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African American WACs Served In a Unique Battalion

The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was unique in the annals of World War II history. It was the only all-African American, all-female unit to serve overseas. A Women’s Army Corps (WAC) unit, the 6888th kept mail flowing to nearly seven million soldiers in the European Theater of Operations.

The women of the 6888th Battalion survived two anxious brushes with the German military during World War II. First, German U-boats forced the unit’s convoy to reroute during its voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. Then, upon arriving in England a V1 rocket, known as a Buzz Bomb, came roaring into the area.

“Everyone was running,” recalled Mrs. Mary Ragland, a veteran of the unit, about the Buzz Bomb attack in February 1945, where the snow-saturated ground made running difficult. Alyce Dixon remembered, “I was little and I could get down.” No one was hurt in the attack, but the rocket got their attention: “I was always ready to run,” said Ragland. The U-boats had a similar effect: “Darn tootin’ I was scared!” admitted Ragland. The worst part was being in the middle of a vast ocean: “You can’t see land anywhere.”