November 17, 1945

Seoul, Korea

17 November 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling Sweetheart:

I’m very tired tonight for some reason or other and would like to get a good night’s sleep but they are having an officer’s party with nurses in attendance, and they just received their liquor rations last week which amounted to 15 bottles to the officers so you can imagine the rest. There will probably be little sleep until the early hours of the morning. This has been one of those lulu  days when everything seems to go differently than you had hoped or planned. Try as I may, it seems there has been very little accomplished but I have been on the go since I got up this morning. Just before dinner I was made very happy with the arrival of your letter of November 1st. It was such a good letter and I have been looking forward to its arrival. I’ve already read it three times. Now I have every one of your letters up to the 5th of November. Tomorrow being Sunday, I can expect no mail but I will certainly be hoping for some more of your letters on Monday. I also got a nice letter from Paul and Gen. And also a fine letter from Mr Mason.

Koreans washing. 1945.

  Darling, this morning I managed to take enough time to type off the names and addresses of some of those I think we ought to send our Christmas letter to, there will probably be many others such as a lot of our friends at Buena but I’ll leave the rest up to you. If I should happen to think of more or others I will enclose them in later letters. In this letter I will enclose the two sheets of paper, I have typed on the back of one of the sheets of paper to save space and weight.

  Early this morning I finished the order of service for tomorrow’s services and then Don mimeographed them. I will enclose one in my letter of tomorrow evening. And then I had to do some more work on one of the problem cases which came up. After having had my dinner I came back here to the office  and started some more studying when in came another man to see me about a certain affair. That took time but I think we got it straightened out all right. I had supper and then came back over here and studied until time for Bible class. There were twenty-four men in attendance this evening and we finished the 14th chapter of John in the evening. We went over some time but it was worth it and all seemed to enjoy it.

 I came back over here and wrote a letter to Lieutenant Erb who is probably a civilian by now. I know he must be more than happy to see his wife and loved ones again. And then after answering his last letter I wrote to Paul and Gen. They are certainly wonderful Christians and I do love them so much and I am so very lonesome to see them again.

  It was a very beautiful cloudless day but it was very cold. I suppose it has started to get pretty cold back in old Chicago by now. Darling, please be very careful now in this wet and cold weather. I will certainly be glad when you don’t have to take those long rides out to the seminary anymore. It will be so good to ride along with you instead of having you go out there alone.

  Bob was certainly fortunate to get such a good price for the old Ford he had. To hear of such prices on cars it makes me shudder to think what they might charge a person for a good one. I hope that Lincoln which he bought doesn’t cost too much to repair it. I do hope that we will be able to get a good car when we get back, but we will have to wait and see.

  Tell dear Mom that I’ll be okay when I return and that I won’t be a worn-out wreck for you to take care of. I’ll do my very best not to cause the folks any trouble and we’ll try to find something for us to do as soon as possible so we won’t be a burden to the folks. I don’t want them to ever have to worry about us, so Darling, I assure you I’ll be okay. I do get pretty tired once in awhile but I’m going to do my very best to be prepared to carry right on when I return.

  The 40th Anniversary Sunday evening service which you described sounded very good and I know you must have enjoyed such a service. I will certainly in accord with what you said Mr. Kraft expressed in his message to the people of the church.

  My Dear, I’m so tired I think I will close for tonight. So God bless you and the folks in all things. I love you more tonight than ever I have before.

 Forever yours, Darling, in Him,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

November 16, 1945

Seoul, Korea

16 November 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

It is very late and I am tired but I want to talk to you and love you for a few moments before I try to get some sleep. First of all, I was made happy with the arrival of your letters of November 4th and 5th. They were so good and helped me so much after this long tiresome and wearing day. Your one of the first of November is still missing, but I’m thankful you received the flowers, for you mentioned them in your letter of the fifth so I take it that you received them all right on the 1st of November which was the fifth anniversary of our meeting each other. And then just a few minutes ago I came back here to my desk and found your long-missing letter of August 22nd. Even though it was old it was certainly good to have it to read because every one of your letters are very precious to me and I actually live from day to day for their arrival. In that old mail was also a letter from Mil written on the 22nd of August. I also got a nice letter from Marguerite Simonian, my Grandmother and my cousin Jim. He is now busy in his laundry school in Washington. I also received a box from Connie, it was six cans of Planter’s peanuts. They had been mailed from San Francisco, so I suppose Wayne must have been out there and started them on their way to me out here in Korea. The postmark on them was October 9th so you can see they made very good time.

  I came down here early this morning hoping to get a lot accomplished, mainly getting everything planned for my service Sunday morning, but due to some problem cases to handle that took most of the morning. And then just about 11:30 we had one of our men fall under one of our heavy trucks, he didn’t last more than 5 or 10 minutes. He was unconscious all the time so never suffered any pain. The wheels passed right over his head. Immediately following dinner I got in touch with Chaplain Wells and told him about the accident, for the man was from one of his companies. I showed him how to conduct a military funeral and helped make the necessary arrangements. By the time we drove over to the place where they prepare the bodies for burial and returned, it was rather late but I studied until time to eat and having had something to eat I came back over here and studied for Bible class this evening. We had a fine time this evening, there were 27 in attendance. We got down through the 15th verse of the 14th chapter. After that we had a song service and testimony meeting which lasted about half an hour. We used the chorus books which I have and the men seemed to enjoy the choruses very much.

