July 20, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

20 July 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Your letter of July 10th arrived today and it was so good to have it. It helped cheer me up a lot. The wind was rather strong until mid afternoon, it is still blowing but not nearly as bad as it has been. Several times during the day it poured rain and then we have had squalls often throughout the day. As I told you in this morning’s letter, after my experience of last night I was going to fix our tent. I hunted around and found some old logs and timbers and then proceeded to build a good frame for our tent. Don helped me with it, it took us until 3 o’clock this afternoon. It was really hard to do anything with a big tent like that when the wind is blowing so hard. And what even made it worse was the heavy rain at times. We were just soaked when we finished the job. I knew we had to keep at it or we would not have finished it today, I didn’t want to go through another night like last night so we really worked hard on it from about eight until three this afternoon. I stopped for about half an hour and had my dinner then went right back to work on it.

After that, I only had about enough time to come down here to the Chaplain’s tent and have my devotions and study some on my message for this coming Sunday morning. I had my supper and then returned to our tent and wrote a letter to Connie. Her birthday is the 13th of this month. After writing that letter I wrote a letter to Major Mason. And now I have the joy of writing to the one I love more with the passing of every hour.

It doesn’t seem that I’ve accomplished much today but I have been on the go since daybreak and am really a little tired. However, be that as it may, I want to make a few comments on your letter of June 26th. The things which you brought to give to Zelma Norrington for the baby shower sounded very good. I’m sure those things will be very useful. I know she must be overjoyed with the fact that her husband is home for the occasion of the baby’s birth.

What Gen told you that Dorothy Olsen told her, also reached me. I do hope that Dave and his wife realize the situation and not take the church down with them. As you say, we must remember them in our prayers.

Dear, I’m glad you don’t want to do just office work at North Shore, I wouldn’t object too much if it were entirely Christian education. But as for me, I would rather have you to go back to Northern and finish your thesis and take a few courses that you want and will like.

This is a very short letter I know but I am so tired I think I will quit and go to bed. God bless you Dear and give the folks my love.

Just yours forever in the love

Of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

PS enclosed find the last letter I got from “Val” Mason.

July 19, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

19 July 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

This evening I was made glad with the arrival of your letter July 9th. It was such a good letter, as is every letter written from you, my Dear. The pictures you enclosed of Charlie, Marian and the children were very good. I really enjoy pictures, so remember Sweetheart, keep as many of them as possible coming this way. And then just before noon I received one of the installments of your cookies and nuts. Darling, they came through in perfect shape. You will never know how good those cookies tasted. It certainly made me homesick for your cooking and baking. In your letter of today you said I was probably enchanted about your cooking because we have been separated for so long and we are so far apart. That has nothing whatsoever to do with my feelings about your cooking. For you always did wonderfully well in preparing our meals, even when we had very little. I mean it when I say you are a very good cook. By the way, Don, Paul and his assistant also thought those cookies were good. The only thing they seem to be disappearing too rapidly to suit me. I have had one after dinner and one this evening. They are such a good dessert. That’s the way I’m going to eat them, that way they will last longer. I know right well that your love was wrapped up in them and that means so much more to me.

I’m really having a time writing this letter because it seems that almost any minute this tent is going to take off. We are right in the midst of one of Okinawa’s storms. We have had a strong wind all day and quite a few rain squalls. I spent the entire day in our Chaplain’s tent. This morning I did some more letters of condolences then worked on Bible classes for the evening which was my opening discussion on  “How we got our English Bible.” There were 35 men in attendance. 

After dinner I took care of some more letters of condolence, these were for men who died of wounds since they were evacuated from the front.

Several man talked to me for quite a while following the service this evening so I didn’t get to start this letter as soon as I had hoped to.

Early Morning 20 July 1945

Good Morning Sweetheart:-

Well, at least morning has arrived, last night was really miserable for me. The fellows who put this tent up did a very poor job, and as a result of the high winds and heavy winds, my whole side caved in. My things got pretty wet before I was able to get them securely covered. I had to sleep, (I mean try to, for I didn’t sleep), with my raincoat on to keep a wee bit dry. Most of my things are pretty well soaked. It certainly gets me to see how haphazard men will do work sometimes. I’m going to see if I can round up some lumber for wood of some kind to fix this side of my tent. I was tired as it was last night and to have to put in such a miserable night wasn’t very pleasant because somebody didn’t do their work properly. Pardon me for complaining.

