WWII Mail From Mom
To which of the 7,500 Pfc. Robert Smith's does this belong????
Soldiers love to get mail. That's probably what the M in morale stands for - and the Army is always on the move. Things can get dicey - especially when thousands of soldiers are out in the middle of the forest at Ardennes or some arid atoll in the South Pacific or any of hundreds of places they "visited" during wartime.
That's where the "Six-Triple Eight" comes in!
LTC. Charity Adams, Women's Army Corps led the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion.
"Not only was she the first black woman commissioned as an officer in the Women's Army Corps, Charity Adams also attained the highest rank possible in the Corps below the directorship -- Only one full colonel was permitted in the WAC, and that rank was held only by the Director. She was also the commanding officer of the first battalion of black service women to serve overseas during WWII.
This unit, the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion (or "Six Triple Eight"), did an extraordinary job of redirecting mail in the European Theater of Operations. Troops were reassigned quickly, battle casualties were relocated often, and the sheer number of U.S. personnel in the ETO was staggering -- a total of about seven million, with more than 7,500 of them, for instance, having the name of Robert Smith. But the Six Triple Eight broke all records for redirecting mail. They knew the importance of their job, in maintaining morale." (Museum of Black WWII History)
The 6888th marches in the town square at Rouen, France on the feast day of Joan D'Arc. This is the spot where Joan D'Arc was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431
These exceptional women were here to do battle of their own - move the mail.
LTC. Charity Adams reviews her unit.
Despite having the same patriotic reasons for serving our Country, African Americans were segregated, given menial jobs, discriminated against and suffered the same inequities as they did at home. You would think America would be too busy for racial bias in the thick of battle but, of course, ignorance often takes the lead. Go here HERE for more information about this fine officer.
A Pretty French Postcard
Note the "free" postage for servicemen and the Army Examiner stamp in the lower left hand corner. Sgt. Henry Rabinowicz posted this card on December 21, 1944 from somewhere in France. He said:
Dear Lillian, I picked this greeting card especially for you to make double sure, my sentiments are expressed both in English and French. Goodbye for now. Affectionately. Henry. It appears from his return address, that Henry was part of the huge Replacement Pool of soldiers that were brought in late 1944 as replacements for infantry casualties. Replacement troops did not necessarily receive the same battle training of the infantry they were replacing. They lacked the cohesion that troops who trained together and fought together had. The seasoned soldiers would pretty much ignore them - their infantry may have suffered 50 to 70% casualties and here comes new guy with creases in his pants. "I don't know him, I'm not talking to him, he's just gonna die anyway." was the psychological attitude.
I found Henry's service card at ancestry.com, stamped with the word WOUNDED. I've not found anything further yet - but will add whatever additional information I can find.
Jewish Servicemen Card For Henry Rabinowicz
Sgt. Charles Shenloogian of Company C, 11th Cavalry, who's WWII experiences are chronicled in his oral history interview 2002 HERE, posted this card November 9, 1944. He said: Dear Jewel, Just a few words to let you know that I am well. I picked this card up in my travels (This is the understatement of the century! His unit was fighting in France in the thick of battle and participated in the Battle of the Bulge in November, 1944 - the unit was out of gas, ammunition and supplies yet ordered by Patton to advance.) Hope everything is O.K. Don't work too hard. Seen many good shows? Would like to have been with you. Love, Charlie. His homogenized message was reviewed and passed by the Army Examiner.
More links to Postcard Friendship Friday are HERE
Links to Sepia Saturday posts are HERE