Willis at his office with his puppy “Route Step.”

By the way, this afternoon I bought another pair of boots, the other pair I had were in pretty poor condition and I also got some ski socks to wear with them when it gets real cold. Darling, I’m sorry you got so wrought up over the rumor which you heard about ships on the way to evacuate the troops from Korea to be home by Christmas. It is true that they are evacuating some high point men who will be home by Christmas, but not all the troops. Don’t pay too much attention to all the rumors you hear over the radio or in the newspapers. Darling, if I thought they were a possibility that I would be home for Christmas I would tell you so, but I know there isn’t so don’t unconsciously build up your hopes. As things are now, there is a possibility that I might leave here some time in March, and as changeable as things are in the Army, with very good luck I might start home sometime in February. As I said last night, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to be home for your birthday at the latest. But don’t count on that too much either for that may not come to pass but I assure you that I’m going to pull all the strings I can to try and be home by that time. As for me the sooner the better. I’m glad you are working hard on your thesis and trying to get it out of the way as soon as possible. If you can get it out of the way in January, I think it would be a good idea, but please don’t overwork yourself, after all it isn’t worth that much. I hope you have it out of the way when I get home though because I think it will be much better for both of us to have it out of the way.

  Don knows the minister of the Gospel Temple in Joliet and had told the minister about me in other letters. Today he received a letter from him asking if I would conduct a week or two of meetings for their Church prior to Easter, or if not then sometime shortly after my return to the States. That was something and I will not be able to give a very definite answer until I have a little better idea of when I might be on my way back to the States. Remember Darling, as soon as I know something which would indicate when I might return I’ll let you know right away, so please don’t count on any of these rumors you might hear back there. Remember, all the things you hear back there which are supposed to be official releases from the War Department do not necessarily apply out here in Korea.

  You know Dear, that is what I would like to do for a while when I returned to the States, speak in different churches until we see or feel call the definitely to some specific place or work. I’ll want to be a week or so just with you and then I want to get into the harness. Right now I know I will not be able to sit still very long. Well Sweetheart, it is time for your sweetie to be in bed so good night, and remember, I love you more than ever and ever and ever. God bless you and the folks in all things is my earnest prayer.

 Forever just yours in Christ’s

 Changeless  purifying love,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

November 15, 1945

Seoul, Korea

14 November 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

It is late and I am very tired after the events of this day and I’m going to try and get a good night’s sleep and maybe I will feel better tomorrow. We got up early this morning and had breakfast and then started our drive back here to Regimental Headquarters. The road was very rough and it was very cold so that didn’t help very much. It was almost noon by the time we got back here and words cannot tell you how good it was to have that long rough trip behind me. I was happy to find you a good letter of November 3rd waiting for me. I’ve read it over three times already. I also got a very fine 12 page letter from John Mueller, as soon as I answer it I will send it on to you so you can read it. It was a very good letter telling about the State Convention. John is certainly interested in such things, and as you will see from his letter, he is very observing. There was the North Shore Baptist and Guide for one of the Sundays in October as well as the Beacon from Long Beach.

Bob Hope and troupe with Willis. July 1944

  By the time I had read these letters it was time to go and eat dinner. Having had my dinner, I came back over here and started to have my devotions when I was called about a certain case. I cannot go into detail now, but in brief, it is a mess and there is so little one can really do. However, I have called the Division psychiatrist in on the case so maybe together we can do something about the situation. That situation alone took up over two hours of the afternoon. I hope we can get this thing straightened out. It is better for men like him to be out of the Army, it is bad enough as it is. I had two other cases to handle so that took up nearly all my time until time to eat again. Don and I had our supper together and then I came back right over here to the office and studied until time for our midweek service. Now that I have to go away out to that one group on Wednesday night, I’ve decided to have our midweek service on Thursday evening. One of the fine young Christian men takes care of leading the Bible class discussion on Wednesday nights now here at Regimental Headquarters. I want to keep that Bible class going four nights a week, then that way we will be able to accomplish more. There were only twelve in attendance this evening, that was very low and I don’t know just the reason. I spoke on the 31st chapter of Isaiah.

  As soon as the service was over this evening, I had intended on coming over here and writing you a letter but I was interrupted by visitors and then finally when I got started the lights went out for a while for some reason or other. It has been cloudy, windy and cold all day. Late this afternoon it sprinkled on several occasions. There were no planes today so that means we will be without mail for a while. They tell us there is a snow storm raging between here and Tokyo. By the way, I’m missing your letter of November 1st. I do hope it isn’t lost, for remember, that was the fifth anniversary of our first meeting. How thankful I am to the Lord for you and your wonderful love and life. Darling, you are an inspiration and challenge to me in every way.

