On March 14, 2022, the House of Representatives passed legislation to award the 6888, “Six Triple Eight” Central Postal Directory Battalion the Congressional Gold Medal. This all Black female Battalion was “deployed to Europe in 1945 to sort through the backlog of mail whose delayed delivery was hurting morale on the frontlines. Working through horrid conditions, the 855 women cut down the six-month backlog in just three months.” They did not receive much recognition once they returned to the United States. This bill is an effort to rectify that.
While the 6888th was a historic first, its members enduring racist mistreatment and segregation during their training and their service, Philpot said he is most moved by their accomplishments.
The unit, which was not attached to any male unit, was formed specifically to help clear a massive two-to-three-year backlog for Allied troops on the European front, Philpot said.
Within three months of their arrival in Birmingham, England, in February 1945, the 6888th sorted at least 17 million pieces of mail, working around-the-clock shifts, seven days a week. The women created their own system of locator cards to help facilitate mail delivery; sometimes, they only had a nickname or a first name to work from.
The unit's motto was "no mail, low morale."
Listed below are items for further reading on the Six Triple Eight.
Further Reading on African Americans Serving in the US Military.