April 24, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

24 April 1945

My Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Well Darling, it is still raining and I am covered with mud, it is dry here in my hovel. What joy and comfort to be in a home again with you Dear. There are none to really have Christian fellowship. You know what I mean by that, such as prayer, Bible study and discussion. You know like those blessed hours we had with Paul and Gen. Believe it, my Dear, I’m still living spiritually off some of those blessed hours together. When you see Paul and Gen be sure to tell them that for me. Sometimes I get so hungry for real Christian fellowship that I can only praise God for all the times of sweet fellowship with Christian friends in times past.

You meet so very few men who do not profane the name of God. Honestly Dear, it breaks my heart to hear so much profanity. A man can be liable of court martial or shame if he uses the name of the president of the USA in a derogatory way, but men will all day long blaspheme and profane the name of our Lord. You cannot make me believe that a man reveres and obeys God who continually uses His name in vain. I cannot see the manliness that some proclaim; those you talk to use all kinds of excuses for it, but if you used the same kind of excuses for neglect of duty in the Army they would break you or court martial and fine you. To be an effective fighting unit they teach discipline and obedience to Army regulations. But in the spiritual realm, men completely ignore God’s commands and think they will get by and that they will not have to harvest for the careless seeds they have sown. Some say, “He’s a God of love,” but true love demands justice and judgment. I think it’s a shame the way men delight in foul language. Then there are those who delight in telling off-color stories and think it doesn’t stain their minds and moral fiber. All I can say is, I’m sorry and I wish we had more who would set the example of clear-cut and refined speech.

This morning I did some studying and washed out some more fatigues. It has been raining all day so they haven’t been able to dry. At least they’re clean and will dry out when the sun appears again. After dinner I wrote a letter to the pastor of one of the men who is a Christian. I also wrote to Doug Powell, Marguerite Simonian, ABPS and the Chief of Chaplains in Washington about my change of duty to this division. I left here and took care of a case for a soldier through the Red Cross. Later I gathered some more information on one of our men who was killed in action. By the time we got back from Division Headquarters over the slippery roads it was time to eat.

And now I’m doing the thing I love next best to having the privilege of reading your lovely letters.

Willis with his friends Elliot and Mason during jungle training in Hawaii.

What few minutes I have left I will try to answer some of your questions beginning with your letter of April 2nd. Dear, concerning those pictures, perhaps in my rush to get ready to catch the plane for the Philippines the pictures were put in the box of things I sent home. You see, Don and Tommy helped me get ready. The pictures of Hawaii you said were in the box. Did you receive all the pictures which Captain Mason gave me of himself and Major Elliott and the two of me by my pup tent? One in my helmet kneeling by the tent and the other typing? You will remember I sent another such picture before but it was blurred because the camera was out of focus.

Darling, it got so dark and miserable last night I had to quit and finish this letter this morning. If you didn’t receive my letter about my visit with Paul Allen I’m going to send you his wife’s address so you can write her and get acquainted. Or you may look up her telephone number and call. (Mrs. Paul C. Allen, 1040 North Haller Avenue, Chicago 51, Illiniois). When we were preparing and loading to leave the Philippines, I happened to find out that one of the ships in our fleet was the same name as the one I had heard Paul was on, so I managed to see him on two different occasions.

In the Navy, you serve 18 months overseas duty and then you are returned to the States for a leave and six months there for you are sent out again. Paul plans to be home in August or September so you may be able to see him and he can tell you about our visit. Paul came into the Navy in May before I did in August. We have no regulation whatsoever in the Army which limits our service overseas to a certain period of time. Personally, I have no hopes of getting home until it’s over over here. If it’s too hard on. Your health, they often return chaplains to the Mainland. Paul, as I told you, was quite discouraged with his work as a Navy chaplain because he said there’s not all the glory in it some would try to make you believe. However, I told him he had much to be thankful for because he always has fine living quarters and accommodations, the best of food and an assurance of getting back to the States by this fall. Whereas we have to sleep in a fox hole, or under anything that may help keep us from the elements.  Our food is okay, but not as good as theirs and we have no assurance of a definite period of time of service overseas. He said he realized how much better off they were. And he said he certainly hated to see me, as well as all the other men, dumped off on a beach where there would be no welcome and we would have to fight to live.

I was in school with Leonard Gillings and I’m glad to know he is doing so well. He is a fine man and an earnest Christian. I was also happy to know Paul did so well with all his seminary work. I know they are going to be splendid servants of Christ in the years ahead.

In your letter of April 6th, you said you sent my father $30, evidently he needed that much more to cover the expenses of the operation. I’m missing a couple of your letters in between so I imagine that you told me about it in one of those missing letters.

Thank you for the clipping from the paper. I know two of them, Norma Arbuckle and Glenna Abbott. That was really doing their part for the school at Towanda. I was also interested to read about Dr. Virgin assisting in the church at St. Petersburg, Florida.

I was surprised to hear about Clara Ives and her mother moving to California. Did Clara get a better offer out there or something else? Be sure to give them my love and best wishes. They have always been so good to me.

I realize Frickenberg is a great missionary as well as Buker, but as I’ve said before, I cannot agree with a lot of tactics of this new group. 

Darling, Mother’s Day is May 13th, so I wish you would buy a nice corsage from us for Mom and a red carnation for yourself and a white one for the Chief. I love the folks very much and I want to do anything I can to assure them of that love.

Well my Dear, I must close for now and the Lord bless you in all things.

Forever yours alone in the love of Christ

Which makes us one,


Colossians 3:3

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