The 761st Tank Battalion, AKA the “Black Panthers” of WWII

The 761st Tank Battalion was a segregated unit of the United States Army during World War II composed primarily of African American soldiers. The battalion was activated in April 1942 and trained at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, before being sent to England in October 1944 to participate in the Allied invasion of Europe.

The 761st Tank Battalion saw action in several major engagements, including liberation of several French cities, the battles of the Lorraine Campaign, and in breaking the German Siegfried Line. The battalion was recognized for its bravery and skill on the battlefield. Despite facing racial discrimination and segregation within the Army, the unit achieved an impressive combat record.

After the war, the 761st Tank Battalion was deactivated in 1946, and its soldiers returned to the United States to face continued segregation and discrimination.

The legacy of the 761st Tank Battalion has continued to inspire generations of African American soldiers and civilians. In 1978, the battalion was posthumously awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its valor in combat, and in 1997, a memorial was dedicated to the unit at Fort Hood, Texas, where it had trained during the war. The story of the 761st Tank Battalion serves as a powerful reminder of the contributions and sacrifices made by African American soldiers during World War II and their struggle for equal rights and recognition within the United States military.

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