We’ve all been frustrated with delayed mail – especially of late as a global pandemic and high demand have coupled to leave many of us waiting far too long for mail delivery. Well, during World War II, there was a 2-year mail backlog. More than 7 million soldiers stationed in Europe were waiting for mail, which was the only connection between our service members and their loved ones back at home.
The heroes who came to the rescue? They were the 855 Black women of the 6888 Central Postal Directory Battalion, under the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). It was the first and only unit of all Black women to serve overseas during World War II.
In late November 1944, Black WAC members were allowed to serve overseas for the first time and the women came from across the country. Their group, 824 enlisted and 31 officers, was led by Commander Charity Adams Earley. The majority of them were high school graduates and some members had college degrees. They trained in Georgia, then departed for their mission, which would span two countries (England and France) over a year-long deployment.
The unit’s motto was “No mail, low morale.” The 6888 Central Postal Directory Battalion worked around the clock sorting mail, clearing warehouses, and distributing packages. And yes, they did play a critical role in keeping morale up and communications intact between soldiers overseas and their families and friends stateside.
But they did so much more than that. Through their outstanding service, this group of 855 barrier–breakers painted a picture of a new military that had a place for diversity.
We’re still not yet where we need to be with full equality in today’s military – diversity and inclusion continue to be a priority of today’s Armed Services. But the road has been paved by those who have chartered new paths – like the women of the 6888 Central Postal Directory Battalion.
Want to learn more about this phenomenal group of women? Click here.