In 1954 Ben Snowden enlisted in the Army at the age of 17. Twelve years later, Ben was on his third tour of duty in the Vietnam War when he tried to rescue several soldiers under fire on a patrol in Laos.
On June 15, 1967, Snowden, a member of the Special Forces who was 6 feet 6 inches tall, reached down to grab a soldier being lifted up by a commander while the helicopter hovered 8 feet above the ground because the terrain and its surroundings prevented it from landing.
An enemy shot him several times in the chest with a machine gun, and Snowden perished immediately.
Snowden’s helicopter had to crash land in a ditch after Snowden was shot.
45 years after he died he was awarded the Silver Star for his “gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.”
Ben was 29 years old and married with three children when he died. His wife, Betty, never remarried.
The Silver Star is the third highest military decoration for valor with the United States Armed Forces. The medal is awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.
The Silver Star is a gold star, a laurel wreath encircling rays from the middle and a silver star is overlaid in the middle.. "FOR GALLANTRY IN ACTION" is inscribed on the reverse side.