Members of the 6888th battalion stand in formation in Birmingham, England, in 1945. The women cleared a backlog of mail that reconnected the lines of communication for millions of service members. (U.S. Army Women's Museum via AP, File)

By Deborah Bailey,
Special to the AFRO

President Joe Biden signed into law this week legislation passed by Congress last month awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the Black Women members of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. 

The iconic women’s military unit known as the “Six Triple Eight” of the Women’s Army Corps served in the US and Europe where they sorted and routed mail for millions of American service members and civilians. 

Legislation honoring the Six Triple Eight was sponsored by Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan) and   Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) in the Senate and Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04) and Congressman Jake LaTurner (KS-02) in the House of Representatives.

 “I wish more of the 6888th members were here, and I hope that I’m still here. That will be a great day,” said 6888th veteran Ms. Lena King, in anticipation of the ceremony that will be held at a later date.

Captain Abbie N. Campbell and Major Charity Adams inspect the first contingent of African American WACs sent overseas shortly after their arrival in England, 15 February 1945. (National Archives)

“The Congressional Gold Medal is the nation’s gratitude for the 6888th Battalion and the thousands of African American women who served in the Army during WWII,” said Col. Edna W. Cummings, 6888th Advocate. 

“Their service will never be forgotten as soldiers and trailblazers for gender and racial equality,” Cummings added.

“The women of the Six Triple Eight have earned a special place in history for their service to our nation, and as of today, their sacrifice is enshrined into law with the highest distinction Congress can bestow,” said Sen. Moran. 

“I’m pleased that legislation to award the Six Triple Eight with the Congressional Gold Medal is officially signed into law. After eight decades, these brave women will finally get the recognition they deserve for their heroic service to our nation during World War II,” said Rep. LaTurner.

WACs from the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion take part in a parade in Rouen, France, on 27 May 1945, following a ceremony honoring Joan of Arc. (National Archives)

“I am beaming knowing that the Six Triple Eight Congressional Gold Medal Act is now signed into law,” said Rep. Moore, whose district includes living 6888th member Anne Mae Wilson Robertson. “I also want to thank the advocates whose work ensures that this story of sacrifice was not lost to history,” she said. 

“After eight decades, these brave women will finally get the recognition they deserve for their heroic service to our nation during World War II,” said Rep. LaTurner. 

Living members of the women’s battalion will join with their families for the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony honoring the unit. The Medal is the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions.

The process will begin with the design of a special coin by the US Mint in collaboration with advocates of the Six Triple Eight Unit. The process can take up to a year. 

Once the coin has been commissioned, formal planning of the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremonies will begin. 

Help us Continue to tell OUR Story and join the AFRO family as a member – subscribers are now members!  Join here!