Five Surprising Things about Author Steve Snyder

Steve Snyder’s surprising answers:

1. Classmate of Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in college at UCLA, and we were both born in April 1947.
2. Went on a two month road trip around the U.S. and Canada in 1970 after graduating from college.
3. Selected Outstanding Trainee in my Army Advanced Individual Training Class at Fort Knox, Kentucky in 1972.
4. I am a member of the International Palm Society and my yard in Seal Beach, California is a botanical garden with 75 species of palm trees growing in the ground with many tropical plants such as hibiscus, plumeria, anthuriums, heliconia, crotons, etc.
5. I sat next to OJ Simpson on a 6 hour flight from Baltimore to Los Angeles during which I asked him if he killed Nicole and Ronald Goldman.

Steve 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 Past President of the 306th Bomb Group Historical Association.

Shot Down:

The True Story of Pilot Howard Snyder and the Crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth

B-17 pilot Howard Snyder was shot down in February of 1944 on the French/Belgium border. Two members of the crew of 10 were killed in the plane, some rescued and in hiding, some captured. The author not only did research to learn what happened to his father, but also the rest of the crew. He contacted a German man who was one of the pilots who shot down the Susan Ruth (which was named for Lt. Snyder’s daughter).

Howard Snyder was part of the 369th Bomb Squadron, 306th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, stationed in England. I learned about their living conditions there, and also an explanation of the amazing combat formations for the hundreds of bombers sent on each mission.

Snyder was kept hidden by brave Belgians. Paul Delahaye was a child in Belgium when the Nazis overran that nation. He was 13 when the Americans forced out the Germans and he met the Americans who freed them. He made it his mission to make sure the Americans are never forgotten, building memorials and starting museums. Howard Snyder kept in touch with his rescuers and even visited there, also meeting Paul Delahaye.

Shot Down is remarkable and complete history of one WWII bomber and her crew.

A 14-minute video of the author’s pilot father attending the 50th Anniversary of the Liberation of Belgium.


O J Simpson’s answer: “He said no he didn’t.  It was Nicole’s drug friends that did it. During the flight he took his shoes off and had trouble putting them back on when we were landing. I thought of saying, just like the gloves, eh OJ? But didn’t… ”

Interview with the author, nearly an hour.


  1. And interesting read, Joy! My dad also served during WW II–in the Navy. We know little about his experiences because he never talked about it much. My brother learned more doing online research about the ship he served on. I admire Steve’s determination to tell his dad’s story!

    • Thank you, Nancy. My dad served and so did eight uncles. All five of my mother’s brothers served. Only two came home. That’s why I had to write their story, called “Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II.” Through my own research, I’ve met so many who have saved and shared WWII stories.

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