LT John Mather Snyder
Navy Lt. John Mather Snyder, died in the boiler explosion on board the USS Iwo Jima on Tuesday in the Persian Gulf. He was 25.
Born in New Britain, Conn., Lt. Snyder moved to Milltown, N.J., as a young man. He attended Spotswood High School, Spotswood, N.J., where he was active on track team and a member of the Boy Scouts of America. Lt. Snyder attended Villanova University and graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication. While attending Villanova, Lt. Snyder participated in the NROTC program and received commission as an ensign in May 1987. He served aboard the USS Briscoe (DD 977) and was transferred to the Iwo Jima.
His paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Walter E. Snyder, predeceased him. Surviving are his mother and father, David and Mary Jane Mather Snyder of Shelton, Conn.; a brother, Alan C. Snyder of Storrs, Conn., and his maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas K. Mather of Windsor, Conn. Services will be 11 a.m. Monday at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, East Main Road, Portsmouth, R.I. Arrangements are under the direction of the Hambley and Son Memorial Funeral Home, Newport, R.I. Interment will be in the St. Mary's churchyard. Donations may be made in Lt. Snyder's name to the charity of one's choice.
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.