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World War II: 761st Tank Battalion

Originally published by World War II magazine. Published Online: June 12, 2006 
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Before and during mobilization for World War II, officials in Washington, D.C., debated whether or not African-American soldiers should be used in armored units. Many military men and politicians believed that blacks did not have the brains, quickness or moral stamina to fight in a war.

Referring to his World War I experiences, Colonel James A. Moss, commander of the 367th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Division, stated, 'As fighting troops, the Negro must be rated as second-class material, this primarily to his inferior intelligence and lack of mental and moral qualities.' Colonel Perry L. Miles, commander of the 371st Infantry Regiment, 93rd Division, voiced a similar opinion: 'In a future war, the main use of the Negro should be in labor organizations.' General George S. Patton, Jr., in a letter to his wife, wrote that 'a colored soldier cannot think fast enough to fight in armor.'

The armed forces embraced these beliefs even though African Americans had fought with courage and distinction in the Revolutionary War and every other war and conflict ever waged by the United States. They overlooked the fact that four regiments of the 93rd Division had served with the French during World War I and that the French government had awarded the coveted Croix de Guerre to three of the four regiments and to a company of the fourth, as well as to the 1st Battalion, 367th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Division.

Lieutenant General Leslie J. McNair, chief of the U.S. Army ground forces, was the main proponent of allowing African Americans to serve in armored units. He believed his nation could ill afford to exclude such a potentially important source of manpower. The black press, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Congress of Racial Equality also placed increasing pressure on the War Department and President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration to allow black soldiers to serve on an equal footing with white soldiers.

In the summer of 1940, Congress passed into law the Selective Training and Service Act, which said, 'In the selection and training of men under this act, there shall be no discrimination against any person on account of race and color.' In October, however, the White House issued a statement saying that, while 'the services of Negroes would be utilized on a fair and equitable basis,' the policy of segregation in the armed forces would continue.

In March 1941, 98 black enlisted men reported to Fort Knox, Ky., from Fort Custer, Mich., for armored warfare training with the 758th Tank Battalion (light). The pioneer black tankers trained in light tank operations, mechanics and related phases of mechanized warfare, as enlisted men from other Army units joined their ranks.

The 758th trained on the M-5 light tank, which carried a crew of four. Powered by twin Cadillac engines, it could reach a maximum speed of 40 mph and had an open-road cruising range of 172 miles. It was armed with a .30 caliber machine gun mounted to fire along the same axis as the tank's main armament, a 37mm cannon. When the tracer bullets from the .30 caliber registered on a target, the cannon would be fired, hopefully scoring a direct hit. The M-5 was also armed with two more .30-caliber machine guns, one on the turret and one in the bow. The light tank was employed to provide fire support, mobility and crew protection in screening and reconnaissance missions.

The 5th Tank Group, commanded by Colonel LeRoy Nichols, was to be made up of black enlisted personnel and white officers. With the 758th Tank Battalion in place, two more tank battalions were needed to complete the 5th Tank Group.

On March 15, 1942, the War Department ordered the activation of the 761st Tank Battalion (light) at Camp Claiborne, La., with an authorized strength of 36 officers and 593 enlisted men. (The final battalion–the 784th–would be activated on April 1, 1943.) On September 15, 1943, the 761st Battalion moved to Camp Hood, Texas, for advanced training; there they changed from light to medium tanks.

On July 6, 1944, one of the 761st's few black officers, Lieutenant Jackie Robinson, was riding a civilian bus from Camp Hood to the nearby town of Belton. He refused to move to the back of the bus when told to do so by the driver. Court-martial charges ensued but could not proceed because the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Paul L. Bates, would not consent to the charges. The top brass at Camp Hood then transferred Robinson to the 758th Tank Battalion, whose commander immediately signed the court-martial consent.

