WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, the 6888th Central Post Directory Battalion was recognized with a Congressional Gold Medal of Honor celebration at Arlington National Cemetery.
The 6888th Central Post Directory Battalion was the only exclusively Black female unit sent overseas during the war.
“Everything was against them. You know, the world was kind of looking at them in a different window, like the Tuskegee Airmen, but they prove themselves worthy,” said Brenda Partridge-Brown, her daughter.
One of those members was Willie Bell Irvin Partridge, a Georgia native.
Partridge was the daughter of sharecroppers and she enlisted in the Army in 1944 for a new opportunity outside of the Jim Crow South
“To see the knowledge that these women had, and the love for this country, even though they weren’t treated the way they thought they should have been treated,” said her daughter, Gail Partridge Green. “I’m honored. I’m so proud to say I am the daughter of a vet from World War II.”
The mission of the 6888th was solving the mail and morale problem. They sorted through mountains of backlogged mail and often in poor working conditions, but they did it in record time.
Their service helped to uplift the American soldiers whose only connection to their families back home was through handwritten letters.
Now 6888th Central Post Directory Battalion is receiving the highest recognition for their service, a Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.
“We see their legacy in the people, including many veterans and currently active duty, whose commitment to this country ties directly to the great work of the 6888s,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough.
A story of heroism that continues to inspire Partridge’s own family.
“I never knew my mother served with the 6888th battalion until years later,” said Brenda Partridge-Brown, her daughter.
Today, only six of the 855 members of the 6888th Central Post Directory Battalion are alive - ranging from 98 to 102 years young.
Three of their unit never made it home and they remain in Normandy, their final resting place.
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