PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A local World War II veteran has dedicated his life’s work to getting his former sergeant from the Battle of Iwo Jima recognized for saving his life during the war.
That’s been 89-year-old Jack Snyder’s mission for the past 70 years, and he says he won’t rest until he makes it happen.
Snyder is a resident of the Woodlands at St. Barnabas in Valencia.
His office is decorated with memorabilia from the war – old pictures, magazine clippings and medals of honor. Veterans Day brings back a lot of memories for him.
“It just means remembering those that made the ultimate sacrifice so we can keep our liberties and freedoms,” Snyder said.
But there’s one man Snyder remembers most.
“Sgt. George L. Barlow, 21, killed on Iwo Jima on March 1, 1945,” he said.
“I was the one who was able to get married. I had 60 years of marriage to a wonderful woman. I was able to have four children,” Snyder added.
The Monessen native also has four grandchildren.
Snyder enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1943 at the age of 18. He landed on Iwo Jima on Feb. 19, 1945.
Snyder says he remembers March 1, 1945 like it was yesterday. On that day, he and his squad were under attack. They were led by Sgt. Barlow.
“He sounded grenade and moved toward the grenade and covered it with his body as it exploded,” Snyder said.
Barlow died. So did other squad members. Snyder has been trying to get Barlow properly recognized for his heroism ever since.
“There was nothing I could do as a single eyewitness for his act of heroism, and that’s haunted me for all these years,” Barlow said.
Snyder has since been in contact with the Marine Corps headquarters in Washington D.C. and hopes Barlow can be awarded a Bronze Star with Valor.
“There’s still hope there might be determination whether he’s awarded that medal by end of this year, early next year,” Snyder said.
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