761st Tank Battalion

†††††††††† The 761st Tank Battalion is probably the most famous of the World War II tank battalions organized using African-American personnel.†† Constituted 15 March 1942 in the Army of the United States, the battalion was activated 1 April 1942 at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana.† After training in the United States, and a short stay in England, the tankers arrived in France on 10 October 1944.† In the following months the unit participated in the Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe campaigns, before inactivating 1 June 1946 in Germany.† On 24 November 1947, the 761st was allotted to the Regular Army and activated at Fort Knox, Kentucky, where it was inactivated once again on 15 March 1955.† In 1978, President Jimmy Carter awarded the Army Presidential Unit Citation (PUC) to the 761st Tank Battalion for service between 31 October 1944 and 6 May 1945.† The decoration streamer is embroidered EUROPEAN THEATER, demonstrating the extent of the battalionís distinguished operations.†

In 1997, Staff Sergeant Ruben Rivers, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism serving with Company A, 761st Tank Battalion.†† A brief combat summary for the unit, which was prepared shortly after World War II, provides a basic chronology of the unitís activities.† Additional information on the activities of the 761st Tank Battalion, and the other African-American tank battalions, mentioned below, is available in Ulysses Leeís The Employment of Negro Troops.†††


Two additional African-American tank battalions, the 758th and 784th Tank Battalions, made significant contributions during World War II combat operations.†† The 758th Tank Battalion, which is perpetuated today by the 64th Armor, supported the 92d Infantry Division in Italy, while the 784th Tank Battalion supported various regiments and divisions attacking Germany.†

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Last updated 3 October 2003