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The 6888th: Black Military Women Honored With Monument

A monument was unveiled last Friday at Kansas' Fort Leavenworth to honor the only black Women's Army Corps unit to deploy overseas during World War II.

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Ninety-five-year-old Lena King, a former U.S. Army corporal, was among the women being recognized for their service as part of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion.

There were 855 women in the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. In 1945, the soldiers worked around the clock in Europe, hand-processing millions of letters and packages for the military. That included 7,500 pieces of mail addressed to men with the same name or some with no addresses.

Ninety-five-year-old Lena King from Las Vegas was moved by seeing her name on the monument. King, who was a corporal in the U.S. Army, says the work had to be done.

"There was a backlog of two to three years of mail that the servicemen hadn’t gotten," King says, "and of course I realized, being in the service myself, how important it is to your morale to know what’s going on at home, and vice versa."

Efforts are underway for recognition at the National African American Museum in Washington, D.C.

Carla Eckels is director of cultural diversity and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.