Charles P. Snyder (admiral) - World War II

World War II

Upon relinquishing command of the Battle Force, he reverted to his permanent rank of rear admiral and became a member of the General Board with additional duty as the president of the Board for Inspection of Military Readiness in Naval Districts. As a member of the General Board, Snyder participated in the debate over the role of African American sailors in the Navy. The Navy's policy was to confine black sailors to menial duties as stewards and messmen, excluding them from general service on the grounds that they were unable to maintain discipline among white subordinates and therefore had to be segregated, which was impractical at sea. When the General Board convened on January 23, 1942, Snyder suggested expanding black enlistment in rigidly segregated support roles outside the service branches: in the Aviation Branch, following the Army's lead; aboard auxiliaries and minor vessels, especially transports; or in the Musician's Branch, because "the colored race is very musical and they are versed in all forms of rhythm."

From May 1942 until April 1946, he served as the first Naval Inspector General. The Naval Inspector General was used as a troubleshooter during World War II, inspecting shore facilities and investigating misconduct. As but one of 24 inspection authorities concerned with Navy procurement and administration of activities ashore, he was instructed to keep the organization small and to rely on augmentation from the Fleet. He retired in August 1943 upon reaching the statutory age, and was advanced to admiral on the retired list as the highest rank in which he had served, but remained on active duty as inspector general until the end of the war. In early 1946, he investigated the sinking of the heavy cruiser Indianapolis in his official capacity as inspector general, but agreed to curtail his investigation so that Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King and Navy Secretary James V. Forrestal could immediately court-martial Indianapolis' commanding officer, Captain Charles B. McVay III.

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