Viet­nam veteran pushed for medal


Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - Con­tin­ued from B

all the de­tails of his brother’s death un­til 30 years af­ter he died be­cause the in­for­ma­tion was la­beled clas­si­fied.

He didn’t try to get a medal for his brother be­cause his brother was a mod­est per­son. “He never cared about medals and thought he was just do­ing his job and prob­a­bly if he was alive would have never pushed for it,” Snow­den said.

The per­son who did push for the medal was Roger Wid­dows, a Viet­nam veteran who lives in Ge­orge­town and who never knew Ben Snow­den. He said he met John Snow­den on Me­mo­rial Day in 2009 and was struck by the sim­i­lar­i­ties in their lives.

“It turned out that we had both lost our younger brothers in heli­copter in­ci­dents in Viet­nam,” Wid­dows said. “I said to my­self if that had been my brother who was not get­ting any recog­ni­tion for what he did, I would not feel good about it.”

Wid­dows said he con­tacted U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s of­fice in 2009 but that it took three years to sup­ply all the doc­u­ments de­tail­ing what hap­pened in or­der to get ap­proval for the medal. “I must have con­tacted about 75 peo­ple, and many wanted to re­main anony­mous,” he said.

Wid­dows said he read a book called “SOG: The Se­cret War of Amer­i­can Com­man­dos in Viet­nam” by a Viet­nam veteran named John Plas­ter, which pro­vided de­tails of Snow­den’s last mis­sion. He said Plas­ter helped him track down one of Ben Snow­den’s former com­man­ders — Low­ell Stevens — who saw the

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