Skip to main content

James William Snee

LT COL in 23rd Headquarters Co


Born 1910 in CA, Died 1996

Other residence(s): Palo Alto, CA; Wilkes-Barre, PA; Washington, DC; Merritt Island, FL; numerous military postings
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: military officer
College education before the war: West Point
Notes: Legion of Merit Award; GO #23 Sec V, Hq ETOUSA, 23 Feb 45. Meritorious Service: Task Force Commander, France, Luxembourg, 17 June-22 Sep 44; later won a Silver Star in Korea and two additional Legion of Merit Awards; final rank COL
Source: Roster of 23d HQ officers, from family of Oscar Seale; Awards and Decorations; West Point Graduates list from Cliff Simenson, 27 Dec 2002; West Point 1934 yearbook photo from Find a Grave

Jim Snee was born on July 4, 1910 in Palo Alto, CA, the older of two sons. His father, a clothing salesman, had been born in England and his mother in Wales.

The family later moved to Wilkes-Barre, PA where Jim graduated from James M. Coughlin High School in 1928. He spent a year at a local prep school, Wyoming Seminary, and then joined the National Guard. According to the West Point Association of Graduates website, his National Guard commander, who was a West Point graduate, encouraged him to apply to the Academy. "His commander's mother was born at West Point and heard of Jim's desire to go. She loaned him the money [ a total of $360!] to attend Millard Prep School in Washington, DC for six months." He passed the West Point entrance exams, and entered the Academy in 1930, where he was a classmate of fellow Ghost Army veteran Cliff Simenson.

He graduated from West Point in 1934 (and repaid his loan for Millard!) and was first assigned to border service with the 8th Cavalry at Fort Bliss, TX. Later assignments sent him to the 2nd Cavalry and Cavalry School at Fort Riley, KS (where he completed a course in advanced horsemanship, dated George Patton's daughter, and chatted with then Colonel Patton in the family kitchen) and the 11th Cavalry at the Presidio in Monterey, CA.

On December 20, 1939 he married Catherine Clarke Carey at Fort Leavenworth. They would have two children in the early 1940s: Kathleen and James.

In late 1940 Jim was assigned to the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Benning, GA where General Patton was now in charge. In January, 1944, with the temporary rank of LTC, he became the Staff Armor Officer for the Ghost Army, serving in Europe with the unit. (He would receive his permanent appointment to that rank in 1948.) He was part of an advance party that flew to England on April 10, 1944, several weeks prior to the rest of the unit.

He returned to the US on March 7, 1946, but his marriage did not survive the war. He and Catherine divorced, and she took the kids back to her hometown of Vineland, NJ. On August 22, 1947, Jim married Louise Morgan Fleeger and became stepfather to her two young sons: James and Louis Fleeger.

During the Korean War he was G-3 of the 24th Infantry Division when the North Koreans invaded and, according to his West Point biography, played a major role in the rush to stop their advance. He was awarded a Silver Star for a relief operation around Taejon in 1950.

In 1951, with the rank of COL, Jim attended the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, and later was assigned to the Pentagon. He served as the HQ Commandant for the Seventh Army in Germany, and later commanded the 11th Armored Cavalry in Fulda, Germany, helping to impede any Russian advances during the Cold War.

He was back at the Presidio by 1960, and served as G-2 of the Sixth Army from 1961 until his retirement on July 31, 1964. During his time in Monterey, he became the Vice-Commodore of the Presidio Yacht Club, and continued this hobby when he retired to Merritt Island, FL (near Cape Canaveral). There he became commander of the Eau Gallie Yacht Club in Indian Harbor Beach and was an active member of the Banana River Power Squadron in Melbourne.

He died on September 15, 1996 in Merritt Island, FL and is buried at the West Point Cemetery.

NOTE: IN 2013, his West Point ring was one of those donated to be melted down to form part of the gold used for the Class of 2013 rings. This was a ceremony held, at the time, at Pease & Curran in Warwick, RI; now that ceremony is held annually at West Point.


1934 West Point photo (see Find a Grave record)

1941 article in the Deming Headlight (NM) shows a photo of him in new Army winter uniform


1920 census

1930 census

1940 article in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader (PA) about his marriage with biographical details

1946 article in the Evening Star (Washington, DC) indicating he is "from" Washington and returning to US

1950 Silver Star citation (and other medals after that)

1950 Pennsylvania Veteran Compensation Application File WW2

1950 Associated Press article with an interview with him in Korea

1951 US Select Military Registers

1951 article in Daytona Beach Morning Journal (FL) about his military career

1959 article in the San Antonio Light (TX) about his military career

1964 article in the San Francisco Chronicle (CA) re his role in Presidio Yacht Club

1994 article in Florida Today about his stepson's death (gives details on when and where Jim moved in Florida)

1996 US Veterans Gravesites

1996 VA death record

1996 Find a Grave record*1cdwis6*_ga*MjEwMzA0MjU1OS4xNjc1NDc1NTA3*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY3NTUyOTAyNS4zLjEuMTY3NTUyOTMxNS41NC4wLjA.*_ga_B2YGR3SSMB*Zjc5NWQxYTAtMjJjNS00MGNhLWIyZjAtOTE5MTJkOTZmZjZmLjQ3LjEuMTY3NTUyOTMxNi41MS4wLjA.

1996 obituary in Florida Today,0.43724218,0.9623981,0.7806303&xid=3355&_gl=1*unfsdd*_ga*MjEwMzA0MjU1OS4xNjc1NDc1NTA3*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY3NTUyOTAyNS4zLjEuMTY3NTUyOTgzMy4yLjAuMA..*_ga_B2YGR3SSMB*Zjc5NWQxYTAtMjJjNS00MGNhLWIyZjAtOTE5MTJkOTZmZjZmLjQ3LjEuMTY3NTUyOTgzMy41OS4wLjA.&_ga=2.254100043.298872776.1675475508-2103042559.1675475507

1996 West Point Association of Graduates

2013 post about his class ring, West Point Association of Graduates

Please Support Our Ongoing Efforts

The soldiers of The Ghost Army used inflatable tanks, sound effects, and imagination to fool the Germans on the battlefields of Europe. The Ghost Army Legacy Project is ensuring that these men and their accomplishments are never forgotten.

Give via credit card by clicking the yellow “Donate” button.

Or, send a check to:

Ghost Army Legacy Project
1305 S. Michigan Ave. #1104
Chicago, IL 60605

All donations are tax-deductible!