Cover photo for Dale Snodgrass's Obituary
Dale Snodgrass Profile Photo
1949 Dale 2021

Dale Snodgrass

May 13, 1949 — July 24, 2021

Dale O. “Snort” Snodgrass CAPT USN (Ret.) embodied the Navy motto of Semper Fortis – Always Courageous

Dale O. “Snort” Snodgrass CAPT USN (Ret.) a celebrated naval officer and aviator for 27 years, talented demonstration pilot, and dedicated chief pilot died tragically in his SIAI-Marchetti taking off from the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport in Idaho on 24 July 2021. The Florida resident was 72.

Dale was raised in Lake Ronkonkoma, New York and attended the University of Minnesota as an NROTC Midshipman setting records as an All-American swimmer. He graduated in August 1972 and was commissioned an Ensign. Selected for jets, he completed his Navy flight training in December 1973 and was one of the first fighter pilots to fly the F-14 Tomcat. He was selected to attend and graduated from U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) at NAS Miramar, California and then served as a weapons training officer. As a Lieutenant (LT) he earned his Landing Signal Officer (LSO) qualification for all wing aircraft and was later selected as the Air Wing LSO for Carrier Air Wing (CVW) Eight. Then Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Snodgrass was selected in 1983 to be the operations officer of the Atlantic Fleet adversary squadron (VF-43) at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia (NAS Oceana). A remarkable airman, he was selected as the 1985 Fighter Pilot of the Year and 1986 Grumman Aerospace TOPCAT of the Year. After serving as the executive officer of Fighter Squadron 101 (VF-101) in 1988, he was selected for command of Fighter Squadron 33 (VF-33. In April 1993 he began service in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations as section head of OPNAV N88, Aviation Training Resources. A year later he was promoted to Captain (CAPT) and selected for a major command. In April 1994 Captain Snodgrass became commodore of Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic based at NAS Oceana. In February 1997, he returned to Washington, D.C. as head of the House Liaison Office for the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs where he served until his retirement from the Navy in June 1999. His personal awards include two Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, two Air Medals, three Strike/Flight Air Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals with Combat V, three Navy Commendation Medals, and two Navy Achievement Medals.

After military retirement, Snodgrass founded DS Airshows Inc. and co-founded Draken International serving as Chief Pilot, Lead for the Draken Black Diamond Flight Team and Director of Operations for Draken’s Adversarial Combat Training.  Dale was also notably recognized as one of only ten authorized U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight Pilots.

Dale “Snort” Snodgrass accumulated over 13,000 hours in tactical aircraft during his career and is amongst the greatest fighter pilots of all time.

He is survived by his wife Cynthia, Dale’s daughters Danby & Morgan, granddaughters Molly, Mae, Avery and Emory, his Sisters Donn & Marilou and his wife Cynthia’s children, Holly and Jeffery.

Friends are invited to attend the military funeral at 1:30pm on Friday, August 27 at the Fort Stanton Veterans Cemetery located at 1398 State Highway 220, Fort Stanton, New Mexico. Service dress is optional but appreciated. A celebration of life will follow at Sierra Blanca Regional Airport at 5pm.

In lieu of flowers, please donate online to St. Jude and Inspiration4 to help find cures for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dale Snodgrass, please visit our flower store.


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