Maj. Fannie Griffin McClendon, pictured beside members of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. (Photos: Rep. Greg Stanton; Army Diversity YouTube screenshot)
Now that the Senate has passed legislation to honor members of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, Maj. Fannie Griffin McClendon is on track to receive the Congressional Gold Medal decades after her service in the United States Army during World War II.
McClendon is a retired member of the only Black battalion of women to serve in Europe during World War II. The battalion traveled overseas in 1945, was nicknamed “Six Triple Eight,” and has been credited with solving a wartime mail crisis. The battalion overcame encounters with German U-boats, an explosion, and sorted through packages stacked to the ceiling in unheated and rat-infested warehouses for months. The unit processed about 17 million pieces of mail, according to the National World War II Museum.
As members sorted through the undelivered mail for troops, government workers and Red Cross workers, they operated under the motto “No Mail, Low Morale.”
Members of the unit in the Women’s Army Corps faced both racial and gender discrimination and had not received much recognition, although they ultimately set an example for future generations of Black women who would join the military and follow their legacy.