Fran McClendon crucial part of 6888th

Maj. Fran McClendon, was part of the historical 6888th Postal Battalion, stateside and overseas during World War II. (Courtesy Photo)
Fran McClendon, 99, is a member of the Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. and resides in Tempe, Arizona. She is a 26-year military veteran, and her late husband, Roy, was also a 20-year military veteran and later a local schoolteacher. (Courtesy photo)

An essential part of the miraculous accomplishments of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was the work of Fran McClendon. She and her compatriots were responsible for moving millions of pieces of mail in a few months, a task that some military people thought was impossible.

The 6888th was first stationed in Birmingham, England, in early 1945 and when the work in Birmingham was completed, it was on to Rouen, France, and finally Paris.

McClendon, 99, recalled her early experiences as a Women Army Corp officer.

“We were responsible for redirecting mail to more than 7 million members of the American armed forces, civilians and Red Cross workers in the European Theater of Operations,” she said.

McClendon served 26 years in the military and her husband Roy served 20 years. They moved to Tempe, Arizona in 1971. Roy passed away 10 years ago. She is in the process of selling her antiques business, which she has had for many years.

The outstanding dedication and performance of McClendon and the 6888th was finally recognized Nov. 30, 2018, when a permanent Central Postal Directory Battalion Monument was unveiled at the Buffalo Soldier Monument, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The monument consists of a 25-inch Bronze bust of Lt. Col. Charity Adams (Earley), the unit’s commanding officer, eight black granite panels highlighting the unit’s lineage, historical information, and key unit pictures. The back panel has an alphabetical list, by states, of 800-plus members, of the original list of 855 assigned during World War II. Three were killed in an automobile accident.

McClendon is a member of the Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

Editor’s note: Special thanks to Richard Toliver, retired Air Force colonel, for providing information for this article.