If you could see me now you would have a hard time recognizing me, for I’m covered with mud clear up to my belt. It has been five days now since I’ve been dry and today is the sixth day since I’ve been able to shave. I’m certainly thankful the Lord has been with me so far. Dear, I know your prayer has certainly helped through these terrific days of fighting. I’ve helped carry over 20 different wounded men from the most treacherous terrain you can imagine. In some parties I have been in, three litter carriers have been injured with sniper fire. I cannot go into details now, but Darling, I’m so thankful unto the Lord for His protecting care. I’m sorry I didn’t get to write to you yesterday but it was entirely impossible. If you would have known or seen what we were going through you would certainly understand. Dear, after all this I believe we will be able to go through most anything together and weld all our experiences together as one fully consecrated couple in leading others to the salvation we have and know in Christ. Men, above all else, need Christ and how can they know except there be couples like us who will give all unreservedly.
In spite of the roar of battle, the things that go with it, I’ve thought of many things and I only wish you could know how many times I’ve thanked the Lord many times for such a wonderful Christian wife as you are. My feet are hurting quite a lot from having climbed one certain hard hill four times today. It makes it harder because my feet have been wet now constantly for four days. You know how your hands get after having them soaked in water for sometime? Well, my feet are like that and are quite sore.
I wish you could see where I’m writing this letter, it is under an overhanging bank. It is raining and my feet are in mud combat boot deep. This is really a tough campaign, I only hope it will soon be over.
Well my Beloved, I must close for now and may God bless you and the folks in all things.
I’m so very tired I can hardly keep going but I do want to take enough time to tell you that I’m all right. Since long before daylight I have been busy helping with the wounded. I made four different trips with litter teams to rescue men under sniper, machine gun and mortar. It is certainly difficult to see a man very much at the mercy of the enemy and no way to try and get out of enemy fire. All you can do under conditions like these is try to stay concealed as much as possible, and proceed to the place where the man is. I cannot help but think how I would feel under the same conditions and that’s why want to do best to see them come back.
Last night I had an experience which I’ll never forget as long as I live, it had to do with getting 12 wounded men back from enemy territory under the cover of darkness. I cannot go into lengthy details now, but 42 got those 12 and not a one of us was hurt. I heard every one of those men say they knew God was with us. I realize from experience the mighty power of prayer. While we were going through that experience, in spite of the tough terrain, I could not help but know you were praying for us out here, and besides you, as have I, committed our lives to God for His highest willingness.
Thank goodness by mid morning it cleared and we had sunshine. It was hard getting the men but it was better than rain. I’ll bet I didn’t get one full hour sleep last night. I’ll not go into details because I find no reason to complain in spite of everything. Darling, I’ve missed hearing from you but I know there are letters on the way. Well Dear, I will write more to you tomorrow morning if possible, be sure to give the folks my love and thank them for their prayer. I love you more than ever, Darling.
It is really pouring rain and here I sit in a foxhole partially full of water. Dear, I wanted to write this letter last night but it was entirely impossible. We had a heavy artillery barrage of our own and the enemy were throwing a lot our way. By midnight I was so miserable that there was no use trying to sleep, so I put my poncho over my head and sat in one corner of my foxhole while it poured. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a million mosquitoes did their best to devour all of us. Even with my poncho over my head they would get underneath and try to bite me. It finally got so bad I just got out of my foxhole and stood in the rain ready to jump back in if some of the enemies shells started landing in our vicinity. The flies are something fierce and I’m sure I need not tell you why. The air is so heavy with bad odors that at times it all but makes you sick. We have just finished getting some of our wounded man from under Japanese fire in this miserable mess. It is indeed a difficult task to carry a litter in weather like this. The terrain is rough and steep and you slip and slide and often fall. Of course I hate that, for the man is in enough pain without adding to his pain by slipping and sliding. But all you can do is your best, for if he were allowed to be exposed to the elements very long he may pass away anyhow. It is most important to get them to the aid station right away and then try to stop the loss of blood and give plasma when necessary. As soon as possible we evacuate them to the rear field hospitals. It is going to be exceedingly trying today for these roads are going to be impassable and it is a hard job for the ambulance driver to get them back safely and as soon as possible.
