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Woman Warrior Honors ‘The Six Triple Eight’  and Veterans During Black History Month

The 6888 monument in the Buffalo Soldier Military Park at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas a and consist of a 25-inch Bronze bust of the unit’s Commanding Officer, LTC Charity Adams (Earley), eight black granite panels highlighting the unit’s lineage, historical information and key unit pictures.

February 5, 2024

By Laurie Hanson

During Black History Month, Keshia Javis-Jones is inspiring others to serve their country much like her grandfather did for her.  The Marine Corps combat veteran is now Community Partnerships Director for the Foundation of Women Warriors and will host a virtual documentary on the “Six Triple Eight,” the only all-female Black Battalion that cleared up backlogged postal services during WWII in Europe.  The online presentation will be on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. Javis-Jones will share how her grandfather benefited directly from their service.

Keshia Javis-Jones.

“My grandfather served in WWII, and he would tell me stories about his time in service, like getting mail from my grandmother,” she said. “The mail made it to him because of the work of the women who were a part of the Six Triple Eight.”  It was in February 1945 that the U.S. Army sent 855 Black women from the Women’s Army Corps (WACs) to England and France to clear stockpiled mail in the European Theater. The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, known as the Six Triple Eight, was the only all-Black female Battalion to serve in Europe during WWII, according to Javis-Jones.  “Confronted with racism and sexism from their own leadership and troops, they served with honor and distinction, completing their mission in six months,” she said. “With their system in place, they were able process about 65,000 pieces of mail per shift. Their motto was ‘No mail, low morale.’ By war’s end, the Six Triple Eight had cleared more than 17 million pieces of backlogged mail, ensuring the troops stayed in touch with their loved ones back home.”

 In March 1946, the last of the women returned home, but they were never fully recognized until the Six Triple Eight documentary, a full-length film written and directed by Tyler Perry. Eventually, in 2022, the House of Representatives awarded them the Congressional Gold Medal, and there now stands a monument to them in Kansas. Today, there are only four known living members of the Battalion, according to Javis-Jones.

 From humble beginnings, Javis-Jones grew up on her grandparents’ farm in Irmo, South Carolina. Her grandfather would tell stories about his time in the service but did not recommend it to her.  “Being raised in the South by grandparents of [their] generation, I was taught and told always to be a good wife and mother and how to behave as a lady, meaning taking care of the home, cooking, cleaning, etc.,” she said. “I grew up attending church, dancing (tap, jazz, and ballet), and competing in pageants. [But] my grandfather would let me do things with him that ‘boys’ would do. He taught me to fish, hunt, and care for the farm.”

 “No one would ever imagine that I would join the military, especially not the Marine Corps,” she explained. “He would tell me that he didn’t want me to go into the military because of the conditions and how they didn’t have roles for women.”  During Javis-Jones first year in high school, both her grandparents passed away. Upon graduation, she attended an all-girls Christian college for two years before deciding to go into the Marine Corps.

 “I would always apologize to my grandfather for my decision, but he inspired me to join, she said.  Javis-Jones served in the United States Marine Corps on active duty for ten years, including service in a combat zone. She has been out of the service for 9 ½ years and is employed by the Foundation for Women Warriors after volunteering there for five years. She took on her full-time position in 2023.

 “My time in the military was some of the best years of my life,” she said. “If you want to do something that impacts your country, join the military. There is nothing more rewarding than supporting and defending our nation. In addition to the work that you will do, the military provides experiences and life lessons that you will not learn anywhere else.”

 Javis-Jones says she is inspired by all women veterans, especially Black women who faced discrimination while fighting for the freedom, rights, and equality of others, yet they were not afforded the same.  “Women veterans inspire me because, for so long, they have gone unrecognized for their service, contributions, and commitment to this nation,” she added. “I commend them all for their service and paving the way for me and all other women veterans, which allowed us to have a different experience.”  Javis-Jones hopes to inspire others through her service, especially to encourage young girls and women to serve and continue the fight for equality, not only in the military but for women across America.  “We cannot impact change where we are absent,” she added. “As a Black woman, I hope that my service will encourage other young women who look like me to serve.”  Some words Javis-Jones always lives by are “honor, courage, and commitment.”  “Without these three things, how can you build self-respect, respect for others, and meet your goals,” she explained.

 Among her favorite quotes is one by Maya Angelou, which says, “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.”  For youth aspiring to serve their country, Javis-Jones said, “You are a part of an elite group of individuals who have taken an oath to support and defend this nation. Not all will be able to say that in their lifetime. The country depends on you. Our national security depends on you. [And] when times get tough, remember what I just said.”

 Foundation for Women Warriors is a 103-year-old nonprofit organization that serves women veterans and their children so that their next mission is clear and continues to impact the world. Anyone interested in learning more about them can visit www.foundationforwomenwarriors.org online.