Smith, Vincent T. (610th)

Photo Not Available ImageVincent T. Smith

Biography:  Vincent Thomas Smith was born on August 28, 1923, in New York City, New York. He was one of three sons and four daughters born to George A. Smith and Margaret (Mary) F. Brick. He attended local schools in New York through the 11th grade.

His enlistment record indicates he was working as an office clerk, prior to the war but there is some evidence that he may have worked on a farm at some point. He was still living in New York in 1940, but his older sister is listed as the head-of-household. By the time he entered the Army, he was living in South Berwick, Maine, and listed that as his home address during the war.

Service Time:  Vincent entered the service on June 12, 1942, at Manchester, New Hampshire. After his initial training, he was assigned to Company C of the 610th Tank Destroyer Battalion, which had been activated on April 11, 1942, at Camp Barkeley, Texas, as a towed anti-tank gun battalion. The unit trained within the U.S. at a number of military facilities, including Camp Bowie and Camp Hood, TX, Camp Forrest, Tennessee, for the Tennessee maneuvers, and Camp Atterbury, Indiana, among others.

They were finally sent to Fort Dix, New Jersey for final preparations before deployment. Thinking they were headed overseas, they were sent to Camp Kilmer, New York but they were soon headed back to Fort Dix. They were again sent to Camp Kilmer and this time, on June 3, 1944, they boarded the Dutch Liner, Nieuw Amsterdam and sailed for the United Kingdom. The 610th arrived at Greenock, Scotland, on June 11th and just over a month later, they boarded transports and landed at Utah Beach on the 31st of July. They were equipped with the 3″ towed anti-tank gun and committed to action on August 10th near Craon, France, participating in the elimination of the Falaise Pocket.

Racing east to the Moselle River by September, they converted to the self-propelled M36 tank destroyer in September–October and were the first unit to do so. The 610th helped clear Maginot Line fortifications in November and were then ordered to the Ardennes on December 21st, helping to eliminate the Bulge in January, 1945. They battled through the Siegfried Line in February near Brandscheid but were then transferred back south in March, crossing the Rhine at Worms on March 29th. The unit raced through central and southern Germany in April and reached the vicinity of Munich by month’s end.

The unit received credit for campaigns in Northern France, Rhineland, the Ardennes and Central Europe. Vincent left the service at the rank of Private First Class. 

Our information on Vincent after the war is limited but we know that he married a girl named Lucille (Lucy), who was from Brussels, Belgium. They probably met during his occupational service in Europe. The new couple would make their home in Denver, Colorado and have three children, Katheryn, Michael and Gregory. In the 1950s, he worked as a salesman, first for McCarty-Batterton Motors, which was a Lincoln-Mercury dealership, and later at the Stovall Motor Company. By the mid-60s, Vincent was working as a taxi driver but little else is known about him or the family. A friend of the family from that same time period recalls Vincent sharing that during the Battle of the Bulge, he had been temporarily assigned to assist with the recovery of men who were KIA (Killed In Action). This experience had a profound effect on him and would remain with him throughout his life. It was also apparent that he had an immense love for his children.

Vincent T. Smith 1Vincent passed away on September 23, 1966, and was buried in the Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, CO. I want to thank Thom Lancy for providing the information and photo used in this tribute.