White commander of the first African-American tank battalion to see combat action during World War II.
His battalion, which had as its emblem a black panther, was trained in strictly segregated quarters.
His battalion arrived at the front lines of battle in November of 1944 and fought for nearly six straight months without any relief.
He grew up in Los Angeles, California.
Jackie Robinson was among the men in Bates' 761 Tank Battalion, but Robinson left the battalion and played baseball instead.