Last Known Activity
Richard L. Snyder was born in Missouri (some sources say Kansas City) on August 23, 1922 to Jesse P and Rethel Lottie Powell Snyder. The US Census 1940 lists the family living in Kansas City. Snyder graduated from Westport High School, and enlisted when he was 18.
According to his NARA enlistment documents, Snyder enlisted as a private in the Army Air Forces in Jefferson Barracks, Missouri on December 7, 1940. His record shows he had completed 4 years of high school, and was employed as a sales clerk. It also confirms nativity and year of birth.
He was selected for flight duty, and trained to be a pilot. He was commissioned a Flight Officer, awarded wings, and sent to multi-engine aircraft training. After that training was completed, he was assigned to a crew led by Lt. William Flesh for further training and crew familiarization.
This crew deployed to England in early 1943, except for the original navigator, Lt Paul Warner, who fell ill in Bangor, Maine. The crew flew several combat missions without a navigator. On a mission in July, 1943, three gunners were severely wounded. They were removed from the crew, eventually to be sent home, and replaced by three other gunners.
On August 17, 1943, the crew was selected to participate in the bombing of Regensburg, Germany. Over the target, the formation was engaged by a number of enemy aircraft. This aircraft was hit hard, with holes appearing in the nose and fuselage. Cannon shells and machine gun fire raked the thin-skinned aircraft, setting a fire in the oxygen storage area. F/O Snyder was seen to exit the aircraft through one of the holes, reach back in and retrieve his parachute. He then stood on the burning wing and buckled it. When he finally jumped, reports state he hit the stabilizer and was killed.
The aircraft crashed outside a small village some 40 miles from the target area. Those crewmen that were wounded or injured were treated medically before being turned over to German authorities. Four dead were recovered, and buried in the cemetery at Pulfringen. After the war, they were exhumed and moved to other burial sites. F/O Snyder today lies in the Memorial Park Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri.
US Census 1940
NARA Enlistment Records
Headstone Application for Military Veterans
F/O Richard L. Snyder was performing duties as co-pilot on B-17F # 42-5860, named "Escape Kit, " assigned to the 418th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 675 was issued for the loss. Crew rosters, personnel files, and memos show the crew was:
1 Lt Curtis R. Biddick p
F/O Richard L. Snyder c-p
2 Lt John C. Dennis nav
2 Lt Dan McKay bomb
TSgt Lawrence E. Godbey eng/tt gun
TSgt Robert R. DeKay r/o
SSgt Walter Halunka btg
SSgt William H. Blank wg
TSgt Howard J. Brooks wg
SSgt Clarence R. Bowlin tail gun
Ranks and grades as of mission date.
The original crew commander (Lt. William Flesh) was on leave this date, so Lt Biddick replaced him as First Pilot. Lt McKay replaced Lt Paul Englert as bombardier while TSgt Brooks replaced the regular gunner SSgt Veilbig. (Reasons unknown.)
The three replaced wounded gunners were SSGts Schellin, Stireman, and Vickers. They were replaced by SSgts Halunka, Blank, and Veilbig.