FORT LEAVENWORTH, KS (KCTV) -- A sometimes forgotten, World War II battalion of African-American Women is being honored this week.

Several of the women flew into KCI to be on hand for the ceremony in Leavenworth.

It’s a first of its kind on the base of Fort Leavenworth and long in the making.

Survivors of World War II were met, right away, Wednesday with gratitude from those now in service at Kansas City International Airport.

“Knowing that they’ve paved the way for so many officers like us… now can go into the army and serve in positions is just amazing… humbling,” said Major Paula Page, Army.

“None of us will ever forget this,” explained Edna Wagner, Executive Dir. Richard Allen Cultural Museum.

These were the women of the 6888th Battalion also known as the 6 triple 8.

It was first and only battalion of African American women deployed overseas.

Their mission was to clear undelivered mail for those fighting on the front lines.

They were up against many factors including damaged packages, frequent troop movement, and no U.S. postal service.

“Servicemen want their mail. That’s a morale booster,” proclaimed Corporal Lena King, Army.

King, now 95-years-old, and 855 other women worked in cold, dirty, dark rat-infested aircraft hangers with broken windows.

“Within six months, we had cleared up two to three years of back mail,” voiced King.

They stayed overseas until victory was declared, even while they faced discrimination on post.

Private First-Class Anna Robertson, now 94, went into service after her mother died.

Her daughter is now with her for a historic honor.

“I love my mother. I’m happy that she served the country. It’s a memory that we will always keep,” said Janice Banyard, daughter of PFC Anna Robertson.

For the first time in the state of Kansas, their sacrifices will be on full display at Fort Leavenworth. A monument will be built to show their sacrifice.

A full week of activities are planned on the base including a parade led by the buffalo soldiers and a dedication ceremony.

Out of the more than 800 servicewomen, five will be here to accept this historic honor.

Copyright 2018 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.


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