TAPS - Two Former Commandants Pass This Week
LEXINGTON, Va., Feb. 16, 2012 -- Two former Virginia Military Institute commandants of cadets died this week. Col. Harold B. “Buz” Snyder Jr. ’57, commandant from 1981 to 1984, died Feb. 14. Col. William H. Dabney ’61, VMI commandant of cadets from 1989 to 1990, died Feb. 15.
A memorial service for Dabney is scheduled for 2 p.m., Feb. 26, at R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church in Lexington, Va., followed by a reception at Moody Hall at VMI. Funeral arrangements for Snyder are incomplete.
Col. Snyder was named commandant of cadets and commander of the VMI Army ROTC unit in 1981.
His 24-year Army career included staff and command assignments in Korea, Vietnam, and Europe, as well as in the United States. His final active duty assignment prior to reporting to VMI was as director for aviation systems at the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va.
Snyder received a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from VMI and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech. He was a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College and the Naval War College.
His decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal (seven Clusters), the Army Commendation Ribbon with one Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Navy Commendation Medal.
As a cadet, Snyder earned letters in football, basketball, and baseball.
Col. Dabney served three years in the U.S. Marine Corps before attending Virginia Military Institute. He was commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation with a bachelor of arts degree in English.
His military service included two combat tours during the Vietnam War, as well as numerous command and staff positions. He assumed command of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps unit at VMI in 1987 and became commandant of cadets two years later.
In 2005, he was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions in the defense of an isolated outpost on Hill 881S during the 1968 siege of Khe Sanh. His other decorations include the Silver Star Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” and gold star in lieu of second award, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” and gold star in lieu of second award, the Purple Heart Medal and the Combat Action ribbon.