The lieutenant's trial opened on August 2 and lasted for 17 days, during which time the 761st departed Camp Hood. Robinson was charged with violating the 63rd and 64th Articles of War. The first charge specified, 'Lieutenant Robinson behaved with disrespect toward Captain Gerald M. Bear, Corps Military Police, by contemptuously bowing to him and giving several sloppy salutes while repeating, O'kay Sir, O'kay Sir, in an insolent, impertinent and rude manner.' The second charge stipulated, 'Lieutenant Robinson having received a lawful command by Captain Bear to remain in a receiving room at the MP station disobeyed such order.' Robinson was eventually acquitted, and he was not charged for his actions on the bus. Three years later, Robinson was riding buses in the major leagues after breaking baseball's color barrier.

In October 1944, after two years of intense armored training, the 761st Tank Battalion, known as the 'Black Panthers,' landed in France. The tankers received a welcome from the Third Army commander, Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., who had observed the 761st conducting training maneuvers in the States: 'Men, you're the first Negro tankers to ever fight in the American Army. I would never have asked for you if you weren't good. I have nothing but the best in my Army. I don't care what color you are as long as you go up there and kill those Kraut sons of bitches. Everyone has their eyes on you and is expecting great things from you. Most of all your race is looking forward to you. Don't let them down and damn you, don't let me down!'

On November 8, 1944, the Black Panthers became the first African-American armored unit to enter combat, smashing into the towns of Moyenvic and Vic-sur-Seille. During the attack, Staff Sgt. Ruben Rivers, in Able Company's lead tank, encountered a roadblock that held up the advance. With utter disregard for his personal safety, he courageously climbed out of his tank under direct enemy fire, attached a cable to the roadblock and removed it. His prompt action prevented a serious delay in the offensive and was instrumental in the success of the attack.

On November 9, Charlie Company ran into an anti-tank ditch near Morville. The crack German 11th Panzer Division began to knock out tanks one by one down the line. The tankers crawled through the freezing muddy waters of the ditch under pelting rain and snow while hot shell fragments fell all around them. When German artillery began to walk a line toward the ditch, the tankers' situation looked hopeless.

After exiting his burning tank, 1st Sgt. Samuel Turley organized a dismounted combat team. When the team found itself pinned down by a counterattack and unable to return fire, Turley ordered his men to retreat, climbed from the ditch and provided covering fire that allowed them to escape.

Correspondent Trezzvant Anderson described Turley's devotion to duty: 'Standing behind the ditch, straight up, with a machine gun and an ammo belt around his neck, Turley was spraying the enemy with machine-gun shots as fast as they could come out of the muzzle of the red-hot barrel. He stood there covering for his men, and then fell, cut through the middle by German machine-gun bullets that ripped through his body as he stood there firing the M.G. to the last. That's how Turley went down and his body crumpled to the earth, his fingers still gripped that trigger….But we made it!'

On November 10, Sergeant Warren G.H. Crecy fought through enemy positions to aid his men until his tank was destroyed. He immediately took command of another vehicle, armed with only a .30-caliber machine gun, and liquidated the enemy position that had destroyed his tank. Still under heavy fire, he helped eliminate the enemy forward observers who were directing the artillery fire that had been pinning down the American infantry.

The next day, Crecy's tank became bogged down in the mud. He dismounted and fearlessly faced anti-tank, artillery and machine-gun fire as he extricated his tank. While freeing his tank, he saw that the accompanying infantry was pinned down and that the enemy had begun a counterattack. Crecy climbed up on the rear of his immobilized tank and held off the Germans with his .50-caliber machine gun while the foot soldiers withdrew. Later that day, he again exposed himself to enemy fire as he wiped out several machine-gun nests and an anti-tank position with only his machine gun. The more fire he drew, the harder he fought. After the battle, Crecy had to be pried away from his machine gun.

