Biography: Orba Sumner was born on August 9, 1917, in Tift County, Georgia. He was the son of William Columbus Sumner and Mary Lilly Green and attended local schools. His enlistment record identifies that he worked as a bus, truck or tractor driver, prior to the war.
Service Time: Orba entered the service on April 25, 1941, at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, GA. He was assigned to Company C, of the 894th Tank Destroyer Battalion and served with them for all five of their campaigns, Tunisia, Naples/Foggia, Rome Arno, North Apennines and the Po Valley. The 894th was first tested at the Kasserine Pass, in February of 1943, and supported the capture of Bizerte. They were then moved north, landing in Italy, in October, before transferring to the Anzio Beachhead and supported British troops. They entered Rome, in June, 1944.
It was in the vicinity of Cisterna, Italy, that Orba fired a 3″ armor piercing shell and knocked out a German tank. The tank had moved behind a house for cover. On this one occasion, TDs from C Company were able to destroy a total of four enemy tanks.
After crossing the Arno River, they were delayed at Porretta Terme, from late 1944, through early 1945. It would be spring before they would enter Genoa and complete their military actions. Orba earned the American Defense Medal, the EAME Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. He left the service at the rank of Sergeant.
Orba returned to the U.S. and worked as a farmer and as a carpenter. On December 2, 1950, he married the former Alma Gaskins. She was the daughter of Noah Gaskins and Maudell Harnage. Alma had been born in Berrien County, GA. The couple would make their home in Brunswick, GA, and have 3 children, 2 sons and 1 daughter.
In his spare time, orba enjoyed fishing. He passed away on May 17, 1996, and was buried in Adel, GA. I want to thank Orba’s son Ronnie, for his assistance with this tribute.