To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Liberation of Arlon (Sept. 10, 1944), the Tourist Board of Arlon, Belgium, decided to erect a memorial as a mark of gratitude to the U.S. Forces and more particularly the 28th Infantry "Keystone" Division. The centerpiece of this memorial is an M10 tank destroyer bearing the original markings of A Company of the 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion. A Company was a part of a Task Force formed by different elements of the 28th Infantry Division and commanded by Lt. Col. Daniel B. Strickler. The Memorial was officially inaugurated on Sept. 24, 1984 and the plaque adjacent to the Memorial is dedicated to "Our liberators of the Keystone." Note that in this photo, the unit is actually marked for C Company. Photo courtesy of Jim Moore.
The M10 was presented by the Belgian Army where this vehicle served its last few years after it has been delivered in the framework of the U.S. Allied MDAP (Major Defense-Acquisition Program) of 1950. Photo courtesy of Jim Moore.
You can see in this photo of the M10 Memorial in Arlon that the Company designation has been changed to reflect A Company. Photo courtesy of Jim Moore.
The men of the 630th Tank Destroyer Bn. shipped out from New York on the Nieuw Amsterdam on June 3, 1944. It was a Dutch ocean liner, requisitioned by the British, which was being used as a troop transport throughout WWII. The ship was built in 1938 and was one of the fastest liners afloat so it left alone, believing it could outrun any U-boats (submarines) it might encounter. It sailed with 1879 troops and arrived at the Firth of Clyde on June 12th. Photo courtesy of www.MaritimeQuest.com
The following narrative is from 630th TD Bn. veteran Oscar Summers and provided courtesy of his family - "Both the New Amsterdam and Queen Elizabeth were in dock. We began loading on the New Amsterdam, the third largest liner afloat. It had been serving in the Pacific prior to this trip so this would be her first Atlantic voyage. Its cargo doors were open on the side with gang planks entering them. Each one of us had a duffel bag, individual weapon and most were carrying some office equipment. We began loading onto the ship, which had beautiful stairways leading to each level. We went up those stairs, then back down...seems they didn't know just where to put us. Soon we were led into the theater of the ship, where seats had been removed and bunks installed seven deep. The entire battalion, some 800 plus, would be quartered in this auditorium for our voyage. It would be rather crowded conditions." Example photo from the U.S. Navy.
To Commemorate the Liberation of the City of Colmar, France, the Mayor authorized all members of the Sixth Army Group (including the 630 TD Bn) to wear the Coat of Arms of the city. The patch show here is the Patch created for this purpose. Courtesy of Rachel Hill and Jim Moore.
Shown L to R is Ivan Vincent Bennett, H.B. "Bump" Humphrey and Elbert Paul Simpson at the 39th Reunion of Company C of the 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion. The reunion was held in New Bern, North Carolina, on October 4th, 5th and 6th of 2002. Elbert passed away on April 27, 2017, and was identified in the obituary as the last surviving member of C Company. Ivan passed away on March 20, 2008 and H.B. passed away on July 31, 2007. Thank you to Jim Moore for providing additional information regarding these men.
Shown with the truck is Elbert P. Simpson who was part of C Company and known to be very mechanically inclined. It was said that he could fix anything. Elbert went on to have a 30-year career in the military, attaining the rank of Chief Warrant Officer.
Here Elbert P. Simpson stands in the turret of one of the unit's M10 tank destroyers with a Thompson Sub-Machine Gun. Its left fender bears the designation C-20, meaning C Company and unit #20. The opposite fender should have the designation 630TD marked on it. The Thompson was one of a number of weapons the men training with. You are actually viewing the front of the TD, with the turret rotated to the rear, in the driving position.