Remembering the Life and Memory of...
LT John Mather Snyder
Hometown: Milltown, NJ.
Died: October 30th, 1990, Operation Desert Shield.
Unit: USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2)
Incident: Catastrophic boiler accident
October 31, 1990|By MATHEW PAUST and CHARLES H. BOGINO Staff Writers
NORFOLK — Tuesday morning, Lt. John M. Snyder was in a place he didn't want to be - in a boiler room aboard the USS Iwo Jima.
Snyder had been "very, very apprehensive" about his assignment as an engineering officer on the 29-year-old amphibious assault ship, where he served as a main propulsion assistant, said a friend who has known Snyder since the two were sophomores at Villanova University.
Snyder, 25, was one of 10 sailors killed by steam that burst through a leak in the lines powering the ship, the Navy said late Tuesday.
He had begun his second Navy tour about a month ago, said Lt. j.g. Pete Burke. Burke, Snyder and a third college buddy were sharing a residence in Norfolk.
Incident :In October 1990, Iwo Jima was in the Persian Gulf, as part of the buildup for Operation Desert Shield. Having been in operation there for two months, she had developed a leak in a steam valve which supplied steam to a stand-by electrical generator. She docked in Manama, Bahrain, where the valve was repaired by a local contractor under US government inspection.
Repairs were completed towards the end of October. On 30 October, as she raised steam to get underway and rejoin the fleet, the valve began to leak once more. The bonnet blew off the valve, flooding the boiler room with steam from two boilers. Ten of the eleven crewmen in the room were killed, with the last surviving until 23:30 that evening.