Lover, I hope you can read this awful scrawling, but it has been a little hard to write with my poncho over my head and writing on my lap. It is a job to get enough light to see and try to keep the paper dry and clean. I did my best but it is soiled anyhow. God bless you my Lover and give the folks my love. I love you more than ever, Darling.
This evening your letters of May 8th, 9th and 10th were a wonderful climax for this day. I only wish you could realize how much your wonderful letters mean to me. Darling, you are a wonderful wife and my love for you goes beyond the realm of human description. Besides your grand letters, I got a nice long letter from Vivian Shafer and Mrs. Nixon.
Dear, this has been the biggest and the busiest Lord’s Day I have had since coming into the Army. This morning there were over 550 at the service. Over 500 of the men took communion. It was some job to serve that many men. I wish you could have seen it, all with steel helmets, fatigues and guns. I preached on, ”Halt, who goes there.” Scripture Matthew 24:42-46. The theme being, “Military installations and plans need to be guarded just so does the soul of man need to be guarded against the sabotage of Satan and his cohorts. A guard demands every person to halt, and after the man gives his name or password he is told to advance to be recognized. My third point was developed along this line, to live a Christian life which grows we need to challenge every friendship, habit, emotion and thought.” This evening I spoke on, “Man Under Authority.” Matthew 8:5-13. There were over 150 at the service this evening. You’ll be interested to know that several men came forward at each service when I gave the invitation to accept Christ.
I was busy most of the afternoon finishing my letters of condolences before we go back to the front. I also took care of another Red Cross case. As soon as the service was over this evening I wanted to return and start writing some letters because it is going to be hard for a while again. But just as I started, we had an air raid, we had an “All Clear,” and then another raid in a few minutes, so I didn’t get started till late. However, I got a v-mail letter off to each of the following ones: Mr. and Mrs. Abernathy, Roy String, Roy String’s wife and Sgt. Visconti.
Dear, I’m going to make a few comments on your letter of May 5th and then go to bed because I’m tired and my hand is tired from writing so much today.
Please don’t worry about sending me Reader’s Digest. I generally get to see them around after a month or so. And besides, what time I do have I’m devoting to as much Bible study as I can. I want to make David’s statement true of my life, ”Thy word, Lord have I hidden in my heart.”
Dear, while looking through an old tattered magazine (from so much reading and handling), I found three cartoons which I’m sending along. I think you will enjoy them.
God bless you my Lover, if I would write from now on I could never tell you how I feel. I love you more than ever and by the time this letter reaches you I will be loving you that many more days worth. Give the folks my love.
Well, I have just lighted my little candle and will try and get this finished if Washing Machine Charlie stays away. Dear, I missed hearing from you this evening, I always look forward to your letters. I did receive two letters this evening from two more men back in the 98th. As soon as I answer the letters I’ll send them on to you. It rained almost all morning, I did other things and also took advantage of the time to study and wrote letters to Carl Anderson, Maurice and Edith, Louise Davis, Dad and the Chief and Mom. I also sent you a few articles of interest about this island that I thought you might like to read.
After dinner I visited several of our companies and then made last minute preparations for services tomorrow. With things so very uncertain it is hard to plan services very definitely. I also took care of a Red Cross case. It cleared for awhile this afternoon but it is cloudy now and looks like more rain. I’m glad I got a good poncho for that helps keep you dry. When we are in the front lines it’s impossible to take a sleeping bag along. A poncho and a shelter half are about your limit as far as protection from the elements are concerned. As I said to the folks, I’m willing and ready to go through most anything and not complain if I’m able to come through well. Of course, above all else I want God’s will to be done, but it seems to me it isn’t selfish to want to come back and be one with you for a life of service together. I love you so very much that as strange as it may seem I wouldn’t want it any other way, for it does make me realize how very precious and dear you are to me.
I’m going to make a few comments on your letter of May 4th. By the way, you’ll be interested to know that there were over 200 in service this evening. I used Romans 13:8-14. After the invitation two man came up to accept Christ and they want to be baptized but Paul and I will not be able to do it until this campaign is over. Darling, it means so much to know you are praying for me because I have felt a power other than my own on many occasions. I also appreciate the prayers of our friends.