Trezzvant Anderson said of Sergeant Crecy: 'To look at Warren G.H. Crecy (the G.H. stands for Gamaliel Harding) you'd never think that here was a 'killer,' who had slain more of the enemy than any man in the 761st. He extracted a toll of lives from the enemy that would have formed the composition of 3 or 4 companies, with his machine guns alone. And yet, he is such a quiet, easy-going, meek-looking fellow, that you'd think that the fuzz which a youngster tries to cultivate for a mustache would never grow on his baby-skinned chin. And that he'd never use a word stronger than 'damn.' But here was a youth who went so primitively savage on the battle field that his only thought was to 'kill, kill, kill,' and he poured his rain of death pellets into German bodies with so much reckless abandon and joy that he was the nemesis of all the foes of the 761st. And other men craved to ride with Crecy and share the reckless thrill of killing the hated enemy that had killed their comrades. And he is now living on borrowed time. By all human equations Warren G.H. Crecy should have been dead long ago, and should have had the Congressional Medal of Honor, at least!'

The Black Panthers pushed on. It was rough going through the rain, mud, cold and driving sleet, fighting an enemy who bitterly contested every inch of ground. The 761st smashed through the French towns of Obreck, Dedeline and Chteau Voue with Rivers leading the way for Able Company.

Rivers, a tank platoon sergeant, became adept at liquidating the enemy with his .50-caliber machine gun. The dashing young fighter from Oklahoma was soon a legend in the battalion. One lieutenant recalled telling Rivers, via radio, 'Don't go into that town, Sergeant, it's too hot in there.' Rivers respectfully replied, 'I'm sorry, sir, I'm already through that town!'

On the way to Guebling, France, on November 16, 1944, Rivers' tank ran over a Teller anti-tank mine. The explosion blew off the right track, the volute springs and the undercarriage, hurling the tank sideways. When the medical team arrived, they found Rivers behind his tank holding one leg, which was ripped to the bone. There was a hole in his leg where part of his knee had been, and bone protruded through his trousers. The medics cleansed and dressed the wound and attempted to inject Rivers with morphine, but he refused. He wanted to remain alert. The medics informed River's commanding officer, Captain David J. Williams II, that Rivers should be evacuated immediately. Rivers refused. Pulling himself to his feet, he pushed past the captain and took over a second tank. At that moment a hail of enemy fire came in. The captain gave orders to disperse and take cover.

The 761st was to cross a river into Guebling, after combat engineers constructed a Bailey bridge. The Germans tried desperately to stop the construction, but the Black Panthers held them off. The bridge was completed on the afternoon of November 17. Rivers led the way across, and the Black Panthers took up positions in and around Guebling. On the way into town, Rivers, despite his wounds, engaged two German tanks and disabled them both. Still in great pain, he took on two more tanks and forced them to withdraw. The Black Panthers spent that evening in continuous combat.

Before dawn on November 18, the captain and the medical team visited each tank. When they reached Rivers, it was obvious that he was in extreme pain. Rivers' leg was re-examined and found to be infected. The medical team said that if he was not evacuated immediately, the leg would have to be amputated. Rivers still insisted that he would not abandon his men. Throughout the day, both sides held and defended their positions.

At dawn on November 19, the 761st began an assault on the village of Bougaltroff. When the Black Panthers emerged from cover, the morning air outside Guebling lit up with tracers from enemy guns. Rivers spotted the anti-tank guns and directed a concentrated barrage on them, allowing his trapped comrades to escape with their lives.

Rivers continued to fire until several tracers were seen going into his turret. 'From a comparatively close range of 200 yards, the Germans threw in two H.E. [high explosive] shots that scored,' Anderson wrote. 'The first shot hit near the front of the tank, and penetrated with ricocheting fragments confined inside its steel walls. The second scored inside the tank. The first shot had blown Rivers' brains out against the back of the tank, and the second went into his head, emerging from the rear, and the intrepid leader, the fearless, daring fighter was no more.'

Ruben Rivers did not have to die on that cold, dreary November morning in France. Three days earlier, he had received what GIs called a 'million-dollar wound.' He could have been evacuated to the rear and gone home a war hero with his Silver Star and Purple Heart, knowing that the Black Panthers loved and respected him as an outstanding soldier and comrade. But he stayed–and he died.

