Joshua David Snyder – Corporal, United States Marine Corps

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1245-05
December 1, 2005

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Corporal Joshua D. Snyder, 20, of Hampstead, Maryland., died November 30, 2005, of wounds sustained from small-arms fire while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Fallujah, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

A Marine who graduated from Hereford High School in Baltimore County in 2002 was killed this week in Fallujah – the school’s second alumnus to die in Iraq in a little more than a month, the Department of Defense announced yesterday.

Corporal Joshua D. Snyder, 20, died Wednesday from wounds suffered under enemy fire while patrolling in Fallujah. Snyder, a rifleman assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, had been in Iraq since September.


Lance Corporal Norman W. Anderson III, 21, of Parkton, Snyder’s friend since middle school, his teammate on the Hereford football team and his roommate at boot camp, was killed in Iraq on October 19, 2005.

News of Snyder’s death stunned the small northern Baltimore County community of Hampstead and proved especially difficult for members of the 2001 state championship Hereford football team on which Snyder and Anderson played.

“We’re a very close-knit community, and especially the kids that played football,” said Steve Turnbaugh, head coach of the Hereford High School football team. “Once you’re a Hereford Bull, you’re always a Hereford Bull.”

After an injury prevented Snyder from suiting up for games, Turnbaugh said, the young man served as a sort of “student coach.”

“How could these kids from the same school, who were so close, both have this happen to them?” Turnbaugh said. “It’s hard to believe.”

Like Anderson, Snyder enlisted in the Marines in December 2002, with the help of the same recruiter who frequented their high school. Snyder served in Afghanistan for about nine months last year, and he left for Iraq in September.

Snyder’s mother, Doris, said last night that her son had wanted to join the military since ninth grade, a goal that stemmed from his dedication to Scouting, an early foundation in his life, and his moral and religious beliefs. She said he also wanted to follow the footsteps of his grandfather, who served in the Air Force.

“I really had second thoughts about it and everything, but I told him if that’s what he really wanted to do,” Doris Snyder said.

“He needed to go to Iraq,” she said. “He said they needed him over there.”

Snyder, who lived with his mother and younger brother, Brian, a 10th-grader at Hereford, loved skiing, hunting and fishing, his mother said. She said he planned to leave the Marines in December 2006 and embark on a career that would bring him in touch with his love: the outdoors. Snyder’s mother said her son planned to move to Colorado to open a ski lodge.

She said funeral plans were not complete, but she hoped to have her son buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Turnbaugh said the school was planning to hold a memorial service for Snyder, as it did for Anderson.

Doris Snyder recalled yesterday the phone call she received from her son after he learned of Anderson’s death. “When he heard, he called home and was crying,” she said. “That was his friend since middle school. They went into the Marines under the buddy system.”

At boot camp, the two were roommates, and despite Anderson’s fighting pneumonia, which held him back a week, the two were inseparable, their families said. At Camp Lejeune, they lived near each other and often accompanied each other on the long ride from North Carolina to Maryland. They were separated when they shipped overseas, but kept in touch by e-mail, Doris Snyder said.

“He was amazing,” said Norman’s mother, Robyn Anderson, referring to Snyder. “He was such a good friend to Norman. When there was ever a time when they needed each other in their lives they were there for each other. He was a good, good kid.”

December 8, 2005:

The family of Marine Corporal Joshua David Snyder will receive visitors Monday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and from from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Eline Funeral Home, 934 S. Main St., Hampstead. Services will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home, with graveside services at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery.

Corporal Snyder, 20, was killed in Iraq on November 30, 2005.

He was a graduate of Hereford High School, 17301 York Road, where a memorial service will be held at 6:30 p.m. December 16, 2005, in the school’s gymnasium.

22 December 2005:

Marine Corporal Joshua Snyder’s family spent most of the last week saying farewell to their son, grandson, brother, nephew and cousin. Snyder, a 2002 Hereford High School graduate, was killed November 30, 2005, in Iraq.

