NPR

95-Year-Old WWII Veteran Gets Surprise Visit From An 'Old Friend': A Sherman Tank

World War II tank gunner Clarence Smoyer poses for a portrait near the Charlestown Naval Shipyard in Boston, Feb. 20, 2019. The 95-year-old veteran was surprised with a ride through the streets of Boston in a Sherman tank, one of the tanks most widely used by the U.S. during the war. (Charles Krupa/AP)

The last time Clarence Smoyer rode in a Sherman tank, he was a 21-year-old corporal in the U.S. Army.

That was in 1945. But in Boston this week, the now-95-year-old Pennsylvania native got a huge surprise: The author of a new book about Smoyer’s exploits as a tank gunner in World War II arranged to have a real Sherman tank carry him to a local book signing.

“An old friend,” Smoyer said before he climbed onto the tank with the help of a cane. “That tank saved my life. We went through many battles with a tank like that. It saved me.”

Watch on YouTube.

Adam Makos, an author of books about military history — including one about , a Navy pilot from Fall River, Massachusetts — tells Smoyer’s story in his new book “.” He had gotten a tip that Smoyer was

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