102-Year-Old WWII Veteran From Segregated Mail Unit Honored
A 102-year-old World War II veteran received the highest civilian honor presented by the United States Congress on Tuesday.
Catherine Romay Johnson Davis was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal at Montgomery city hall in Alabama. Davis served in a segregated mail unit in Europe during the war.
The job of clearing out the massive backlog in a military that was still segregated by race fell upon the largest all-Black, all-female group to serve in the war, the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion.
Millions of letters and packages sent to U.S. troops had accumulated in warehouses in Europe by the time Allied troops were pushing toward the heart of Hitler’s Germany near the end of World War II. This mail was the main link between home and the front in a time long before video chats, texting, or even routine long-distance phone calls.
Davis's battalion labored through incredibly difficult conditions to cut down a backlog of mail. The delayed delivery was affecting morale at the frontlines. Davis is the oldest of six living members of the battalion.
Tuesday's ceremony marked the 74th anniversary of the desegregation of the armed forces.