Motto: "No Mail, Low Morale" Nickname: "The Six-Triple Eight"
In The News-Media
By Faith Karimi, CNN
She knew little about her mother’s military service in Europe during World War II. Then she did a Google search and got a surprise
February 23, 2023
Decatur, Georgia CNN —
Brenda Partridge-Brown knew for years that her mother served overseas during World War II. But she didn’t know the whole story.
Willie Belle Irvin-Partridge had regaled her six children in suburban Atlanta with stories of her time in the Women’s Army Corps, stationed in Europe.
She shared memories of the friendships she formed during the war, and her love of the lush English countryside and its charming churches. A black and white photo of her – then Willie Belle Irvin – wearing a dark khaki uniform and a military beret sat on the mantel of every home their family lived in.
But Irvin-Partridge left out a key detail: She had been a member of the historic 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion – the only all-female, predominantly Black unit to serve in Europe during World War II. The battalion didn’t see combat, but they played a crucial role in boosting US troops’ spirits during the war’s final months.
Brenda Partridge-Brown wears a pin showing her mother, Willie Belle Irvin-Partridge, who served in the 6888th battalion, on February 5, 2023. Brown is writing a book about her mother.
102-year-old grandma's courageous WWII past revealed
July 13, 2022
It was two years ago when Tara Garcia reached out to "CBS Mornings" lead national correspondent David Begnaud. Garcia's grandmother, Crescensia, had beaten COVID at the age of 100. She needed oxygen at one point but was able to bounce back. Click to see Story
100-year-old WWII veteran honored for her service overseas
Gladys Blount served in the #6888 battalion unit, filling the need for Army postal workers overseas. Nearly eight decades later, she's recognized for her service. Click image below to see video
July 30, 2022
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi signing the 6888th Congressional Gold Medal on 28 Feb. 2022.
Congresswoman Gwen Moore Statement on House Passage of Her Bill to Award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Members of, the Women’s Army Corps 6888th (Six Triple Eight) Central Postal Directory Battalion
Congresswoman Moore released the following statement:
February 28, 2022
“The Six Triple Eight was a trailblazing group of sheroes who were the only all-Black, Women Army Corps Battalion to serve overseas during World War II. Facing both racism and sexism in a warzone, these women sorted millions of pieces of mail, closing massive mail backlogs, and ensuring service members received letters from their loved ones. A Congressional Gold Medal is only fitting for these veterans who received little recognition for their service after returning home.
I am honored to recognize Six Triple Eight’s selfless service, which is long overdue and to be able to award the highest honor in Congress, the Congressional Gold Medal, to the women of the Six Triple Eight including my constituent Ms. Anna Mae Robertson, whose daughter inspired me to get involved in this effort.
With House passage, we are now so much closer to making this legislation law. I am grateful to Retired Lt. Colonel Edna Cummings and Carlton Philpot whose tireless advocacy helped advance this legislation. I also thank Senator Jerry Moran whose leadership helped pass this legislation in the Senate and Rep. Jake LaTurner, who joined me in this bipartisan effort in the House and their capable staff’s,” said Congresswoman Moore.
“The women of the Six Triple Eight have earned a special place in history for their service to our nation,” said Sen. Moran. “It has been an honor to meet members of the battalion and help lead this effort to award the Six Triple Eight with the Congressional Gold Medal – the highest expression of national appreciation from Congress. Though the odds were set against them, the women of the Six Triple Eight processed millions of letter and packages during their deployment in Europe, helping connect WWII soldiers with their loved ones back home – like my father and mother. Nearly 80 years after their service, we are finally able to recognize these extraordinary women for their service to our nation with the highest distinction Congress can bestow. I appreciate Rep. Moore for leading this effort in the House and Col. Edna Cummings for all her work to honor the Six Triple Eight on behalf of a grateful nation.”
"I am honored to help introduce this legislation to award the Six Triple Eight with the highest honor in Congress, the Congressional Gold Medal, for their heroic service to our nation. This brave group of women helped sort and deliver millions of vital pieces of mail to soldiers on the battlefield during World War II," said Rep. LaTurner. "I want to thank Congresswoman Moore for leading this effort in the House and my fellow Kansan, Senator Moran, for helping get this bill across the finish line in the Senate."
“I’m grateful to the 6888th veterans, families, and thousands of supporters who worked to make this Congressional Gold Medal vision a reality,” said Col. U.S. Army (Ret.) Edna W. Cummings.
“It is Finished. After 76 years “The Trumpet” has sounded. Now the once buried and forgotten ‘Historic Heroic’ achievements of the 6888th Central Postal Battalion were honored on February 28, 2022, with the passage of the House of Representatives’ Bill H.R. 1012. This Bill authorized “the 6888th Congressional Gold Medal for the 855 African American, Hispanic, and Puerto Rican women of this unique WWII Unit. Thanks to all who made this long-overdue honor a reality. Now, let us all rejoice in the magnitude of God’s Grace and Blessings. What is needed now is a Presidential Signing Ceremony at the White House for the Six 6888th veterans still with us. ‘WHEN THE TIME IS RGHT, THE LORD WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN’ (Isaiah 60:22),” said Commander USN (Ret.) Carlton G. Philpot.
