Yesterday was Jackie Robinson’s birthday. You might have noticed that the google doodle was in his honor. He mattered and made a difference. His career in baseball is well known, but his role in changing attitudes with the segregated US Army during World War II is less well known. Check his wiki page under Military career for details.
While growing up I knew people who were associated with units fighting with the 761st Tank Battalion. This unit was called the “Black Panthers” and at the tip of the spear in terrible fighting under George Patton. Imagine the desperation of children charging, 20 or 30 at a time, with panzerfausts as a distraction so that 88mm anti-tank guns could destroy Allied tanks, as a measure of the terrible scene these men were in the middle of. A memory of this is recounted here. The 761st Tank Battalion is described here. Despite everything he did later in his life, I have always associated Jackie Robinson with the 761st.
The youtube video below describes the unit. You can feel the emotion of these men throughout. The tankers were tough
It was a pleasure to see google honor this great man. I hope next year you also join me in celebrating his birthday.