Shown at the Fort Jackson, Tank Destroyer Memorial dedication on Nov. 6, 1999 are John Baxter of the 605th, John Rosser & Albert Simpson of the 639th, Arthur Pelkey (behind easel) & Jim Hines of the 774th, Bill Campbell of the 608th and Professor Alan Corbett USC standing in for his father and the 812th. Frederick Wolff of the 648th was also present but is not shown. This ceremony was the culmination of over five years of research into the TD units that were assigned to Fort Jackson during this difficult period in our nation’s history. Photo courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
At the dedication ceremony on July 3, 1997, the monument was presented to Fort Sill, OK and accepted by the Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Leo J. Baxter. The ceremony began with the presentation of colors and music by the 77th Army Band. As a special treat the band played "The Tank Destroyer March" heard for the first time by most of the Tank Destroyer veterans present. Photo courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
Members of the WWII Tank Destroyer Society visited Fort Sill, OK on July 3 to dedicate a new monument at Constitution Park. The monument to the TANK DESTROYER FORCE, which was a separate branch of the United States Army, during World War II. The 3 foot high, polished granite obelisk is four sided and has a plaque on each side honoring the Tank Destroyer Force. Photo courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
Members of the tank destroyer force and their guests gather for a group photo while attending the festivities at the July 3, 1997 dedication of the Fort Sill, OK monument. Photo courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
Friday, October 13, 1989 became a very Lucky day for some of the TD veterans and their wives that attended the festivities. Through the kindness of the Louisville Motor Speedway and Mr. Andy Vertrees, their promoter, the couples were permitted to use their facility to ride in a TD thoroughbred, a restored M-18. With sunny 87 degree weather, every man and woman on hand at the track and rode in, or drove, “Amaz’n Grace”, the only operational (at the time) M-18 Tank Destroyer in the country. The photo shows the graduating class of TD Vets after completing the refresher course that day. All passed with flying colors. Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
In October of 1989, a group of Tank Destroyer Veterans met to dedicate a Monument at Fort Knox, KY. After the unveiling, Officers of the Tank Destroyer Association surrounded the monument for a picture. Shown in the photo are L to R: Joe Goeppner, VP; Marvin Ravely; VP & Treasurer; Alex Woodside; VP & Secetary; Warren Mitchell, President and Quintus Atkinson, VP. Fort Knox was chosen due to its part in the history of the Tank Destroyer Forces. In 1940, the War Department issued an order to establish the Armored Force at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
Col. Cecil "Bob" French (Ret.) driving the M-18 Hellcat, at the Louisville Motor Speedway in October of 1989. The experience was 45 years after his original training at Camp Hood, TX. Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society
The M18 shown is one of 4 tank destroyer units on display adjacent to the old Second Armored Division Museum. The M18 was the fastest Tank Destroyer with a 60 mph top speed and a 76mm gun. Photo courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
The M10 shown is one of 4 tank destroyer units on display adjacent to the old Second Armored Division Museum at Fort Hood, Texas. The M10 was used throughout the war, replacing the M3 tracked TD, which showed poorly in its debut in North Africa. It was built on the M4 Sherman chassis and had a 3" gun. Photo courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
Tank Destroyer Forces veterans and their ladies had a dream fulfilled at Fort Hood when “their” War Memorial was officially dedicated, ending the second national reunion. The Veterans represented 69 Battalions, 7 TD Groups, 1 TD Brigade plus the TD Replacement Training Center and TD Schools with the main purpose to witness the permanent granite monument to their service time. More than 600 members and guests overflowed the monument site requiring the closure of Hood Road during the dedication, Saturday morning October 22, 1983. Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
The dedication successfully concluded more than a year’s work by the Tank Destroyer Association (TDA) to make this primary goal a reality. The idea started as a dream of the TDA founder Marshall B. Hanks that quickly turned into a realistic goal because of overwhelming support from over twelve thousand veteran Tank Destroyer men and their families throughout the country. The rugged nine foot tall & six foot diameter monument was positioned at the corner of Tank Destroyer Boulevard and Hood Road. Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
