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Members of an all-Black, all-women WWII battalion to receive Congressional Gold Medal

Maj. Fannie Griffin McClendon
Posted at 9:53 AM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 13:15:41-04

Army veterans who served in a battalion made up of entirely Black women during World War II will soon receive the Congressional Gold Medal.

According to ABC News and The Guardian, President Joe Biden signed bipartisan legislation into law on Monday, granting the award to members of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, better known as "Six Triple Eight."

Six Triple Eight was the only all-Black battalion in the Women's Army Corps deployed overseas during World War II. They were tasked with sorting through years of backlogged mail in Europe and finding the proper destination for crucial messages — even if those messages only included first names and no addresses.

The battalion was first sent to Birmingham, England, where they worked through a backlog of millions of pieces of mail in just three months — about half the expected time frame.

Using a highly-effective system, the women processed about 65,000 pieces of mail per shift or 195,000 per day — all while fighting racial and gender discrimination.

The legislation to honor the Six Triple Eight was sponsored by Sen. Jerry Morand, R-Kansas, and originally co-sponsored by Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nevada. It passed both the House and the Senate with unanimous consent.

According to ABC News, it's believed that only six members of the battalion are believed to be alive today. One of those surviving members is a 101-year-old retired Maj. Fanny Griffin McClendon

"It never occurred to me that we would even be considered for a medal of any kind," McClendon told ABC News.

The White House has not yet set a date for the Gold Medal presentation ceremony.