The boxes you sent sound very good and I hope it doesn’t take them too long to get here. It will certainly be good to taste some of your good baking again. I’m glad you talked to Gen and Paul about Koller Hall, in the v-mail I wrote to them I used most of the space to urge them to reserve an apartment in Koller Hall. We shall see what the response is, that is if they tell you that they received that letter from me.
Well, day after tomorrow Dale will be operated upon, I hope he gets along alright. I was glad to know you got to see Dr. Mantey and I’m glad to know he is feeling better. Dr. Mantey said he thought you should take Greek by correspondence from Southwestern Seminary. Does he mean take that and his gospels class also? If he does, I’m sure you could do it all right, that is if you started basic Greek before school started this fall. The first quarter would be rather hard but with your ability and your language background I’m sure you could do it. However, that is for you to decide but from what you said I take that is what he meant about taking it by correspondence.
I’m sorry to hear about Helen Christie’s attitude. That girl is going to get herself into serious trouble if she is not careful. With all the fine associations she has had at Buena I cannot understand her attitude. I hope you will be able to help but do think she takes advantage of you at times. She will continue to be unhappy and wondered about by others if she doesn’t change. Undoubtedly some of the talk she complains about at Buena is justified and she rebels. In other words, she has not fully yielded herself to Christ. Basically, it seems to me she has done some things which she knows are not quite right for a Christian and she is unhappy because of her lack of repentance. She seems to be carrying some such burden.
Well Dear, I must close for now-God bless you Darling and give the folks my love.
Yours Dear in Him forever,
With all my love,
P.S. Enclosed find a letter from Maurice and Louise. I love you more than ever, Darling.
This evening I received your wonderful long letter of May 7th. These letters are such a blessing to my soul. There were also two pictures-one of John and Sherry and one of you with them. They are good pictures and I was very glad to have them.
After finishing your letter this morning, I did a little studying. Later I visited some of the men and saw Paul Wells just before dinner. By the way, we really had a good dinner considering conditions out here. After dinner, I did some more studying and I wrote the following v-mail letters: Stan and Lee, Maudie Holly (her birthday is May 20th), Paul and Gen, Major Benson, Bill Letz, Captain Wilkinson, Dr. Edson, Dolores and John Stroo.
Besides your letter, I heard from the following people, Carl Anderson, Hollys, Maurice Jackson, Lieut. Erb of the 98th and Betty Riley. They were all very nice letters, as soon as I answer them I’ll send them on for you to read.
We had our evening service again this evening. There were over 80 in attendance. And Paul Wells brought the message which was good. Three different men came up to us and talked to us for quite some time about becoming Christians.
Dear, the sunset tonight was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The sky was simply colored with all imaginable colors. And all around there were wispy clouds, and directly overhead many curdled clouds. I came back from our evening service hoping to start this letter but before I could get started we had an air raid. It lasted for quite a while so it is rather late now. My little candle is almost gone so I’ll have to hurry to get this letter finished.
Dear, I’m going to start with your letter of May 3rd. I know it must be discouraging to gardeners when it is cold so much. I hope it doesn’t harm the corn crop.
Don’t you ever worry about being the kind of wife I would like Dear, you are more than I could have ever hoped for as it is. I’m sorry I didn’t get to finish this letter last night but we had another air raid and all lights had to be out. I know how you must feel about Dr. Mason’s method, I can easily see that it doesn’t tend to make enjoyable lecturing. The talk which Peter Stamm III gave in chapel sounded very good. In places like this it makes one realize the great need of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and even as you rub shoulders with the soldiers you also realize the great need for real Christian education. The average man has no more idea or understanding about spiritual things than I do about the planet Saturn. Maurice in his letter mentioned the need of urgency in Christian education. I agree with him fully. As soon as I answer his letter I’ll send it on to you, Dear.
I was glad to know that Lee is looking so well, I can easily see how you would miss her presence around Northern.
Yes Dear, I received the rose petals and they were certainly fragrant. I know little Mommy isn’t worrying about the money but will you please pay her for them, for I have no idea when I will be paid. Roses cannot even indicate the deep and abiding love which is mine for you Dear.
I’m glad you sent the picture to the Chief of Chaplains. I certainly hope they return it to you in good shape. If they don’t, I would remind them about it. All the flying makes me a short-snorter and a pollywog for having been over the equator.
