U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

05/17/2024 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/17/2024 10:04

Honoring Veterans: Army Veteran Hilda P. Griggs

Hilda P. Griggs served during World War II in the 6888th Battalion, the first and only unit deployed overseas that consisted of all-Black or Hispanic female soldiers. While living in New Jersey, Griggs enlisted in the Women's Army Corps in Philadelphia on Dec. 8, 1943, because she didn't want her mother to find out. She was inspired to enlist by her five brothers, who were all in the service.

Griggs trained at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. On Feb. 4, 1945, she left Fort Shank, New York, for England, with the 6888th. Commanded by Major Charity Adams, the objective of the Battalion, which consisted of 855 women, was to organize the backlog of 18 million accumulated pieces of mail that were addressed to soldiers. Originally, they were given six months to fix the crisis. However, by working 24 hours a day, divided into three eight-hour shifts, the women were able to complete their mission in only three months. The conditions these women worked in were not ideal: insufficient lighting, rat-infested buildings, extreme cold. Yet they worked tirelessly; their motto was "No Mail, Low Morale." Griggs served with the Battalion in Birmingham, England; Rouen, France; and Paris, France. On top of their mission objective, she was also placed in charge of keeping their barracks.

On March 24, 1946, Griggs was honorably discharged from Fort Dix, New Jersey. She continued to serve until she retired from Civil Service, Marine Corps Supply on April 9, 1976.

Upon their return from Europe, the 6888th battalion received no acknowledgement or public commendation. However, in February 2020, Griggs was honored with the Army's Meritorious Unit Commendation Award.

We honor her service.

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA's Honoring Veterans social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It's easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to [email protected] with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Writer: Eden Goddard

Editors: Tayler Rairigh, Ethan Oleson

Researchers: Jonathan Lee, Charmonie Baugh

Graphic Designer: Maura Joyce