  I had hopes that it would be light enough to take a few pictures on our way back here this morning, but it was very dark and cloudy and with only two films I want to make every picture count if at all possible. There will probably be some nice days and then I’ll get some good pictures for us. I do hope you will be able to get some more film through to me in a hurry. That was a very thoughtful present, Dear. Thank you so very much. I love you more than ever forever.

  By the way Darling, being down to Suwan overnight I was unable to mail last night’s letter so I will enclose it with my letter of tonight. That is very good of the Chief to think and feel convinced that I’ll be home for Christmas, but in spite of his conviction I know I will be here for Christmas and probably until sometime in the month of March. However, remember, I will keep you informed if something better in the line of news should happen to come up. It would certainly be wonderful to be together, but the Lord willing, we will be together for Christmas 1946. It is my prayer and hope that I’ll be home in time for your birthday, but we shall see.

  I was surprised to hear about you meeting Bill Bisgaard at the Seminary. He wasn’t overseas very long it seems to me. In fact, it doesn’t seem to me that he has been in the chaplaincy more than a year and a half.

  From what you told me in your letter, you must have had a wonderful time at the Scheus.  I think so much of them and hope we can have a good visit when I return. I’m so thankful that John and Mr. Scheu drove you home, that was a long way for them but it really makes me happy to know of their thoughtfulness and being so considerate of my Sweetheart. So Susan has changed a lot. I know that John and Iris must be very happy with the children. It is nice to have a boy and a girl. I’m looking forward so much to a family of our own. I was glad to hear that Mrs. Duncan is feeling so well.

  Darling, in that it is very late and I’m pretty weary after yesterday and today, I think I will close for tonight. God bless you and the folks in all things is my earnest prayer.

 I’m only yours Dear, for all the

 ages in Christ’s love,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

November 14, 1945

Seoul, Korea

14 November 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

It is rather late and I’m very tired after this long tiresome day. We left so early this morning, even before sunrise. It was cloudy most of the day and very cold riding in the Jeep to the various outposts. The roads are really rough and riding in the backseat of a Jeep doesn’t help any either. I don’t think it would have taken much for us to have had snow today.

Korean children 1945.

At Pyong-Teg I had a service at 12:45 and there were 9 men in attendance. Chaplain Phillips and I had dinner with the group at Pyong-Teg. He had his Mass at 11:30 because they have to fast four hours before their mass now and can only have one every day except in the case of an emergency. He will have his Mass here for the men immediately following Reville in the morning. I had my service for the men this evening. There were twenty-five in attendance. I used the same message which I had used at Regimental Headquarters last Sunday evening.

  As soon as we eat our breakfast in the morning, we will head back for Seoul and Regimental Headquarters. We called on several of the outposts today, and of course, that consumed a lot of time. Some of their guard posts are in the same very lonesome baron spots.

  Darling, I took my new camera along today hoping to be able to take some pictures, but it was so dark and cloudy all day that I didn’t want to chance spoiling any of the film. I saw several things which I would have liked to take pictures of but I’m sure there will be some more opportunities to take pictures when the sun is shining.

  All along our trip we could see the people making all kinds of preparations for the winter. Some were splitting wood, others hauling in wood from the mountains with the old bulls and their little wagons. Women and children were raking up twigs and leaves and making large bundles and carrying them into their humble homes on their heads. Others were threshing rice by treadle machine, others using the old flail and others by hands. Some were fanning and cleaning the chaff out of the rice.

  Of course the men in many places were placing another layer of rice straw on the house-tops along the way. We also noticed several new homes going up along the way. As would be expected, many of them are returning since we took over and of necessity they will need some place to live this winter.

  Honestly, I don’t know how some of the people keep warm. It is nothing to see little children running around almost naked. I don’t see how they keep from catching their death of cold.

  Just a few minutes ago, a soldier came to me about a dependency discharge. I took all the information and will see what I can do when I return to Regimental Headquarters.

  Darling, I’m very weary and tired so I think I will close for tonight. God bless you Beloved in all things.

 Forever just yours in Christ’s enduring love,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

November 13, 1945

Seoul, Korea

13 November 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Well, it is very late but I have just finished a good long talk with one of the officers about Christ. He is a very fine fellow and wanted to ask me a lot of questions, so I took the time to visit with him even though I did want to write your letter and try to get to bed early.

  Early this morning I took care of some things that needed attention and then wrote a letter to Louise Davis and also a letter to Paul and Gen. I made up an envelope of letters and sent them through free to you, for I thought you would like to read them.

  And just before noon I was made glad with the arrival of your letters of October 30th and November 2nd. It was so good to have more mail from you, Darling. I have already read those letters twice and will read them several more times I’m sure. I also received a very nice letter from Mr. and Mrs. Hanson. I will send it on to you as soon as I answer it.

Willis’ Christmas gift.

