Vance E. Taylor
Biography: Vance Edwin Taylor was born on June 21, 1920, in Trout, Louisiana. He was the son of Andrew Jackson Taylor and Ollie Mae Cockerham and attended Trout Pine High School through the 11th grade. After leaving school in 1941, he took a 1 month course in electric welding at the H.P. Lons Mechanical Training School in Winnfield, Louisiana. Vance worked for his father on their 30 acre farm where they raised cotton, corn and vegetables and had horses and other livestock.
Service Time: Vance entered the service on December 2, 1941, at Camp Livingston, Louisiana. His initial basic training was in the Field Artillery and at some point received special instruction to preform the functions of a Company Clerk. He also qualified as a Marksman with the rifle.
He was assigned to Company C of the 692nd Tank Destroyer Battalion and in March of 1944, the unit was converted to a towed battalion. They shipped out from the New York port on September 12th and arrived in England on the 23rd. They almost immediately left for France, arriving at Cherbourg on the 25th.
The 692nd entered the line near Wustwezel, Belgium, on October 28th. They fought along the Siegfried Line in the vicinity of Stolberg, beginning in November. They occupied defensive positions along the Roer River during the Battle of the Bulge and then converted to the M36 in February 1945. They supported the drive from the Roer to the Rhine River in late February and early March, and then helped capture Cologne. After clearing more Siegfried Line fortifications, they crossed the Rhine at Worms on March 31st. They finally raced across Germany in April and participated in the capture of Furth, advancing to Munich by April 30th.
Vance received credit for campaigns of Ardennes-Alsace, Rhineland and Central Europe. He was awarded the American Defense Medal, the EAME Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. He left the service on October 22, 1945, at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. He had reached the rank of Corporal.
Vance returned to Louisiana and found work as an equipment operator at the Citco Refinery. He married the former Bel Elender on May 28, 1950, who was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She was the daughter of Winnie Joseph Elender and Lily Marian Quebodeaux and the new couple made their residence in Lake Charles. They had two children, Mary, born in 1955, and Jonathan in 1960. In addition to his work at the refinery, Vance obtained his real estate license and was an air-conditioning technician. He loved to tinker and completely restored his in-laws’ home.
Vance loved spending time with his family but also enjoyed gardening, cooking and had a passion for dogs. After retirement, he took up an interest in hybrid tea roses and joined the Rose Society. Vance passed away on July 3, 2003, and was buried in the Consolata Cemetery in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
I want to thank Vance’s daughter, Mary, for providing the information and photos for this tribute and additional materials on the 692nd.