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Commemorative Air Force Headquarters

Welcome and JOIN the Golden Gate Wing!

You've just landed at the Base of the Golden Gate Wing! Here you can find the latest news and what's going on!

If you are not a member, check us out! We are a very active group of the CAF, with Fly Days, Dinner meetings with guest speaker, we participate in airshows, organize trips and tours! You can see historic aircraft up close, participate in operations, and best of all, get a hand in keeping 'em flying!

DINNER MEETING w/SPEAKER

Alameda Naval Air Station
"Air Terminal Building 77".

6 PM on the fourth Thursday of the month.
(third Thursday in November)

Click here for details and directions

July 24, 2014 Guest Speaker:

Captain Len Snyder, US Army Air Corps

Born in Ohio in 1919, Len attended Chicago's Art Institute for three years until the outbreak of WWII caused him to volunteer and join the Army Air Corps. Because his grandfather had been a private glider pilot and had taken Len up as a youngster on numerous occasions, Len knew a little about gliders. Believe it or not, the Army took advantage of his experience.

After he received his silver glider pilot's wings with the superimposed ďGĒ over its shield, Len was sent to England where he transitioned from the Waco into the much larger British glider, the Horsa. It could carry up to 30 troops, an amphibious jeep, a towed anti-tank gun, etc. He was assigned to the 24th Squadron of the 220th Glider Transport Group.

Lenís first two combat landings in the European Theater were in Normandy on D-Day minus a couple of hours and then in Nancy, France. His third so-called landing actually became a tragic crash-landing in Saargemund, Germany. While piloting at 5,000 feet with an amphibious jeep on board, he was hit with a shard from a German 88 mm anti-aircraft shell. It took out half of his right hand, a couple of ribs, half of his colon, and exited through his back.

He crashed in the trees where members of the famous 442nd Regimental Combat Team extracted him and four other survivors from the wreckage. While removing Lenís bloody glove, they noticed that two fingers came off with it. By the grace of God, ice was found somewhere nearby. Len and his severed fingers were evacuated to Scotland by powered aircraft where his life was saved and his fingers re-attached.

During four years in a VA hospital here in the States recovering from his wounds, he met and ultimately married his nurse, Luella, the love of his life, who he lost a little over two years ago.

Len regained the use of his right hand and resumed work as a freelance illustrator. Later, he was primarily employed as the chief illustrator for Hewlett Packard for 25 years until he retired. His drawing talent is still with him even today.

He and Luella had one daughter and one granddaughter. He lives between Orinda and Moraga.


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