At 88, he is one of youngest of the group – Eddie Walker of St. Petersburg. He served with the first African American tank unit to enter World War II combat and is now Chaplain for the 761st Tank Battalion and Allied Forces Association which held its 63rd reunion in Tampa this weekend.
“You weathered the storm at home in order to weather the storm in face of the enemy. If only those who caused the storm at home knew you were responsible for many of their men returning home. Perhaps movies such as ‘ Battle of The Bulge ‘ can be re-written for filming featuring your story, and maybe a movie one day strictly for The 761st.” – Is one of the messages in the Guestbook on the 761st website. It notes the discrimination and hardships that black soldiers had to overcome in WWII when U.S. Forces were segregated.
The 761st Tank Battalion was assigned to Gen. George Patton’s Third Army in 1944 and played a crucial role in the Battle of the Bulge. The unit’s motto: “Come out fighting.”
Of the original 700 soldiers, few are still alive. But the families of the 761st are working to preserve the battalion’s stories and accomplishments. The 761st website has a roster of the original unit. And, membership in the association is open to those who want to support preservation of the battalion’s history.
For more on the reunion, you can read Shelley Rossetter’s story in the St. Petersburg Times.
Filed under: Military families, Non-Profit Organizations, U.S. Army, Veterans Tagged: | 761st Tank Battalion, African American, Battle of the Bulge, black veterans, Eddie Walker, George Patton, postaday2011, St. Petersburg Times, World War II