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Lena Derriecott Bell King

Passing of CPL Lena Derriecott Bell King

Member of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion

U.S. Congressional Gold Medal Recipient

January 27, 1923 – January 18, 2024


Lena Derriecott Bell King, age 100, peacefully passed away on January 18, 2024, in Las Vegas, Nevada. She was born January 27, 1923, in Washington, Georgia and her departure from this world marks the end of a life-well lived. Lena Derriecott Bell answered the call and enlisted in the Army Air Force at 18, starting her Army active-duty service on December 15, 1943, from her home of residence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She completed basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, and her first duty assignment was as a nurse at Douglas Army Airfield near Bisbee, Arizona.

Corporal Lena Derriecott Bell became a member of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, nicknamed “Six Triple Eight” Bn., consisting of 855 women and the only Battalion size unit of predominantly African American females who served overseas during World War II. The mission in Birmingham was to clear the over two years of backlog of mail in the European Theater of Operations in six months. The unit’s motto was “No Mail, Low Morale.” Under the leadership of Major Charity Adams, they worked around the clock, three eight-hour shifts, seven days a week in harsh wartime conditions and rat-infested warehouses to clear the backlog of over seventeen million pieces of letters and packages in just three months, breaking all Army records for mail delivery.

In 2016, the Army Women’s Foundation inducted the Six Triple Eight into its Hall of Fame. In Feb 2019, the Army posthumously awarded the 6888th their only award for exemplary performance, the Meritorious Unit Commendation. In May 2019, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom dedicated a Blue Plaque at the King Edwards School in Birmingham, England, to mark the 6888th station. In October 2019, Lena, and the other surviving 6888th members received the 2019 Audie Murphy Award during the nationally televised American Valor Awards ceremony. She was also an Honor Roll Awardee at the World War II National Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana. On March 14, 2022, President Joe Biden signed The Six Triple Eight U.S. Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2021 into law.


Services for the late Mrs. Lena King will be held Friday February 16, 2024, at 12 Noon, location: Desert Spring United Methodist Church, 120 North Pavilion Center Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89144

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