Retired July 1, 1992.
Lieutenant General Donald Snyder is vice commander, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va. The command comprises more than 101,000 active military and civilian personnel stationed at 300 separate locations in 20 different countries. Tactical Air Command is also the gaining organization for 86,000 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve personnel throughout the United States.
General Snyder was born in 1936, in Pittsburgh. He earned a bachelor of science degree in agricultural engineering from Penn State University in 1957 and a master of science degree in public administration from Shippensburg State College in 1976. He completed Air Command and Staff College in 1967, Army War College in 1977 and the J.L. Kellogg Institute of Management at Northwestern University in 1982.
He received his commission through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program and entered active duty in July 1957. General Snyder completed pilot training in September 1958 at Vance Air Force Base, Okla. In August 1959, after fighter training in F-100 Supersabres at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., he was assigned to the 12th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 18th Tactical Fighter Wing, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, and flew F-100s.
The general returned to the United States in March 1962 and served as an F-100 instructor, weapons officer, and standardization and evaluation officer with the 430th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 474th Tactical Fighter Wing, Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. During this tour of duty he also attended fighter weapons school at Nellis Air Force Base and earned Jump Wings at Fort Benning, Ga. In addition, he deployed to Europe, then Asia. He served at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, in late 1962, and in 1965, became an air adviser and forward air controller with the South Vietnam forces in Quan Tri. General Snyder was assigned to Luke Air Force Base as an F-100 instructor in September 1965.
After completing Air Command and Staff College in August 1967, he returned to Southeast Asia and served as an F-100 instructor, weapons officer and flight commander. Shot down by ground fire in North Vietnam in December 1967, he was rescued and then hospitalized at Valley Forge, Pa., until May 1968. He returned to Luke Air Force Base to help develop the F-104 Fighter Weapons School for German air force and navy pilots. From February 1971 to July 1972 General Snyder was assigned to the Defense Special Projects Group (sensor program) in Washington, D.C. He was later transferred to the Tactical Fighter Weapons Center, Nellis Air Force Base, as a test project manager working A-7 software, the YF-16 and YF-17 and numerous other tests.
In February 1974 General Snyder was selected for special assignment to the U.S. element of the Central Treaty Organization, Ankara, Turkey. After completing the Army War College in August 1977, he returned to Luke Air Force Base and served with the 58th Tactical Training Wing, first as deputy commander for operations, F-5 and F-104, then as deputy commander for operations, F-4 and F-104. In August 1979 he became wing vice commander. He served as an instructor in all phases of F-104 student and fighter weapons instructor training.
General Snyder assumed command of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, in March 1981 and led the unit's conversion from F-4Ds to F-16s. The "Wolfpack" was the first overseas U.S. Air Force wing equipped With F-16s. In July 1982 he became assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, Pacific Air Forces headquarters. The general assumed command of the 313th Air Division, Kadena Air Base, in July 1985. In September 1986 he was assigned as vice commander, 12th Air Force, Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas. He became commander of 13th Air Force, Clark Air Base, Philippines, in July 1987. In January 1990 General Snyder became deputy chief of staff for operations, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. In July 1990 he was assigned as deputy commander in chief and chief of staff, U.S. Special Operations Command. He assumed his present position in May 1991.
The general is a command pilot with more than 4,500 flying hours, and has flown F-4, F-5, F-15, F-16, F-100, F-104, 0-1 and T-33 aircraft. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 12 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, Vietnam Service Medal with three service stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Republic of Korea Order of the Security Merit SAMIL Medal, Japan's Order of the Rising Sun and the Philippines' Legion of Honor (Degree of Commander).
He was promoted to lieutenant general June 1, 1991, with same date of rank.