Jack Loyal Snyder

2020-08-29T13:33:09-05:00
Army Badge
  • Name: Jack Loyal Snyder
  • Location of Birth: Omaha, Nebraska
  • Date of Birth: October 16, 1919
  • Date of Death: August 9, 2017
  • Parents: L. D. and Alta Snyder
  • High School and Class: GED
  • College:
  • Highest Rank: S SGT (Staff Sergeant)
  • Branch: Army
  • Other Branch:
  • Date Sworn In: June 1, 1942
  • Place Sworn In: Fort Snelling, St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Date of Discharge: October 16, 1945
  • Place of Discharge: Reception Center Service Command Unit 1106 at Fort Devens, Massachusetts
  • Military Awards:
    Good Conduct Medal
    European African Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon

  • Military Highlights:
    World War II Draft Card for Jack Loyal Snyder:
    Gender: Male
    Race: White
    Age: 21
    Relationship to Draftee: Self (Head)
    Birth Date: 16 Oct 1919
    Birth Place: Omaha, Nebraska, USA
    Residence Place: Deer River, Itasca, Minnesota, USA
    Registration Date: 16 Oct 1940
    Registration Place: Deer River, Itasca, Minnesota, USA
    Employer: None
    Weight: 130
    Complexion: Light
    Eye Color: Brown
    Hair Color: Brown
    Height: 5 6
    Next of Kin: Mrs. L. D. Snyder, mother
    Address: Inger Route, Deer River, Minnesota

    Jack served with Company B 347th Infantry Regiment during World War II.


    Letter written by Jack to his wife and baby, dated November 6, 1944 from somewhere in England:

    "My Darling Wife and Baby,

    Guess my darling don't love me anymore as I didn't get any letter today. Gosh, I haven't heard since yesterday. Some of the boys haven't even heard from home yet and here I've had 16 letters all told.

    Well at last we got paid and I got 10 lbs, 19 shillings ($42) so that was more than I expected.

    I'm eating a piece of bread and drinking a cup of coffee right now. Wish I was home, drinking coffee right now, don't you?

    Tomorrow I'm going to get that watch I think so if I can't get mine fixed I'll have it & if I don't need it, I can sell it to a doz. different guys.

    So you are going off and leaving pumpkin at home, huh? How did you get out of her sight in the 1st place? Is she still scart of some people?

    That's sure swell that Juanita is so good about sitting on her chair as I know it saves you lots of work.

    Well tomorrow is the big day in the U.S. I suppose Roosevelt will win easily.

    My hair is sure getting long now so I sure have to get it cut or else I'll have to take up violin lessons. I imagine that boys would rather I'd get my hair cut.

    The wind is really blowing tonite so I suppose I'll freeze. You should be here to keep my feet warm, huh?

    Say sweetheart, do you still just love me a "teeny weeny" bit? I love you a "great big" bit (can't laugh in my letters so just put them in where you think they should be.)

    Guess I'll quit for tonite darling. Sending my loving wife and baby all my love and kisses.

    Your loving husband and daddy,

    Jack

    I love you."

    V-Mail dated December 31, 1944:
    "My darling wife and baby,

    I just wrote a letter but I decided maybe I should write a v-mail as maybe it'll go faster.

    I'm now in Company "G" of the 347th Infantry so be sure and don't put Co "B" on it.

    We're going to move to a different area so I have to make this short so that I can mail it.

    If you can, try to send a bottle of ink airmail but don't bother if it won't go airmail.

    All my love and kisses,
    Jack"

    Jack was authorized to visit Brussells, Belgium on May 6, 1945 to May 9, 1945. The pass expired 72 hours from the date it was issued.



    Information on Jack's Honorable Discharge shows he has two dependents, his civilian occupation was Farmer General, his military occupational specialty and number was Light Mortar Crewman 607, military qualification was Sharpshooter-Rifle Combat Infantryman Badge, Battles and Campaigns were Rhineland Ardennes Central Europe. Decorations and Citations were Good Conduct Medal and European African Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon, no wounds were received in action, his continental service was 2 years 7 months, and 20 days and his foreign service was 8 months and 25 days. The reason and authority for separation was AR 615-365 RR-1 (which means demobilization --the army regulation concerning Army forces reduction after the war). Jack was issued a lapel button and his ASR Score was (2 Sept 45) - 75 which is the number of points earned which determined when the soldier was shipped home.

