It took 74 years, but a 96 year-old soldier is getting his due.
Clarence Smoyer, 96-year-old former 3rd Armored Division tank gunner and his tank crew are being honored with the Bronze Star.
He was just 21 years-old when he was dubbed the “Hero of Cologne” when he and his crew destroyed the German Panther 4 tank blocking the U.S. Army’s 3rd Armored Division’s march to the Rhine River toward the end of World War II.
Smoyer said at a ceremony held at the World War II memorial earlier this week that he was “real surprised” when he arrived at the memorial thinking he was visiting as a tourist.
He said "I wear the medal in memory of all the young boys who lost their lives there during that time.”
Families of three deceased members of his tank crew were also awarded the Bronze Star.