Warren Crecy

Sergeant Warren G. H. Crecy

Warren Gamaliel Harding Crecy joined the U.S. Army when he was 19 years old. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge as a member of the 761st Tank Battalion, nicknamed ‘The Black Panthers’ after their distinctive logo.

The U.S. 761st Tank Battalion was a segregated unit consisting of African American soldiers and black and white officers. Fighting against Nazi-Germany – an enemy known for its racist believes – the members of the 761st themselves experienced racism and discrimination throughout their military service.

In September 1944, the 761st Tank Battalion was deployed to Europe and assigned to the U.S. Third Army under General George Patton’s command. The unit fought in Northern France in October 1944, and in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. It spent the final months of the war on German soil.

Warren Crecy was known as ‘Iron Man’ and ‘the baddest man in the 761st’. He was given these nicknames for his bravery in combat and the fact that he inflicted more casualties among the enemy than anyone else in the battalion. After the war ended, Crecy remained in Germany and was assigned several tasks, including prison officer during the Nuremberg Trials. In 1952 he served in the Korean War for three months until he was badly wounded. Crecy never fully recovered from these wounds, and they meant the end of his military career. He was granted a medical retirement at the rank of major and received the Army Commendation Medal along with a citation for meritorious service. He also received the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf Clusters. Crecy died in 1976 at the age of 53 and was buried with full military honors. In his hometown, a street was named after him at the Naval Air Station.

African-Americans in a Chaffee tank await orders to move out during the Battle of the Bulge.
The 761st were known as the Black Panthers after their unit’s distinctive logo, which featured a black panther’s head. Their motto was “Come out fighting”.