Hero of Cologne finally receives his Bronze Star

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Hero of Cologne finally receives his Bronze Star

I'll tell you right up front that Adam Makos is my favorite non-fiction author.  Has been for some time in fact.  I first read "A Higher Call" several years ago, and actually got to talk to Mr. Makos after the fact.  Then he wrote "Devotion", which I read and then got on Audiobook.  And then "Spearhead", which is about Clarence Smoyer, the "Hero of Cologne."  (Clarence is a 58 year member of The American Legion in the Department of Pennsylvania.)

Anyway, this video will give you an idea of the man, and the book:

Well, at long last Clarence has received his combat award:

With the help of his cane, 96-year-old Clarence Smoyer stood before the shining marble fountains of the World War II Memorial on the National Mall on Wednesday and rendered a sharp salute, admiring the Bronze Star Medal with combat “V” for valor pinned to the lapel of his 3rd Armored Division jacket.

It was a moment that had been a long time coming — almost 75 years. Smoyer had earned the moniker the “Hero of Cologne” as a 21-year-old tank gunner credited with destroying the seemingly unstoppable German Panther IV tank blocking the U.S. Army’s 3rd Armored Division’s march to the Rhine River in the waning months of the second World War. But Smoyer and most of his crew had never received combat awards for heroism, and he wasn’t prepared Wednesday, when the Army finally presented it.

“I was real surprised,” said the soft-spoken Pennsylvanian, who arrived at the memorial Wednesday morning expecting to visit as a tourist. He said he had long ago given up on receiving the valor award he was promised for his actions March 6, 1945.

“It’s an honor,” he said Wednesday of receiving the Bronze Star. “I wear the medal in memory of all the young boys who lost their lives there during that time.”

You can go an watch the ceremony over at Stars and Stripes at THIS LINK.

Congratulations Mr. Smoyer. 


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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.