December 4, 1945

Seoul, Korea

4 December 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

It is late and this room is like an icebox but I want to talk to you for a minute. I’ve just finished writing three letters, they were to my Grandmother and Aunt, Delores Nelson and Major Mason. My hands are so cold I feel like wearing mittens to write this letter, but I find no reason to complain when I see how very little the Korean people have. The sun shone all day, but in spite of that fact, it remained very cold.

Willis with his men in Long Beach. 1944.

  I was up early this morning and called early on all the patients and supplied them with some things which they were in need of. I came up to my office about 11 o’clock and read until dinnertime. After dinner I visited with one of the officers for a while, then I came back here to my office and a man came to see me about a certain problem. It took some time to get it straightened out. Then another soldier came in to see me for a while. About three o’clock a chaplain came in to visit with me for a while. Eventually, he left and then I dropped by the ward to see the men before suppertime.

  After supper I came here and started one letter, then a soldier came in to see me about a very bad situation. I’m going to see what I can do for him tomorrow. Now that is today’s activities on paper it doesn’t sound like very much but I have been on the go all the time and it is now pretty late.

  When you see Vernon Ritter be sure to give him my best wishes. It makes me happy to know how well he is doing in his two churches. Vernon and his wife have a child of their own now, don’t they? It seems to me they have but I’m not sure.

I was surprised to hear about you seeing Larry Allen. It’s good to know things are going so well for them in their church in Milwaukee. So, Bernie Ptacek is taking work at Northwestern. What degree is she working for? Doesn’t she have an M.R.E.  from Northern? I was surprised and very glad to hear about them starting the male chorus out at Northern. Northern really needs a good music department.

  Be sure to let me know how Milo Nixon comes out in canidating at Paul and Gen’s church. Did Paul preach at Graymont, Illinois as a candidate?

  Sweetheart, it is so late and I’m so cold I think I will sign off and get right into my good old sleeping bag. God bless you, Lover, in all things.

 Yours and none others for always

  Darling in Christ’s love,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

 P.S. Enclosed find the following letters: Paul’s, Major Mason and J Hoffman Cohn’s.

December 3, 1945

Seoul, Korea

3 December 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

  This afternoon Don and I drove back to my old outfit to see about some things, and much to my great joy I found four of your precious letters waiting for me. They were yours of November 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd. Those letters were so very very good and they helped me very much. It will be so good when we can sit down and just talk and love and pray like we used to do when we were together. That day can come none too soon to suit me. Along with your letters was a very fine letter from Mr. Kraft, Paul Vogel and a beautiful Christmas card from Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Young, the mother and father of a fine soldier killed in the battle of Okinawa.

7th Division at the capital building. Korea 1945.

  I spent the entire morning calling on all the new patients who were brought into the hospital last evening. And had some very interesting experiences. Immediately following the dinner hour Don and I left here for the 184th Headquarters. I also went to another place to pick up some writing paper and envelopes for the men in the hospital ward. On our way back, I stopped at the Capitol building and visited with Dr. Underwood, General Arnold’s advisor (General Arnold is Military Governor of Korea).  Remember, he was at Rody’s home for dinner that evening I was. We discussed some very pertinent problems facing us here in Korea right now. But Darling, I feel it wouldn’t be best to write about them for at best it would be hard to understand, and besides, they are very complicated and involved. It was good to visit with him again for about such problems. Having been here and living most of his life here, he can see the problems through the Korean’s eyes.

  This evening after the evening meal I came up here to my office and had my devotions and then a certain man came in to talk for some time. After he left, I wrote a note to Gail Hollensteiner for her birthday and a letter to Bob Vogel for his birthday. Bob and Gail’s birthdays are the same day. I also wrote a short note to Paul and Gen along with Bob’s birthday letter. It isn’t much but at least it will be them know that I’m thinking of them.

  It started to snow this evening. It has quit now, but from the looks of things it may start it again anytime. It wasn’t too cold driving into Seoul today.

  The letter from Mr. Kraft sounded very interesting and as soon as I answer it I’ll send it on to you to read. Naturally, what he said was a great surprise to me, that is about us, but I will say it is challenging to me but I want above all else the Lord’s will done in this matter and as to our future together for the Lord. Of course, I would like to know where those areas are (where churches are needed).  Perhaps Dr. A.M. McDonald has that information in his office. If you should happen to talk to Mr. Kraft any further on this matter, you might ask him about that matter. And then, of course, I’m not just sure of the setup we would be in if we did not go out as the leader of a mission from North Shore Baptist Church.  In other words, Darling, I wouldn’t be very keen about being under Dr. Wilson directly. I haven’t any particular reason, that’s just the way I feel. Do you know what I mean? From the very few letters I received from Maurice and Edith Jackson, I could sense that thing which to be directly under him might tend to hold back rather than help. However Darling, I, as you, feel it the greatest challenge which has thus far presented itself to us as to the future. We shall continue to pray about it and let me know what you think about it by the time this letter reaches you. Also, let me know little developments which may take place from time to time in this respect. He said he was going to start talking it up, do you suppose he means to talk to various people such as Emma, Abernathys, Larsons, etc?

