Memorial service held for sailor killed after defending girlfriend
April 19, 2013
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — USS George Washington sailors have memorialized a shipmate who died after defending his girlfriend from an attacker while on leave in Florida.
Seaman Apprentice Matthew Snow, an aviation structural mechanic, was remembered by sailors at the aircraft carrier’s forecastle Thursday as a friend and a competent professional, according to a ship statement.
Commanding officer Capt. G.J. Fenton said he would remember Snow as a hard worker and devoted shipmate.
“While Airman Snow passed away at a very young age, his valiant efforts may have very well saved the life of his girlfriend,” according to a ship statement.
Snow’s supervisor, Senior Chief Petty Officer L.C. Grissom, called his shop’s muster with a roll call at the ceremony. When Snow did not answer, “Taps” began to play, in line with military tradition.
“He was one of the most honorable sailors I’ve ever worked with,” Grissom said, according to a ship statement.
The outpouring of support has continued on the USS George Washington’s Facebook page, where several dozen people have left messages to Snow and his family.
Snow died April 1 at 11:44 p.m. at Delray Medical Center from injuries sustained during a March 25 incident, according to a Palm Beach Post report.
Paul Charles, 24, of Lantana, Fla., is being held without bail in the Palm Beach County Jail on charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and burglary for allegedly stabbing Snow and Vanessa Vandermeeren-Sanchez, according to media reports.
Police said Charles, Vandermeeren-Sanchez’s ex-boyfriend and father of her 2-year-old child, broke into her home around noon and began screaming at her, according to the Palm Beach Post. Charles then allegedly stabbed her in the chest and arm.
Snow then fought with Charles and was stabbed three times, according to police cited in the Palm Beach Post.
Charles fled and was later apprehended March 25 after an emergency call reported that a man was standing in the Palm Beach ocean surf with a knife clutched to his chest. Charles threatened suicide during a more than three-hour standoff, after which he surrendered to police, according to media reports.
Vandermeeren-Sanchez survived the stabbing and has been released from the hospital, according to media reports.
“[Snow] just loved everyone, he loved his friends, he loved his family, never any hesitation in helping people,” Vandermeeren-Sanchez told Palm Beach television station WPTV earlier this month.
On Thursday, sailors familiar with some of the details of Snow’s death praised his actions.
“I hope I could show the same courage that he showed when he faced a deadly situation,” said Snow’s division officer, Lt. Thomas Miyano, according to a ship statement. “I admire what he did.”