Robert Michael Snell

Army of the United States
14 February 1944 - 14 June 1969
Lamesa, Texas
Panel 22W Line 049

Distinguished Service Cross


Bronze Star (2 awards), Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Robert M Snell

The database page for Robert Michael Snell

13 Apr 2004

Robert was from the oilfield and agricultural town of Lamesa, Texas, located between Midland and Lubbock, Texas. He was awarded this country's second highest award for valor, the DSC for actions that took his life on 14 June 1969 while serving as a liaison artillery officer for the 327th Infantry, 101st ABN Division. He is remembered by his community and on the Permian Basin Vietnam Memorial located at Midland International Airport, Midland, Texas. May this soldier's sacrifice never be forgotten.

From a PBVVM representative,
Billy M. Brown

Headquarters, United States Army Vietnam
APO San Francisco 96375

19 January 1970



1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced posthumously.

HQ and HQ Btry, 2nd Battalion, 320th Artillery, 101st Airborne Division

Awarded: Distinguished Service Cross
Date action: 14 June 1969
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Authority: By direction of the President, under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 25 July 1963.
Reason: For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Captain Snell distinguished himself on 14 June 1969 while serving as an artillery liaison officer to the 327th Infantry. In the early morning hours, an intense mortar attack followed by a ground assault was launched against Fire Support Base Berchtesgaden. When the first enemy rounds hit, several personnel were injured and in need of immediate medical attention. Captain Snell, with complete disregard for his own safety, moved fifty meters from his protected bunker through the heavy volume of enemy mortar fire to assist the wounded. He carried one wounded soldier back to the safety of the bunker and was going out the bunker door to retrieve another man when a round impacted at his feet and mortally wounded him. Captain Snell's unselfish dedication to his fellow soldiers was directly responsible for saving the life of the man he had carried to safety. Captain Snell's extraordinary heroism and dedication to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

14 Feb 2006

Captain Snell,

After reading your memorial today and learning what an incredibly brave and unselfish man you were, I wanted to say "Thank you" for giving your life so we could enjoy the freedom you bestowed upon us. Today would have been your 62nd birthday, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! You have been gone for almost 37 years. As your life was coming to an end in June, 1969, (I was graduating from high school) mine was just beginning, thanks to you. Please know that you are not forgotten, we'll have you in our hearts forever. Thanks again for making your last actions for the benefit of others; we salute you as a true HERO!!!!

Rebecca LaRussa

30 Jan 2007

He was and will always be my big brother and my hero!

From his brother,
Tim Snell

27 Mar 2007

My name is Robert Michael Howington, son of Raymon G. Howington, your best friend from Lamesa. I have heard many stories of you from my father. He is with you now. I visited your name on the memorial on June 14th, 1989 weeks before going to basic training for the US Army. That day will always be with me. I am proud to be named after you, Michael. I can only wish to be the man that you were. Thank you. I will never forget.

Robert Michael Howington
2452 Lakewood Drive, Grand Prairie, Texas 75054

A Note from The Virtual Wall

When the 101st Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade went into the A Shau Valley in late spring of 1969 they set up a number of fire support bases on the hilltops along the eastern side of the valley. The Brigade's Tactical Operations Center (TOC) was located at Fire Support Base Berchtesgaden on Hill 1030. At about 3 AM on the morning of 14 June 1969 FSB Berchtesgaden was assaulted by NVA sappers operating under cover of a heavy mortar barrage. Although the sappers managed to penetrate the perimeter in several places the attack was not successful and when the NVA withdrew they left 33 dead and 3 prisoners behind. Nevertheless, twelve US soldiers died in the fighting:
  • HHC, 3rd Brigade, 101st Abn Div
    • SGT David T. Sitton, Pueblo, CO
    • SP4 Louis J. Kelley, Conemaugh, PA
    • SP4 Malcolm E. Mitchell, Waco, TX
  • HHB, 2nd Bn, 319th Artillery
    • SP4 Ruben Urdialez, San Antonio, TX
    • PFC Johnny Wiles, Hardy, AR
    • PFC David A. Worrell, Gallatin, MO
  • B Co, 2nd Bn, 327th Infantry
    • CPL Michael J. Dodge, Gibraltar, MI
    • CPL Cutburt Hurtault, St Thomas, VQ
    • SP4 Armando A. Minor, Crosbyton, TX
  • CPT Robert M. Snell, Lamesa, TX, HHB, 2nd Bn, 320th Artillery (Dist Svc Cross)
  • SP4 Bobby R. Brown, Muncie, IN, 270th Signal Co
  • SP4 Paul S. Goc, Omaha, NE, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 11th Artillery

The photo of Captain Snell is from the USMA Yearbook for 1966.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 13 Apr 2004
Last updated 08/10/2009