I couldn’t finish this letter last night because it was impossible to keep my candle burning. I tried and tried but finally at last I decided to try and finish it when daylight arrived. It certainly turned out to be a very long night.

This morning, I start with your letter of June 24th, 1945. I was interested to know that you have a new class of boys. From what you’ve told me, I can easily understand why you hated to lose your old class of boys.

I’ll really miss seeing Clara when I return to NSBC. She is a fine Christian and we always have had such a good time visiting together. They will certainly miss her fine work with the children.

I’m so glad to hear that Gen is looking better today. Getting to bed earlier is bound to help her. She always works so hard anyway. When you see them again, be sure to give them my love and best wishes.

From your description of things I can easily see that Lois received some very beautiful wedding presents. Is her husband planning on staying in Detroit or are they going to move back to Chicago next year? He is certainly lucky to not be drafted. Even if they do have to live in a small apartment, that is better than being separated as we are and many hundreds of thousands of others. I could and would be willing to live almost anywhere if we could just be together again. Men who stay out of this Army just have no conception how fortunate they are.

Your Vacation Church School certainly had a damp opening. It’s certainly too bad that you should have such miserable weather for the opening.

Don’t you ever worry about me wanting to stay in the Army. Nothing in it that attracts me to devote my life to it.

I don’t know Mrs. Flores (Dr. Sasker) too well, but from what I do know, she is a very fine woman.

Well, my Dear I will have to close for now. God bless you and keep you is my prayer.

Just yours, Darling, in the Eternal love

Of Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3    

July 18, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

18 July 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Well, one more day is past and we are that much near that blessed day when we can be together in the work which we enjoy the most. There wasn’t any mail from you today, but tomorrow is another day and I’m hoping for a letter then. The only letter I received today was from my good friend John Stroo on Christmas Island. The letter carried some very sad news which I’ll send to you later. We will have to pray for them. I’m going to write a letter to him right away. It is such a privilege to know a fine Christian like him.

Early this morning, we left for the formal dedication of our Division Cemetery. It is quite away from here and it took me a while to get there. We traveled in a truck convoy. It was a very impressive service and I could not keep back the tears. I only wondered how many of those really knew Christ. I’m enclosing a copy of the service which I think you will enjoy and want to add to the things you are saving from my service in the Army.

After the services, Chaplain Lowe and Paul and I tried to find my two foot lockers. After looking around in many places I found them in a Marine supply dump. How they ever got up there I’ll never know or will anybody else. That thing that led us to look at that place was the fact that when Lieut. White happened to land on that beach, he saw them on top of a great pile with my name clearly printed on it. That was way over a month ago and it was still on the top of the pile and my name could be read very clearly. You will never know how glad I was to see those things. It contained a lot of things I can use for our work. As to some of my personal things, I’m going to send them home sometime in the future for you cannot carry all these things with you and ever hope to keep them for so often they are broken into and just disappear. I was glad to find them, I was really fortunate to say the least.

The Chaplains of the 7th Army Infantry Division. 1945.

I had dinner with Chaplain Lowe and then returned to our headquarters. I studied for a while and then took a shower before supper. After supper I had come down to our tent and studied for a while before the service. My scripture was I Timothy 6: 11-21. The main verse being the part of the 12th which reads, “Enter the great contest of faith!” and “Timothy, guard what has been intrusted to you.” That is the Goodspeed translation. I emphasized the importance of winning others for Christ. My job as a chaplain is more than just having services, it is mainly reaching men for Christ, therefore I need help so I challenged them to join me in reaching the unreached for our Regiment.

This evening I start with your letter of June 22nd. Well, Ray Nelson Faulkner has some prediction but knowing our Division as I do, I think she is wrong. But be that as it may, I am ready to go where the Lord leads. My one hope is to someday return to you, Dear. You will never know how lonesome I am for you. The time can pass none too soon for our union again in His work.

Dear, also find enclosed in this letter a copy of an article I think you like to read about Okinawa, you will probably want to save this article also. Well, Darling, this letter isn’t as long as I would like it to be but I’m so very tired I will close for tonight. God bless you Dear in all things. Be sure to give the folks my love.

