Congressional Gold Medal goes to the Members of The Six Triple Eight all-Black, Women Army Corp
Congresswoman Gwen Moore Statement on House Passage of Her Bill to Award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Members of, 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.
The Six Triple Eight was a trailblazing group of heroes 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.
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 were 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 front lines in Europe.
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.