"Come out Fighting"
They have been called "One of the most effective tank battalions in World War II." The 761st tank battalion – known as The Black Panthers, for the head of the panther on their insignia patch – landed on Omaha beach on October 10, 1944. They were requested by General George Patton to be part of his 3rd Army Division in the 26th Infantry Division. 

Their unit consisted of 30 black officers, six white officers, and 676 black enlisted men. Their motto was “Come out fighting”, and that’s how they began on November 7, 1944 in several French towns. The battle in Morville-les-vic was particularly brutal with the employment lasting 183 days; most units only served one to two weeks at a time on the front line. 

In November alone The Black Panthers suffered 156 casualties; 24 men killed, 81 wounded, and 44 non-battle losses. The unit also lost 14 tanks evacuated and another 20 damaged in combat. In December, they moved on to support the 101st Airborne Division in Bastogne. Then, they supported the 87th Infantry Division and took over the city in a two-day attack from the 113th Panzer Brigade with just 11 tanks. 

They moved onto Germany after the Battle of the Bulge, where they breached the Siegfried Line opening the way for the 4th Armored Division. The Black Panthers moved through Germany rapidly, finally meeting the 1st Ukrainian Front of the Soviet Red Army at the Enns River in Steyr, Austria. On May 4, 1945, the 761st and the 71st Infantry Division liberated the Gunskirchen concentration camp.

The Black Panthers did “come out fighting”, and for their efforts they received a Presidential Unit Citation for its actions. A large number of individual members also received medals, including one Medal of Honor and seven posthumously, 11 Silver Stars, 69 Bronze Stars, and about 300 Purple Hearts.  
Black Panther Reenactors with an M4A3 Sherman Tank they drove
Thompson Submachine Gun on a tank the 761st Battalion would have carried

One of a Kind WWII Artifact Donated to the National Museum of Americans in Wartime

On April 28, 2020, Caroline Kilgore, a World War II Rosie Riveter, made a donation to the National Museum of Americans in Wartime. Jim Bish, a representative of the Museum, received it.

The donation is an aileron wing structure made of materials from an American World War II aircraft. It has clear anodized rivets with an aluminum finish, which was standard for that time. Setting the rivets required two very skilled workers. One person used the pneumatic rivet gun and the other used the rivet set or “bucking bar” as they continuously communicated. Riveting was an art form that took craftsmanship. Any metal with scratches or dents from the rivet gun was deemed unacceptable.

The aileron wing was made by Dave Fulcher and gifted to Caroline Kilgore in honor of her service as a Rosie. Dave’s mother, Ruth, was also a World War II Rosie. She worked in the famed Ford Motor Company River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan.
Over 20 Rosies from the Sun City, Arizona Chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association signed this historic one-of-a-kind piece before it was completed with a clear glaze finish.

Nine of these Rosies have been interviewed by the National Museum of Americans in Wartime Voices of Freedom project. They are: Frances Ellis, Caroline Kilgore, Arkie Huffman, Mary Jo McCully, Corinne Kellar, Eileen Blackler, Erlinda Avila, Marie Brannan, and Eileen Berger. Their interviews can be viewed on the Museum’s website.
Some daughters of Rosies, called Rosebuds, have also signed the back of the aileron wing.

Until the Rosie signed aileron wing gets a permanent place in the museum, it will be on temporary exhibit with many other artifacts in the Voices of Freedom’s mobile recording studio, which also serves as a mobile museum. The mobile recording studio is driven to museum and military events every year in the eastern United States.