They received visitors December 12, 2005, at a Hampstead funeral home and took part in an emotional memorial service there Deccember 13.

They spent a bitterly cold Deccember 14 at Arlington National Cemetery, where they sat silently as he was buried with military honors.

And on December 16, the Snyder family watched as Josh was honored by his Boy Scout troop, Hereford High School football players, Hereford students and teachers and a local Marine during a service at the school.

The only day that didn’t involve a public tribute to Snyder was December 15. On that day, his family quietly observed his 21st birthday at home in Hampstead.

“We had a cake for him,” said his mother, Doris Snyder. “We were going to go out and celebrate his birthday, but we didn’t because of the icy weather.”

“I guarantee that Josh would not want his family and friends to be upset,” said Marine Sergeant Ed Wright, a 1999 Hereford graduate who has served two tours of duty in Iraq and been awarded three Purple Hearts. He wiped away tears as he talked about losing a good friend in Iraq when their Marine camp came under enemy fire. He told the crowd that his friend and Snyder would both want people to continue with their lives.

Many in the crowd also attended a memorial service at the high school October 21 for Lance Corporal Norman Anderson III, who was Snyder’s good friend, football teammate and roommate at Marine boot camp.

Anderson was killed by a suicide car bomber October 19, 2005, in Iraq. Snyder’s death November 30 in Iraq came from small-arms fire during combat.

Hereford High football coach Steve Turnbaugh held up football jerseys worn by Snyder – No. 26 – and Anderson – No. 33.

His voice quivering with emotion, Turnbaugh said the numbers will be retired and the jerseys hung high on the rear gym wall, next to the school’s 2001 state championship banner. Snyder and Anderson played in the championship game.

Watching from the bleachers were Anderson’s widow, Tori; her parents, Bernadette and Robert Worthing; and Anderson’s parents, Robyn and Norman Anderson. They had also attended Snyder’s service at the funeral home, and all went to Arlington National Cemetery.

Military funeral

On December 14, four buses carried hundreds of mourners to Arlington. Dozens of others followed in their cars.

The caravan began at the Hampstead Wal-Mart, where Doris Snyder works full time, and where Josh worked during high school. As the police-led procession made its way down Main Street in Hampstead, business owners and shoppers stood on the sidewalks. Some saluted; some held their hands over their hearts.

“They say everything happens for a reason, and there’s a lesson to be learned from a death, but I’m done with learning,” said Snyder’s aunt, Doreen Snyder, during the ride to Arlington. “We don’t need any more lessons.”

Her daughter, Rebecca, graduated from Hereford in 2002, along with her cousin Josh Snyder and Norm Anderson. While the two boys joined the Marines, Rebecca decided to go into the Marine Reserves.

“Josh was a month and a half younger than me, but I looked up to him like he was my older brother,” Rebecca Snyder said. “I usually wrote to Josh once a month, and the last letter I sent him was after Norm passed away. I told him that his being over there made me feel completely protected. I told him I loved him like a brother.”

Rebecca Snyder said she had spent the summer trying to change her status from reserves to active duty. She questioned that decision after Anderson’s death, and reversed it after her cousin died.

“I told them to throw my paperwork away. I couldn’t put my family through this again.”

During a solemn ceremony that included a 21-gun salute and a lone Marine playing taps, Snyder was buried in Section 60, grave number 8301. His buddy Norman Anderson is 75 grave sites away – Section 60, grave 8226.

“Josh’s funeral at Arlington is one of the most beautiful things I’ve even seen or will ever see,” Rebecca Snyder said. “It is such a great honor to be able to step a foot in Arlington.”

Although the memorials and tributes for both North County Marines are over for now, several local organizations are making plans for next summer.

The Hereford Optimist Club, the Hereford Volunteer Fire Company and the Hereford Community Association hope to have an old-fashioned, patriotic Fourth of July parade in honor of both men.

