HARRISBURG, Pa. - Although a tank rolling down 3rd Street in Harrisburg is an unusual sight for many, it was a familiar image for 95-year-old Clarence Smoyer.
"It was my home away from home," said Smoyer.
Seventy-five years ago, Smoyer was leading the U.S. Army into Cologne, Germany during World Was II as a tank gunner.
"My lieutenant said, 'Gentleman, I give you Cologne. Let's knock the hell out of it,'" said Smoyer. "And we did."
Over the last six years, Smoyer shared his memories of the war with an author who put those memories to paper in a book called, Spearhead.
"He saw more action than the average person would see and I was interested in why he would take the risks that he did? Why was he such a great gunner," asked Adam Makos, Spearhead author. "The answer was, he wanted to keep his crew alive. They were his family, they were his friends, he wanted to bring them home."
As Makos and Smoyer celebrated the release of Spearhead at Midtown Scholar, there was one last surprise in store for Smoyer, who worked in Dauphin County more than 50 years ago. Mayor Eric Papenfuse presented him with the key to the city.
As Smoyer does a victory lap, being able to sign autographs and look back on his 95-years of life. Makos wants to make sure that while Smoyer is honored, those who served with him but never made it home are also remembered.
"I also want to tell the story of the guys at age 18 or 21, these heroes in the tanks right next to him who never came home. Who are forever young," said Makos.
Spearhead is available at most major retailers.