Darling, I must close for now and may God bless you and the folks.
I had just addressed the envelope for your letter when we had an air raid which lasted a long time. As a result, I had to blow my little candle out. I stayed out here by a little bank on the side of the hill for 3 1/2 hours hoping it would be over and I could write your letter. But finally I rolled up in my blanket and called it a day.
Dear, I received three more of your precious letters yesterday, they were for April 23rd and 24th and May 6th. They were such a blessing to my heart. I have all your letters now for April with the exception of yours of the third. I am inclined to believe it must be lost somewhere along the way.
Yesterday morning I wrote a v-mail letter to Raymond Cox, Wallace Connell and Donald McClintock. You will find them enclosed in this letter for you to read. Besides the letter I received from you, I heard for the following people: Laura Pettygrove, Hansons, Louise Davis, NSBC bulletin and guide, mother of a son in the 98th, Paul Vogel, Mr. Abernathy, Pete Smith, two from Captain Wilkinson, Stan Beaumont and Jack and Bertha. There is nothing like mail from you Beloved and from dear friends.
I saw Paul Wells for a little while after dinner and we made arrangements for our evening service. He led the first part of the service and I gave the message. I spoke on Mark 6:30-32. The theme being, “Come apart and rest for a while.” Just so does the soul needs spiritual nourishment. There is much coming and going these days but Christ has prepared a table before us to feed our hungry souls. Upon His table is found the Bread of Life, and then I carried out the idea by talking about what the Bread of Life is.
Dear, because I have very little time, I’m not going to tell much of yesterday’s activities. I will start with your letter of April 23rd and 24th. By the way, your letter of May 6th had a beautiful picture of you sitting on the front room floor with your birthday roses. Remember Dear, keep pictures of yourself coming this way. I was glad to know that Captain Wilson sent you the pictures we took while on our D.S. to Hawaii. I certainly appreciated his taking care of it in that I had to leave so soon. I tried to pay him but he wouldn’t let me. Did he send some of the negatives along? I borrowed a camera and took four of those rolls myself. So I hope you have some of the negatives for I would like to be able to have some extras made. Did I look alright on the pictures, Dear? Captain Wilson is from Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m glad you enjoyed the Senior banquet. It must have been nice. I can remember Brother Melancthon, you picked a tough subject for a term paper, as you say, he was involved in too many conferences. Dr. Henry’s message sounded very good and from what you told me in brief outline, I agree with him 100%. I was surprised to hear about Herman Myers wanting to go into the chaplaincy.
It was good to hear that you got such lovely letters from Bertha and Mrs. Scheu. I’m sorry you weren’t able to go to Lexington to see Jack and Bertha. Dear, they really love you a whole lot and I do hope you will be able to get down there some weekend for a visit. I know it would do them in a lot of good. As I told you on a couple of occasions, they never could have their own children. And Bertha on several different occasions has said you are the kind of daughter she would have liked to have had. Their letter to me yesterday was grand, as soon as I answer it, I’ll send it on for you to read. She had enclosed several clippings of interest, one of them was of Mrs. Underwood receiving the Silver Star for her son who was killed last summer. She had also enclosed a copy of the Illinois Baptist News. I was certainly sorry to hear about Brushwyler speaking at Lexington, that church has had enough trouble without the additional controversy over the mission boards.
I’m glad you liked the picture frame. That was certainly grand of the folks to give it to you for your birthday. Darling, I thought that cartoon of the duck losing his feathers in a power drive was clever. You can only imagine how true that is when the enemy sends up a mortar or artillery barrage.
Well, Beloved I must close for now. God bless you in all things. Give the folks my deepest love.
I’m going to start this letter to you now in that I have a few moments before supper. I’m having a service immediately following supper for one of the units of our regiment. I got up early this morning and finished your letter and wrote two v-mail letters one to Chaplain Soliday and Freddie Romer, I will enclose their letters so you can read them. Just as I finished, Paul came by and we proceeded to Regimental headquarters and made arrangements for services for the rest of the week. You see, even though I have mentioned we are in a rest area, that doesn’t mean that men are not training and having classes throughout daylight hours. When I use the term rest I mean we are not in the frontlines fighting.