The Black Panthers pushed on. From December 31, 1944, to February 2, 1945, the 761st took part in the American counteroffensive following the Battle of the Bulge. In a major battle at Tillet, Belgium, the 761st operated for two continuous days against German panzer and infantry units, who withdrew in the face of the Black Panthers' attack. The operations of the 761st in the Bulge split the enemy lines at three points–the HouffalizeBastogne road, the St. VithBastogne highway, and the St. VithTrier road–preventing the resupply of German forces encircling American troops at Bastogne.

Later, as the armored spearhead for the 103rd Infantry Division, the 761st took part in assaults that resulted in the breech of the Siegfried Line. From March 20 to 23, 1945, operating far in advance of friendly artillery and in the face of vicious German resistance, elements of the 761st attacked and destroyed many defensive positons along the Siegfried Line. The 761st captured seven German towns, more than 400 vehicles, 80 heavy weapons, 200 horses and thousands of small arms. During that three-day period, the battalion inflicted more than 4,000 casualties on the German army. It was later determined that the 761st had fought against elements of 14 German divisions.

The Black Panthers were also among the first American units to link up with Soviet forces. On May 5, 1945, the 761st reached Steyr, Austria, on the Enns River, where they joined the Russians.

Through six months of battle, without relief, the 761st Tank Battalion served as a separate battalion with the 26th, 71st, 79th, 87th, 95th and 103rd Infantry divisions and the 17th Airborne Division. Assigned at various times to the Third, Seventh and Ninth armies, the Black Panthers fought major engagements in six European countries and participated in four major Allied campaigns. During that time, the unit inflicted 130,000 casualties on the German army and captured, destroyed or aided in the liberation of more than 30 towns, several concentration camps, four airfields, three ammunition supply dumps, 461 wheeled vehicles, 34 tanks, 113 large guns, and thousands of individual and crew-served weapons. This was accomplished in spite of extremely adverse weather conditions, difficult terrain not suited to armor, heavily fortified enemy positions, extreme shortages of replacement personnel and equipment, an overall casualty rate approaching 50 percent and the loss of 71 tanks.

In 1978–33 years after the end of World War II–the 761st Tank Battalion received a Presidential Unit Citation. In 1997, 53 years after giving his life on the battlefield, Sergeant Ruben Rivers was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The motto of the 761st Tank Battalion has always been 'Come Out Fighting.' In World War II, that is exactly what the Black Panthers did.



This article was written by Joseph E. Wilson, Jr. and originally published in World War II Magazine in January 1998. For more great articles subscribe to World War II magazine today!


63 Responses to “World War II: 761st Tank Battalion”


  1. 1
    Deborah Brady says:

    I believe my Dad, Capt. Reginald Derrough Brady, a white officer, served in the 761st. Is there anyway to confirm/verify this? Thank you for your assistance.

  2. 2
    M. Frye says:

    Deborah, I do not believe your father served with the 761st. My grandfather was the National president of the 761st Tankers Battalion and I have kept all of his records, and the only white officer that served over them was Patton. This article has been somewhat watered down in the intensity of what was really going on at that time.

    • 2.1
      steve austin says:

      I am looking for information on Richard Lee Sparks, Born 14 Nov 1919, lived near my family in Garvin county, Oklahoma. I understand that he served in the 761 Tank Batallion – I think he was a sargeant. Do you have any information on his service?

    • 2.2
      Barry Coombs says:

      Mr Frye:
      I trying to find out the rank and any info available info about Mr. Albert Fitchett who served with the 761st during WWII. He was an inspiration to me when I was in High School and I would like his info fully recorded on the Units web site.
      Thanks,
      Barry Coombs, CDR USN (Ret)

    • 2.3
      Donald Shelby s says:

      I think my dad served with this battalion his name was Charles R. Shelby born March 27 1919 he was a staff Sgt. Please give some info

    • 2.4
      Rudy says:

      There were several white officers in the 761st Tank battalion. Most notable was the battalion commander LTC Paul L. Bates. LTC Bates served with the battalion throughout the war, first as the Battalion S2/S3 and then as the battalion commander. There were also a few other white officers in the battalion.