Forever yours in the love

Of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

July 17, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

17 July 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Twenty three months ago tonight I was just beginning to feel the ache in my heart which I’ve carried ever since we parted. That ache grows in intensity as the hours and days slip by. It is hard to bear, but then again I’m glad for that ache in my breast is a constant reminder of what you mean to me now and always. It has seemed like a long long time since we parted, but I’m willing to go through most anything if I can just return to you someday. Many things have happened since that day but I want to return to you a better Christian husband than when I left you. I know I wasn’t all I should have been but forgive me and I will in the future seek to be a more yielded servant of our Lord and thus a greater joy and inspiration to you as your husband.

The Muellers from East Moline.

This evening following our evening meal I came down here to the Chaplain’s tent and found two letters which came in for me, they were from John and Helen Mueller, (It was such a good letter, I’ll send it on to you when I answer), and I also had a letter from Connie.

I have been very busy all day taking care of more letters of condolence as well as taking care of more letters of inquiry from those who have lost loved ones here as well as in the Philippines. I also took care of some other official things and then studied until about one half hour before supper. I then hurried over to my tent, dubbed my shoes, washed a few underclothes and then took a shower.

By the way, I wrote a letter to my father this morning and this evening I tried to catch up on some more of my back letters by writing to Sarah Coyne, Chaplain Wayne Soliday, Katherine Riley and the Dear Chief and Mom.

And now I am writing to my Darling Sweetheart, the highlight of everyday. This evening I start with your letter of June 20th. I’m glad that you and Myrtle had such a fine opportunity to visit with each other. From all you have told me, I can see that she is a splendid Christian girl. I’m glad that John finally got his orders for such suspense isn’t easy. I’m sure that Sherry will miss him. By the way, Paul led the Bible class tonight. There were 22 present. Tomorrow evening I have the midweek service and Thursday evening I’m starting a study of how we got our English Bible.

I was glad to know that Bob and Margaret had such a nice time up at Lake Geneva. I’m so glad to know they are so happy. I was sorry to hear that Edith was sick just before the wedding. She had probably overworked herself in preparation for Lois’ wedding.

Well Darling, this isn’t such a good letter but I am very tired and I have to get up early in the morning to leave here for the formal dedication of our Division Cemetery. I am to have a part on the program. God bless you my Dear, and remember, I love you more than ever.

Just yours forever in the

Love of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. Enclosed find a letter from Katherine Reilly, Chaplain Soliday and Sarah Coyne.

July 16, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

16 July 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

After supper this evening I was made glad with the arrival of your letters of July 7th and 8th. As I have said so often before, the letters are so very helpful to me in every way. And the more letters I receive from you the closer we come to the day when we will be together again in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ. It certainly means everything to me over here to know that always I can depend upon your love and devotion to Christ and to me. I only wish there were some way for me to make you realize just how much I do love you and what your love has done for my whole life.

Since early morning, Paul and I have been on the go, and as a result, this evening I am very tired. Paul has already gone to bed but I want to write to you, Dear. You said in your letter of the eighth that you didn’t want me to miss sleep because of writing long letters to you. Remember, the only way I can love you now is by writing and I’m sure you would not want to deprive me of that privilege. After all Dear, the next best thing to having one of your beautiful letters is having the privilege of writing to you. By the way, beside your letters, I got a nice letter from Louise Davis and Miss Pettus, a great surprise to say the least. As soon as I answer her letter I’ll send it on to you to read.

The first thing this morning I went over to the Engineers to see about something we need. While there I found out that my good friend Major Reaugh is leaving for the States. I just had another pleasant surprise, the mailman brought me your letter of July 7th. Such letters are manna to my heart and soul.

Chaplains Wells, Reed and Holt.

