Friday, June 27, 2008

First to Fight - the Black Tankers of WWII

The 761st Tank Battalion made history as the first all black tank unit to see combat. Like the better-known Tuskegee Airmen, they proved they were as competent as any soldier in the U.S. military. Over the course of 183 days on the front, the 761st helped liberate more than 30 towns under Nazi control. Collectively they were awarded 11 Silver Stars, 70 Bronze Stars, 250 Purple Hearts, and a Medal of Honor. And more than 30 years after coming home, the 761st was finally recognized with the prestigious Presidential Unit Citation.

Through the stories of a select group of surviving veterans, FIRST TO FIGHT examines the history of the battalion--how they came to be; the racism they faced; their battles to be allowed to fight; and courageous service in the European Theater. The program also examines the larger issue of how the U.S. military has evolved from a segregated to an integrated institution.


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