Background Information on Six Triple Eight
On July 1, 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law legislation that created the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) within the U.S. Army. During the Second World War, despite executive orders issued by President Roosevelt the Army at-large remained completely segregated. However, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder of the National Council of Negro Women, advocated for the admittance of African American women within the WAC. Dubbed “10 percenters”, the recruitment of African-American women to the WAAC was limited to 10 percent of the population of the WAAC to match the proportion of African Americans in the national population.
After several units of white women were sent to serve in the European Theater of Operations during World War II, African-American organizations advocated for the War Department to extend the opportunity to serve overseas to African-American WAC units. Hence, the Six Triple Eight was created.
The Six Triple Eight served in England and France. Setting sail in February 1945, the 6888th arrived in Birmingham, England after surviving an arduous trip across the Atlantic under the constant threat of attack by German submarines.
When they arrived at their station in England, the Six Triple Eight faced a massive challenge to sort and deliver millions of pieces of mail, totaling a six-month backlog. Through their ingenuity and hard work, the Six Triple Eight eliminated the backlog of mail in three months, far ahead of schedule. They then were sent to France to successfully address a similar mail backlog. These deliveries helped support the morale of countless soldiers on the frontlines in Europe.
This Black History Month, my bill H.R. 1012/S. 321, the ‘Six Triple Eight’ Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2021 shows our nation’s appreciation for those who served in the 6888th by awarding the members of the battalion the Congressional Gold Medal. This medal is the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions.
TOGETHER WE RISE: HONORING GROUP OF TRAILBLAZING WOMEN
NBC TODAY SHOW
February 3, 2022
During World War II, as segregation in the United States continued, millions of Black Americans registered for the draft or volunteered out of a sense of patriotism for a hope at greater opportunities. TODAY’s Al Roker meets women who served in the army unit that would make history, called the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, who were selected to go overseas during the war.
Black History Month: The Six Triple Eight
MORNING NEWS KTLA 5 News
February 1, 2022
The Six Triple Eight was a U.S. Army battalion of 855 black women that was sent in 1945 to England and France to clear the backlog of mail in the European Theater of Operations. The Six Triple Eight was the only all-black female battalion to serve in Europe during WWII. Confronted with racism and sexism from their own leadership and troops, they served with honor and distinction completing their mission in six months. They were never fully recognized…until now.
Honoring Veterans of WWII: Women of the 6888th
by THE BURNS & MCDONNELL TEAM
November 18, 2021
Retired Navy Cmdr. Carlton Philpot (left), Buffalo Soldier Monument project director, and retired Gen. Colin L. Powell, first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former U.S. secretary of state, unveil the bust of Powell in the Circle of Firsts in the Buffalo Soldier Commemorative Area, Sept. 5 on Fort Leavenworth. The bronze bust is by Master Sculptor Eddie Dixon of Lubbock, Texas. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp.
The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion — known as the Six Triple Eight — was the only all-Black Women Army Corps (WAC) unit deployed to Europe during World War II. On Nov. 30, 2018, five of the surviving veterans from the unit traveled to the Buffalo Soldier Commemorative Area at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for the dedication of a monument honoring their service.
The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was active from 1945-1946. The battalion was formed to sort and distribute mail for military and civilian personnel because the Army realized the impact of connection on service members. It was noticed morale was lower when individuals did not receive mail and contact from loved ones.
Image: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point honored the Buffalo Soldiers with a monument, the New York Times reports.
The monument was gifted to West Point by the Buffalo Soldiers Association of West Point, who raised up to $1 million over the course of five years to complete the project.
Given their nickname by Native Americans, the Buffalo Soldiers were members of six all-Black cavalry regiments of the U.S. Army who served in the western United States from 1867 to 1896. They played a pivotal role in the westward expansion of the United States and later taught military horsemanship to white cadets at West Point for 40 years.
U.S. Senate Passes Legislation to Award 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion the Congressional Gold Medal
by: UNITED STATES SENATOR for KANSAS Jerry Moran
Posted: April 30, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed U.S. Senator Jerry Moran’s (R-Kan.) legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the members of the Women’s Army Corps who were assigned to the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion – the “Six Triple Eight” – during World War II. The unit served at home and in Europe where they sorted and routed mail for millions of American servicemembers and civilians.
“The women of the Six Triple Eight deserve to have a special place in history for their service to our country,” said Sen. Moran. “It has been an honor to meet members of the battalion and lead this effort to award them the Congressional Gold Medal. I appreciate the Senate passing this legislation and will work tirelessly to advance it in the U.S. House of Representatives.”
