Milwaukee veteran honored for military service one day before she turns 98

NOW: Milwaukee veteran honored for military service one day before she turns 98

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee is honoring a 97-year-old female veteran who is a trailblazer and a bright light in the community.

At Tabernacle Community Baptist Church on Milwaukee's north side, a story largely left out of history books has been uncovered at last.

"There's so much of our history that's hidden," said Donna Childs, pastor of Tabernacle Community Baptist Church.

One day shy of her 98th birthday, Anna Mae Robertson was honored during a special ceremony on Friday, March 4. She was surrounded by her friends and family as she was recognized for her distinguished military service.

Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson declared Saturday, March 5 to be "Anna Mae Robertson Day" throughout the entire city of Milwaukee.

Robertson was part of the 6888th or "Six Triple Eight" battalion unit deployed to Europe in 1945. They were the first and only all-female, all-Black battalion to be deployed during World War II.

"Each of us has greatly benefited from the love and wisdom that resides within her," said her daughter, Dawn Robertson.

Her unit had a seemingly impossible task: sort through a backlog of mail that was piling up and wasn't getting to the soldiers. Working through horrid conditions, the 855 women cut down the six-month backlog in just three months.

"(They) made a way for 17 million plus letters to arrive to our soldiers. Outstanding," said David Durrett with the U.S. Postal Service.

The U.S. House of Representatives also says it's outstanding. The House passed legislation this week to award the battalion the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the highest civilian honors.

"You're an inspiration to the entire city. More than that: an inspiration to the entire country," Johnson said.

City and state leaders said Robertson paved a better future for the nearly 30,000 female veterans who call Wisconsin home.

"Your service helped make it possible," said Secretary Mary Kolar from the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.

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