I stopped by Division Headquarters and bid Chaplain Holt goodbye. I’m certainly going to miss him. I know we will have to go a long way to have as fine and as cooperative a chaplain. In a lot of ways he makes me think of Dr. Hepburn, his voice so often has made me think of him.  After picking up a few supplies, we proceeded on to Corps Headquarters and saw Chaplain Lowe. We had dinner there and later we left for the beach to see if we could find our foot lockers. All of the other chaplains found theirs but apparently mine is lost. I sent Paul’s and mine at the same time but mine is gone. It certainly makes me feel badly. I do hope that it shows up sometime or other. By the way, I forgot to tell you that I ran into Chaplain O’Gorman who used to be with me in the 603rd AAA group. I hadn’t seen him since coming overseas. We visited for about 10 minutes before I had to leave for a visit to the hospital. It is certainly a job to find your men in the hospitals because there are so many of them on the island. As we traveled back over the ground we fought for, it didn’t look natural at all. That was the first time I have been back to where I came ashore. It is almost a miracle to see what changes have taken place since our landing. I followed the troops all the way from where we landed to the southern tip of Okinawa. The island is really beginning to look pretty now that so many of the evidences of destruction are being cleaned up. By the way, while at one place I got to see the old castle built by the Okinawan King sometime in fifteen hundred. It was a sight to behold. It is said that it took 10,000 men 10 years to build it and I can easily believe it. Such walls and buttresses I have never seen before in all my life. Every stone was fit perfectly into place. I wish I could get some pictures of it for you. Of course, many parts of it will have been destroyed with the wars that have taken place on this island as well as the time when the Japanese seized the island for their own possession. There are very few evidences of our artillery or bombs damaging this ancient fortress.

Dear, I want to try to catch up on your letters so this evening I start with yours of June 18th. I’ve got quite a kick out of your description of Paul Stein. Evidently he is getting worse as the years go along. I know he used to rather rub my fur the wrong way, as well as a lot of others.

Those rough times in my letters will have wait for now. I care not to write about them, perhaps I can tell you about them when we are together again. Dear, I would never want you to see or experience some of the things I experienced and saw in this campaign.

I was certainly glad to hear that Zelma’s husband will be home for the arrival of their baby. I am sure both of them must be happy about the whole thing. Sometimes I can hardly imagine what it will be like to see you again, so many times here of late I wonder how it will be when we see each other again.

I was surprised to hear that Amy had asked about my Army career so far. And you said, I think that was nice of them to want to have my name on the honor roll for their church.

Dear, Mom’s letters are always so sweet and I do love to hear from her. The letter of the Chief’s which you enclosed in today’s letter was good and I really enjoyed receiving it, be sure to tell him, Dear.

By the way, Chaplain Holt gave me five copies of pictures which our division staff photographer took, so I’m enclosing them in this letter. I think you will like them.

Well, it is rather late and I am tired so I had better get to bed for morning will be here soon. God bless you Lover in all things. I love you more tonight than ever before.

It is so good to be just forever just

Yours in the Love of

Christ Jesus,

Willis

Colossians

July 15, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

15 July 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

I had hoped that I would have a letter from you but none came. However, I have been reading some of your back letters. I certainly miss being with you on the Lord’s Day. It will be so good when we can be together again, on that day I really miss seeing you sitting down in the congregation.

I had a busy Lord’s Day this morning. I preached on, “It’s what you see that counts.” The scripture was found in Luke 15:1-7. The theme was found in the second verse. I developed it along this line. The statement of the scribes and the Pharisees reveals the nature the Pharisees and Christ. The Pharisees saw the sinner in the man, but Christ saw the man in the sinner. In other words, Christ’s distinguishing characteristic was the fact that Christ saw the potential possibilities in men. And that the hope of the future is in men who will, as Christ, seek to help humanity through lifting up Christ in daily living.

This evening I preached on, “What are you doing about it?” Scripture James 1:19-27. The main theme being the necessity of acknowledging that you are lost and need a Savior. Sin is most expensive and is of such a cost that only Christ’s redeeming atonement can save. All services were well attended. My services were at 11 and 6:30 this evening. All were very well attended. Paul had the 9 o’clock service this morning. The way it is set up now I will always have the 11 o’clock service and he will have the 9 o’clock service on Sunday morning. And we will change off with the evening service every Sunday evening. Paul will take care of the Tuesday evening Bible class and I will take care of the Thursday evening class. And we will change off every week with the midweek service. By the way, I wish you would inform Emma that we used the records for the first time today and they were really wonderful. The men enjoyed them very much and many expressed their personal appreciation to me. We played several records before each service. The men could sit and listen to them as they were gathering and it really made a nice setting. Be sure to thank her a lot for all of us.

