MIGHTY NINETY

John L. Snyder
Seaman 1st Class, 4th Division, USS ASTORIA 1944-1945



Mighty Ninety plankowner John L. Snyder in a 1944 photo taken on leave before USS ASTORIA left for the Pacific.
-photo courtesy of his grandson Bill West



John Leroy Snyder was born in 1925 in Pottstown, PA in an area known at the time as Pottstown Landing, near the Schuykill River.  He grew up on a farm with his parents and three brothers and five sisters.  One brother died at a young age, but the other two saw military service.  John Snyder enlisted in the U.S. Navy in December 1943.  He went through boot camp at the Naval Training Station in Sampson, NY and mustered at Newport, Rhode Island to join the crew of the new light cruiser ASTORIA CL-90.



Snyder's company graduation photo from boot camp at NTS Sampson in January 1944.
-photo from Brent Jones collection




Snyder (left) and ASTORIA shipmate Tom Kane pose with locals while on liberty in Honolulu, November 1944.   The ship was on her way to join the Pacific Fleet.
-photo courtesy of his grandson Bill West





Front and back of Snyder's liberty card, which was presented to the Officer of the Deck who granted permission to leave ship.  The card indicates that Snyder was part of the Portside Watch, reflecting how the crew was divided up for liberty.
-images courtesy of his grandson Bill West




The airmail stationary pad that Snyder used to keep a diary while at sea.
-image courtesy of his grandson Bill West




A sample page from Snyder's diary covering the period March 30th-April 3rd 1945, during the height of Okinawa operations.
-image courtesy of his grandson Bill West




A list of Japanese phrases was circulated among ASTORIA shipmates in August 1945 when it appeared that the crew would perform occupation duty.  Their orders subsequently changed and the ship headed back to the States.
-image courtesy of his grandson Bill West




USS ASTORIA 4th Division shipmates John L. Snyder (left) and Kane in a photo taken shortly after the ship returned to Long Beach in September 1945.  Their service ribbons reflect the ship's combat record:  American Theater, Asiatic-Pacific Theater with four bronze service stars, and Philippine Liberation ribbon with one bronze star.
-photo courtesy of his grandson Bill West




One of Snyder's souvenirs was a Filipino peso note from his liberty on Samar in June 1945.  Division mates signed the bill as a "short snorter," a Navy tradition.
-image courtesy of his grandson Bill West




Another of Snyder's souvenirs was a Filipino note from the Japanese occupation.  The one-peso note was styled after American currency but issued by Imperial Japan prior to the 1945 liberation.
-image courtesy of his grandson Bill West


Following the war, Snyder worked in a factory in Pottstown named Dohler Jarvis Castings, a division of National Lead based in New Jersey.  The factory, one of the bigger plants in the area, manufactured aluminum and zinc castings primarily for the automotive industry.  He retired from the factory as a tool sharpener.  Snyder was a member of the United Auto Workers as were all the employees of the factory.  He always bought Chevrolet cars and no other make.  He retired from the factory after approximately 40 years of service.

John Snyder enjoyed hunting of all kinds, including guns and archery.  He was a very good archer.  He also built his home with his own hands, including a large garden where he grew his own vegetables.  John and Alice Snyder never traveled much, preferring to spend most of their time close to home in the Pottstown area.


Snyder attended the Mighty Ninety 1988 reunion.  Here he is pictured at far left with 4th Division shipmates (L to R) Ted Knauss, Roy Redwine, Ed DeMers, and Willis DeMoss.
-photo courtesy of his grandson Bill West




John and Alice Snyder at the 1988 reunion.
-photo courtesy of his grandson Bill West



John Snyder's grandson Bill West presented him with a compiled scrapbook, including content from the Mighty Ninety website, on Snyder's 85th birthday in April 2010.
-image courtesy of Bill West



John and Alice Snyder recently celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary.  They have two daughters, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. 

 

 

 


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