  It makes me feel badly to know that Bob is so sold on O’Hareism. They both certainly need stabilizing in the things of God’s word. It’s strange no one else has been able to uncover all the truth which he claims. I’ve noted that he only reaches a certain type of people.

  It certainly makes me feel badly about the church down in Lexington. There is an opportunity there if only Rev. Dollar would buckle down. I know you must have been happy to hear from Aunt Annie.

  Sweetheart, don’t you ever worry about me not liking your cooking when I return. I’ve always loved your cooking and always will and I mean it with all of me. Well, Lover, it is very late so I’ll close tonight. God bless you richly in all things.

 I love just you forever, Dear 

in Christ’s love,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3 

December 2, 1945

Seoul, Korea

2 December 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

Well, Sweetheart, we are one more Lord’s Day nearer to the time when we can be together again in the work of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ. This has really been a very full day and I’ve been busy all the time. I got up early this morning and had my breakfast and then came right on up to my office and went over my message several times. I never did get it to satisfy me but Don said it was very good and he felt the presence of the Lord throughout the service. I do pray and hope that it helps someone. As I told you last evening I preached on, “Reconstruction Includes You.”  This morning there were around 140 in attendance, in fact, it was so full that it was impossible to get any more in the chapel.

  This evening I spoke on Matthew 3:1-12. The title and theme being, “This Critical Hour:  Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand.” There were 28 in attendance which is pretty good for a start. That is the first Sunday evening service which has ever been held since this hospital was activated since September 1942. The Protestant chaplain who preceded me has been with this hospital ever since until his departure two weeks ago for the States on points. So much for that, we will talk more about the situation when I arrive back home, Darling. We had a very fine song service and all seem to respond very well. Please keep praying for our work Beloved that souls may be brought into the Kingdom for our wonderful Lord.

Image of Korean village from 1945.

  Captain Main and I immediately following dinner took a walk to the village nearby. It was very cold but we enjoyed the walk and the fresh air was good. We had some interesting experiences but I’ll tell you about them later. I finished my first film and I hope the pictures come out all right. If they come out all right there should be some good shots.

  About 5 o’clock this evening it started to snow and has been snowing ever since. It is really something to see snow and ice again. About 3:30 we got in 33 patients so I was busy calling on them right up to the time for our first Sunday evening worship service.

  By the way Lover, perhaps you’ll be interested to know that I was given a superior rating on my work as a Chaplain in the 7th Division. When I was transferred they showed me my rating which was determined through several sources. Needless to say, I was thankful and if it be true what I did was not because of my ability but because all that I am or hope to be I owe to Christ. Someday I’ll tell you what came to me through another source as to my immediate ranking chaplain in the Old 7th. I wish you could hear it instead of me, but it does encourage me and make me to even want to be more fully yielded to our blessed Lord Jesus Christ.

  By the way, in that Phyllis and Dave are being married January 12th, I would suggest that we give them a nice picture of Salman’s Head of Christ for a wedding present. What do you think, Darling?

  Darling, I think that was grand of you to send my father a birthday card and $5 from us, I know it will make him happy. Thank you Lover for your thoughtfulness.

  That’s too bad Mr. Hatfield has a tendency to talk too much overtime. Even at best, a Sunday school class period is not long enough.

  From what you told me about the dedication of the new window at Buena it must be wonderful. It was nice to know they dedicated it to Dr. Hepburn.

  Well Lover, I’m very tired and cold so I think I shall close for tonight. God bless you and the folks in all things, Dear.

 Yours alone in Christ for all the ages

 of the ages,

  Willis

 Colossians 3:3

December 1, 1945

Seoul, Korea

1 December 1945

My Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

This has really been a full day and it is late and I’m tired but I want to talk to you for a while before going to bed. I read all your precious letters over again this noon and twice this evening before starting this letter to you. Words cannot possibly describe to you how much they really mean to me. They refueled me all anew.

  I got up early this morning and as soon as I had something to eat I came up to my office and worked on tomorrow’s services. I plan to speak on this theme, “Reconstruction Includes You” for tomorrow morning. My scripture is Isaiah 52:7-10.  For some reason or other I cannot get it shaped up like I want to, so I decided to just quit for tonight and read your letters and write to you. I have a lot of notes and ideas but cannot seem to bail it down properly. Well, I’m going to get up early in the morning and perhaps my mind will be clear after a good night’s sleep.

A jeep in frigid conditions.

