It's not everyday you see a Sherman Tank riding through the streets of Boston, but that's just what happened earlier this week.

The Associated Press reports that World War II tank gunner Clarence Smoyer was surprised with a ride through the streets of Boston in a Sherman tank. For Smoyer, the inside of a tank was his home and the crew was his family. In that sense, the 95-year-old veteran returned home for the first time since the war Wednesday. One of the last surviving WWII tank gunners, Smoyer fought with the 3rd Armored Division. In Cologne, Germany, he defeated a German tank in a dramatic duel by the city's cathedral.

Author Adam Makos tells Smoyer’s story in a new book, “Spearhead,” which was released Tuesday.

Smoyer, who lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania, expected a taxi to take him from his hotel to the USS Constitution Museum for a book signing Wednesday. Instead, he found a 32-ton (33-metric ton) Sherman tank from 1944 waiting outside.

A huge smile flashed across Smoyer’s face when he walked outside and saw the tank, saying it was a shock to see it. “That tank saved my life,” he said.

The American Heritage Museum in Hudson, Massachusetts, sent the tank and reenactors representing infantrymen to walk alongside for the short trip to the museum. Service members from the USS Constitution and onlookers came outside to salute Smoyer and the tank as it rolled down the street.


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