  3. 3
    Brian Joyner says:

    This is a profound article, because most of the military tactics used today extended from two of histories most notable military generals.

    General Hannibal
    General Shaka Zulu

    We have some of he most tainted history in this country, and what was so appalling is that, our ancestors were mentally able to raise master sons and daughters, but we were not mentally able to fight. I wish that one day I can have a conversation with General Patton in heaven!!!

    THAT'S IF HE'S THERE!!!

    • 3.1
      tomacz says:

      ben o davis & his fellas from the tuskegee group are up there waitin on us,maybe patton was one SOB the creator made to do some penance.
      eagles the tuskegee airmen were,l
      a lot of white fellas in b 26s,17s,24s got home safe when the 99th,300th,331st ab were assigned as escorts.,,
      thanks to these guys,they were/are great soldiers
      taps for the 66 kia,and the 761st,all.white black,navajo.
      and the cranky polish guys too

  4. 4
    Brian Joyner says:

    This is a profound article, because most of the military tactics used today extended from two of histories most notable military generals.

    General Hannibal
    General Shaka Zulu

    We have some of he most tainted history in this country, and what was so appalling is that, our ancestors were mentally able to raise master sons and daughters, but we were not mentally able to fight. I wish that one day I can have a conversation with General Patton in heaven!!!

    THAT'S IF HE'S THERE!!! Only God Knows

  5. 5
    Michelle Warren-Parsons says:

    With the question being asked about the 761st,Deborah Brady was writing that whites may not be with that particular battalion-I believe white officers might have been.

    My grandfather trained part of the men at Fort Knox–I have that graduation panorama. Would love some input.
    Michelle Warren-Parsons

  6. 6
    Robert E. Johnson says:

    In 1997, Franklin S. Garrido was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge and the BSM (First Oak Leaf Cluster). The BSM is awarded to all recipients of the CIB prior to 1947.

    Was it common for members of the 761st to be awarded the CIB since the unit received the PUC?

    How may I obtain a copy of General Orders and/or WD AGO Form 53-55 separation paper(s)?

    Robersabel@aol.com

  7. 7
    daniel harris says:

    My grandfather joeseph harris was attached to the 761st from the red ball express to save the 101st aireborn during the battle of the bulg.

  8. 8
    daniel harris says:

    many all black battalions also were the first units to push into germany beacause of the large decimations of all white units

  9. 9
    Altha says:

    I believe that my Uncle served in this Batallion, Burl H. Bell, can
    you give me any information on this or confirm this for me.

  10. 10
    Jeanine says:

    My mother and my uncles were in the resistance in Dinant, my
    hometown in Belgium.
    The first soldiers who crawled through the wood coming toward
    the Meuse river from the West were black.
    I have been unable to find out from what outfit they were. On
    one of my visit home I contacted the City Hall but they do not
    have anything on this Unit. Can anyone help?

  11. 11
    Dianne Tibbs Scruggs says:

    I believe my dad was in the 761st tank battalion. What source could I look into to find his name?

  12. 12
    Tom Grace says:

    Deborah, I do not believe your father served with the 761st. My grandfather was the National president of the 761st Tankers Battalion and I have kept all of his records, and the only white officer that served over them was Patton. This article has been somewhat watered down in the intensity of what was really going on at that time.

    There were a few white officers in the 761st. Lt. Col. Paul Bates and Lt David J. Williams being the most notable

  13. 13

    [...] of the airmen VS. NAZI jets? PS. More links; Task Force 45 Task Force 45 761st Tank Battalion World War II: 761st Tank Battalion ? HistoryNet TUSKEGEE AIRMEN HISTORY Tuskegee Airmen History 92nd Infantry Division African American 92nd [...]

