Women were not allowed to be selected into the draft of the U.S. Army, so the first time they participated in battles in a war was during the American Civil War. However, as they weren’t allowed to participate, many of them disguised themselves as men, and a few of them were only discovered to be women when found lifeless.
American women were first allowed to serve in the army during WWI, and many of them were either nurses or staff who cooked and catered for injured soldiers. Many of these women, however, were white, as black women were not allowed to give their services to America.
In 1945, history was made when the first all-black female battalion in the world was sent out from the U.S. to serve in parts of Europe during WWII. They were known as the 6888 Central Postal Directory Battalion, and they were sent to parts of France and England to contribute to solving problems that the war had brought in.
Women were recruited and trained until May 1942, when the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps was formed, and women of all races were finally allowed to serve in the war.
Women were given full benefits in the military in July 1942, and the word “auxiliar” was removed from the name. The Corps then became known as the Women’s Army Corps, and women of all races were trained in all divisions and sections of the army in preparation for war.
The all-black female battalion was successful thanks to Mary McLeod Bethune, an African American civil rights activist who appealed to the first-lady Eleanor Roosevelt to create more meaningful roles for black women in the army in order to help balance out the shortage of soldiers.
The then-first lady helped the military create a space for an all-black female group to work in the war.
The main task of the 6888 Central Postal Directory Battalion was to clear several years of abandoned and backlogged mail in Europe, and they were trained and sent off to help with managing the postal service in Europe.
The battalion arrived in France on February 14, 1945, and was taken to Birmingham, England.
The battalion was made up of 855 black women who served under commander Major Charity Williams.
They were popularly known as the six triple eight, and their motto was: no mail, no morale.
The majority of the women worked under the mail service between 1945 and 1946, and others served as cooks, mechanics, and nurse assistants.
The women were honored with the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the World War II Victory Medal for their hard work.