  This afternoon several men came in to see me and then I took care of some writing up one involved case. Shortly before time to eat, the mail clerk brought up your Christmas box which was mailed on October 2nd. I opened it and to my utter surprise and joy I found the camera. Darling, that is a very good present and I do hope that I will be able to get some good pictures. I’m going to do my best, but it is impossible to buy film over here so send me three or four rolls as soon as you can. For I want to take as many pictures as possible before I leave here for home. When you send the film be sure to send them first-class mail. Thank you, Sweetheart, for your thoughtfulness and I am happy for your present. I do hope I can get enough pictures to give you a good idea of the landscape and certain customs here in Korea. Be sure that the film is V127 Kodak. Be sure to thank the folks for the candy and the nuts, I appreciate that very much. It was very thoughtful of them to remember me with such a gift at this season when we cannot be together.

  After having had my supper I came back to the office and studied for Bible class this evening. We got down through the 30th verse of the 13th chapter of John and we really had a blessed time. There were 20 men in attendance this evening. We went almost 20 minutes overtime, but no one noticed it. In fact, some of them wanted to go on but I feel it wise to hold it to a certain time limit and that way it will keep up a sustained interest, and then besides, men have letters to write and other things to do.

  When I came back here another soldier came in to see me and talked for some time. Finally, he left and then Lieutenant Dobson came in and talked to me as I mentioned at the beginning of this letter. You’ll be interested to know that Don came back late this afternoon and is feeling much better. It is certainly good to have him back.

  Darling, in your letter of October 30th you told me about Midge Wettering (Bennett, not Baker that is if I remember correctly). Ann married Eldon Baker. I will certainly sorry to hear about such news, I didn’t know Wally very well. I think it would be a good thing if you went to go see her when you can and have a good talk with her. I surely wish I could have a talk with her. If you do, be sure to assure her that I will be praying for her also for I know she has a great responsibility.

  Now for a few comments on your older letters. Yes Dear, they have been after me on four different occasions to accept another job and receive an immediate promotion to Major but they can keep their Gold Leaf. I want to get out of this Army as soon as possible and then I can be with you again Beloved and that is the very best thing I can think of now or ever.

It was certainly very cold this morning when we got up but by noon it had warmed up enough to be nice outside with a coat on. We are leaving very early in the morning so I’m inclined to believe it is really going to be a cold ride. I will not be here tomorrow night because it will be impossible to make that long trip in one day. I’m expecting to stay overnight at Suwan.  Well Darling, I’m very very weary so I think I will close for tonight. God bless you and the folks in all things.

 Always and forever just yours

 Beloved in Christ’s love,

Your “Willie”

Colossians 3:3

November 12, 1945

Seoul, Korea

12 November 1945

Sarah, My Darling:

This has been a very full day in every sense of the word and it is late now but I want to try and write you a letter, Darling. I have just finished getting off a letter to Major Mason andto Aunt Annie and Uncle Ed Scurlock. Even though I’m tired, I made up my mind that I just got to catch up on some of these letters. About 4 o’clock this afternoon I was surprised with the arrival of your box which you sent on October 5th. It was the box which contained all the nuts and candy. Thank you so much, Darling. That is the fastest a box ever came through to me. That is really record time. There are some things which I have been informed were sent to me in May which I have not received yet. I also got four more pocket Bible and books from the Galilean class. These have already been promised, I still need about 18 more for all those who would like to have one. And I also received a letter from Delores Nelson which was postmarked August 21st.

Willis holding a service for a soldier while on Christmas Island. 1944.

  Darling, I’m not going into detail concerning the burial of the three men this morning but everything came out alright. However, I was really swamped getting everything in order for the services. I got the firing squad and the pallbearers and took them out to the cemetery early and gave them detailed instructions and everything turned out very well. It was certainly cold this morning. I was sorry that the firing squad had to stay out there in the cold during the time between the two services but it was the best we could do under the circumstances.

  On our way back to the cemetery I dropped in to see Don and he is much better today and may be back here soon. I will certainly be glad for that because he is a wonderful christian fellow and the joy of his fellowship is indeed encouraging. We came right back here and just as I was going over, Chaplain Lowe dropped in and we had dinner together. It was really good seeing him again. His outfit is about 100 miles from here but he came back here to spend about three or four days at Division Headquarters. I hope to be able to see him again before he returns to his outfit, but with things like they are, it is very hard to tell what may change what now we plan. He wanted me to go with him this afternoon and do a little sightseeing but I was called up to the Division Stockade to see about a man who has been sentenced to death. While there, I also talked to another man who is up for a very stiff sentence and dishonorable discharge and there is a wife and a number of children involved. I shall say no more now, perhaps we can talk it over when we are together and thus come to conclusions which may help us in our future work together.

  After talking to those two men up at the Stockade I returned here to the office and found two more men here to see me about problems which they had and that took until after 4:30. I went over and had a shower and stretched on my bed for about 20 minutes and then had my evening meal.