As soon as we secured a jeep for transportation we proceeded to the hospital to see some of our men who have been injured and will soon be evacuated to the States. While at the hospital I met the chaplain which is assigned to that hospital. He is a Methodist and really is the kind of chaplains we need. He graduated from Garrett in 1941. It so happens that he knows Bill Letz, a fellow I went to Lakeview evening school with. I don’t know whether you remember it or not but we met him and his wife at Lake Geneva in 1941. The unusual part about the whole thing is the fact that Bill Letz followed Chaplain Rooney as pastor of his former church at the time he came into the Army as a chaplain. Dear, I don’t know how to explain it, but I have some of the most unusual experiences in meeting people. The Lord is certainly good to us, Dear. I’ve become acquainted with people in all parts of the United States. Out of all these experiences I pray and hope that together we in Christ will be able to be effectively used for His great Kingdom program. Darling, I only wish you knew what a wonderful inspiration and challenge you are to me in every way.
I have just returned from my service for the men in one unit. There were a little over 50 in attendance. In that I didn’t have enough time to prepare a message, I used one I have given on several other occasions. My text was I Timothy 4:8-16. Several of the men talked to me afterwards and were very gracious in the things they said, and they assured me they were glad that I was their new chaplain. I certainly love His word and it blesses me more all the time. The more I study it and the more I see of the men, the more it increases my desire to be as well-prepared as possible; so we together can serve Christ.
After I got back I found three more letters from you, they were for April 27th, 28th and 29th. Those letters were certainly beautiful and they helped me so very much, Dear. I also got a letter from Dolores, Wallace Connell (of the 98th), and John Stroo of Christmas Island. As soon as I answer the letters I will mail them on to you to read. I got some literature from ABPS and a Lexington Unit Journal.
When we left the hospital this morning we went to Division Headquarters and picked up some New Testaments and communion supplies. I also dropped by the Red Cross and picked up some toilet articles for our men.
As soon as Paul and I had our dinner, we returned here to our outfits. I visited with some men for a while, then I came back here and studied my Bible and had my devotions. By the way, while I was at Division Headquarters Chaplain Holt gave me some snapshots he took of me. There were very small but they are pictures. They don’t have enough room to write on the back so I’ve numbered them and will explain each one. 1. Picture taken after one of our Vesper services. That is at Division Headquarters-that is a rock back of the altar and a piece of canvas spread above the altar. In that we are fighting troops we are not able to have a set up like that, Division Headquarters are always quite away back of the front lines. 2. One day while at Division Headquarters I got a new undershirt and shorts and took a shower out of an oil drum. That is my dirty shorts I’m holding in my hand. Chaplain Holt called to me and just as I turned he snapped the picture. 3. Another picture he snapped at Headquarters. 4. Another snap in front of Chaplain Holt’s altar. I hope you like them. Remember, I love you much much more than ever.
I’m going to start with your letter of April 27th and and also the 29th. By the way, we have a new moon tonight. I’m always glad to see a new moon because it means another month has slipped by and we are that much nearer the time when we can be together. I was interested to hear about the new servicemen’s wives club. Properly organized with a definite purpose and aim I’m sure it will be a real help to the wives as well as others. I’m afraid I cannot agree with Dr. Wilson’s prediction about Japan. If he were here and saw what we at the front have to go through he would change his mind. Honestly, I’ll be most surprised if Japan quits. My earliest prediction for defeat of Japan is the end of the year.
Don’t worry Dear, when I return I’m hoping to share my experiences with you and I want you to share yours with me, for how can we grow unless we tell each other everything. And have all things together. I think the word together is beautiful when it means what it does to us.
Warren being in personnel as he is is always quite away back of the frontlines, so tell Jenny not to worry, for we who are up at the front doing the fighting are the ones who are really in danger. Warren is in the Marine Division Headquarters which is very good. About his only danger is enemy air raids. I do hope we soon secure this Island, for our men are in need of a longer rest than we are going to have now.
The Japanese artillery here has been a major hold back in the final victory in this campaign. It is difficult for a person who has never gone through a barrage like this to imagine just how terrible it is. The enemy has the advantage because they are dug in caves and tunnels.
I’m sorry I had to quit this letter last night but we had an air raid and I had to blow my candle out, as a result I’ll finish this letter this morning.
