The 6888th Battalion: Largest Black Female Military Unit In World War II

In February 1945, the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was established to deliver mail to American troops, government personnel, and volunteers abroad in England. At the time, many packages and letters were poorly addressed or sent to individuals with common names and little further direction. Officials estimated that, with the disarray of the postal warehouse, it would take around six months for the backlog to be sorted and delivered.

African-American women were granted the opportunity to travel to serve overseas in late 1944, and the 6888th Battalion was full of eager, well-trained recruits. Led by Major Charity Edna Adams, the women of the “Six Triple Eight” spent time in Oglethorpe, Georgia preparing for service—jumping over trenches, identifying enemy crafts, and marching. Mail delivery in a war zone did not come not without danger, and the women of the Battalion faced several close calls, injuries, and even some instances of death.

The battalion worked in long shifts seven days a week and created a brand new tracking system for the mail they received. Rather than accomplishing the sorting of mail in the projected six months, the recruits blew through the task in three.

And That’s a Fact!

Photo: Getty Images

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