    • 13.1
      Charles C. Moore says:

      Spike Lee,
      Red Tails was made, so is there any reason why you cannot put together a group and make the long awaited movie of the 761st? One of the tragic reasons blacks are killing blacks is we have not recognized the many sacrificial lambs of the black race. There should be so much recognition of the many sacrifices made by the blacks, so that we would have more heroes to celebrate and to emulate. It has been said I know, but it is awful how much the black race has been so patriotic only to get their color thrown back into their face. I cannot understand why the caucasin race is so fearful to this day of the black man, after all isn't this what he wanted from us when he bred us in the slave quarters? We are superior in so many ways because we were taught to survive and we have demonstrated with God on our side nothing is impossible, even being President of these United States.

  14. 14
    dillan escobedo says:

    hello people im a student doing a research project and i chose the 761st and was wandering if there is any chance you could send me some information my email is escobedodillan2ooo@yahoo.com

  15. 15
    walter l. doughty says:

    I'm looking for more pictures of my father ssg Walter P. Doughty of the 761st. please contact me at waltdoughty@rocketmail.com

  16. 16
    Martin Galle says:

    http://news.webshots.com/album/570807634dEYurC

    Clicking on the link above gets you to todays locations where the 761st broke to the Siegfried Line.

    Please mail Photos and stories related to March 1945 to me.

    I am working on a document about the 761st entering Germany.

    Martin Galle
    Liebigstrasse 6
    76829 Landau
    MartinGalle@Military.com

  17. 17
    Rory says:

    This article is amazing. I am doing a research paper on the 761st Tank Battalion and I need to know which issue and page numbers this article was printed on, does anyone know? I would be very appreciative.

  18. 18
    Theodore Roosevelt says:

    I am inquiring as to the photographs of the personell in the 761st Battalion? I am specifficaly concerned in the unit that James Hill served with as he was my cousin and there is a lot that i dont know and would like to know. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

  19. 19
    Scott Holland says:

    While Patton was initially skeptical of black tankers (who wasn't in those days?), he asked for the best available. According to Horace Evans, a black soldier with the 761st, recalled what Patton said to them: " He let us know that he asked for us. He said he sent a message asking for more tankers. The answer was the best tank unit they had was black; the general only took the best. He repleid, ' Who the heck asked for color, I asked for tankers!"

    This was an incredible statement by a well-to-do American in the 1940s. Patton also broke tradition by allowing the 761st to take the towns they fought for – a priviledge usually preseved for white units. The 761st was eventually taken from Patton. The reason – they were too good.

  20. 20
    Mark S. says:

    Did the 761st liberate work camps near Sangerhausen Germany? My grandfather was in one of those camps and indicated to me that a black army division liberated them. He was amazed because many of them spoke fluent Polish…

    • 20.1
      Ziggy P says:

      My parents met in a camp in Sangerhausen. My father worked in a rendering plant and my mom worked in a cheese factory. I don't know what division liberated their camp, but I do know that the camp was liberated on April 11, 1945 and they were married in a group wedding just over a month later when the camp was converted into a DP camp.

  21. 21
    Michael Rollins says:

    My dad was in wwII, but not assigned to this unit. I just wanted to know if there are any surving members of this prestigious unit in the Richmond ,Va area. also if there are are they willing to do speaking engagements at local churches. and other venues. May God bless all of them and the United States of America.

    Ret. SFC Michael Rollins

    Richmond ,Va

  22. 22
    Abu Bakr Ladd says:

    I just buried friend, Floyd Powell Jr who was in the 761st. He died at 85 and may well have been the last or one of the last surviving members of that unit.

    Please contact me. Let's see if we can get Spike or Oprah or Denzel make a movie about our heroes.

    Lets all work together on the Screenplay.