  As soon as supper was over I came back here to the office and found a soldier here waiting to see me about some trouble at home. That took quite some time. I had just started my letter to Major Mason when in comes two more men. Finally, at last they were taken care of and I managed to finish the first letter and dash off the note to the Scurlocks. 

I don’t remember whether I told you or not, but I sent off the box of silk and rayon material to you last Saturday. I suppose it will take some time to reach you, but I do want you to know it is on the way. By the way, to make the box good and full I packed in a pair of summer trousers and a summer shirt. By the way, be sure to look at the shirt, it has a 7th Division patch sewed on the sleeve.

  I must try and catch up on some of your back letters so here goes. I was glad to hear that Haakon Knudsen  talked in Chapel and I was glad to hear that he gave such a fine message. Haakon, Bill Hill and I were great friends in seminary and had some good times together. He really has an important job in the Chicago area and I fully agree with what you told me about in his message. I’m sorry to know that Milo Nixon and Frank Arnold have taken the stand they have about missions in the Northern Baptist Convention. Understand me when I say this, for after all, they are both my friends but I’m not surprised at their attitudes concerning the Convention. We should have a good talk about the situation when we get together again, Dear. As for me, I’m going to stay in and do my best to improve the weaknesses. Paul Allen and I really had a good visit about that whole thing when we were waiting for shipment up to the battle of Okinawa. I spent some time on his ship when we were lying at anchor in Leyte Gulf. 

  Sweetheart, it is so late and I’m tired so I’m going to call it quits for tonight. God bless you and the folks in all things. Remember Beloved, I love you much more than ever I have before.

 Just yours for always, Lover,

 In Christ’s love,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

 P.S. Enclosed find the last letter I received from Major Mason. I must try to get some of my back letters answered. 

November 11, 1945

Seoul, Korea

11 November 1945

Sarah, My Darling:

This has been another one of those days that keeps you ever going and apparently nothing accomplished. No, I don’t mean that just that way, in other words, I mean this, I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to have one minute to sit down and get my bearings. Now it is very late and I must get this letter off and prepare for the funerals in the morning. I will have to get up early and instruct the firing squad and pallbearers as to the procedures of a military funeral. At the last one it was a flop and very poorly executed but I’m going to make sure this time by giving them a few pointers myself before the time of the service. The officer in charge of the squad is supposed to do that but this time I’m going to be sure even though I shouldn’t have to be bothered with that part of the service.

  I didn’t get such a good night sleep last night because of one of those lovely parties was going on last night, but anyhow, I awakened early this morning feeling very well and as soon as I could get a little to eat I came down here to the office and went over my message again, and then proceeded over to our area for services and got things ready over there. We surely missed Don at the organ but we got along without the organ. As you will notice on the bulletin, I spoke on, “ The Cost of Peace.”  I will not go into detail about the way I developed the message now, perhaps when we are together I can tell you about it. I had one of the men count the number in attendance and he said they were 108.

  The Korean doctor was to the service again this morning, remember, it was his wife who made the dress for you. I was surprised when he brought me about three or four dozen nice apples. That was surely kind of him. He is certainly good to me in every way. You can imagine how glad that made me for you know how I like apples. And they are really good ones.

Russian soldiers at the Korean border. 1945.

  We could only talk for a few minutes because I had to get down to church in Seoul and speak at their 11 o’clock service. My driver and one of the soldiers went along with me and we arrived there just a few minutes before the service was to begin. I met Reverend Chai and talked to him just a minute or so before the service began. When I walked in I was amazed to see the place completely jammed. They were sitting as thick as could be on the floor, on window sills, even the doorway was jammed. Dear, it was the same church at which I spoke two weeks ago tonight. Several other chaplains have been there including Chaplain Wells. But this is the thing that about floored me, he told me they had just elected a man to act as President until the Methodist missionaries can get here and then they will elect a Bishop. They had been having their first conference since the war and I was the one they had selected to give the message following the election of the President and would be the concluding message to the people who have gathered from all over Korea, many of them had come down from the Russian territory. That one just about got me. During the preliminaries of the service I asked the Lord for help and really did some fast thinking upon the message I prepared. I made some changes in my mind, of course, it is hard to tell just what and how it was effective, but Reverend Chai was very gracious in his remarks and the people did follow along very well and seem to be interested. I did have complete liberty and I know the Lord helped me out. I believe that is one of the greatest and most unexpected surprises I ever received since I ever gave my first talk in public speaking or otherwise. I only wish they would have told me it was for such an occasion, but he told me that they just wanted me to preach for them. It was to me like being told to have a 10 minute devotional at the opening of one of the sessions at the Illinois State Convention and then have someone tell me just about 10 minutes before the time, you know you are supposed to preach the State Convention’s annual sermon this year. From what Reverend Chai said, I was the one picked and it was supposed to be a privilege. It certainly makes me feel pretty badly to know that I was the one picked to give the message for such an occasion, especially when I think this is the first meeting they have had now since before the war began; when I say meeting I mean Conference of the Methodist churches of Korea. Sweetheart, your little Willie really had one pulled on him today. As long as I live I will never forget this day. I will not go into any more detail now but I will tell you more about the situation when we are together.

