Kentucky WACs of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion(start date: 1942 - end date: 1945) On the Army Women's Foundation website is an alphabetical list of states with the names of African American WACs [Women's Army Corps] who were members of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. The battalion contained the only African American women deployed overseas during World War II.
In April 2021, the U.S. Senate passed the legislation of Senator Jerry Moran (Republican-KS) to award the Congressional Gold Medal to members of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, also referred to as the “Six Triple Eight.” Representing Kentucky are 18 women listed on the Army Women's Foundation website. The enlistment location for all but two of the women was Cincinnati, OH. The women's names and additional information are listed below.
For more see the 2019 documentary The Six Triple Eight, a Lincoln Penny Films Production written and produced by James William Theres; and the websites 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, by Kevin M. Hymel, and These Black Female Heroes Made Sure U.S. WWII Forces Got Their Mail at History.com.
See also To Serve My County, To Serve My Race (book and video), by Brenda L. Moore; and Sisters in Arms, by Kalia Alderson; and Karla Ward, "Film recognizes women, Kentuckians from special WWII unit," 6/27/2021, Lexington Herald-Leader, p. 3A, News section.
*Attached posters provided by Barbara Kent, MPA, Director and Army Veteran Office of Military and Veterans Affairs at Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY.
1. Adams, Henrietta (January 10, 1922 – August 25, 2002)
Born in Louisville to Henrietta Duncan and William Q. Adams. Children: Wanda Mattingly, William Buckner, William Fountain, and Terrance Fountain. Enlisted in Cincinnati. Buried in Lebanon National Cemetery in Lebanon, KY. SOURCES: Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1930 & 1940 U.S. Censuses, and Find A Grave, all accessible via Ancestry.com; and her death notice in the Courier-Journal, 8/27/2002, p. 27 in Newspapers.com.
2. Blythe, Jennetta Schooler (November 15, 1914 – November 11, 2002)
Born in Richmond,KY to Fannie Dunson and James Broaddus Schooler. Husband: John William Blythe. Filed for divorce in 1955. SOURCES: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File; Social Security Applications and Claims Index and Kentucky Birth Index in Ancestry.com; "Many local women now in the WAAC," The Lexington Leader, 7/1/1943, p. 13; and "Nine suits filed," Lexington Leader, 1/8/1955, p. 2.
3. Brock, Emma H. (April 6, 1918 - November 22, 1976)
Lived in Louisville, KY. Born in Georgia, the daughter of Varah Brown and Crawford Brock. Stepfather: Gilbert Mowman. Brothers: Walter Brock, Gilbert Mowman, and Lucian Mowman. Husband: Charles W. Hardimon. Alternate name: Emma H. Hardimon. Enlisted in Cincinnati. Buried in Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville. SOURCES: WWII Army Enlistment Record; 1920 & 1930 U.S. Censuses; and mother's death certificate, all in Ancestry.com; and Find A Grave.
4. Chambers, Effie (1919 - ????)
Born in Mississippi. Married. Enrolled in the WAACS in Jackson, MS in 1943 ("Four Colored WAACS enrolled at station here," Clarion-Ledger, 3/17/1943, p. 12). She was living in Louisville when she enlisted in the WACs in Cincinnati in 1944. SOURCES: WWII Army Enlistment Record in Ancestry.com; newspaper articles in Newspapers.com.
5. Coleman, Alberta (October 24, 1916 – July 18, 1983)
Born in Whitley County, KY, the daughter of Clara Woods Miles and the granddaughter of Emma Woods. In the 1930 U.S. Census the family lived in Corbin, KY. Buried in Hilldale Cemetery in Danville, KY. SOURCES: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File; 1930 & 1940 U.S. Censuses; and Kentucky Birth Index, all available in Ancestry.com; and Find A Grave.
6. Cox, Venus B. (March 24, 1917 – August 28, 1978)
Born in Lexington, KY. Mother: Caroline Jett, Stepfather: Top Strong. Siblings: Wesley Cox and Barney Cox. Ex-husband: Searcy Young. Alternate names: Venus Cox Young, Venus Miller, Venus Bell Miller. Buried in Fort Logan Cemetery in Denver, CO. SOURCES: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, WWII Army Enlistment Records, 1930 U.S. Census, Social Security Applications and Claims Index, and Family Tree, all in Ancestry.com; and Find A Grave.