Shown is the 4th Infantry Division Museum located at Fort Hood, Texas. The tank destroyer exhibit is located in the old WWII building on the right. Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
COL (Ret) Cecil "Bob" French of the 899th TD Bn (WWII) and the 3rd Infantry Division in Korea welcomed approximately fifty Rock of the Marne Men, their families and friends to the 2003 Memorial Day Celebration at Fort Benning, GA. French briefly spoke about the WWII Tank Destroyer Force - a separate Combat Arm of service of the United States Army, during World War II. COL French said: “It is appropriate to ‘piggy-back’ on the 3rd Infantry Division ceremony. That’s the way it was during the war, with the doughboys riding into battle on the back of the tank destroyers. Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
A permanent display was later added on the ground floor of the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning. Shown on left is Tank Destroyer WWII Fort Benning Association founder Col. Cecil R. French (Ret). Photo courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
Articles for the National Infantry Museum display were donated by the members of the Tank Destroyer Society. Photo courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
In a letter dated September 17, 1994, Col. Cecil R. French (Ret.) sent a letter to the Third Infantry Division identifying the desire to place a monument at Fort Benning, GA. In his resolution, Col. French clearly identified the the merits of the Tank Destroyer Force and the clear connecting between the Infantry and the Tank Destroyers. The resolution was greciously accepted by the Secretary of the Army, Togo D. West, Jr. and a beautiful black obelisk was later placed at Fort Benning during a ceremony on Nov. 9, 1995. Photo courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
In April of 1995, fourteen TD Battalions formed the Tank Destroyer WWII - Fort Benning Association to fund and place a Tank Destroyer Force Monument at the National Infantry Museum. On November 9, 1995 the first reunion was convened to dedicate the Memorial and to honor the great exploits of TD Battalions of WWII. This recognition is long overdue since 82% of the combat support by Tank Destroyer Battalions entailed fighting with 56 Infantry and 5 Airborne Divisions. Shown L to R are Chairman Cecil French (899th), Wreath Bearer Art Langdon (801st), Wreath Bearer Earl Cabaniss, (654th), Veil Remover Don Dembowski (801st) and Veil Bearer Tom Brown (601st). Photo courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
Presentation of the Tank Destroyer Monument at Fort Benning consisted of a 30 minute program with a large band on a beautiful sunny day. The ceremony opened with the Infantry Band playing the Tank Destroyer Song, the official marching song from the 1943 - 1945 days at then Camp Hood, Texas. A "lost" copy of the sheet music, scored for piano, surfaced after fifty years. After the unveiling at 11 a.m., Col. Gregory C. Camp, chief of staff, U.S. Army Infantry Center, accepted the monument on behalf of the Infantry Center and the National Infantry Museum. Photo courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
Shown at the Fort Jackson, Tank Destroyer Memorial dedication on Nov. 6, 1999 are L to R, Col. Young, TTC Joe Goeppner, Col. Cough, State Guard Chaplain, 1st SGT Bill Campbell of the 608th, Bill's wife Elfriede and Alan Corbett. Photo courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
There were 6 Tank Destroyer units that trained at Ft Jackson from 1941-45. They were the 605,608,630, 648, 774 and 812, with the 824 serving briefly prior to mustering out in 1945. The memorial dedication was held on Nov. 6, 1999 at Fort Jackson, SC. Photo courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
In September 2002, the Tank Destroyer Society met at Fort Hood to observe the facility's 60th Anniv. TD Society founder Col. French and Calvin Boykin first President, currently First VP, place a wreath on the 1983 monument. They also presented four 14" X 12" bronze plaques displayed in the Howze Auditorium. Veterans attending included MSGT(Ret) Bart Botta, Calvin Boykin, Raymond Bringham, Joseph Cavin, MSGT(Ret) Dayton Edie, COL(Ret) Cecil French, Logan Friedrich, Fred Harding, COL(Ret) Francis Kramer, Lewis Krebs, LTC(Ret) Leggett, Monty Montouri, William Oettle and COL(Ret) Tom Raney. Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
The M36B1 shown is one of 4 tank destroyer units on display adjacent to the old Second Armored Division Museum at Fort Hood, Texas. The M36B1 was used toward the end of the war and utilized both the Sherman M4 chassis and hull and featured the highly effective 90mm gun. Photo courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.