    Floyd Powell's children and all of the children of America need to read this story and watch this Movie.

    Contact me abuladd@gmail.com

  23. 23
    Dave Martin says:

    I volunteer with a WWII lecture program in the Doylestown, Pa. area, as such I seek out guest speakers. Having seen the documentary on the history channel and read the above story I respectfully request of anyone who can help that I be put in touch with either a veteran of the 761st or a son or daughter who would be willing to speak. Their story is powerful and moving, as the son of WWII vet mother and father and as a VN vet myself I have a great respect for who they were! My contact info is;home-215-297-0984, cell-215-262-3349, fax-215-297-0986, mail p.o. box 217, Lahaska, Pa. 18931. Respectfully&Sincerley,Dave Martin

  24. 24
    Caleb Crites says:

    hi friends

  25. 25
    Bruce says:

    could someone please tell me where i could purchase a dvd based on the ww2 761st tank battalion. i seen this movie some years ago on a sbs tv channel in australia and have been looking for it for ages. im sure it was called the liberaters. i would love to buy it

  26. 26
    flowers jenkins jr says:

    where is private ernest.jenkins, who received the
    silver star award from gen.george pattio

  27. 27
    Cornell says:

    Isn't it amazing that a race (black) that invented/developed such things as the blood bank (plasma), open heart surgery, traffic control lights, gas masks, lawn mower, fountain pen, air conditioner (refridgeration), oiler (the real McCoy), stethoscope and many other items that exist and function to this day were thought to not be capable of fighting in a war(s) for the freedom of the world but they (blacks) themselves weren't free back in their own country. How blind are the eyes that man's heart sees with.

  28. 28
    tomas says:

    761st,a tipo the hat and a mogheila mear from the irish to some great soldiers

  29. 29
    M. Fowler says:

    My Husband, Mr. Arthur Fowler, was enlisted in this battalion. Mr. Fowler was born August 17, 1917 in Louisiana. Had he lived, he would be 94 years of age this year. Although, at his funeral service, they mistakenly placed him as in the Air Force, while truthfully, he was in the army. How disgruntled our family was when we reached the chapel and found that they have made such an innaccurate mistake of reporting this error to the local newspaper.
    Often he spoke of this tenure in World War II.

  30. 30
    Rita Covanreid says:

    My dad Charles Houston King is dying.

    I listen to him daily relive the war. The pain

    of serving in the black panthers and rescuing the Jews

    Has followed him to his death bed. I am proud of him se

    Serving in the 761st.

  31. 31
    Brian Pellerin says:

    Can you tell me how many men from Louisian served with the 761st?
    Please reply to the above e-mail.
    I have a 7yr. old son that I need to pass this history on to, the school does not teach it.

  32. 32
    Malinowski says:

    I would like to know if the 764th tank battalion liberated any concentration camps during WWII. My father was a prisoner in one of the camps and told me that a black tank company came in and got them out. If it is, Thank you very much.

  33. 33
    Bob Craft says:

    Is the story of the 761st liberating concentration camps true??

  34. 34
    arthur gamon says:

    Take a look at this–written just after WWII by members of the 761st, and they paid to have it printed in Austria. I think this will answer a lot of the questions

    http://www.761st.com/cof/COF.pdf?phpMyAdmin=6bbb515cb4bfebcec7cc105787001e52

    • 34.1
      tomacz says:

      art,I downloaded the 761st info,,,magnificent history,,,,
      a tip o the hat to these fellas,and taps for those who never returned.
      god keepem,our watchmen

  35. 35

    [...] their experiences. I'd also like to see a movie on Patton's Panthers, the 761st tank battalion. World War II: 761st Tank Battalion Excellent book, amazing story. [...]

    • 35.1
      lawrence Shivers says:

      My dad Sgt. George (Pete) Shivers was a member of the 761st Tank Battalion. He was killed in Normanady France 11/11/44. Please leave a reply on any information concerning him.

