April 9, 1945

Okinawa Shima 

Ryukyu Islands

9 April 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Well, another day is passed and we are that much nearer to the day when we can be together, words cannot describe how much just the clinging to that thought helps in times like these. At least today wasn’t as hectic as night before. Last night I was awakened on a few occasions by bursts of machine gun fire. And of course we could hear artillery. It may sound strange Dear but you eventually become so tired that you can sleep through such an artillery barrage.

Okinawan civilians after the battle, taken by Lieutenant Reinhart T. Kowallis’s

I got up early this morning and proceeded to the hospital. I found upon arrival that another one of our men passed away during the night. He passed away because of wounds received on the hectic night before. After leaving there I found a mother and a year and a half old girl. She was severely injured, as was her baby. We got a jeep and drove her to the civilian camp medics. One of the doctors was sick from overwork so I helped the other doctor with the surgery on the baby and mother. The operation took about one hour and 45 minutes altogether. I held the little baby girl on the operating table. We couldn’t give her ether. But they did give her morphine. The only time she cried was actually during the operation. She was really pretty. The native Okinawans are a nice looking people and I would certainly like to be a missionary to such a people. I’m sure they would be very receptive and would make real Christians. They have been held in bondage and submission by the Japanese. For centuries they have been exploited. By the way, this morning we ran into a mother who understand a little English, she claimed to be a Christian. She would keep saying, ”I’m a Christian.” She was taking care of three old women and several children who had been separated from their parents. She had kept them in a cave for 15 days and had managed to get food and water for them.

After eating something this noon, I hastened back to the hospital to see the men. I stayed about one hour and a half and then went out to visit some of my men in different areas. We have all been ordered to carry guns when we leave our own perimeter of defense. And then of course we sleep with a gun right at our side in case of infiltration like night before.

After eating I came back to my sleeping place and wrote a v-mail letter to Captain Mason and Don McClintock, my old assistant. It is getting very dark so I will have to close for tonight. God bless you my Dear and give my love to all those we know and love.

I am forever yours in the love of our 

Lord Jesus Christ.

Willis

P.S. Enclosed are two more letters from Paul, also a drawing by Dale. 

One thought on “April 9, 1945

  • John T Reed
    April 9, 2019, 3:35 am

    “One of the doctors was sick from overwork so I helped the other doctor with the surgery on the baby and mother. The operation took about one hour and 45 minutes altogether. I held the little baby girl on the operating table.” Before reading these letters I never new that Willis assisted with surgeries–apparently on several occasions. It’s truly humbling the way he writes about it in such a matter of fact manner. He certainly was a man of strength in many, many ways.

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