Oldest surviving officer in Battle of Iwo Jima dies

Lt. Gen. Larry Snowden dies at age 95


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The oldest surviving officer from the Battle of Iwo Jima has died.

Lt. Gen. Larry Snowden died over the weekend at the age of 95 in the state Capitol. Those who knew him called him a Marine's Marine, and a general's general.

Snowden was a 23-year-old captain, commanding 200 men at Iwo Jima.

Snowden told News4Jax in 2013 that one of WWII’s most famous battles was far different than the romanticized version.

“I've read many accounts that says when the flag went up, the troops all over the island stood up and cheered. No way," Snowden said. "Where I was, (if) you stood up, you were a dead Marine.”

Snowden was wounded twice and went back into action despite having a -year-old son at home.

“I had a momentary flash of what it would mean to me if somebody were telling me that my son is dead,” Snowden said.

For many, just knowing him was an honor.

“He is skillful and courageous in battle," Col. Glen Suttfin said. "He was gracious to the defeated. He always took care of his troops, and they didn't necessarily have to be on active duty with him. It didn’t matter where they were. If they were troops, veterans, he took care of them.”

Snowden went on to fight in Korea and Vietnam.

After his tour in Vietnam, he said it was OK not to like the war.

"We didn’t win that war to my satisfaction," Snowden said. "But that was not the fault of our troops. That was the fault of our political leaders who decided to settle for something less than victory.”

Snowden died a day short of the 71st anniversary of the invasion of Iwo Jima. Until a year ago, when his health started failing, he was an active speaker on veterans' issues.