Elizabeth Johnson

US Army, PFC, 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion

The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion aka “Six Tripple Eight” was an all-black battalion of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) and had 855 women serving, both enlisted and officers, under the command of Major Charity Adams Early. Driving a 3/4 ton truck Ms Elizabeth Johnson served with 6888th working through year long backlogs of mail, some as old as two years.

Ms Elizabeth Johnson.
Ms Elizabeth Johnson

Overseas deployment

During the war there was significant shortage of soldiers able to manage the postal service for the US Army overseas. The 6888th left US on February 3rd 1945 arriving UK on February 15th. Encountering several German U-boats on the trip forcing evasive maneuvers. Settling in Birmingham UK “they saw letters stacked to the ceiling of the temporary post office” which was located in converted hangars.

Early in the operation a white general attempted to send a white officer to “tell them how to do it right”. To this Major Early responded “Sir, over my dead body, sir!”. The Six Tripple Eigth completed what was supposed to be a six-month task in three months by May 1945. The group motto was “No mail, low morale“. Anyone having served will most likely wholeheartedly sign up to that statement.

After completing the Birmingham backlog the 6888th deployed to France and worked through another backlog in Rouen. By October 1945 the Rouen backlog was cleared and they were sent to Paris. The battalion was reduced by 300 women due to the war being over. The unit fully returned to US in February 1946 where it was disbanded. There was no public recognition for their service at the time.

Ms Elizabeth Johnson signing The Log Book in 2019.
Ms Elizabeth Johnson signing the Log Book in 2019

Recognition at last

Although members of the 6888th were awarded the European–African–Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the World War II Victory Medal it would be until 2009 before the battalion was honored at Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

On November 30th, 2018, Fort Leavenworth dedicated a monument to the women of the 6888th. Among the attending former members of the battalion was Ms Elizabeth Johnson.

Fort Leavenworth monument.
The monument at Fort Leavenworth.

For more information on the incredible story of the “Six Tripple Eight” please visit their website:

https://www.womenofthe6888th.org/

Another good website is:

https://postalmuseum.si.edu/research-articles/the-history-and-experience-of-african-americans-in-america%E2%80%99s-postal-service/the

Last Updated on 27 July 2021 by Lars McKie

About Lars McKie 36 Articles
An ordinary Swede with a passion for history and just grateful to be given the chance to participate and contribute to the project.

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