I’m sure you must have had a fine time with John and Sherry after church. I’m glad you liked the toasted cheese sandwiches. I was sorry to hear that Helen Anderson had such a serious operation. I do hope that she gets along alright. I was surprised to hear about George Drier and Elaine Eklund being engaged. I was glad to hear about the good messages of Dr. Wilson had on April 29th.
Dear, I would rather miss my meals than not write to you so don’t worry about me not having the time to write. I love you dearly and it helps me more than you know to be able to write to you. There may be some occasions when it will be very difficult or impossible to write, but remember, if it is humanly possible I will write to you every day.
I must close for now Beloved, give my love to the folks.
I want to write this before it gets too dark, for it is hard to write at night when the wind keeps blowing the candle and then there is the possibility of flash reds which means air raids. I have just finished reading mail which came in for me. However, there were no letters from you. I had hoped there would be some mail from you. The letters I received this evening were from Freddie Romer, Dr. Winfield Edson, Raymond Cox and two from Donald McClintock.
The letters from Don were concerning the fact that the 98th had approved Don’s transfer; and he was waiting for further developments. I certainly hope he soon arrives here because I can surely use him. Don is very anxious to come. Freddie Romer is one of the men back in my old division. The letter from Dr. Edson speaks for itself. As soon as I answer those letters I’ll mail them on to you to read.
It rained until almost noon and then it cleared off and it has really been a grand afternoon except for the sticky mud. We have just had a beautiful sunset, I have been watching the sun slip behind the ridge and eventually into the East China Sea.
For a while this morning I studied and then wrote a v-mail letter to my grandmother and Roy String. The rest of the morning I spent visiting around and seeking to get acquainted with as many men as possible before we return to the front lines. There are a lot of things I would like to talk to you about but it is impossible to do so satisfactorily in a letter. I’m really glad for the privilege of serving in this regiment. I feel some things can be accomplished, at least I’m going to do my very best. Shortly after dinner Paul Wells came by and we spent a good share of the time visiting among the men. It is a real treat to have a few days rest. We also walked up to several high points to look over the island. This is really a beautiful place. I know you would really enjoy the beauty. Our bay out here is certainly beautiful and is a most impressive site from a vantage point like this. By the way, when we were over in Paul’s area he showed me a late Northern which Margaret sent him, it was the one which contained the article about the natives giving the money for Northern. I was glad to see the article. By the way, I failed to tell you that I got a very nice v-mail letter from Wayne Soliday.
I’m going to make a few comments on your letter of May 2nd. I’m sorry to hear that the weather has been so cool. I had hoped that you folks back there would have had a nice spring. You know the trees which we gave to Jack and Bertha should have started producing this year, but with such cool weather so late I’m afraid the blossoms will be frosted and ruined. I can just hear Stiansen talking about, “Lizzie.” That man is certainly gifted and such a wonderful Christian man.
I’m certainly sorry to hear about Mrs. Gudge barging in on Gen and Paul the way she did, I as you feel she needs Christ. She is her own worst enemy. She realizes and knows she needs something and is so desperate in her attempt to get it that she imagines herself as being physically out of condition: whereas her condition is a condition of the heart. It seems there is something in her life which she is seeking to cover up. From several things Paul has told me that would be my conclusion. I remember hearing Rev. Swanson sometime or other, if I remember correctly it was in chapel. Dr. Stiansen knows him as well as Ola Anderson of Assan and I remember him mentioning them several times during our course in missions. It is certainly a privilege to know such a wonderful servant of the Lord.
If I can find out Watson Woodall and Grant Hamilton’s address I will try to look them up when we have secured the island. The same goes for Tom Beaumont. There are so many thousands of men here it is impossible to find a man unless you know his organization.
Thank you for enclosing the article on, “The Road to Serfdom.” It was a very very good and I agree with him fully. Please don’t worry about sending Reader’s Digest to me. I generally see them after two or three months and that is sufficient. I don’t like to have to carry so much around. It is bad enough as it is. Under combat this way it is a constant problem to keep a hold of your things. By the way, enclosed in this letter you will find letters from Roy String and my grandmother. It is so dark I must close for now. God bless you Beloved in all things. I love you more every passing day.