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The original item was published from 9/23/2022 11:45:34 AM to 10/30/2022 12:00:03 AM.

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Posted on: September 23, 2022

[ARCHIVED] 100-year-old Member of Exclusive WWII 688th Battalion Unit to be Honored with Street Re-Naming


September 23, 2022, East Orange, NJ: Gladys E. Blount, a 100-year-old veteran of the nation’s only All Black, All Female WWII Central Postal Directory Battalion Unit and one of six surviving members, will be honored with a street re-naming in her hometown of East Orange, NJ.   

The ceremony will be held on September 27, 2022 at 11am at the corner of North Oraton Parkway and Davis Place. All are welcome to attend. 

Blount, who used to live at 36 North Oraton Parkway before her home was demolished to make way for the construction of Interstate 280, was one of 855 women who were selected from more than 6,000 African American women to become part of the exclusive unit.  

The 6888th Battalion Unit, nicknamed the “Six-Triple-Eight,” historically completed the massive undertaking of clearing a six-month backlog of letters and packages – millions of pieces of mail – while stationed in Europe in 1945 in just three months. Adhering to the motto: “No Mail, Low Morale,” these women provided an essential support during wartime linking soldiers to their loved ones back home. Under dire conditions, these extraordinary women toiled around the clock sorting, tracking and re-routing mail, averaging 65,000 pieces per shift and a total of more than 17 million by their assignment’s end.  

In early March 1946, the Army deactivated the Six-Triple-Eight without any recognition or praise for their service, but nearly eight decades later, the unit has finally begun receiving the attention it deserves. In 2022, President Joseph Biden awarded the Six-Triple-Eight a Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest award for distinguished achievements. The unit is also the subject of upcoming projects by Tyler Perry and Blair Underwood.   

And this past July, Mayor Ted R. Green flew to Blount’s home in Ruskin, Florida to personally honor the East Orange heroine for her pioneering contributions as part of this esteemed unit of women.  Mayor Green presented Blount with a Key to the City, a proclamation and a “Green Medal of Honor,” a new award to bestow the city’s highest expression for East Orange citizens who have made notable achievements with global impact.  

 “Words cannot adequately express how proud we are of our native daughter, Mrs. Gladys Blount — who during a time of racial strife both home and abroad — bravely answered the call to duty for our country,” said Mayor Green. “This honor was long overdue and we are proud to recognize her as one of our living legends on whose shoulders we humbly stand. This street re-naming will serve as a permanent testament to her selfless service and keep her legacy alive in our city.”  

Who:                 Mayor Ted R. Green, East Orange City Council and the Blount Family 

What:                Honoring WWII Veteran Gladys Blount with Street Re-Naming  

When:               Tuesday, September 27 at 11am 

Where:             Corner of North Oraton Parkway and Davis Place, East Orange, NJ  


Click here to view a media segment on Mayor Ted Green's trip to Florida:

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