My old friend Lieut. White drove over here for my service this morning and had some very nice things to say. He stayed and had dinner with me and had to leave about one half an hour later. I only wish he were going to remain here on this island but he is going to leave. We had a good time recalling some of our experiences back in the 98th Division. By the way, I got a nice letter from Major Mason today. As soon as I answer it I will send it on to you to read. At noon I got a v-mail letter from my old assistant Carlos Turner, as you will remember, he was my assistant in the Anti-Aircraft outfit at Long Beach. By the way, after the evening service this evening Don, Paul and I were talking about a lot of things, but I happened to mention Nona Tremain Renfro, and Paul said, “Tremain from William Jewell?” He knew her former husband, and she was in school at the same time. He said to ask her if she remembered him. When did she marry Renfro? Paul says it must have been just recently, for as he remembers her former husband was killed about a couple of years ago.

Dear, I’m going to start with your letter of June 16th and make a few comments. The set of dishes you bought for Bob and Margaret sounded very good and I’m sure they will like them. They ought to make a nice set for them. And the goblets you bought for Lois sounded very nice. And the glasses for John and Florence sounded very nice also. I was sorry that poor Mom lost her good umbrella in your shopping excursion.

It certainly makes me happy to know the interest of the Chief is showing in his Bible reading. God has been so good to us in answering our prayer, hasn’t he Darling? I always had a feeling that someday God would answer our prayer.

I was very much interested in your  good description of Bob’s wedding. From all you said, it must’ve been very nice. Your whole description could not help but remind me of our wedding, and Dear, I could not help but shed a few tears. You were such a pretty bride and I loved you so much then, but I love you Oh! so much more now. I shall never forget watching you come down the aisle, to me you looked angelic. And it just filled my heart and made me realize all anew that to me, “You will always be God’s little girl.”

I was surprised to hear that Bill Hill’s wife joined North Shore. And I was also surprised to hear that Bill was in the Philippines. What is Bill’s wife doing now? You know I’ve been overseas almost as long as Bill has even though he came into the Army quite a while for I did. Is he expecting to come home anytime soon? What kind of an outfit is he with now?

Well my Darling, it is rather late and I am tired so I think I had better close for tonight. God bless you my Dear and remember I love you more than ever I have before. Be sure to give my love to the folks.

I’m only yours forever in the

love of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

July 14, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

14 July 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

I’ve really been on the go all day, it doesn’t seem that I’ve accomplished a lot but anyhow I’ve done my best. Early this morning I left here for the Engineers to give some information to two men who have had some problems. While there, Sgt. Hunter gave me the last good box they had to send another Japanese rifle to the Chief. Perhaps he would like to give it to someone. Or maybe somebody may like to buy it from him for a gun collection. It is his and he can do with it what he likes. I hope it comes through all right. It certainly has a fine box for shipping.

After returning to our Chaplain’s tent, I wrote some more letters of condolence. I think that will take care of them now except for some of who may die of wounds later.

Up until dinnertime I studied on my message for tomorrow morning. After having my dinner, I washed out a lot of clothes which took time. The hardest things to wash are fatigues because they become so heavy and bulky when they get wet. The rest of the afternoon I spent in writing a letter to the Vogels, Normans, Louise Davis, and after supper I wrote letters to Marguerite Simonian, Laura Pettygrove and Vivian Schaffer. And now I’m doing the next best thing to reading one of your precious letters. Of course, the best thing of all is the privilege of being with you again so we can pray and have good talks. Just to be with you will be about the grandest thing I can think of. Dear, you grow more precious every moment.

By the way, in one of Marguerite’s letters she enclosed a nice picture of the Reading Room in the Service Men’s Center at Tremont Temple. Mrs. Arthur, who is in charge of the center, is standing second from the left at the rear of the room. And that is Marguerite sitting at the head of the table. That will be another picture to add to our final group of pictures. I do hope they are able to get a good strong man to follow Dr. Brownsville.

The only mail I got today was from Time Magazine, and a letter from the group who invited me to the Religious Conference while at Long Beach, California. They were wondering if there was anything they could do to help me in my work out here. Mrs. Sims, the president, is a go-getter and is always seeking to help. They were very kind to me and have sent me something as a gift which ought to come soon. When it arrives I’ll tell you about it. Don has given me a gift subscription to Time Magazine. That is really grand of him. He is really a fine fellow.

