WWII Vet Dies Hours After Exoneration

Discussion in 'General' started by SSGMike.Ivy, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. SSGMike.Ivy

    SSGMike.Ivy Senior Member

    Very sad that it took our military 60+ years to do the right thing for these soldiers.
    RIP Samuel Snow

    July 28, 2008
    Associated Press

    SEATTLE - Samuel Snow, one of 28 black soldiers who were wrongly convicted in a riot and lynching of an Italian World War II prisoner in Seattle in 1944, clung to life just long enough for his name to be cleared.
    Snow, 83, died early Sunday at Virginia Mason Hospital, where he had been admitted because of an irregular heartbeat, Rep. Jim McDermott disclosed on behalf of Snow's family.

    Snow came to Seattle on Friday to hear a formal apology from Ronald James, assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs, but was already in the hospital by the time of the ceremony Saturday afternoon at Discovery Park.

    "We had not done right by these soldiers," James said. "The Army is genuinely sorry. I am genuinely sorry."

    The soldiers' convictions were set aside, their dishonorable discharges were changed to honorable discharges and they and their survivors were awarded back pay for their time in the brig.

    Ray Snow said he showed his father the honorable discharge plaque and read it to him in the hospital

    "My dad has been standing in formation all these years waiting to have his name cleared," he said. "With the Army's honorable discharge, he was at ease. He now has his discharge papers and he went home."

    McDermott pressed the Army to revisit the case largely because of the book "On American Soil" published in 2005 by Jack Hamann, a CNN and PBS journalist, and his wife Leslie about the riot on the night of Aug. 14, 1944, and subsequent events at Fort Lawton, a remnant of which remains within Discovery Park.

    Dozens were injured in an uproar that started with a scuffle between an Italian prisoner of war and a black soldier from the segregated barracks near the POW housing. A POW, Guglielmo Olivotto, was found hanged at the bottom of a bluff the next day.

    The Army prosecutor was Leon Jaworski, who went on to become special prosecutor in the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s.

    Forty-three black soldiers were charged with rioting and three also were charged with murder. Two defense lawyers were assigned to the case and given two weeks to prepare without ever being shown an Army investigation criticizing the way the riot was handled.

    Hamann wrote that at least two soldiers were threatened with lynching by Army detectives. When one witness said a "Booker T." was present at the riot but couldn't give any more detail, the Army charged two men by that name. Another was charged with rioting although white, black and Italian POW witnesses all said he tried to quell the disturbance
    In the ensuing trial 28 men were convicted.
  2. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Wow. After all these years he finally gets justice. Excellent.
  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Perhaps the British Army will do something about the Salerno "mutineers" - who - according to Gen. Adams, the Adjutant-General , suffered the worst example of Britsh Army justice that he had known as he wrote to Monty. He then commuted the death sentence on the three sergeants who were found guilty of being the ringleaders - they still served 10 years at hard labour- the rest were returned to various units but with their records showing that they had mutinied...most of them finally deserted or were killed in Italy.
    Not a good outcome for a real cock up by some idiot who sent the wrong messages
    regarding reinforcements for Xth corps at Salerno- and the cover up !

Share This Page