African-American women's battalion from WWII honored





The honors were late but still well-received Wednesday for members of the first all-African-American, all-female unit to serve overseas in World War II.

During the war, nearly 1,000 women from the "Six-Triple Eight" Central Postal Battalion moved mountains of mail for millions of American service members and civilians that clogged warehouses in England and France.

Their service to their country had been overlooked for years, starting with when they returned to the United States from assignments overseas.

"There was no parade," said Mary Crawford Ragland. "We just came home."

The 82-year old was among those gathered Wednesday at the Women's Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, where a U.S. Army support group called the Freedom Team Salute presented them with certificates of appreciation, timed with Black History Month.

The group also gives a letter of appreciation signed by the Army Chief of Staff and the Secretary of the Army, an Army lapel pin and an Army decal.

Nearly 800 women that were part of the 6888th were first stationed in Birmingham, England, for three months, moved to Rouen, France, and finally settled in Paris, according to the Army's Web site.

They were responsible for redirecting mail to more than seven million people -- all U.S. armed forces in the European Theater of Operations, including Army, Navy, Marine Corps, civilians and Red Cross workers.



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