The Six Triple Eight was the only all-black, all-female battalion to serve overseas during World War II, and they were responsible for clearing out an overwhelming backlog of mail, making certain American troops received letters from home to boost their morale.
Items to Note:
On April 20, 2021, Sen. Moran spoke at the memorial service for Deloris Ruddock, a member of the Six Triple Eight.
In February 2021, Sen. Moran reintroduced this legislation in 117th Congress.
In December 2020, the Senate passed Sen. Moran’s legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Members of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, but it did not pass the U.S. House of Representatives.
In March 2019, Sen. Moran introduced S. 633 to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Members of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion.
In November 2019, Sen. Moran participated in the dedication of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion Monument at the Buffalo Soldier Memorial Park on Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
In October 2018, the Senate unanimously passed Sen. Moran’s resolution honoring the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion.
Click here to watch a special tribute to the women of the Six Triple Eight.
# # #
Beloved WWII veteran and WSSU grad Elizabeth Barker Johnson dies at 100
by: Natalie Wilson
Posted: Aug 24, 2020 / 07:00 PM EDT / Updated: Aug 24, 2020 / 09:23 PM EDT
She had the crowd on its feet during Winston-Salem State University’s 2019 Commencement.
Elizabeth Barker Johnson finally experienced walking across the stage 70 years after earning her education degree.
Johnson, a World War II veteran, passed away Sunday.
She was 100 years old.
“She’s really going to be missed. It really hurts right now. It really does because we really weren’t expecting it,” her daughter Cynthia Scott said.
As they grieve, Johnson’s family takes some comfort in knowing that their beloved mother and grandmother’s 100 years were full of impact.
Johnson grew up in Elkin and enlisted in the Army in 1943.
New 6888th Vet: PVT Catherine Romay Johnson Davis in PEOPLE Magazine
'The View' celebrates Black History Month honoring heroes and role models
The daytime talk show highlights those who helped make a difference in America.
By The View
February 28, 2020,
The unsung military heroes were nicknamed the "Six-Triple Eight" and were created after civil rights leader Dr. Mary McLeod and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt petitioned the military to lift the ban on black women serving. Although they were still segregated, the 855 women strong battalion worked 24/7 moving mountains of letters and care packages to millions of military service members on battlefields all over Europe. The unit's motto was, "no mail, low morale."
In Jan. 2019, Six-Triple Eight received recognition for their hard work with a monument at the Buffalo Soldier Monument Park in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
U.S. Army Reserve (Online)
JANUARY 20, 2020
By Sgt. Salvatore Ottaviano
Army Reserve Soldier honors trailblazer at Martin Luther King event
TRENTON, N.J. —
New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way and the New Jersey Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Commission hosted the state’s annual tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 19 at the N.J. State Museum Auditorium here.
Maj. Lakisha Hale-Earle, chief of G1 plans and training for the U.S. Army Reserve’s 99th Readiness Division headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, served as guest speaker for the event.
Read full story...
2020 New Jersey MLK Jr. Commemorative Event
OCTOBER 26, 2019
African American Women Army Corps Battalion
Veterans of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion of the Women’s Army Corps, the only African American all-female unit sent overseas during World War II, shared memories of their service. The unit processed millions of pieces of backlogged mail for troops in the European theater.
6888th Veteran SGT Hilda P. Griggs honored at Pearl Harbor Celebration December 6, 2019 aboard the USS New Jersey
An all-black Women's Army Corps unit from WWII is still fighting for recognition
CSPAN 3: (34 mins) The following event aired Monday (Nov 11). African American Women's Army Corps Battalion
Seven minute clip with news anchor Tom Brokaw, actor Terry Crews (narrating) and Rob Riggle introducing six members of the Six Triple Eight.
WWII Veteran and member of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion MSGT Bertha Durpe died on December 19, 2018 and no family member claimed her body?
March 11, 2019
WWII Veteran and member of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion MSGT Bertha Durpe died on December 19, 2018 and no family member claimed her body? If you recognize her and/or a family member please contact 6888th Monument Committee at email@example.com.
On March 22, an 11 a.m. procession led by Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten and including Patriot Riders on motorcycles and patriotically wrapped Freightliner military rigs will travel with Bertha’s ashes from Rockwell to the Salisbury National Cemetery.
There, Dupre will be given a service with full military rites. The Rowan County Veterans Honor Guard will fire volleys of salute, and the North Carolina Army National Guard will take part in the ceremony before Bertha’s urn finds its resting place in the National Cemetery’s columbarium.
Sen. Moran Introduces Legislation to Award Congressional Gold Medal to Members of 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion
March 05, 2019
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U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) introduced bipartisan legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the members of the Women’s Army Corps who were assigned to the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion – the “Six-Triple-Eight” – during World War II. The unit served at home and in Europe where they sorted and routed mail for millions of American service members and civilians.