  My driver and I came back here and managed to get a little to eat, everyone had all finished but they gave enough to hold us over till supper time in the mess kitchen. Right after that I left her again for the hospital where Don is, he is much better today but still has some temperature. He is really a fine fellow and I really miss him a whole lot. The doctor told me it was nothing serious and that he will probably be out in a few days. After that, I left here for another one of the hospitals to call on those men who are hurt in the explosion at the ammunition dump. They are doing as well as can be expected and the most seriously wounded one seems to be holding his own.

  It was almost 4 o’clock by the time I got back here to the office. And when I arrived here I found that Lieutenant Hoffman of the 2nd Battalion was here to check about the arrangements for the service tomorrow morning. Some of the buddies of those who lost their lives wanted to attend so we arranged things for the service accordingly. It is pretty hard to do so when the men are so scattered and have so many guard posts. Every 6th day is a soldier’s pass day but most of them out in the places away from Seoul use that day to sleep and rest. One of the men I am to bury in the morning was supposed to be on pass but he was so tired he said he wanted to just rest around their guard post. They normally draw 8 hours off and 4 hours on, and during that time they have to wash the clothes, sleep, eat and write letters. I’m telling you my heart goes out to the Infantry soldiers when it comes to combat and occupation duty.

  I had just finished eating when I was notified of another man to be buried in the morning at 9 o’clock. I think I told you in last night’s letter that the double funeral for the two killed in the explosion has to be at 10 o’clock. Will low and behold I found upon investigation that there were no arrangements made whatsoever for the firing squad, bugler or pallbearers. I hunted all over to find the Colonel and ask him if I could use the same men for the 9 o’clock service that are to be used at the 10 o’clock service. I got his approval, so that means that tomorrow morning will really be a rounder to say the least.

  By that time I had to hurry over to the evening service. I’m ashamed to admit it but I hadn’t had time to prepare a message with this evening so I used the same message I’d given when I was down on Christmas Island. It worked out all right. There were 28 in attendance this evening.

  Just a minute ago I received another phone call about the 9 o’clock service tomorrow morning. If the lieutenant will report to me at 8 o’clock with the men in the morning, I believe we will have time to take them over to the cemetery and give them a little instruction.

  I’m sorry, another 20 minute interruption, but I hope you’ll be able to make this letter out all right. By the way Darling, when I was down to see Don he gave me four pictures which he took just before we left Okinawa, I’ll send them along for you. They’re not so good but I thought you would like to see them. Note the back of the pictures. Sweetheart, I’m very tired so I think I will say good night, and remember, I love you more than ever tonight.

 Forever just yours in Christ’s

 Eternal love,

Willis

 Colossians 3:3

 P.S. Many times during this busy day I have thought about the fact that it was 22 months ago tonight that I saw you for the last time. Dear, at times it seems like that many years. It will be so wonderful to be able to be with you again. Also, find enclosed the copy of the order of service for the day here at Regimental Headquarters. 

November 10, 1945

Seoul, Korea

10 November 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling:

This has been another one of those days and I’m really very weary but I want to get a letter off to you. Your good letter of October 31st reached me just a few minutes ago and it was so good to have a letter to read from you, Darling. Your letter of October 30th is missing, I hope it soon reaches me for I hate to miss any of your letters. From indications, your letter of August 22nd is gone for sure. Perhaps it is in Davy Jone’s locker. I have all of your letters filed away in folders but I hope that one shows up soon for so my file will be complete.

7th Division. Korea 1945.

  This has been a rounder of a day from the very beginning. I came down here to the office very early hoping to get things rounded up for the bulletin for tomorrow morning when two men came in to see me about some things. I had just finished with them when three more men came in to see me about some of their buddies who are supposedly in the area where the Japanese ammunition dump went up yesterday. I just about had the program finished when in came two more soldiers with a letter from the Adjutant General concerning a man lost in our battle in the Philippines. That took time, and as soon as possible Chaplain Phillips and I left for the meeting at Corps Headquarters. The meeting kept dragging on but nothing seemed to be accomplished so we left about 11:30 and went to the hospital to see our men. They have given the one injured the worst 4 pints of blood and so far he seems to be holding his own.

  As soon as my driver and I could get a bite to eat we left here for the area where the ammunition dump blew up. The last large explosion took place last night around midnight so we went in with a 25-man patrol and found the two missing men. Of course, they were killed instantly with the concussion of the first blast. It was an awful job because we had to pick our way through unexploded hand grenades, land mines, bombs, in fact, all kinds of ordinance. I don’t understand how the other three men ever got out alive. If that dump has started going off about 20 or 30 minutes later it probably would have killed about 40 or 50 men. They were on their way to work the dump when the dump started to explode. We will never know what started it off, high explosives are dangerous even at best. It was certainly a good feeling to get out of there. That area will be off-limits for now about a week until we will be sure of some of those other high explosives won’t start going off.

