Former San Marino resident Howard Snyder was in the B-17 Susan Ruth when it was shot out of the sky by German fighters on Feb. 8, 1944. His son Steve Snyder told the story of the men who took part in these events 70 years ago – some died, were captured and became prisoners of war while others evaded the Germans but were betrayed, captured and shot, and some were missing inaction for seven months.
As part of the Friends of the Crowell Public Library’s Meet the Authors series, Steve Snyder will be speaking in the Barth Community Room at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20.
Steve Snyder said, “My book, ‘SHOT DOWN: The True Story of Pilot Howard Snyder and the Crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth’ is set within the framework of World War II and is about the dramatic experiences of each member of a B-17 crew after their plane was knocked out of the sky by German fighters over the French/Belgian and about the courageous Belgian people who risked their lives to help them. The hardcover book has more than 200 time period photographs of the people who were involved and the places where their stories took place.”
Everything is centered on the 306th Bomb Group stationed at Thurleigh, England of which the crew of the Susan Ruth was part.
The story is told through personal letters, oral and written accounts, military records and interviews. In writing his book, Steve Snyder said he traveled to Belgium three times, and he found and interviewed the German Luftwaffe pilot who shot down his dad’s plane.
He was also invited to visit the U.S. Ambassador, Denise Bauer, at her residence in the Embassy in Brussels. After four and a half years of research, “Shot Down” was finally published.
The book has received 15 national book awards. It is carried in the gift shops of all the major air and war museums in the U.S, including the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA; the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, OH; the National Museum of the Eighth Air Force in Pooler, GA; and the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Steve Snyder’s new career as a World War II historian has resulted in his membership with numerous World War II organizations, and he has become president of the 306th Bomb Group Historical Association.
Steve Snyder graduated from UCLA with a B.A. degree in economics and has lived in Seal Beach, Calif. since 1972. After 36 years in national sales and management, he retired and began his quest to learn more about the World War II experiences of his father, pilot Howard Snyder.