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‘No Mail, Low Morale’
By Patricia Jackson-Kelley
NAPS Western Region Vice President
Little did I realize the significance of receiving mail until I embarked on my active-duty military career in 1979. During my deployment overseas to the Azores (Portugal), the receipt of mail intensified. It became a critical element of my lifestyle and was an eye-opening experience. Receipt of daily mail was not in the plan.
Years later, I joined the National Auxiliary as my husband George Kelley was a NAPS member. I became more educated on learning the operational procedures of Postal Service day-to-day operations.
During World War II, a group of women played a significant role in identifying the importance of mail delivery. The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, nicknamed the “The Six Triple Eight,” was a predominantly all-Black battalion of officers and enlisted members of the Women’s Army Corps, led by Major Charity Adams.
According to Army historians, the women processed 65,000 pieces of mail in each eight-hour shift in Birmingham, England. The women cleared a backlog of 17 million items in three months—what was supposed to be a six-month task.
Their motto was “No Mail, Low Morale.” The women were assigned to Birmingham, Rouen, France, and Paris during World War II. Their mission was to clear several years of backlogged mail in the European theater of operation. Although they were credited with solving the “mail crisis” during their time in England, they did not receive recognition until much later.
The story of the 6888th has been included in exhibits, documentaries and educational and public programs. In 2018, a monument was created in their honor at Fort Leavenworth, KS. In 2019, the 6888th was given the Meritorious Unit Commendation.
On Feb. 28, 2022, the House of Representatives passed legislation to award the 6888th the Congressional Gold Medal. The Senate passed the measure last year and President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan bill on March 14, 2023. We are anxiously awaiting a ceremonial date.
It has been an honor for me to meet some of these women. Their humility shines through as they utter each word. Currently, there are six living members. I pray the ceremony will unfold in their lifetime.