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Steve Snyder graduated from UCLA with a B.A. degree in Economics and has lived in Seal Beach, California since 1972. After 36 years in national sales and sales management, he retired from Vision Service Plan (VSP) in 2009.

Soon after retirement, Steve began his quest to learn about the World War II experiences of his father, pilot Howard Snyder, and his crew of the B-17, Susan Ruth, named after his older sister. It became his passion, and after 4 1/2 years of dedicated research, resulted in his book, SHOT DOWN which has received over 20 national book awards.

One result of his new career as a World War II historian is that he is a member of numerous World War II organizations and President of the 306th Bomb Group Historical Association.

More about Steve (click here!)




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What Really Happened When The Susan Ruth Was Shot ...
September, 2017 @
2018 Event Schedule

May 5 & 6 – Planes of Fame Airshow – Planes of Fame Air Museum – 7000 Merrill Avenue, #17, Chino, CA


May 11, 12, & 13 – Wings of Freedom Tour – Lyon Air Museum – 19300 Ike Jones Road, Santa Ana, CA


May 16 – 401st Bomb Group Reunion – Champaign Aviation Museum – 1652 N. Main Street, Urbana, OH


May 18 @ 6:00 pm – 91st Bomb Group Reunion – Marriott at the University of Dayton – 1414 South Patterson Blvd., Dayton, OH


May 18 & 19 – National Museum of the U.S. Air Force – 1100 Spaatz Street, Dayton, OH


June 1, 2, & 3 – Mid-Atlantic Air Museum World War II Weekend – Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, 1054 Arnold Road, Reading, PA


June 13 @ 12:00 pm – 8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota – Knights of Columbus Hall – 1114 American Blvd. W, Bloomington, MN


June 16 – Ray Fagen Memorial Air Show – Fagen Fighters WWII Museum – 2450 540th Street, Granite Falls, MN


July 14 & 15 – Wings of Freedom Tour – Fort Collins/Loveland Municipal Airport – 4900 Earhart Road, Loveland, CO


July 21 & 22 – Janesville Warbird Weekend – Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport – 1716 West Airport Road, Janesville, WI


July 23 -29 – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh – EAA Aviation Museum – Oshkosh, WI


August 11 @ 11:30 am – 486th/487th Bomb Group Reunion – Sheraton Denver Tech Center – 7007 S. Clinton, Street, Greenwood Village, CO


September 2 – Castle Air Museum – 5050 Santa Fe Drive, Atwater, CA


September 22 & 23 – California Capital Airshow – Mather Air Force Base – 10425 Norden Avenue, Mather, CA


October 25-27 – 306th Bomb Group Historical Association Reunion – Embassy Suites Santa Ana Orange County Airport – 1325 E. Dyer Road, Santa Ana, CA

Belgium ... February 8, 1944 ... Shot Down and Alive

For the first time, the full and complete story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth is shared in unbelievable detail. Author Steve Snyder’s story of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the Susan Ruth crew, provides in-depth details about many aspects of World War II few understand or know about including the:

  • separation for young families as men went off to war;
  • training before heading to foreign soil;
  • military combat operations;
  • underground and resistance and what Lt. Snyder did when he joined it;\
  • German atrocities toward captured crew and civilians;\
  • behind-the-scenes stories of the Belgium civilians who risked all to save American flyers who were in the air one moment, spiraling down in flames the next;
  • creation and dedication of the monument to the Susan Ruth and its crew located in Macquenoise, Belgium in 1989 

Shot Down was created from the vast number of letters and journals of Howard Snyder; diaries of men and women on the ground who rescued, sheltered and hid the crew; and interviews conducted by historians. Centered around the 306th Bomb Group in Thurleigh, England, it is informative, insightful and captivating.

For most, 70 years is a long time ago. World War II fades in importance as each year goes by.

Shot Down moves history out of the footnotes into reality, keeping the stories of real people alive as they experience being shot down. You are there, almost holding your breath as Lt. Snyder gets his crew out of his B-17 when bailing out over Nazi occupied Europe.

More on Steve's book


Chapter One.... read now!

Publishers Weekly

A great introduction to the history of the U.S. air war in Europe, humanized by the experience of a single bomber crew. -- BookLife

Foreword Clarion Review 5 Star Rating

Snyder’s masterful book puts the reader inside the cockpit, shoulder to shoulder with the pilot and crew. Accessible and relevant both to historians and readers with a casual interest in WWII history, Shot Down a must-read for anyone with an interest in this gripping period of American history. – Claire Foster

BlueInk Starred Review

Highly recommended for historians and WWII aviation buffs, it’s a thoroughly satisfying and worthwhile read. Extensively researched, packed with photographs, and neatly interwoven with background remarks, this highly engaging book offers a comprehensive, yet personalized portrait of a war. 

War History Online

A masterful work. Enjoyable for those interested in the Eight Air Force and/or the B-17 Flying Fortress, but it is also broad enough to appeal to general history readers. Insightful, engrossing, and succeeds on every level. Bravo. – Nate Sullivan

World War II Today

A magnificent job. Readily accessible to anyone not familiar with the bomber war in Europe, but also much to interest those whose real passion is wartime aviation. -- Martin Cherrett