Members of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion take part in a parade ceremony in honor of Joan d’Arc at the marketplace where she was burned at the stake (Rouen, France).
May 27, 1945
The 6888th Postal Battalion was an all female, all black unit responsible for sorting every piece of mail sent to US troops in the European theater. Letters from home were vital to maintaining morale, yet when the 6888th first arrived in Europe, letters were stacked to the ceiling of their temporary post office. Some letters had been in storage for as long as two years. Sorting the 90 billion pieces of mail sent to American troops in Europe required the women to keep track of the location of every US solider in Europe, including all 7,500 Robert Smiths. Some mail was merely addressed to “Junior” or “Buster.” Yet thanks to their round the clock sorting, 65,000 letters went out three times a day to soldiers throughout Europe.
The women served in Birmingham (UK), Rouen (France), and Paris before being sent home at the end of the war. Like many female units, their work was not honored with any fanfare at the time. In 2009 the 1,000 women who served in the 6888th Postal Battalion were finally honored by the US Army at the Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.