    "Hi Tera, last summer when Shirley was here, just in conversation, she asked if I ever knew I came close to getting "hit" in the war, as she had read all the items I had sent to you before. I related two times I knew I had been close to getting hit, and she said I should write about that too. I had put it off, as I didn't think it was that big a deal.

    Both times these happened, happened the day our unit broke through the Sigfried (sp) line, I take no credit on breaking through, as when we had our pre-attack meeting during the nite before, we were told the engineneers had cleared a path with their mine detectors, and had planted explosives around the concrete pillars that would have to be blown up as the pillars were poured so close together there wasn't room to get a tank between them. To make way for our tank destroyer that would be working with us. I had the knowledge to do all that, as they had sent me to all kinds of classes on demolitions, but was glad I didn't have to help with it. We were to stay within the tank destroyers track when walking through.

    When daylite came, our unit "jumped off" and you can imagine all the noise and action that happened then. We were to be the last of our unit to go through as they figured we wouldn't be needed in the morning, unless the Germans made a counter attack. One unit went through and turned right, and our unit went through and turned left.

    The one "negative", if you want to call it, that, was one didn't know if the rolling hills, with trees on it, was the natural landscape or a cover over a bunker. The soldiers would crawl up the back side of these hills to see if there was any "stepped front" concrete faces of a bunker. If they did, they would manuver themselves to a point they could see all but the slot that the Germans could look out of, and then bring the tank destroyer to that point. And he would blast 2 or 3 rounds of "armor piercing" rounds into the front. One can only imagine the blast going off 8-10 feet from where you're sitting in the bunker, and can't do anything about it. They would come out with their hands up, as they realized if they didn't the soldiers would just crawl up there and toss in hand grenades, through the opening.

    All the time this is going on, we were bringing up the rear, and we discovered the Germans had dug many "fox holes" among the bunkers, so we instructed our men to stand by one and if they heard a shell coming close, to jump in them. One had already learned the sound of different shells, and how close they were the Platoon Sgt. and I found one with logs over the top, to protect one from tree bursts. As we stood there we did hear a (88) coming in, and one only had a "split second" and I mean a "split second", to act. I jumped in the foxhole and the Sgt jumped on top of me, I asked him if he was hit and he said he didn't think so, as he didn't feel any pain. We got out of the hole and looked to see if any of men got hit, and where it hit. It had made a dirrect hit on the foxhole 20 feet behind ours. But the men that were going to use that were about 50 feet away, looking for logs to put over their foxhole.

    We looked it over, and couldn't figure out how that shell ever got through the trees, as they were so close and the branches so full. Had we had a tree burst, we sure would have been hit with shapnel anyway. The only thing we got out of it, was my rifle got shoved into the muddy bottem of the fox hole, so I had to clean my rifle, as it wouldn't have been any good if they counter attacked.

    All morning long the Germans were shelliuing us to drive us back acroos the line, sometimes the shells would be ahead of us, sometimes behind us, as they couldn't see us, so would just spread the shells up and down the line. We had a observation plane flying back and forth all day, watching for any signs of a counter attack, and directing our artilery fire, too, I'm sure. As they were shelling us with mortars we kept hearing an odd sould like "warbling", that we'd never heard before, among the usual sounds.

    Then all at once, it got quiet, and then we head a boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom equally spaced, the Sgt and I looked at each other and said a "woobble woofer", which was a "coined" soldier word for the German 6 barrel mortar, the only good thing about that was, one had 10-15 seconds to find a hole to jump in when you heard it go off.

    This went on all day, and one time we were moving forward, and it went off, but we were away from any hole to jump in, but there was a large excavation they had dug to put in another bunker, but hadn't poured any concrete as yet. We all jumped in the hole and hugged the wall next to where the shell would come from. And when it hit, it spread dirt all over us, but no one got hit, we told our men to get out and find foxholes and stand by them. We looked to where that shell had hit and it was about 6 feet from the edge of the excavation we were in. Had it gone 10 feet farther, many soldiers would have been hit.

