“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.