  After we got the bodies back to Headquarters, then I made arrangements to take them over to graves registration were they will be prepared for burial. Of course in the case of these two men the surgeon’s office will have an autopsy for the report which we will turn in through G-2. I made arrangements for the service Monday morning at 10 o’clock. I will have a double funeral for the two men. Just a few minutes ago I made arrangements for the pallbearers, the firing squad and the bugler. That is really a difficult problem now when we are so short of men and there are so many different posts for the man to take care of.

To top things off, when I returned here to Headquarters after getting everything arranged for Monday I found out that Don has been sent to the hospital. He said this morning he wasn’t feeling too well, and by the time he went to the doctor he wasn’t feeling at all well and he had a high temperature. We have very poor facilities here so the doctor sent him right to the hospital. I certainly hate to hear that he is sick and I haven’t had time to see him and probably won’t have until tomorrow afternoon. I’ll miss him in the services tomorrow. I only hope he comes along all right. He is really a wonderful assistant, a chaplain couldn’t hope to have a better man than Don.

  I had a bite to eat and then I hurried over to bible class this evening. We got down through the 17th verse of the 13th chapter. We had a very good time and there were 15 in attendance. Darling, I then came back here and tried to get the men lined up for the funerals on Monday and now it is very late. I wanted to get several other letters answered but it will be impossible tonight. I even wanted to make a few comments on some of your last letters but I had better not. The way everything has been the last week I haven’t had hardly any time to study for my message in the morning. I’m afraid I won’t do so well but I’ll try to get some sleep and that may help some. I always feel badly when I don’t have my message well prepared. I’ve been thinking about it for some time so that may help some.

By the way, it has been cloudy and often sprinkled during the day. It is still cloudy and getting rather cool. Good night Sweetheart and God bless you richly in all things is my prayer. Be sure to give the folks my love.

 Forever and ever just yours

 in the love of Our Lord

 Jesus Christ,

  Willis

 Colossians 3:3 

November 9, 1945

Seoul, Korea

9 November 1945

My Beloved Darling Sarah:

It is very late but I must take a little time to write you a few lines tonight. This has certainly been a rounder of a day. There has been one interruption after the other. Early this morning there were several things with came up unexpectedly and that took until 11 o’clock, and then I sat down and wrote a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Kraft and enclosed letter which Rody gave me last evening. I do hope they enjoy receiving the letters. Perhaps they will tell you about hearing from me. I wish I could have taken the time to write them a better letter but with so much to do I just didn’t have the time to do so.

  You will be interested to know that they cashed the money order even though it did have stamped on it Postmaster New York. Immediately following dinner I came back here to the post office and started to pack the box of materials which I have for you. By the way, they still had two bolts of 30 yards of rayon left so I bought another one for $8. This one is gray and I’m sure you and Mom will be able to use them for something. That is all they have left. I just about had the box ready when the telephone rang and it was the hospital calling to tell me that two of our men were very seriously injured and that one of the men was calling for me, I got a Jeep right away and left for the hospital and found that it was one of my good faithful men. They were guarding a large enemy ammunition dump, and for some unknown reason, it started to explode (they will be unable to investigate the cause for some time because the dump is still going up, it was large artillery shells and 500-pound bombs).  The one soldier was hit in the arm and hand where the other soldier was filled with all kinds of shell fragments in the back and legs. He is the one which is so serious. He is bleeding internally. My whole afternoon was taken up getting men down to the hospital to have their blood tested for transfusions. In all, I got five different men whose blood would match the fellow’s who was so seriously injured. He has lost so much blood they will not be able to operate until they can build him up a little. I was with him in the operating room while they dressed his wounds. They had removed over 900 cc’s of blood from his right lung cavity when I left this evening. 

  I got back here just in time to get a bit to eat and then go over and take care of our Bible class. There were 13 in attendance this evening and we were able to finish the 12th chapter of John this evening. Things are in a constant state of change but I believe it worthwhile to keep on trying to reach the men. Sometimes I’m so weary after days like this that I can hardly keep going, and still, as I look back it seems I’ve accomplished nothing whatsoever. I had wanted to do several things but they are still to do and with a special meeting at Corps Headquarters in the morning I can see that tomorrow will be pretty well gone without accomplishing much. 

November 9, 1945

The sun didn’t shine at all today and several times it sprinkled very heavily. It has been rather cool, and if it should keep up, it might try to do a little snowing during the night. When it is cloudy like this our chances of mail tomorrow are rather poor because the plains probably didn’t get through today. I’m so thankful that I have your other letters to read while waiting for your new ones to arrive. I love you so much Darling, thank you for being such a good wife.

