NAS Oceana staple, Navy F-14 Tomcat pilot Dale Snodgrass dies in plane crash


Retired Capt. Dale Snodgrass taxis his P-51 Mustang after taking part of the U.S. Air Force heritage flight on the opening day of the Joint Service Open House. This is the first Joint Service Open House conducted by Team Andrews members at the newly minted Joint Base Andrews, continuing a rich tradition of partnership and strength rooted in service to the nation. (Photo courtesy: Petty Officer 2nd Class Clifford Davis)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A legendary F-14 Tomcat pilot who was stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana for years died this month in a plane crash in Idaho.

Capt. Dale “Snort” Snodgrass was the single occupant of a plane when it crashed in Lewiston, Idaho Saturday.

According to WAVY sister station WETM, Snodgrass was an experienced pilot and had more time in an F-14 than any other pilot, at almost 5,000 hours. He was well-known for his fly-by, which was an aggressive low-level maneuver called the banana pass.

Snodgrass was in the U.S. Navy from 1968 until 1999. He was first stationed in Minneapolis before eventually making his way to NAS Oceana in 1975, according to Navy records.

He stayed at NAS Oceana on various fighter squadrons until moving to Center for Surface Combat Systems Detachment East then Naval Air Force Atlantic in Norfolk in 1991.

He finished his time with the Navy at the Department of Naval Staff Office of Legislative Affairs in Washington DC in 1999.

Snodgrass’ awards and decorations include:

  • Legion of Merit (3)
  • Air Medal (3, 1 with Combat “V”)
  • Meritorious Service Medal (2)
  • Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3, 1 with Combat “V”)
  • Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
  • Joint Meritorious Unit Award
  • Navy Unit Commendation (2)
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation
  • Navy “E” Ribbon (2)
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (with star)
  • Southwest Asia Service Medal
  • Humanitarian Service Medal
  • Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (3)

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