Charity Adams Earley: The citizens received us quite in hand, but with a lot of curiosity. The American troops received us in lots of ways. White GIs, there were no white WACs near us in Birmingham, the white GIs told tales about us. The Red Cross wanted to segregate us and the British just wanted to visit us, see what was going on. But I refused to accept any segregated facilities that they wanted to create for them. And, uh, after that, they didn't try.
Interviewer: Very fine. Were there oth.. were there white WACs in the area?
Charity Adams Earley: There were not any white WACs in Birmingham, but there were white WACs in lots of places in UK and they all used the same WAC recreational hotel in London. And this is where the real problem came in. The Red Cross wanted to set up another hotel for the Black WACs and I promised them that it would be over my dead body before anybody slept there and nobody slept there to my knowledge.
Interviewer: So it went off when... you just...
Charity Adams Earley: When I got to France. They'd said, they said they'd had trouble with me and I said, No, I had trouble with you. And they promised me I wouldn't have any trouble with them.
Interviewer: Outstanding. Were the French as receptive or as curious as the English or...
Charity Adams Earley: The French were receptive until after V-E Day. If you will recall, they all wanted us to go home the day after the...
...Right after VE-Day. Don't pick up your equipment, anything, just go home. And the signs on the walls in Paris, for example, that had said "Kilroy was here."1 Many young service people don't know about that sign, I don't think. But when they said "Kilroy was here," underneath was written "Yankee go home." This was within a week of the VE-day.
Interviewer: As early as that.
Charity Adams Earley: As early as that.
Interviewer: Amazing. So you were there for actually the birth of an organization activating the battalion, bringing it over.
Charity Adams Earley: That's right.
Interviewer: And performing the very important mission of getting the mail out to the soldiers.
Interviewer: And when we arrived, the Battle of the Bulge, which was between December the 15th, '45, '44 and January 15th '45, had created an enormous backlog of mail. Even all the mail which had gone to the continent for American GIs, had been moved back to UK, to England because the fighting was so severe and at that point they didn't know which way the fighting was going to go. So our first job was to deliver the packages and the Christmas packages that had piled up and the Christmas mail that had piled up from Christmas 1944, that was still back. They had to get it out. And that was our first job. We worked three shifts, 8 hours a day, and we did get a commendation for delivering that mail at top speed.