  Even though it is late I want to make a few comments on your older letters so I won’t get too far behind in my letter writing. In your letter of October 15th you were surprised to find it in one of my letters I used some of our own special love talk. Don’t you ever worry, it would take more than what I have gone through to make me forget that which is precious to just your heart and mine. Remember, I wuve you more dan ever forever and ever (and I said it wast), you are tow tweet. It will be so good when I can hold you in my arms and talk that way again. My arms have felt so all gone now for over two years. You are the only one who will ever adequately fill that hunger and loneliness which now my arms feel in this time of our separation. I hope it won’t be too much longer before we will be able to talk together, plan and pray as we used to do.

  I’m glad you had such a lovely visit with Mrs. Hamm, I’m sure you were able to help her. That is why I gave her your address and telephone number. Perhaps when I get back we will be able to go out and see her, I certainly hope so anyhow. From all the things you told me, I do believe she must be a very fine Christian woman. I do hope that you will be able to meet her and I’m glad you told her you couldn’t come out there at night. For with things the way they are now I don’t want you to be out alone at night unless it is humanly impossible.

  You mentioned in the letter of October 15th about a Christmas letter, I’ve already sent it through to you and I hope you received it all right. I’ll prepare a list of names and addresses and send them to you as soon as possible of friends I would like to include on our list which we send to this Christmas. Dear, I hope that letter is all right which I wrote, if you feel that some things should be changed feel free to do so.

  Well, I’m glad to know that Bob is finally working. He ought to make good if he will just keep his mind on his work and settle down. I shall remember both of them in prayer, praying that they will seek above all else God’s will for their lives.

  Darling, the lights just went out for some reason or other and all I have is a dim flashlight so I will have to close for tonight. God bless you Beloved in and all things.

 Yours alone and forever,

Darling because of Christ’s Love,

“ Willie”

 Colossians 3:3

 P.S. Enclosed find a very good picture of Don (my assistant). I’m hoping to be able to get this man to take a picture for me but he hasn’t been back yet. 

November 8, 1945

Seoul, Korea

8 November 1945

My Beloved Darling Sweetheart:

It is very late and I am so tired but I want to get a short note off to you anyway. It may not be such a good letter but I do want you to know that I love you more than ever and it is so good it just to be yours forever in the everlasting love of our Lord Jesus Christ. I was certainly happy and pleasantly surprised to find two more of your letters, they were yours of October 29th and the short note you wrote and enclosing the $25 money order. I just glanced at the money order and I noticed it is stamped Postmaster New York instead of Postmaster San Francisco, California. I certainly hope that doesn’t interfere with my being able to cash it. I shall try right away tomorrow morning to cash it and I will find out, and if they won’t cash it for me, I may have to send it back to you. Don’t worry though until I find out one way or other.

Picture of Hiroshima 1945.

  This was certainly a very full day from very early this morning, but I don’t mind, for that way the time seems to slip by much more rapidly. Don was gone on on pass all day so I tried to get some studying out of the way in the morning but there were about half-a-dozen interruptions so you can see I didn’t have the opportunity to accomplish very much. After having my dinner, I came right back here to the Chaplain’s office and had my devotions and then another man called to see me and that took quite some time. I had to go to Corps Headquarters and take care of some things over there, so as soon as I could get a Jeep I had the driver take me over there. I finally got everything taken care of around 4. And then I started to walk out to Rody Hyun’s home. It is between 5 and 6 miles but I enjoyed the walk and I got to see very many interesting sites along the way. I won’t take the time tonight to tell you about them, but when I have a little more time I’ll be sure to tell you about some of the things I saw all along the way. It was just brisk enough to be nice walking weather.

Rody had asked me to come about 6 so I was a little ahead of time so I walked up to one of the hilltops and the sun was just looking behind the hills and mountains in the direction of Jinsen.  It was really a wonderful view and I shall never forget it, I only wish you could have been with me, for I know you would have enjoyed such a view very very much. I walked down to Rody’s home just as dark was gathering and his little twelve-year-old daughter Hai Ok met me and we walked together to their home. She can only say a few words in English. She is very pretty and my how I loved her, she is so sweet and unaffected. You know what I thought don’t you Darling, it will be so good when we can have our own family. And I know you will be such a wonderful mother, it is so good to be your husband, Darling.

  The missionary Dr. Underwood was there as well as Dr. Yu, acting president of the Chosen Christian College, and also Mr. Lee, one of the important officials at the bank of Korea. They are all wonderful men. Mrs. Hyun had a wonderful meal for us, I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow night. It is so late now that I must try and get some sleep before morning. Rody gave me a letter for Mr. Kraft. I will write to him tomorrow morning. By the way, please try and contact Dr. Joseph Rodehearver  at their Chicago office address or write a note and tell them that I had dinner with Rody and that he asks me to send them his best greetings. If you talk or write to them be sure to convey greetings to Homer. Contact Dr. Mantey, I’m sure he can tell you their office telephone number in Chicago as well as their address at Winona Lake.  That will be all for tonight, Beloved. God bless you and the folks in all things. I will try to write you a better letter tomorrow night.

 Forever just yours in Christ’s love,

 Willis 

Colossians 3:3

 P.S. I found an article in the old Corps paper about Ewha College. I thought you might like to read it.