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Mangrum receives award for tank unit service

Thomas G. Mangrum Sr., a life member of American Legion Post 83, Mathews, and a former county supervisor, was recognized during the 2015 American Veterans Center ceremony, “The Honors: A Salute to American Heroes,” held Saturday in Washington, D.C.

Mangrum accepted the Audie Murphy Award on behalf of his battalion, the decorated all-African American 761st Tank Battalion known as the “Black Panthers,” which was involved in 183 consecutive days of combat in World War II.

Mangrum was a staff sergeant and chief of the communications section for his unit during the war. He said his job was to send and receive code and to transmit the results directly to his colonel, who worked under General George S. Patton in the 3rd Army.

He and his unit served in several campaigns and the Battle of the Bulge before opening the way into Germany for the U.S. 4th Armored Division by breaching the Siegfried Line.

In addition, during the final days of the war in Europe, the 761st T...

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