Military Monday- 761st Tank Battalion

Levi G.”Yogi” Bough (1921-2008) was the son of Julius C. Bough and Caroline Gasper-Bough, and my mothers’ brother. Born on St Croix, US Virgin Islands, later migrated with his family to New York City and enlisted with the US Army in April of 1942. My uncle was a member of the 761st Tank Battalion an independent tank battalion of the US Army, known as the Black Panther Tank consisting of mainly African-Americans. Their motto was “Come out Fighting” The tank unit trained at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, and Camp Hood, Texas. During the Battle of the Bulge Germany, the 761st was assigned to General George S. Patton, Jr. Private First Class, Levi Bough was a member of the 761st fine Orchestra as well as worked with the communications section.

yogi (2)

After the war, Levi enrolled and graduated at St. Francis College, NY. In 1950, his family settled in Switzerland. Once there he attended the University of Lausanne and ultimately became a Swiss citizen. Levi’s many years in Europe somewhat isolated him from the happenings of his army buddies. Although my uncle had taken very few trips to the states, he had not connected with the 761st members.

Thanks to the internet we “stumble upon” the 761st web site. In 2006, I made a contact with the 761st Tank Battalion Historian Wayne D Robinson and put him in contact with my Uncle. I could hear the excitement in Robinson voice to learn about a surviving member of the 761st.  He spoke with Levi often and wished for him to come to the states for the reunion that year. After reconnecting and speaking with Wayne Robinson, much of his conversation was about the 761st he spoke about the particulars, playing the violin in the orchestra, and the battles of racism.


My Uncle began sending me many articles about his life, pictures, including the book “Come out Fighting which I treasure. Wayne wanted him to attend the Reunion in Texas, by 2006; my uncle was too weak to travel stateside. Oh how much I wish he could attend the 761st reunion because I know how proud and how much that part of his life meant to him. I can only imagine how it would have been seeing and discussing the activities of the members of the 761st after over 50 years. Although he was not at the 2006 reunion his heart and mind stayed on the event.

In May of 2008, Levi G. “Yogi” Bough died and was buried in Lugano Switzerland. He was 87 years old.

Read more The 761st Tank Battalion at


By shelley dewese

As I continue to search out my history, I am discovering how much I did not know. The more information disclosed about my ancestry, the more I learn and understand how I am the person that has evolved today. My family's research efforts have taken me on an enlightening journey back through the past in the U. S. Virgin Islands (formerly Danish West Indies) and Coastal Georgia. As with most people of Afro-Caribbean descent, my ancestry stems from peoples brought together by colonialism and conquest; it stems from people thrown together, albeit forcibly, by the throes of enslavement. As a result, my DNA tells me that my people originate in Africa, Europe, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Lesser Antilles, and Leeward Caribbean Islands. Two collections made my dream to research my ancestors in the Danish West Indies a reality. I have conducted extensive research using the St. Croix Population Database 1734-1917, a St. Croix African Roots Project product, and a research and document transcription effort sponsored by the Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA). The other catalyst has been accessing the extensive photo, manuscript, and microfilm collections at the Library and Archives of the St. Croix Landmarks Society at Estate Whim in St. Croix. My heartfelt thanks go to all my cousins, extended "cousin-family," friends, and research colleagues from the St. Croix-based Virgin Islands Ancestry Discovery Group, for their input and collaboration. I also want to thank the UJima Genealogy Group in Coastal Georgia and; webmaster Amy Hendrick has introduced me to Southern History and its people. This site allows you to transform yourself to a time during the Danish period (1734-1917) when life was both complex and straightforward. If you have any questions, comments, or need assistance searching for a Danish West Indies ancestor, I invite you to drop me an email. I especially appreciate the followers' encouragement.


  1. Shellye I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the military life of your uncle- Levi “Yogi” Bough!! I love his name sis!!

    I am so glad you shared his legacy with us today as we celebrate Veterans Day! That 761 Tank Battalion was a force to be reckoned with!!! I also understand why your uncle made the decision not to come back to the US after serving this country too! As you know, my father did not like the segregated US Army . . . but to serve his country the way he did to return back to a Jim Crow way of life in the South was difficult!

    This is EXCELLENT!


    1. I remember the tribute you gave to your Dad for his military service. From that post I knew that he like my Uncle experienced the struggle of proving their worth in the segregated US Army.

      Sent from my iPad


  2. What a wonderful story about your uncle!! I’m sure great memories for you, the family, friends, and those who served with him. Also, happy that there’s a book, with the story, for other generations to read and for those who served to share with all of us. Thanks for the post….I’d love to read the book!


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