Contributions to memorial scholarships in Anderson’s and Snyder’s names can be sent to Hereford High School, 17301 York Road, Parkton, MD 21120.

Originally published December 14, 2005:

Marine Corporal Joshua D. Snyder could be playful. He was even sometimes ornery. But he was always conscientious and loyal, his friends said last night during his funeral service at Eline Funeral Home in Hampstead.

Snyder died November 30, 2005 – two weeks before his 21st birthday – of wounds suffered during combat in Fallujah, Iraq.

The Hampstead resident, awarded the Purple Heart during the service, was a member of the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Last night, mourners alternated between tears and laughter as church leaders, co-workers and neighbors shared anecdotes about Snyder’s pranks at his job at Wal-Mart and his concern for others.

Snyder was an enthusiastic Boy Scout, achieving the rank of Life Scout in Troop 92 of Parkton.

“He was a little mischievous, and boy, could he light a fire,” Mike Cox, his former Scoutmaster, told the audience.

Snyder enjoyed hunting and fishing. “He could hit a squirrel from 40 yards away,” said Mike Reider, a friend of Snyder’s, during the service.

Steve Turnbaugh, his football coach and teacher at Hereford High School, remembered how Snyder wanted to build his muscles so he would fill out his Marine uniform – but also helped a disabled student work out.

The Hereford community is still mourning the death of Snyder’s friend and classmate Lance Corporal Norman W. Anderson III. The two enlisted together after graduating in 2002. Anderson was killed Oct. 19 by a suicide car bomb during combat in Karabilah, Iraq.

Snyder and Anderson met in middle school and played on the high school football team together. The Snyder and Anderson families have combined their efforts to gather funds to create a scholarship in their sons’ names, Hereford High teacher Ginny Hoy said yesterday afternoon.

Marine Cpl. Jared Smith described how Snyder pushed him out of the path of an oncoming van while they were on patrol in Afghanistan, where they served before going to Iraq.

“He protected me,” Smith said. “He protected others.”

Snyder will be buried at 2 p.m. today at Arlington National Cemetery. Friends will gather at 11 a.m. at the Wal-Mart parking lot, 2320 Hanover Pike, Hampstead, for the funeral procession to Arlington. The procession will leave the parking lot at 11:30 a.m.

A memorial service will be held at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the gymnasium at Hereford High School, 17301 York Road.

Sacrificing all
War in Iraq, Afghanistan has claimed ex-athletes
by Mike Klingaman
Courtesy of the Baltimore Sun
16 July 2007Some starred on their high school athletic teams. Some barely received any playing time. But each served his country and died in Iraq or Afghanistan.A former swim team star was killed while defusing a roadside bomb; a one-time running back sacrificed himself so that his comrades might live. During one 14-month period in 2005-2006, at least six former athletes from Baltimore-area high schools — Marines, sailors and soldiers — died in the war. The eldest was 31 years old, the youngest 20.

To a man, they carried with them overseas the love of sport. And though they did not return, their schools, teammates and families will not forget their courage on and off the field.

Norman Anderson III was a stalwart running back, Josh Snyder a selfless receiver. Their framed jerseys hang ceremoniously on a wall in the Hereford High gym, but not for obvious reasons.

“No one will ever wear these numbers [33 and 26] again,” coach Steve Turnbaugh said of the first jerseys retired in Hereford history. “Maybe these two weren’t the best players ever, but they certainly proved their heroism in a far larger scheme than football.”

Nearly two years have passed since Anderson and Snyder, both Marines, died in the war in Iraq. Anderson was killed by a suicide car bomber, Snyder by a sniper six weeks later. Buddies, they enlisted together and are buried at Arlington National Cemetery, 75 graves apart.

Their granite-faced military photographs, draped in black, still grace the bulletin board in Hereford’s football office. Both men — Anderson was 21, Snyder a year younger– played for the school’s 2001 state champions.

Even overseas, neither forgot his roots.Anderson carried videotapes of Hereford’s magical season and showed them proudly to his comrades.