A pioneering WWII vet died alone. But she’ll get a hero’s farewell.
February 28, 2019
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March 02, 2018
In honor of Women's History Month and African American History Month, we celebrate the contributions of female noncommissioned officers who volunteered to serve the nation. Some of these women were the first of their race and gender to fulfill senior leadership positions and set the foundation for others to follow.
World War II
"No mail, low morale."1
-6888th unit motto
During World War II, the Army had more than 17 million backlogged letters, packages, and posters stored in air hangars. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme allied commander, directed the 6888th Central Directory Postal Battalion, the only African American World War II Women's Army Corps2 unit to deploy overseas, to process the mail in six months to boost troop morale.3 The unit completed the assignment in half the allotted time.
February 28, 2018
By Parker Philpot, Special to the Las Vegas Tribune
Black History Unites the U.S.
Southern Nevada is a multicultural, vastly diverse place, and February is a designated time to spotlight Black culture by recognizing the unique, far-too-often unheralded history of Black Americans and others of African descent. Black History Month is for everyone to uphold as a time to learn about and celebrate the abundant contributions of Black people locally, nationally and globally. When we understand and honor the historic and present-day sacrifices of members of any community, we grow stronger, together, understanding how irrefutably connected all our communities are.
This is first in a series of articles honoring U.S. military heroes
As we leave Black History Month and enter Women’s History Month, the story of a duty-bound group of women during World War II is the Las Vegas Tribune’s 2018 contribution to highlighting unheralded Black heroes in the armed forces. There is a monument-building campaign underway to honor the 800-plus veteran Black women of the 6888th. Fundraising has started with local companies and supporters engaged in a creative way, and more military history with Blacks and women in the forefront is being brought to light.
By Kevin M. Hymel
The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was a unique unit in the history of the U.S. Army. It had the distinction of being the only all-African American, all-female unit sent overseas during World War II. The women kept mail flowing to nearly seven million soldiers in the European Theater of Operations (ETO).
Almost immediately after leaving the United States in early 1945, the women who would eventually make up the 6888th were introduced to the rigors of war. During the trip across the Atlantic Ocean, German U-boats forced the convoy of troop ships to change course. The event had a chilling effect on the women. “Darn tootin’ I got scared,” recalled Mary Ragland. “Especially when you can’t see land all around,” she added. Once the women arrived in England on 14 February 1945, they had another scare. As they disembarked from their ship, a German V1 rocket, also known as a “Buzz Bomb” for the sound of its engine, dove into the area. As the noise of the engine filled the air, the women ran for cover. No one was killed, but the event served as a harsh reminder that, even behind the lines, soldiers were at risk at all times.
Years’ worth of backlog mail was stacked from floor to ceiling in warehouses throughout Birmingham, England in February 1945. The letters and packages were sent from loved ones to soldiers in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) of World War II.
Organized to tackle the problem, the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, an all-Black, all female military unit was formed, but not without conflict. Also nicknamed, “The Six-Triple Eight,” the unit’s determination to overcome strife and complete their mission resonated with Edna Cummings, a retired Colonel of the United States Army.
“It was more than just standing up to the officers and the Red Cross in Europe . . . this started back in the United States when Black women were fighting for equality,” Cummings told the AFRO, referring to the concerns that led to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
Fort Leavenworth, a U.S. Army base in Kansas, has special connection to black history — it was the home of the first black regiments formed during a time of peace.
These regiments later fought Native Americans during the wars of westward expansion, and became known as the Buffalo Soldiers.
A monument stands honoring them today, and that marker is about to be joined by another honoring historic black soldiers, the Leavenworth Times reports.
This new monument will be a tribute to the 6888th Central Directory Postal Battalion, which was the first and only black Women’s Army Corps (WAC) unit deployed overseas during World War II.
“In the earliest days of our nation, African-Americans answered the call to arms in defense of America. Whenever that call came, from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, black men and women on the battlefield retreat over victory. Beginning with the Buffalo Soldiers in 1866, African-Americans would henceforth always be in uniform, challenging the conscience of the nation,” Powell said at the dedication ceremony. “Thousands of other brave black Americans have gone in harm’s way for their country since the days of the Buffalo Soldiers, always moving forward and upward, step by step, sacrifice by sacrifice.”
Three years later, the Buffalo Soldier Commemorative Area was expanded to include the Circle of Firsts and the Walkway of Units south of Smith Lake and near the Buffalo Soldier Monument.
The Buffalo Soldier Commemorative Area was established “to mark the achievements and aspirations of America’s minority citizens,” said historian Quentin Schillare in his book “The People Behind the Names,” which tells the story of the places, names and people who have left their mark on Fort Leavenworth.