Romay Davis is 102 years young. She was a member of the Six Triple Eight – a segregated army unit in the Women’s Army Corps that was tasked with sorting the mountains of undelivered mail during WWII. The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion is to be awarded a Congressional Gold Medal as soon as the medals are finished, but she and five others from the battalion were honored on Tuesday at a ceremony at Montgomery City Hall due to their advanced age. (Stripes)
Story continues below:
The 6888th (six-triple-eight) had 850 Black ladies whose task it was to get through the piles of mail written to service members in Europe. Their motto was “No Mail, Low Morale.” There were 5 companies: Headquarters, Company A, Company B, Company C, and Company D. Though most members of the unit were postal clerks, there were also cooks, mechanics, and other support positions so that the unit was self-sufficient. It was led by Major Charity Adams. Romay Davis was primarily a motor pool driver.
They arrived in Birmingham, England in 1945, and were dismayed to see mail stacked up to the ceiling in the local postal area. But they went to work and came up with a system to figure it out. Some of the mail had no last name on it, and “rats the size of cats” had eaten the contents of the items that had food in them. The warehouse was not heated, and the windows were blacked out due to the possibilty of air raids. It was less than ideal for them to work there.
When a White commander told Major Adams that he would be sending a white leader to replace her, she had just one comment: “Over my dead body, Sir.” They left her alone. With the system the women came up with in 24/7 rotating shifts, they were able to complete the task of getting the mail sorted and off to the service members in 3 months instead of the 6 first estimated.
After that assignment, the “Six Triple Eight” was off to France. There there they were treated with respect and honor as they once again fulfilled their duties with excellence, taking piles of mail that should have taken 6 months, and doing it all in 3. They were then transferred to Paris. There, the women were treated to luxury hotels: the Bohy Lafayette for enlisted, and the Hotel Etats-Unis for officers. Some of them had never experienced maid service or meals cooked by others. (Army History) Their work became much harder, since some of the unit members left to go home.
Though the odds were set against them, the women of the Six Triple Eight processed millions of letters and packages during their deployment in Europe, helping connect WWII soldiers with their loved ones back home, like my father and mother.Senator Jerry Moran, (R-KS)
Major Adams left the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel. Romay Davis has a story of her own:
Following her five brothers, Davis enlisted in the Army in 1943. After the war the Virginia native married, had a 30-year career in the fashion industry in New York and retired to Alabama. She earned a martial arts black belt while in her late 70s and rejoined the workforce to work at a grocery store in Montgomery for more than two decades until she was 101.Stripes.
Featured screenshot is a composite from the videos.
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