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Richard C Snyder

Military

Prisoner of War (POW) crashed near Maasdam on 18 Sep 44 in P-47 #4275551
78th FG 82nd FS: 1st Lt Richard Snyder, Washington DC, whose father was Major General Howard McC. Snyder, graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in June 1943 and served as a P-47 instructor pilot before being assigned to overseas combat at Duxford. During his time as an instructor he showed 78th FG combat films to his students which included a clip showing 1st Lt Pete Pompetti’s strafing of a German flak tower.

Lt Snyder’s seventh combat mission on 18th September 1944 to Haamstede, Zaltbommel, Holland, was as part of Operation Market Garden, providing fighter-bomber support to the second Air Task Force. The mission, to knock out flak positions in Holland, was led by Lt Col Jack J. Oberhansley. “A variety of targets were hit, including trucks, autos, wagons, locomotives and box cars. This time only one flak position was definitely neutralised, but an even dozen other light multiple gun positions were strafed and at least temporarily put out of commission.

The mission’s losses were the second highest the group has ever suffered on a single day, […] but a sizeable number of vital German ground targets was attacked successfully, notably a motor convoy between Best and Vianen which lost 18 trucks in all.” Lt Snyder was hit by flak and belly-landed SW of Rotterdam where he was seen running into woods.

There was heavy ground haze and limited visibility at the time. “Lt Snyder was #2 man in Surtax Yellow Flight. We received heavy and light flak at 6,000 ft over Rotterdam and Lt Snyder spotted the flak position and called it off to me. I failed to see it and told him to lead us down. We received heavy and light flak throughout our dive bomb run and I saw Lt Snyder’s ship burst into flame on the pull-out. His wheels also dropped down. The fire went out and he headed South on 190 degrees, losing altitude rapidly. He landed wheels down about 7-10 miles SW of Rotterdam and called me from the ground – “On the ground OK”. I saw him leave the ship and also observed a number of civilians headed across the fields towards him.”

He had landed in a beet field and hid in a ditch. Frits Niemansverdriet, a young farmer, risked his life by running in broad view to assist him and hid him in the hope of relaying him to the underground. That night he stayed in the basement of a building in Dordrecht with about 20 Scot glider troops. However he was captured and became a POW in Stalag Luft 1.

Following his release he spent three years as an academic instructor at West Point then in 1948, as the Soviets blockaded Berlin, he volunteered for duty flying about six months of C-54 loads of coal and steel out of Wiesbaden. In the Cold War he became an aircraft commander in the Strategic Air Command’s B-29s. “Our Airforce strengthened our deterrent and began to introduce the first swept-wing jet intercontinental bomber, the B-47 Stratojet. As an ultra-prudent measure several hundred pilots were selected to become “four-headed monsters” starting in 1950. I was one of the early ones required to earn three additional aeronautical ratings; Navigator, Bombardier and Radar Observer. The years 1952-54 saw me as an aircraft commander and for a short while, squadrons operations' officer.”

In 1954 he was promoted to Major and assigned Aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He retired in 1965 after an interesting and challenging career serving in General Schriever’s policy office which at that time was involved in space research.

Service

Units served with

Aircraft

  • 42-75551 Queen Mu

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Named for Warren Van Dyk's wife Muriel. Lost 18 Sept 44 - Lt. Richard C Snyder. POW

Associated Place

  • Duxford

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Duxford, now a museum and still a working airfield, was operated by the USAAF from 1943 to 1945. The base was briefly the home of the 350th Fighter Group in late 1942, but it was not until April 1943 that it became a fully American station when the...

Events

Event Location Date
Graduated West Point, NY, USA June 1943

Graduated from West Point

Prisoner of War (POW) Approximate location of crash landing 18 September 1944

Shot down and made Prisoner of War

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
27 August 2020 02:00:49 Stephen Snyder Changes to nickname
Sources

Steve Snyder, son

Date Contributor Update
27 August 2020 00:00:37 Stephen Snyder Changes to highest rank
Sources

From Stephen Snyder, son.

Date Contributor Update
27 August 2020 00:00:00 Stephen Snyder Changes to media associations
Sources

Col. Richard C. Snyder, USAF

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2015 14:35:32 Anne Hughes Changes to biography
Sources

78FG Monthly Histories

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2015 14:30:30 Anne Hughes Changes to highest rank
Sources

Personal correspondence with R&I Duxford

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2015 14:28:18 Anne Hughes Changes to biography
Sources

78th FG Monthly History September 1944; Col Gray report; War Dept Missing Air Crew report; Washington Times-Herald October 15th 1944; 82nd FS Statement of 1st Lt Winfield H Brown; personal correspondence with R&I at IWM Duxford 2014.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:22:28 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 9001 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

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