Dear, the officers are all having a big blow tonight. I’m sure I need not tell you what is involved. As before, I’ll probably sleep little because of sickness and just plain noise. Well anyhow, I’m happy to be here by myself looking out into the blue of God’s heaven with the new moon floating along so gallantly. However, it is hard for the lonesomeness not to hurt my heart when I think of my loved ones so many thousands of miles away.

This evening I shall start with your letter of June 14th. I’m glad they have someone to take your place in the office. It is good to know she is going to be able to help with Vacation Bible School. From what Dr. Wilson told you, she must be a fine worker and will undoubtedly be a good addition for them.

Those books Dr. Hepburn told you about sounded very good so I believe it would be good to have them for our library. I was also interested in what he said about Gilbert Davis and Pat Vaux, from what you’ve told me things and certainly don’t look good for them. They are going to have some hard days ahead of them. I do hope they get a hold of themselves before it’s too late. From what you told me in your letter, the speaker must have given a fine message concerning conditions in China. China has a great future and I sincerely believe there are real possibilities for the cause of Christ.

I’m sorry to know that things were not going so well at the Intermediate camp. I’m wondering who was in charge this year. And who they had for leaders. It must’ve been hard for Lee to say the least with the girl who had a nervous breakdown. I certainly liked the picture you enclosed of them.

I was certainly glad to hear about the owner of the Princess Steamship line who is making possible the shipment of clothing relief for the homeless and destitute of Europe.

I was certainly surprised to hear about the way Roy was called to the church to be Director of Christian Education. I don’t know Roy too well, but I don’t feel he will ever be able to take Maurice’s place. I may be surprised but I’m a little afraid he isn’t the man for the job.

Darling, your letter of May 13th is still missing, I’m afraid it is gone for good now. I hate to miss a single one of your letters because they mean so much to me. I hope my letters help you half as much as yours help me.

Well Dear, I must close for tonight and may God richly bless you and the folks.

Just yours forever in the love of Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

July 13, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

13 July 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

This has been a banner day for mail from you, my Dear. There were four for July 2nd-3rd-4th and 5th. I only wish you knew how good those letters were. I’ve read them over twice already. Besides your letters, I had a very nice letter from Jack and Bertha, Gen, Dolores and the bulletin from Long Beach.

I spent the entire morning writing up a report on the activities in this campaign, as well as finishing up most of my letters of condolence.

After eating dinner I relaxed for 45 minutes and then came down here and studied for a while. After that, I wrote a letter to another man in the 98th and a letter to Jack and Bertha. Two different men came in to see me about problems, and by that time, it was time to eat. Your grand letters were handed to me just before supper so I didn’t have a chance to read them until afterwards. Paul Wells got a couple of nice letters from Marjorie but just before supper also. Enclosed are two very fine pictures of her.

According to what you told me and in Gen’s letter, I imagine they will leave soon for Gen’s home. Now that puts out Paul’s going out to the Dunes. But I’m glad they will be able to see Gen’s folks. You do what you like but if you want to present $50 from us to defray their expenses, I’m perfectly willing to do whatever you like about it. I’ll leave it up to you. When you give it to them, be sure they keep it for it will cheer me out here. Even though they go to see her folks, perhaps they could spend a few days with you at the Dunes. It will be good for the children.

A campaign medal and ribbon for the Asiatic campaign. A star designates additional awards – such as Willis’ bronze star. The arrowhead (not pictured) denotes an amphibious landing.

Well Dear, I’m going to start with your letter of June 11th. I want to catch up on some of your back letters. In your letter of the 11th, you very dramatically told me about the surprise homecoming of Bob. So far Dear I have the Pacific Theatre Ribbon, (like the ones I’ve sent to you), and on it I will be able to wear a star and arrow indicating an assault landing on enemy held territory. I also have the Philippine Ribbon of Liberation with one star. I’ll be satisfied now to wear the Victory Ribbon, that is if they ever have one.

I’m glad you get to see Normans so often, I certainly miss them a lot and wish I could see them soon. They are such good friends and always so very kind and loving to me. I am going to try and write them a good letter soon.

