6888th Legacy Tour
No mail, low morale.
Join us on our new 6888th Legacy Tour!
The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was the only unit designated as an African American battalion of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) to serve in Europe during World War II. Mail between troops and loved ones in the U.S. was sent overseas to Europe for processing. By 1945, warehouses in Birmingham, England, contained millions of pieces of undelivered mail and packages. Morale was low, communication between families and friends was lost, and WWII was not over.
At the time, about 7 million American soldiers and government workers were stationed in Europe. In three months, the 6888th broke records and processed millions of pieces of mail in austere wartime conditions to restore reliable mail service and troop morale.
On March 14, 2022, the President of the United States awarded the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal. The 6888th is the only military women’s unit to receive this award. Less than 200 recipients have been bestowed this national honor since General George Washington first received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1776.
To learn more about the 6888th, please read Historian Kevin Hymel’s article, “No Backlog Could Defeat This All-Black, All-Female Unit.”
- Glasgow, Scotland: An optional pre-tour will be offered see the port area where the 6888th arrived in Europe in February 1945 and traveled by train to Birmingham, England.
- Birmingham, England: Here, they would start their 12-month mission to clear a 2-3 year mail and package backlog. The 6888th set up postal operations in neighboring facilities. Working around the clock in three shifts, they processed 65,000 pieces of mail per shift, broke records for postal operations, and cleared the backlog in three months. Visit the areas where the 6888th lived at King Edwards School, marched in the Central Square, and socialized in the city.
- London, England: We will visit some general WWII sites, like Bletchley Park on our way in from Birmingham, and Churchill War Rooms, along with 6888th specific sites such as Grosvenor Square, where Commander Major Charity Adams reported in 1945.
- Normandy, France: Besides seeing the major American sites in Normandy (Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, etc.), guests will visit the American Cemetery, where only four women are buried amongst the 9,387 American service members. Three of the women are from the 6888th who lost their lives in Rouen. The tour will have a gravesite commemoration
- Rouen, France: Visit where the 6888th marched in a parade on May 27, 1945, held in honor of Joan of Arc at the marketplace where she was burned at the stake. We’ll also see the Caserne Tallandier (barracks), Le Petit-Quevilly, where the 6888th lived, as well as Napoleon’s statue, where 6888th members were photographed.
- Paris, France: the tour ends in Paris with site visits to the Hotel George V, where WWII European Communications Zone Commander Lieutenant General C. H. Lee established his headquarters and met with Major Charity Adams. See other hotels where the 6888th resided and visited, the Place de L’Opera, Folies Bergere, and the Hotel Etats-Unis.