Like all bomber crews, the ten members of the Susan Ruth came from varied places and backgrounds. The crew was in the 369th Bomb Squadron, nicknamed “Fightin’ Bitin”, of the 306th Bomb Group, stationed at Thurleigh, England from October 21, 1943 until shot down on February 8, 1944.

Within each crew, there were six enlisted men, also referred to as non-commissioned officers (NCOs) who were all sergeants.

22-year-old Roy K. Holbert, flight Engineer, and top turret gunner was born in Dandridge, Tennessee and enlisted at Camp Croft, South Carolina.

20-year-old Louis J. Colwart Jr., ball turret gunner was born in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana and enlisted at Houma, Louisiana.

30-year-old Ross L. Kahler, radio operator was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and enlisted there.

19-year-old John Pindroch, right waist gunner, was born in Alabama and enlisted at Camp Perry, Lacarne, Ohio.

25-year-old Joseph J. Musial, left waist gunner, was in Plymouth, Pennsylvania and enlisted at Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.

20-year-old William O. Slenker Jr., tail gunner, was in Denver, Colorado and enlisted at Chicago, Illinois.

The four officers of every crew initially came in as second lieutenants.

28-year-old Howard J. Snyder, pilot, was born in Norfolk, Nebraska and enlisted at Los Angeles, California.

24-year-old George W. Eike, co-pilot, was born in Rochester, New York and enlisted there.

20-year-old Robert J. Benninger , navigator, was born in Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania and enlisted at San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center, Texas.

23-year-old Richard L. Daniels, bombardier, was born in Cleveland, Ohio and enlisted at Newark, New Jersey.

B-17 Susan Ruth Crew Picture


Back Row: Roy Holbert, Louis Colwart, Ross Kahler, John Pindroch, Joe Musial, Bill Slenker

Front Row: Howard Snyder, George Eike, Robert Benninger, Richard Daniels

Note: Picture taken in October 1943. The plane pictured is not the Susan Ruth.