The Real Black Panther: Ruben Rivers (1921-1944)
How uncommon was the valor of Tecumseh native Ruben Rivers? He was the most famous member of the 761st Tank Batallion or “Black Panthers,” the first such African American unit ever to roll forth on foreign fields. He was one of seven blacks to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor in World War II, and the only person from Pottawatomie County to do so. And he received his award posthumously, more than half a century after he went down shooting it out with the Germans as he covered his unit’s fire-laden retreat.
The citation itself tells the story best:
“Awarded for extra-ordinary heroism in action during the November 1944 campaign approaching Guebling, France. Although severely wounded in the leg, he refused medical treatment and evacuation, took command of another tank, and advanced with his company in Guebling the next day. Repeatedly refusing evacuation, he continued to direct his tank’s fire at enemy positions, and at dawn Company A’s tanks began to advance toward Bougaktroff, but were stopped by enemy fire. Joined by another tank, he opened fire on the enemy tanks, covering Company A as men withdrew. While doing so, his tank was hit, killing him and wounding the crew. His fighting spirit and daring leadership were an inspiration to his unit and exemplify the highest traditions of military service.”
The above article is a bonus to the fascinating historical content found within our book
Oklahomans Vol 2 :
Statehood - 2020s
which can be purchased HERE.
View the inspiring 2-minute preview video HERE.