Lieutenant General F. Lawrence Snowden (USMC Ret.)

Military Biography

Lieutenant General Lawrence F. Snowden retired from the Marine Corps after more than 37 years of service, the last years of which he served as Chief of Staff, Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps. General Snowden was born April 14, 1921, in Charlottesville, Va., graduated from the University of Virginia with a BS degree in Commerce in 1942 and holds a masters degree in Personnel Administration from Northwestern University (1950).

Enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserve in February 1942, he was called to active duty in May 1942. Upon completion of the Officer Candidate Course Marine Corps School Quantico, Virginia, he was commissioned a Marine Second Lieutenant on July 18, 1942. Assigned to Camp Lejeune, NC, he served initially with the 23d Marines, 3d Marine Division. This regiment later became the nucleus of the 4th Division. He was promoted to First Lieutenant in March 1943 and Captain in October 1944.

From February 1944 until March 1945 he saw combat as a Company Commander with the 23d Marines, in the capture of Roi-Namur in the Marshall Islands, the capture of Saipan, Tinian and the assault on Iwo Jima. In May 1945 he joined the 3d Marine Division on Guam serving with the 3d Marines and 9th Marines respectively until December 1945.

From August 1950 to March 1953 he served as a member of the Testing and Evaluation Unit at Quantico. Later he was Secretary for the Tactics and Techniques Board and Joint Landing Force Board, Landing Force Development Center. He was promoted to major in January 1951. Ordered to Korea in April 1953, he was assigned to the 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division as Regimental S4, and alter as Executive Officer, 1st Battalion. In January 1954 he became Assistant G-4 of the Division, serving in this capacity until April 1954. For his service in Korea he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat “V”.

On his return to the U.S. he served as Officer in Charge, Marine Corps Recruiting Station, New York from May 1954 until June 1956 and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in January 1955. In September 1958 he entered the Senior School at Quantico. Upon graduation he was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps as an Action Officer for the Marine Corps participation in Joint Chiefs of Staff matters.

He joined the 1st Marine Division as Commanding Officer, 3d Battalion, 1st Marines in August 1962 and later commanded Battalion Landing Team 3/1 aboard the USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) for deployment to the Caribbean during the Cuban crisis in October 1962. From May 1963 until June 1964 he served with the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California as Deputy G-4, Logistics Officer and later as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4. He was promoted to Colonel in February 1964. In July 1964 he was assigned as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific in Hawaii. Ordered to Vietnam in August 1966 he saw duty as a Commanding Officer, 7th Marines and as Operations Officer, III Marine Amphibious Force. He was awarded Gold Stars in lieu of a second and third Legion of Merit for his service in Vietnam.

He attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Washington D.C. in August 1967. Upon graduation in June 1968 he was assigned as Assistant Director of Personnel at Headquarters Marine Corps. On August 20, 1968 he was advanced to Brigadier General. From September to December 1968 General Snowden attended the Advanced Management Course of the Graduate School of Business at Harvard University prior to being assigned duty in the Office of the Chief of Staff as Director of Management Analysis Group, which in February 1970, was re-designated the Systems Support Group. He served additionally, from March to September 1969, as the Inspector General of the Marine Corps. For his service as the organizer and first Director of the Systems Support Group he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a fourth Legion of Merit. Assigned to Quantico in June 1970, he served for almost two years as Director, Development Center, Marine Corps Development and Education Command earning a Gold Star in lieu of a fifth Legion of Merit. On April 1, 1972 he was promoted to Major General.

In June 1972 he was ordered to Tokyo where he served for three years as Chief of Staff, U.S. Forces, Japan. For his contributions to Japan’s security interests, he was awarded the Second Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Emperor of Japan. He was also awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his service. He was advanced to his present rank as Lieutenant General on August 6, 1975.

General Snowden assumed the assignment of Chief of Staff, Headquarters Marine Corps on May 21, 1977 and served in that capacity until his retirement on May 31, 1979. For his service at HQMC he was awarded a second Distinguished Service Medal. His decorations and medals include: the Distinguished Service Medal with Gold Star in lieu of second award, Legion of Merit with Combat “V” and four Gold Stars in lieu of second through fifth awards; Joint Service Commendation Medal; Navy Commendation Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Purple Heart with one Gold Star in lieu of a second award; Combat Action Ribbon; three Vietnamese decorations; one Japanese decoration; three unit awards plus eleven campaign and service medals.