Dear, when you talk about war, every weapon is terrible because it is designed to kill and many weapons not just one but many. If there is any glory in war, I certainly haven’t been able to see it. When up there in the thick of the fighting, when all around you see destruction and blood drenched earth, you almost cry aloud, “Lord, how long?” Letters or words cannot fully describe that which I have seen or experienced in this campaign.

The last boxes I sent to the Chief will probably come through a little slower this time. I’m especially concerned about the saber. I was offered some pretty fancy prices for it. Anywhere from 50 dollars on up. Be sure to let me know when it arrives. I hope the Chief likes those souvenirs.

I know on several occasions news reel men have taken pictures and I imagine what Don and Rachel saw must have been me all right. Sorry to hear about Kenyon’s father having been injured, but I’m glad to know it is better.

I was surprised to hear about Barbara Hutchinson. How is Clem anyhow? She is a fine girl. I have always thought a lot of her. Does she go with anyone, Dear? She deserves the best. At least from what I know she does.

We will have rest for sometime now, but only the old-timers will be able to go back to the States. When I say rest, I mean from combat, we face a very heavy training program when we receive our replacements to fulfill our casualty list. I will soon have 17 months overseas but that isn’t enough in the Army. I feel I may have a chance to be home about a year from now but not much before.

Margaret’s boss surely gave her a grand break after only working such a short time. She is certainly fortunate to say the least. Evidently the 13th must have been a very busy day for buying things.

Well Lover, I do my best to write what I feel in my heart, but I miss the mark so far at times. Often I feel so empty and just to talk and pray with you would be such a source of strength. Darling, our fellowship together is the highlight of my whole life. I do hope we can be together alone for a while so we can just talk and try to catch up on so much that we’ve missed since being apart.

Darling, I shall close for tonight and may God bless you and the folks richly in all things.

Yours Darling, because we are

His together,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

July 12, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

12 July 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

I am rather lonesome tonight because I had expected a letter or so from you today but none came through. I miss your letters so much when I fail to hear from you. You will never know just how much they do strengthen and help me. I had hoped that your packages would reach me also soon. It is now two months or over since you sent them to me. The way some of the packages come through it makes me wonder how yours will come through. Unless they are crushed, I’m sure you will have for me some of your good cookies.

Well Dear, I left the hospital this morning. I still feel pretty weak but otherwise I’m fine. I asked if I could go out and the doctor said yes, on the basis that I promised to take it easy for a while. He also advised me to avoid the sunshine as much as possible for two or three days. You will probably think I’m bad, but Sweetheart, honestly I’ll be careful. There are several things I want to get done immediately. Before dinner I laid down for about 15 minutes and this evening after eating I relaxed for almost half an hour.

Army Corps of Engineers on Okinawa.

On my way from the hospital this morning I had a good visit with the Engineers. I stopped by on the way here to see them. I certainly miss that outfit. By the way, you will be interested to know that Major Wilhelm has been promoted to a Lieutenant Colonel and is on his way to the States for 45 days furlough.

After eating dinner I left here for Division Headquarters to see Chaplain Holt. We had a good visit. He is so happy he can hardly contain himself, he is leaving for the mainland shortly for discharge from the Army. I can imagine just how happy he must be about the whole thing. As he said to me, he hardly knows how grand it will be to be just plain Reverend again. He is going to take about three months rest before he decides what he is going to do.

Paul conducted the Bible class this evening. I’m going to be prepared for services this coming Sunday.

In your letter of the 10th of June, you said you had just had a nice talk to Kitty and Olga. When you talk to them again be sure to give them my love and best wishes. Tell Auntie Skaggs that I was certainly happy to hear about George Chan being discharged on points. I too would like to see him again for a good visit like we often had in Chinese Sunday school. 

Your description of the Children’s Day program sounded very good. I only wish more parents would realize the privilege and opportunity of training children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Our great hope for the future is real Christian homes.

I’m glad you had such a good time with Paul and Gen. And I’m glad that the children liked the things you took to them. I love them every one and anything to cheer, help them or show them our love makes me happy. I can’t imagine how good it must have been to sing some of our good old favorite songs. 

I got a kick out of reading about the folks going up to the cottage and finding out about the squirrels. If they did all the things that folks ascribed to them, they must be whirlwinds, and more than that, they must be about as strong as Samson. I don’t know how they could ever get into the breadbox or the icebox and that can of Crisco.