“Yeah, we all saw the tapes,” said Jed Maki, who served alongside Anderson in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We had to laugh at the scrawny little guy Norman was in high school. He had bulked up in size since then.”

Maki said that once, during a lull, Anderson’s unit challenged a group of Iraqi soldiers to a football game on base.

“We killed them,” Maki said. “Norman had a few touchdowns, a few interceptions. He was always willing to get his nose a little dirty.”

Half a world away, engulfed in war, Anderson managed to stay abreast of his high school team’s games.

“For a while, we mailed him The Sun,” said his mother, Robyn Anderson. “But in his final letter he wrote, ‘Just send me the sports section.’

“I guess he figured he was seeing enough of the headline stuff over there.”

Football and fatigues had always been Norman Anderson’s passions. At Hereford, if he didn’t have playbook in hand, it was a history text about World War II. Teammates applauded his relentless rushing style and dubbed him “Stormin’ Norman,” after General Norman Schwarzkopf, commander in the Gulf War in 1991.

Anderson relished the comparison.

“Finally, we just called him ‘Storm,’ ” Turnbaugh said.

Joining the Marines fueled Anderson’s competitive nature, Maki said.

“Sports tied in with our everyday life,” he said. “Marines wrestle to let off steam. Norman would wrestle anyone, anywhere — on grass or rocks, in rooms or rivers. Norman would come out bloody, but the other person was always bloodier.”

On Oct. 19, 2005 — the day he died — Anderson, a lance corporal, volunteered to take the point on a morning patrol near his unit’s base in the town of Sadah, near the Syrian border. From an alley, a maroon Chevrolet Caprice filled with explosives hurtled toward the Marines.

Anderson dashed toward the car — “You could tell he was a running back,” a Marine said later — and shot and killed the driver. But the vehicle was apparently rigged to detonate if the driver died.

The fireball killed Anderson and wounded four others. The explosion hurled the car’s engine block 50 yards and might have wiped out the 16-man patrol had not Anderson distanced himself from the other Marines.

“If Norm hadn’t done what he did, a lot more guys would have lost their lives,” said Sergeant James Ryan Thornton, his squad leader.

News of Anderson’s death rocked Hereford High, which held a memorial service two days later at a home football game. For the rest of that 2005 season, the players — few of whom knew Anderson personally — wore decals with the initials “NA” on their helmets.

“Once a Hereford Bull, always a Hereford Bull,” Turnbaugh said.

The next month, Anderson’s high school teammate was slain. Corporal Josh Snyder was shot in the aftermath of a skirmish in Fallujah, Iraq. Marines killed the assassin.

Two months earlier, while home on leave, Snyder had dropped by Hereford during football practice.

“He was wearing his [military] uniform, and he seemed awful proud,” Turnbaugh said.

Like Anderson, Snyder chose to join the Marines long before graduation.

“When you saw them working in the [school’s] weight room, you knew they were getting ready for boot camp as well as for football,” the coach said.

When a bum knee sidelined Snyder as a senior, he volunteered as a coach’s aide. He so impressed the staff that, in a rarity after the 2001 championship, Snyder was presented with his personal jersey (each member of the Hereford team has several uniforms).

After her son’s death, Snyder’s mother returned the jersey to the coach. Turnbaugh had No. 26 framed, and it now hangs by itself at the entrance to his family room.

Why, of the hundreds of young men who have played for him, did Turnbaugh choose Snyder’s jersey to place in his home?

Maybe it was the conversation Snyder’s mother related to the coach as she handed him the jersey.

Before his deployment in 2004, Snyder and his mother sat on the porch swing of their Hampstead home on a warm August day and spoke of the future.

“He talked of what could happen and the things he wanted done,” Doris Snyder said.


“And then Josh said, ‘If you don’t remember anything else, make sure you return my championship jersey to Coach Turnbaugh. He has done so much for me that I want him to have it.’ “







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