Who is the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion?
About the women of the 6888th: The 6888th Central Post Directory Battalion was the first and only all-black female unit to deploy overseas during World War II, according to the battalion. website.
- Upon their arrival in Europe, the 855 women in the unit were given the daunting task of sorting through months of saved and undelivered mail.
- “Prior to the formation of the Six Triple Eight…it was inconceivable that a unit composed entirely of black women would be posted overseas and given such a monumental task. The Six Triple Eight was an experiment – a pass-fail test to determine the value black women brought to the military,” according to The New York Times.
- Women erased 17 million saved emails in three months, taking half the time expected, according to PA News.
“It’s overwhelming” noted Major Fannie Griffin McClendonwho served in the 6888th Battalion, in response to receiving the Congressional Gold Medal.
- She is currently 101 years old and lives in Arizona, according to BNC News. “It’s something I had never even thought of. … I don’t know if I can handle this,” McClendon said.
The Congressional Gold Medal was awarded by Congress to express the “highest expression of national appreciation for the distinguished achievements and contributions of individuals or institutions” since the American Revolution, according to the US Senate website.
- The Congressional Gold Medal is awarded annually. Previous recipients of the award include the Capitol Police and those who protected the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Fallen 9/11 Heroes, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and more.
- A list of recipients can be consulted on the US Senate website.
The bottom line: “This is a long overdue honor and recognition for the women of the Six Triple Eight,” New Hampshire Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas said in a statement, according to PA News. “(The women of the 6888th Battalion) were pioneers and patriots who answered the call to service. It is even more remarkable that their sacrifice and service in defense of freedom came at a time when many of the freedoms for which they fought were not yet accessible to them.