7. Cross, Minnie Grace (December 20, 1918 - September 29, 2010)
Born in Bardstown, KY. Died in Cleveland, OH. Mother: Sallie A. Duncan, Father: Thomas A. Cross. Siblings: Thomas, William, Martha, Dorothy, Edna, and Ernest. Husband: M. Morris Jackson. Children: John Jackson and Dennis Jackson. Children and other relatives listed in Obituary at Find A Grave. SOURCES: Ohio Death Records in Ancestry.com.
8. Gill, Marilyn Ellen (June 22, 1925 - February 5, 2016)
Born in Bibbtown, KY (Logan County). Died in Chicago, IL and buried in Russellville, KY. Mother: Mamie D. Bowles, Father: Henry Gill. Siblings: James Gill and Beulah Gill. Marilyn E. Gill was one of seven Negro women from Kentucky to report to W.A.A.C. Training Center at Ft. Des Moines, IA in March 1943 ("Seven Negro auxiliaries," The Courier-Journal, 2/19/1943, p. 4). She played on the women's military basketball team. BIRTH YEAR INCORRECT IN MILITARY INDEX. SOURCES: U.S. Cemetery and Funeral Home Collection in Ancestry.com; newspaper articles in Newspaper.com; and Find A Grave.
9. Hammond, Ruth Henrietta (May 27, 1916 – November 26, 1991)
Born in Louisville. Died in Boston, MA. Mother: Nannie Turner, Father: Robert L. Durham. Alternate name: Ruth Henrietta Durham. LISTED AS WHITE ON THE ARMY ENLISTMENT RECORD; MIDDLE NAME MISSPELLED. Ex-husband: Joseph B. Hammond. She was also married to James Jakes. SOURCES: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1940 U.S. Census, Indiana Marriages Index, Social Security Applications and Claims Index, Massachusetts Death Index, all in Ancestry.com. "Deaths: Hammond, Ruth H.," The Boston Globe, 11/29/1991, p. 90.
10. Harris, Norene (March 25, 1920 - August 17, 2004)
Lived in Hazard, KY. Born in Thomasville, AL and died in Chicago, IL. Mother: Frances Southhall, Father: Anderson Harris, one of the coal miners from Alabama who moved to Hazard. Alternate names: Norene Robinson Wallace, Norene R. Wallace Moore, Norene Wallace Moore. Siblings: Willard Harris and Wyle Harris. Spouse: Sylvester J. Rogers. Norene Wallace was one of the founders of the United Life Church in Chicago, IL. In 1942, she was one of the four Negro women sworn in with 31 white women at Fountain Square in Cincinnati. The event was the first public enrollment ceremony for the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps held in Cincinnati ("WAACS sworn in at ceremony," The Cincinnati Enquirer, 12/6/1942, p. 26). Norene Wallace Moore re-enlisted in the Army in 1951. SOURCES: WWII Army Enlistment Records, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1930 U.S. Census, and Social Security Applications and Claims Index, all in Ancestry.com; and articles in Newspapers.com. See Norene Harris Moore at Find A Grave.
11. Hayden, Vivian Geneva (October 13, 1920 – April 24, 1966)
Born in Owensboro, KY. Mother: Gracie M. Couch, Father: Aurelia Dee Hayden, Jr. Siblings: Aurelia, James, Harold, Lavonia, Doris Cozetta, and Sallye. Spouse: Charles Allen Lawton. Children: Charlotte, Charles, William, and Michael. Buried in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, MO. LAST NAME SOMETIMES MISSPELLED AS HAYDON. In 1942 was among the first women from Owensboro, KY to enlist in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. SOURCES: U.S. Veterans Gravesites, KY Birth Index, and 1940 U.S. Census, all in Ancestry.com; newspaper articles in Newspapers.com.
