Ben Snowden was survived by his mother, Ruby Lee Smith Snowden (1903-1987), sisters Carra Snowden Elkins (1943-  ), Norma J. Snowden Sutton (1933-   ), brothers John George Snowden, Jr. (1935-   ), and Billy R. Snowden (1939-2016).

Ben was predeceased by his father, John George Snowden (1887-1956). He is buried near his parents in Georgetown Odd Fellows Cemetery, Georgetown, Texas. Later in 2017, Betty's ashes will brought to Texas by her daughters, and she will be reunited with her beloved husband Ben.

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Ben D Snowden

Retired 5th Special Forces First Sergeant Serf Telles pays his respects.
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Ben was also recognized and inducted into the Georgetown High School Hall of Honor in Georgetown, Texas in 2014. It is an honor for select alumni and Ben was selected for his outstanding military service.

BrotherJohn Snowden sent photos from the induction ceremony and of the photo that hangs on the wall in the Hall of Honor.

Left to right in Induction Ceremony are Norma Snowden Sutton, Carra Snowden
Elkins, John Snowden., and Georgetown High School Principal Cade Smith.
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Photo that hangs in the Hall of Honor with name plate
Ben D Snowden


- - The Virtual Wall, May 26, 2017

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