A Massachusetts World War II veteran got a big surprise Wednesday in Boston.
95-year-old Clarence Smoyer is also known as the “Hero of Cologne” for the role he played in a famous tank duel.
On Wednesday, he got a chance to ride in the same kind of Sherman tank he operated during the war, and a chance to enjoy the community’s appreciation for his sacrifices in wartime.
The trip coinciding with the release of the book “Spearhead,” which details Clarence’s time in the war and men he served with.
“He’s very famous for a battle in the streets of Cologne between the Panther German tank and his Pershing tank, where he took out a Panther, one of the few Americans that’s ever done that,” said Rob Collings, executive director of the Collings Foundation.
Instead of enemy snipers, the road clarence traveled was lined with American flags and people cheering, watching a member of the greatest generation take one final ride, for himself and the men who never made it home.
“There’s heroes like Clarence hiding in our own midst,” said Adam Makos, “Spearhead” author. “They’re our neighbors, they’re our grandfathers, and they’re passing away really fast. So we need to honor them, we need to give them a salute like this while we can.”
Smoyer was part of the tank crews known as the Spearhead Division.
Now, he is one of the last remaining survivors.