Ben Snowden enlisted in the army in 1954 at age 17 while he was still in Georgetown High School. Twelve years later, he 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. The helicopter that he was on had to hover about eight feet from the ground because tree stumps prevented it from landing. 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.
He never made contact. An enemy shot him several times in the chest with a machine gun, and Snowden died instantly. It was June 15, 1967. His family found out this month — 45 years after he died — that he will be awarded the Silver Star for his courage.
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