12. Jackson, Julia M. (1911 - ????)
Born in KY. Divorced. Her military enlistment record says that she lived in Louisville. According to a newspaper article, she was from Lexington (“First Contingent of Negro Wacs Arrives in England,” The Pittsburgh Courier, 2/24/1945, p. 2). Perhaps she lived in both cities. In 1945, listed among Hamilton County, OH veterans returning from overseas ("Homeward bound," The Cincinnati Enquirer, 12/22/1945, p. 14). SOURCES: WWII Army Enlistment Records, 1940 Lexington City Directory, 1942 Louisville City Directory, all in Ancestry.com; and articles from Newspaper.com.
13. Longmire, Sarah Elizabeth (June 24, 1920 – May 11, 2012)
Lived in McAndrews, KY (Pike County). Born in Tennessee and died in Cleveland, OH. Daughter of Ethel and John Longmire. Siblings: David Longmire and Lawrence Longmire. Alternate name: Sarah Livingston. Buried in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland. SOURCES: 1940 U.S. Census and Ohio Death Records, both in Ancestry.com; and Find A Grave.
14. Marshall, Grant Esther (November 16, 1918 – June 13, 1966)
Born in Henderson, KY. Mother: Millie A. Hancock, Father: Grant Elliott Marshall. Daughter: Beverly Ann Marshall Cherry Dennis. Husband: James A. Thomas. Buried in Fernwood Cemetery in Henderson, KY. Alternate names: Grant Ester Marshall and Grant Esther M. Thomas. Grant E. Marshall was the first African American woman from Henderson, KY to enlist in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps ("Henderson Negro is sworn in as Waac," Park City Daily News, 2/9/1943, p. 4). She served from September 1, 1943-January 6, 1946. SOURCES: KY Birth Index, Family Tree, and Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, all in Ancestry.com; Newspapers.com; and Find A Grave.
15. Miller, Evelyn Eva (August 29, 1924 – March 8, 2005)
Born in Georgetown, KY. Buried in Highland Cemetery in Ft. Mitchell, KY. Mother: Emma F. Roberts, Father: Charles H. Miller. Siblings: Mary, Joseph, William, and Alice. She lived in Cincinnati prior to her death. SOURCES: U.S. Veterans Gravesites, Ohio Death Records Index, Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1930 U.S. Census, all in Ancestry.com; and Find A Grave.
16. Nelson, Carrie Ethel (June 29, 1915 – ????)
Born in Henderson, KY, Mother: Corey Cheaney, Father: William Nelson. Siblings: Marguerite, Herman, Starling, Phillipp, Mary, and Virginia. SOURCE: WWII Army Enlistment Records, KY Birth Index, and 1920 U.S. Census, all in Ancestry.com.
17. Ricketts, Adele (1904 - ????)
Born in Kentucky. Lived in Louisville. Married in 1941. Accepted into the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in 1943 ("W.A.A.C. enlistment pushed as Kentucky promotions listed," The Courier-Journal, 1/4/1943, p. 6). Sued to divorce husband Jeptha Ricketts in 1947 ("Marriage licenses," The Courier-Journal, 4/11/1947, p. 14). SOURCES: Newspapers.com; and WWII Army Enlistment Records in Ancestry.com.
18. Saunders, Nettie Mae (April 3, 1916 - October 26, 1974)
Born in Keene, KY, the daughter of Sallie Mitchell Taylor and Dan Saunders. Husband: Jesse H. Hale. Was a student in Kentucky State College when she enlisted in the W.A.A.C.S in 1943. Came home on furlough from the Army, October 1944 ("Home on furlough," Sunday Herald-Leader, 1/11/1944, p. 11 [picture with article]). SOURCES: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, Kentucky Birth Index, and Polk's Frankfort (Franklin County, KY) City Directory, 1942, p. 190, all in Ancestry.com; and the obituary "Hale, Mrs. Nettie Saunders, The Lexington Leader, 10/29/1974, p. 20 in Newspapers.com. See Pfc Nettie M. S. Hale at Find A Grave.
*See African American Women Veterans in and from Kentucky for additional names.