Donnie Snipes


1968-1972, Petty Officer 2nd Class


From His Wife, Linda Melton Snipes:  

Donnie served the entire 4 years at Great Lakes Naval Hospital. He had just graduated from USC and had already graduated from SC Baptist Hospital School of Medical Technology. He was Honor Man of his Recruit Training Company, directed the Recruit Blue Jacket Choir, taught in the first civilian certified medical technology school in the US Navy, and received a Naval commendation for highest scholastic average in Corps School. Great Lakes was a 1300 bed hospital where Vietnam casualties were received and treated. He served during a time when there were many highly qualified enlisted personnel due to the demands of the war-1968-1972. The only time he ever held a weapon (other than a syringe or lancet) was during the protest marches when Donnie was sent to represent the lab in his dress blues defending the base for the TV cameras!


From Donnie :


After reading Linda's remarks about my protecting the Navy base gate, I thought you might want to know the weapon was a billy-stick.  Two  guys with BB guns and a canoe could have taken the Great Lakes Naval  Base coming in from the Lake Michigan side. No one was on that side  of the base to protect it. That is why we know it was a show for the TV cameras and the war protestors. I could have (may have) been in  the movies- at least in the newsreels.

My boot camp class, medical corps school class and Great Lakes Naval Hospital Laboratory (70 people) were mostly B.A., B.S. and Masters Degree students from NYU, UC-Berkeley, Northwestern University, etc. Very bright. One guy in the laboratory had three doctorates and taught at NYU.  I was out of my league. They introduced me to a new world. No one wanted to be there (even most of the pathologists), but we did our jobs (duty) very well.  I still miss that laboratory.On being discharged, my buddies threw a party for me. Their gift was a sailor's hat with Patton's famous words written on the brim: "At least you didn't shovel s*** in Louisiana."