William E. Snyder
|William Ellsworth Snyder|
February 24, 1883|
South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
|Died||December 30, 1944(aged 61)|
|Place of burial||Arlington National Cemetery|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Unit||USS Birmingham (CL-2)|
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
A native of South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Snyder joined the Navy from that state. By January 4, 1910, he was serving as a chief electrician on the USS Birmingham (CL-2). On that day, while the Birmingham was anchored at Hampton Roads in Virginia, Seaman G.H. Kephart fell overboard into the freezing cold water. Although the temperature was around 0 °F (−18 °C) and a strong tide was running, Snyder jumped into the water and rescued Kephart from drowning. For this action, he was issued the Medal of Honor two months later, on March 2, 1910. The medal was formally presented to him by President William Howard Taft at the White House on December 13 of that year.
Snyder's official Medal of Honor citation reads:
Serving on board the U.S.S. Birmingham, for extraordinary heroism, rescuing G.H. Kephart seaman, from drowning at Hampton Roads, Va., 4 January 1910.
Snyder became a commissioned officer and reached the rank of lieutenant commander before leaving the Navy. He died at age 61 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia.
- "Medal of Honor recipients - Interim Awards, 1901-1911". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. August 3, 2009. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
- "Medal for Brave Seaman". The New York Times (New York). December 14, 1910.
- "William Ellsworth Snyder (1883 - 1944)". Find a Grave. September 21, 2003. Retrieved May 9, 2010.