    We got out and found a foxhole and was standing by it when 2 P47 fighter jets came roaring over at tree top, and we heard their 50 caliber machine guns go off. They made another pass, doing the same thing again. No more Wobble Woofer."

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    Jack married Edith Christine Schaar on February 24, 1942 in Greenwood, Mississippi.

    News article from Western Itasca Review (no date):
    "Jack Snyder was born and raised in the Deer River area and lived and worked here for many years. He and his wife Edith, also from the Deer River area, currently live in Bartlett, Illinois. Jack was contacted about helping with this special issue, and following is his reply.
    "I was asked to write my memories of the "Bulge" of World War II and this is what I remember the most.
    "I was a Mortar Section Sgt. in the 87th Inf. Division of the Third Army. The division was fighting near Saabruken on the Eastern Front in France and we had just crossed into Germany at that front when we received orders to pull back, as the Germans had 'broken though' to our north.
    "We loaded on trucks and proceeded to the new 'front', arriving a couple days before Christmas. The reason I can remember that is where I ate my Christmas dinner. As the majority of buildings in Germany were built of heavy walled stone, we always tried to get into some building if we weren't in a foxhole at the front, as it would take a direct hit to injure or kill someone.
    "So we took shelter in this barn as it was snowing--about 10 inches on the ground and 10 inches of frost. After dark our Christmas dinner came, even if it was cold. We had turkey with all the trimmings, sitting in the pigpen in the corner of this barn. But there were no complaints as it was better than being at the front in a foxhole.
    "I take no credit for stopping the German offensive in the Bulge, as they were already pulling back when we arrived. Our mission was to cut off the major road junction between Bastogne and St. Hubert to prevent their retreat and cut their supply route.
    "The day after Christmas we replaced another outfit at the front. Being a Mortar Section Sgt., it was my job to be at the front line to observe if the rifle platoons needed assistance with mortar fire.
    "After a couple of days of mostly exchanging artillery and mortar fire it was determined to cross this small river (about the size of the Deer River east of town) that we had been entrenched by. We were there to take this small town of about 15 or 20 buildings that they (Germans) had been defending, as this would give us a clear shot at that road junction we were trying to take.
    "So after dark, we crossed on a stone bridge on a one lane road and took this small town, driving the Germans out.
    "We had gotten about 20 to 30 soldiers across when we heard these German Tiger tanks coming. They just started blasting away, as they knew we were in there and we couldn't call for artillery without hitting our own troops.
    "One of the tanks pulled right up to the bridge so we couldn't withdraw that way. (the Army never retreats....) The only way back was to wade this fast flowing creek which wasn't frozen, even though the temperature was zero or below. It was about waist deep and I was helping my Mortar Section by carrying the mortar barrel and base plate so I needed assistance getting out on the other side.
    "The Americans did have time to plant explosives on this bridge and if the tank had attempted to cross it would have been blown. We didn't want to, if not necessary, as we intended to cross with our own equipment if we ever took this town.
    "We proceeded to the rear where our outfit was in another small town where we got dry clothes and shoes.
    "This was our outfit's heaviest action in the Bulge and we suffered heavy loss of life and many wounded, but, thank God, I came home safe and sound and never being wounded.
    "P.S. We never did take that little town, but swung around to our left and crossed at another location."
    After the war, Jack Snyder returned to his wife Edith and baby daughter in the Deer River area, where they resided for another 10 years. Jack's brother Roy still lives in Deer River, and his brother Oscar lives in Bigfork. Edith's brother is Bob Schaar, who is also featured in this issue.

    Jack and Edith have three daughters and five grandchildren.

    Jack is survived by his wife of 74 years, Edith; daughters Juanita (Jerry) Mitter and Julie (William) Perris; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

    He was preceded in death by a daughter, Janet Burton, son-in-law Jim Burton and grandson, Jim Burton, Jr.


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