  36. 36
    CSM Howard O Robinson says:

    II would like to get information on my father Edward D Robinson who was a Tank Sergeant with the 761st Tank Bn Charlie Company during WWII. I would also like to become a member of the organization on behalf of my Dad who was proud of his service.

  37. 37
    Pamela English says:

    I am honored that my father, Richard W. English, was a member of this elite group of soldiers. My siblings and I are were fortunate to hear his stories. Even through Hurricane Katrina, we maintained our copies of "Come Out Fighting"! We are proud of him!!!

  38. 38
    Arthur (Arthek) Fowler says:

    My husband was a member of the 761st Battalion. He was born August 9, 1917 in Attliers, Mississippi. He often spoke of his adventures while serving in WWII, and was happy to have done so. But was most insulted when returning home, finding that racism existed greater than when he left. It appears that after returning from from the war, the ticker-tape parade was all good, but when he boarded the bus to return to Louisiana, he rode as far as the Mason-Dixon LIne, then was ordered to the back of the bus. He never got over that. Please send anything you have on him. He expired on July 10, 2005 at the Veterans Hospital in Dallas, TX. Thank you, Mrs. Margaret L. Fowler

    • 38.1
      Kellyn Wagner says:

      I am a research assistant compiling information on the 761st Tank Battalion. Is there any way I can get information and stories about these great men from you?

  39. 39
    Tharris says:

    I am looking for info on Raymond Burrell he's celebrating his 93Rd birthday today and he served in the 761st battilion

    • 39.1
      Robert says:

      Helllo Yes he is my father and he did turn 93 yrs old on May 9th this year and he is doing well.

  40. 40
    Tharris says:

    I am looking for info on Raymond Burrell he's celebrating his 93Rd birthday today and he served in the 761st battilion

    • 40.1
      William Skillings says:

      Hello Tharris

      My father served in the 761st battillon I have a box of pictures I'm shore he must be in one of the pictures maybe my fahter past in 1978, his name was Willie Wilbur Skillings I have his army tank helmet with nick name Buster on it any it also said Beat Me Daddy'.

  41. 41
    James Christian says:

    I would like for Robert who is the son of Raymond Burrell to contact me. I am a retiring African American doctor who is planning a driving tour of the country and would love to drive by and shake his father's hand– wherever he is living.

  42. 42
    Charles C. Moore says:

    To all Historians,
    I am in an organization called Harlem & Beyond in Bakersfield,California and we are trying to find out if thers is any survivers of 761st in California that we can honor and here all of their experiences during our Black History celebration for the month of February 2013. Thanks in advance and to all lets do our best to keep the sacrifices of our forefathers alive and well discussed.
    Charles C. Moore

  43. 43
    L Franklin says:

    My father served as Staff Sargent in the 761st during WW2. He has recently passed, and I have photos, documents and other memorabilia. I would like to find info on what I should do with these. I understand that there are movies and documentaries being made, and I'm positive that these articles would be of great help.

    • 43.1
      K. Wagner says:

      I am a research assistant compiling research for a book on the 761st. I would very much like to talk to you, both about the information you have and your father. Thank you.

  44. 44
    Susan Lawson Salsburg says:

    My father, J. Robert Lawson, was born in Pa. and sent to Ft. Knox as a lieutenant in 1941, where he was to train men who would become Black Panthers. He was given that role as an officer \from the North\ (meaning he wouldn't have been [as] prejudiced–and he was not). He testified at J. Robinson's court martial (Ft. Polk) and corresponded occasionally with Col. Bates. Unfortunately, he was unwilling to talk about his experiences, though he said he was not happy with the public television documentary (early 90s?) (in which he was shown seated at a table). He died in 1999, and his grave at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville is inscribed with the 761st.

  45. 45
  46. 46
    Beth Sternheimer says:

    Can anyone tell me the rank of Trezzvant W. Anderson? We would like to quote him in a documentary and list his rank appropriately.

    Thanks very much.

  47. 47


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