Dear, when men have been killed and wounded in the litter bearers, there is little changing off so that’s why I went so often. Besides, I liked being right up there where our men were slugging it out with the enemy. You really see and know what they have to go through. I know from what different ones told me that my words and presence helped. God was very near to me and indeed a great power and strength through some very trying hours. By the way Dear, I only received one letter yesterday, it was from Roy String. And I also wrote a v-mail letter to Dolores.

God bless you my Lover in all things. I only wish you knew how much you mean to me. Give the folks my love.

I love just you Dear, for always,

In the perfect and abiding love

Of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

July 11, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

11 July 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling:

All day I have been reminded of our parting just 18 months ago. Long shall I remember that good talk we had together in that front bedroom together. And my Dear, if that is possible, I mean it more than I did then. There is something so precious about it all because each passing moment only makes more hallowed those blessed hours together. Often I remember and think of the last time we kneeled there in each other’s arms and prayed to Him who loved us so. Such memories and thoughts have done more to fortify me for these trying days than you will ever know. Every day with you (as yours, even the though separated by thousands of miles) is sweeter than the day before. From the moment we met until this very hour you have filled my life with nothing less than heaven wrought joy. Actually, our hardships are trials, are and have been minor, but even in those I can say, “Thank you, Lord,” because your love, devotion and companionship are just as sure as the Word which has been revealed unto men in Christ Jesus our Lord. As I’ve so often said to me, you are and always will be one with the love of God which I have experienced in and through our purchased salvation. There are many things which transcend human expression, but this I know, you are always and will be to me a living foretaste of the joy which heaven must be composed. In brief, Dear, God has most wonderfully and fully blessed me in a life and love as precious and challenging as yours. Again, thank you for being such a wonderful Christian wife.

7th infantry Division soldiers of the US 10th Army swam into Yonabaru on the coast of Okinawa.

I suppose you were very busy with Vacation Church School today. I thought of you a lot today and your work. I have been praying much for you and all the teachers. I’m anxious to start getting some of your letters concerning the second and the last week. As you say, I’m so concerned that it be to the glory of God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Such work is such a mighty challenge to me. Our hope for the future is in the youth. I’m so earnestly concerned about praying for leaders in that particular field. When I think of those who are in our church schools and how poorly we trained them. Dear, let us earnestly pray for consecrated Sunday school teachers and young people leaders. Please pray for me, for I want above all else to be rid of sin and selfishness. Above all else, I want to be a servant to all men regardless of their background or color of skin. Remember, the apostle Paul’s heart cry, “All things to all men.” And, “I press on toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Early this morning the Catholic chaplain of our regiment came in to see me and shortly after he left three more men out of my outfit came to see me. It is always good to see your men when you are not feeling so well. And then who should walk in but my old friend Lieut. White who used to be in the 98th Division. He came to our regiment to see me and Paul Wells came over with him. We visited until almost noon and had a good time talking over experiences and old times and friends.

By the way, I failed to mention the fact that I got up and fully dressed this morning and really feel fine. Of course, I’m still a little weak but I am eager to get going. There is so much to do and so little time to do it in that I want to make every moment count. I had all my meals at the mess hall today.

After dinner I wrote some letters. I want to catch up on my letter writing. Between interruptions I managed to write to the following people: my dad, Connie and Mae, Harry Allens, Dave Fleckenstein, (Phyllis’s boyfriend), Harold and Buena, and Bob and Lois Peterson. Don came in the middle of the afternoon and brought me one letter from Betty Riley and a Lexington Unit Journal. We talked for a while. He said quite a few have been asking for me. He also said he misses me and that goes for me also. I’m so thankful to God for such a fine Christian assistant as he is. It is a real pleasure to work with a young man like him.

This evening two different men came to see me about problems which were bothering them. After I helped them out, I started your letter but shortly after I started it, a man asked me a question about the Bible which led into a long discussion about what it means to be a Christian. The whole ward was involved and I earnestly pray that it will help some of the men.

Well Dear, I wanted to answer some of your back letters but it is too late to do so now because they are going to turn the lights out. God bless you Sweetheart in all things and be sure to give the folks my deepest love.

Just yours forever in the love of Christ Jesus

Our Lord and Savior,

Willis

Colossians 3:3