Feb 012015

WOW what a read! I highly recommend this book to broaden your knowledge of air missions over Europe during WWII!

This book is a memoir of Steve Snyder’s father, Howard Snyder. Howard was the pilot in command of the B-17 Susan Ruthand along with the nine other members of his crew flew missions over Europe while attached to 306th Bomb Group.

This book grabs your attention buy starting with a first person account from Howard about how they were shot down while on a mission over Europe. It then regresses to give Howard’s experiences while growing up, and then progresses with Howard’s pilot training, arrival in Europe, missions, shot down over Belgium, the resistance, capture, prison camp, liberation, and return to Belgium for remembrance. This book is well written and besides being a memoir of Howard Snyder’s experiences it also … read the rest on the IPMS/USA Reviews website.

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Jan 292015

Hundreds of spectators, including World War II veterans, current military service members and museum volunteers, crammed into The Mighty Eighth Museum on January 28 as the museum dedicated the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber that’s been dubbed the City of Savannah.

Donated by the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in January 2009, the aircraft arrived at the Museum in assorted pieces. It was the Museum’s goal to restore the bomber so that it would become the finest static display of any B-17 in the world. Finally restored to its full World War II combat configuration (complete with three working gun turrets), the B-17 City of Savannah now sits at the center of the institution’s Combat Gallery

More than 200 volunteers dedicated over 45,000 hours to restore the bomber; enlisting the help of aviation experts from local organizations, including the Georgia Air National Guard’s 165th Airlift Wing, Gulfstream Aerospace and Flight Safety International.

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Jan 282015

The Eighth Bomber Command was activated as part of the United States Army Air Forces on January 28, 1942 at Hunter Field in Savannah, Georgia. Brigadier General Ira C. Eaker took the headquarters to England the next month to prepare for its assignment of conducting high-altitude, daylight precision bombing missions over Nazi-occupied Europe. Re-designated the 8th Air Force in February 1944, and under the leadership of such Generals as Eaker and Jimmy Doolittle, the 8th Air Force became the greatest air armada in history.

By mid-1944, it had reached a total strength of more than 200,000 people, and it is estimated that more than 350,000 Americans served in the 8th during World War II. At its peak, the 8th Air Force could dispatch more than 2,000 four-engine B-17 and B-24 bombers and 1,000 fighters on a single mission. For these reasons, the 8th became known as “The Mighty Eighth”. The Mighty Eighth compiled an impressive record during the war, however, this achievement carried a high price. The 8th AF suffered one-half of the U.S. Army Air Forces’ casualties in World War II (47,000-plus casualties with more than 26,000 deaths; more than the entire Marine Corps).

It is our duty to remember.

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Jan 272015

Each year on February 8, a ceremony is held at the B-17 Susan Ruth Memorial to remember and honor its crew. This coming February 8th will commemorate the 71st anniversary of the Susan Ruth being attacked and shot down by two German Focke-Wulf fighters; crashing at La Distillerie (The Distillery Farm) in Macquenoise, Belgium just north of the French border.

This annual event is organized by the Association du Devoir de Mémoire de Momignies – Belgique (Duty to Remember Association of Momignies, Belgium). The Association was originally named the Fondation Belgo-Américaine (Belgian-American Foundation) when it was founded by the late Dr. Paul Delahaye in the mid-1980s. His eldest daughter, Christel, is now the President and carries on his legacy.

In the picture below are relatives of four of the crew members ( pilot Howard Snyder, co-pilot George Eike, bombardier Richard Daniels, and ball turret gunner, Louis Colwart) in front of the Memorial. Last fall, they traveled from the U.S. to attend the 70th Anniversary Celebrations of the Liberation of Belgium. 

Relatives of B-17 Susan Ruth crew members pilot Howard Snyder, co-pilot George Eike, bombardier Richard Daniels, and ball turret gunner, Louis Colwart.

Relatives of B-17 Susan Ruth crew members pilot Howard Snyder, co-pilot George Eike, bombardier Richard Daniels, and ball turret gunner, Louis Colwart.

The story of the Susan Ruth crew and of the courageous Belgian patriots who risked their lives to help them are contained in my book, SHOT DOWN.


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Jan 262015
WWII As it Happens

Steve Snyder has done a magnificent job of producing a tribute to the B-17 crews of the Eight Air Force generally, and the people of the Resistance in Occupied Europe. The story he has to tell is based on the recollections and contemporary letters of his father Howard Snyder. His wartime career was in itself remarkable, for he began flying during some of the most dangerous days of bombing in 1943, before the long range fighters arrived, but then successfully ‘baled out’ of his burning aircraft and ended up joining the Resistance.

But “Shot Down” goes much further than recount one man’s adventures. Steve Snyder paints a fully rounded picture of all the events during this period, from what it was like to train as a pilot and then join a Bomb Group, through to what it was like to live in wartime Britain, and then later find oneself on the run in occupied Europe. He follows the fortunes of the other members of the crew who were shot down at the same time – and in doing so tells us about the fate of men who were not as fortunate to find sanctuary as his father was.

– See more at: Steve Snyder: Shot Down

World War II TODAY As it Happens

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