Like travelers today postal employee Charles P. Leary needed a passport to journey abroad during World War I. Unlike modern passports however it was granted for a specific purpose: to allow Leary to travel to France where the Post Office Department was establishing a service to support the deployment of US military personnel.
Image: Special Passport for Postal Agent Charles P. Leary
Victory Mail, more commonly known as V-Mail, operated during World War II to expedite mail service for American armed forces overseas. Moving the rapidly expanding volume of wartime mail posed hefty problems for the Post Office, War, and Navy Departments. Officials sought to reduce the bulk and weight of letters, and found a model in the British Airgraph Service started in 1941 that microfilmed messages for dispatch.
The Victory Mail exhibit showcased the Museum’s collection of World War II V-Mail correspondence. V for Victory, a popular symbol of the Second World War, was the inspiration for the name of this new fangled correspondence style.
One of the most frequent questions I get asked as a curator is about care packages, namely, what did family and friends send to each other during one time period or another? The curiosity is understandable—who among us doesn’t want to peek inside the mail?
In December 1942 Lt. Col. Noel Parrish assumed command of the Tuskegee Army Airfield (TAAF) and during the next four years, TAAF produced some of the nation’s finest and celebrated servicemen, the Tuskegee Airmen. As the white commander of a predominantly African American military installation, Lt. Col. Parrish faced both local white citizens who were not supportive of the facility or its mission, and some white senior military and political leaders who believed that African Americans were intellectually incapable of flying combat aircraft.
This past Veterans Day, November 11, 2013, the United States Postal Service in conjunction with the Friends of the National World War II Memorial held a first day ceremony to dedicate the two set World WAR II Medal of Honor (MOH) Stamp. The ceremony was held at the World War II Memorial and was accorded a full military dedication under a beautiful sky and cool temperatures.
During World War II, letters were the primary way that soldiers in all the Armies involved in the conflict communicated with each other and with loved ones back home. The German Army, especially, had a very large and complex mail system to serve the many soldiers fighting in Russia. It was a way to keep in touch, an escape from the bitter fighting and something to do in their spare time. As a result, a lot of mail was sent.