President Joe Biden signed a bill Monday awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to the women of the only all-Black, all-female battalion serving overseas during World War II, which included Portsmouth native Doris Moore.

The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion served during World War II, both in the U.S. and in Europe, where members sorted and routed mail for millions of American service members and civilians, according to the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

The Battalion was created from the Women's Army Corps (WAC) to help distribute a massive backlog of mail that developed because of ever-changing locations and poorly-addressed envelopes.

The group worked in a poorly lit, unheated warehouse in Birmingham, England that was stacked from floor to ceiling with letters and packages, and they maintained seven million information cards to get the mail where it needed to be.

Proud of Aunt Doris

Moore's nieces — Sarah Bodge, Gail Pettiford, Elizabeth Pettiford, and Doris Terry — said their family is very proud of her service and are delighted at the honor.

According to the Portsmouth Athenaeum website, Moore was one of the first graduates of the then-newly built Portsmouth Junior High School in 1934 and a member of the Portsmouth High School Class of 1937.

She graduated Morris Brown College in Atlanta in 1942 and came back to Portsmouth, where she worked at the Morley Company on Islington Street before joining the WAC in 1943.

Moore would later be the first Black social worker in New Hampshire when she worked with the Children’s Aid Society in Manchester.

"Doris took pride in wearing her uniform along with her fellow sisters of color who served with her in the United Stated Army. These brave women served with pride and fortitude as they experienced racial bias and limited notation," her nieces said in a statement. "As a family, we are just as proud of her now as we were when our grandmother, who was a Service Star mother, displayed the Service Star in her window at her home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire during the war."

Members of the 6888th work with French civilians to sort the mail.
Members of the 6888th work with French civilians to sort the mail (U.S. Army Women’s Museum)
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Full Support for Honoring Doris Moore

Moore's family also thanked the New Hampshire congressional delegation, which sponsored the legislation signed by Biden.

“The bravery and service of the Six Triple Eight Battalion has been overlooked for too long. Today, the trailblazing women of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion finally received the recognition that they have long-deserved,” Sen. Maggie Hassan said.

“New Hampshire’s own Doris Moore was part of the battalion that valiantly served overseas. A Congressional Gold Medal – Congress’ highest honor – recognizing their service and patriotism is long overdue," Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said.

“I was honored to help advance this legislation in the House and it's welcome news President Biden has now signed it into law. Doris and her sisters in arms were trailblazers and patriots who answered the call to service," Rep. Chris Pappas said. "It’s even more remarkable that their sacrifice and service in defense of freedom came at a time when many of the very freedoms they fought for were not yet available to them."

“I was proud to help advance this bill to award the 6888 Battalion the Congressional Gold Medal and commend their valiant efforts to defeat the Nazis, and am pleased to see President Biden sign this measure into law to grant these American heroes the long-overdue recognition they deserve," Rep. Annie Kuster said.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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