June 23, 2022

No mail, low morale

The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony


In February 2022 the U.S. House of Representatives, and in April 2021 the U.S. Senate passed an act to award “a Congressional Gold Medal to the members of the Women’s Army Corps who were assigned to the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion,” and President Joseph Biden signed the act into law.


Last week, the women of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion were honored with a ceremony celebrating their Congressional Gold Medal.

I have written about the women of the 6888th in the Marshall Foundation blog twice: The first telling their story in 2020: https://www.marshallfoundation.org/articles-and-features/the-6888th-central-postal-directory-battalion/
and the second encouraging readers to support efforts to have the women of this historic unit awarded a Congressional Gold medal: https://www.marshallfoundation.org/articles-and-features/the-6888th-central-postal-directory-battalion-update/
In addition, the Marshall Foundation featured Elizabeth Helm-Frazier, friend of unit members and champion for their cause, in a Legacy Lecture in March 2021 for Women’s History Month: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXevkxdYurc&list=PL7jF6pEM23dev5wjaTqMVD86lHr2s1uoc&index=5&t=209s

I was honored and excited to be included on the guest list for the ceremony at the Military Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.
The memorial is built inside the edifice originally meant as the cemetery’s main gate, and features art, video personal histories, and displays about women in service to and with the U. S. military. It was a natural place for the ceremony.


Although age and distance prevented any of the six living veterans from being present, their family members were there in force.

Family members of 6888th members in the standing-room only audience. (Dept. of Veterans Affairs photo)


The family of Private 1st Class Annie B. Knight (Dept. of Veterans Affairs photo)


The family of Maj. Fannie McClendon (Dept. of Veterans Affairs photo)


The family of Private Catherine Romay Johnson Davis (Dept. of Veterans Affairs photo)


Speakers included Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis R. McDonough; U.S. Army Adjutant General Hope Rampy; and Dr. Elwood Robinson, chancellor of Winston-Salem State University.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis R. McDonough receives a framed copy of the law from Col. Edna Cummings, U.S. Army retired; and Master Sgt. Elizabeth Helm-Frazier, U.S. Army retired. (Dept. of Veterans Affairs photo)


Adjutant General of the Army Brigadier Gen. Hope Rampy, in charge of all military postal services, speaks. (Dept. of Veterans Affairs photo)


Chancellor Dr. Elwood Robinson of Winston-Salem State University receives a medallion of thanks. (Dept. of Veterans Affairs photo)


The ceremony was attended by many who have benefited from the groundwork laid by the Women’s Army Corps.

Brigadier Gen. Janeen Birckhead, Brigadier Gen. Hope Rampy, Brigadier Gen. Beth Salisbury, and Lt. Gen. Donna Martin.


While the medal is not struck yet – it will take time for the U.S. Mint to choose an artist – it is great that 6888th survivors and family members know these women have finally been recognized.

Thanks to the Department of Veterans Affairs photographers for sharing their photos. More photos of the 6888th Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony and celebration can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/veteransaffairs/

Before becoming director of library and archives at the George C. Marshall Foundation, Melissa was an academic librarian specializing in history. She and her husband, John, have three grown children, and live in Rockbridge County with two large rescue dogs. Melissa is known as the happiest librarian in the world! Keep up with her @MelissasLibrary.