Spector, Mitchell (629th)

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Biography:  Mitchell Spector was born in November of 1918, in Bristol, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Morris “Maurice” and Anna Spector and graduated from Bristol High School in 1935. He was also one of the original members of the Bristol Boys Club. Mitchell’s grandfather had established Spector’s Army and Navy store in 1905, which was located in Bristol. Mitchell and his family lived above the store.

He sought higher education for one year but returned to the family business and was working as a retail manager just prior to the war.

Service Time:  Mitchell entered the service on May 12, 1941, at Philadelphia, PA. After his initial training, he would ultimately receive medical training and be assigned to a medical unit and then as part of a medical detachment to the 629th Tank Destroyer Battalion.

The 629th trained at Camp Hood, Texas. and additionally at the Desert Training Center (Camp Ibis) near Indio, California and Camp Maxey, Texas before finally moving to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, for final preparations before shipping out. The men were moved by truck to the New York port and sailed on a British transport ship on December 29, 1943.

The ship arrived at Liverpool, England on January 9, 1944. The men would begin seven months of training before being loaded on LSTs (Landing Craft Tank) and landing at Omaha Beach on July 1st. The unit performed artillery missions in the Caumont sector and then joined the 30th Infantry Division in fighting at Mortain in early August. They then supported the reduction of the Falaise Pocket and participated in V Corps parade through Paris on August 29th, celebrating its liberation. Nick recalled that this was one of his most memorable days.

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Advancing to Luxembourg by early September, they then supported operations in the Hürtgen Forest and against the Siegfried Line. The 629th shifted to the Ardennes sector on December 24th and fought to eliminate the Bulge in January 1945. The unit joined the renewed assault on the Siegfried Line in February and crossed the Rhine River into the Remagen bridgehead on March 11th. They converted to the M36 Tank Destroyer that same month and participated in operations against the Ruhr Pocket in April, conducting a road march south to Bavaria, reaching the Isar River before ending offensive operations.

Mitchell received credit for each of the unit’s five campaigns, including Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, the Ardennes and Central Europe. He was also awarded the EAME, WWII Victory, American Defense, American Campaign and Good Conduct Medals. He left the service at the rank of Staff Sergeant.

Commendation from Lt. Col. Glenn Cole

Now back in the U.S., Mitchell returned to the family business, eventually taking over its ownership. He married the former Renee Ailion who was the daughter of Jacob Albert and Lydia Ailion. The new couple would have four children, Mark, born in 1949, Paul in 1952, Lydia in 1955, and Janet in 1959. In his spare time, Mitchell enjoyed swimming and rowing and enjoyed activities in and around the Delaware River throughout his life. He also loved to travel and was able to visit sites within the U.S., such as the Grand Canyon and overseas destinations such as Peru and the Galapagos Islands. He was also an active member of the community and gave his time to the Bristol Lions Club and Mill Street Businessman’s Association.

Mitchell retired in 1986, and moved to Florida to spend his later years. He passed away on January 16, 2008. I want to thank Mitchell’s son, Paul, for providing the information and photos used in this tribute.