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The 758th Tank Battalion
*On this date in 1941, the 758th Tank Battalion was established. This was a Black military tank battalion of the United States Army that served during World War II in Italy.
History In March 1941, the U.S. Army's first black armored unit tankers reported to Fort Knox, Kentucky, to begin armored warfare training. On May 8, 1941, at Fort Knox, Kentucky, the 78th Tank Battalion was redesignated as the 758th Tank Battalion (Light). It was the first of three units to form the all-black 5th Tank Group. The 758th trained in mechanized warfare. One of the Battalion's more notable members was future baseball player Jackie Robinson.
Robinson was transferred to the unit from the 761st Tank Battalion after an incident in which he refused to move to the back of a bus (a bus contracted by the military which did not require segregation. The incident escalated to courts-marshal and wrongful allegations against Robinson). The 758th was permanently attached to the 92nd Infantry Division until September 22, 1945, when the unit was deactivated. The unit's insignia is the head of a black African elephant with large white tusks accompanied by the motto, "We Pierce."
The 758th was redesignated as the 64th Heavy Tank Battalion from 1949 to 1957. Today, the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, is assigned to the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division. The 64th has served with distinction in several armed conflicts, including Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Fox, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom. The unit currently operates from Fort Stewart, Georgia.