  This has really been a cold day, we had quite a strong wind and it seemed to drive the wind right through. Even the larger bodies of water were frozen over during the night. This afternoon I went over to the at 184th in my Jeep to get Don. On the way, it started to snow and it really came down for about 2 hours. It was so heavy for a while that I just went along slowly to avoid taking any chances. Don and I arrived back here around 4:30 and then I helped him locate his quarters. Honestly, it was so cold when we got here and I was numb. An open Jeep is a pretty breezy affair even under the best circumstances.

  We had our evening meal, then we visited for some time with the Catholic chaplain before we could make further plans for things in the future. I thought some more on that sermon for tomorrow morning and then decided to start this letter to you, my Lover.

  I saw a Chaplain Wells for five minutes this afternoon while riding back there to get Don. He is taking care of my old outfit now but it is much easier because all but three of the companies have been pulled into the immediate area of the Regiment.

  Sweetheart, I’ve just read your good letter of November 1st again and it made me feel so thankful to the Lord for the wonderful privilege which is mine in being your husband. I love to know you only love me and believe that we are each other’s forever and always in Christ. I can still see how you look on that night we first met. And then the night I first saw you at Buena when we went to your prayer meeting together.

  Darling, I have not heard from Solomon Dubner (the other Jewish boy) since I left Oahu early this year. He must have been transferred somewhere. I suppose he is discharged right now because he had a lot of service and most of it was overseas.

  I was very sorry to hear how rude they were to Dr. A.M. McDonald. I know for I’ve seen the same thing happen while I was attending Northern. I’ve always liked Dr. McDonald and personally feel he has done a mighty fine piece of work in a place of great responsibility with very little appreciation or credit on the behalf of others. Dr. Mantey said in his letter that they had tried to get Al Dimon to take his place.  Has Dr. McDonald resigned now, and if so, do you know where he is going? If he leaves I do hope they get a good man to take his place. I was glad to hear that you received such a nice letter from Raymond Cox’s wife.

  Darling, of course, it’s a lot of trouble for you to try and keep your hair nice when it’s so long, and it’s hard for me to tell you whether I would like it long or not, but in that it is hard to manage, it seems it would be best to have it cut and get a permanent.

  Lover, in that I’m so very weary I will close for tonight. God bless you Lover in all things. You are so very sweet.

 Yours and yours only in the love

 of Christ,

  Willis

Colossians 3:3 

November 30, 1945

Seoul, Korea

30 November 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

This has certainly been a banner day for me as far as mail is concerned. I found seven letters from you, they were for November 11th, 13th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and the letter with the grand note from Timete. Lover, words are not adequate in any sense of the word when it comes to trying to tell you just how much those letters did for me. Just the sight of all those wonderful letters of yours thrilled me and made me feel much better. Besides your letters, I received letters from the following friends:  Louise Davis (card written while on their trip to Oklahoma), Mrs. Powell, (Mrs. Powell’s letter is beautiful, as soon as I can answer it I’ll send it on for you to read), John Stroo, Auntie Skaggs (be sure to give her my deepest love), Vivian Schaefer, Mr. and Mrs. Ricketts, Delores Nelson, Betty Weiskopf, Bob Peterson and several other official communications. I’m certainly behind in my letter writing now that this big bunch of them has just come in. For about a week now it was all I could do to write you a letter, let alone any others. Perhaps next week I’ll be able to get started on them.

Sarah Reed with her Diamond. Chief and Mom in the background. 1945.

  By the way, while I think about it be sure to put Bob Peterson and his wife on our Christmas card list. I cannot remember whether I included them on our list or not. They are expecting around the 15th of December. I know they must be happy. I can well imagine how we might be feeling if we were looking forward to the arrival of our firstborn.

  It has been very cold today and tonight the wind is blowing, I am about freezing here in my room. I have my coat on but my fingers are just like ice. However, don’t misunderstand me, I’m not complaining for when I see how much we have and how very little the Korean people as a whole have I could never think of complaining. Honestly Lover, it makes me feel so badly inside when I hear men complaining about our food and certain facilities. When I see some of these people so thinly clad I cannot understand how they keep from freezing. Sweetheart, there are so many things I’m looking forward to talking over with you when I get back. Some things you cannot write about to satisfaction in letters because generally, you have to wait a month or more for a reply or response on the subject mentioned.

  I was up early this morning, and as usual, shaved in cold water. The water is cold, I just dread putting it on my face but still my old razor still does a pretty good job. Wesley Norman gave me that razor in June 1934 and I have used it ever since. If I remember correctly, it is the one his father used when living.

  Today being the last day of the month, it necessitated getting the monthly report ready. I didn’t work on it until I had my devotions and read Titus in the Goodspeed translation. It was about 11 o’clock when I finished the report so I called on some of the men. I want to become acquainted with as many men as possible and get the work underway here. I really believe there is a real opportunity here so I’m going to do my very best to get a program established and pray that we will be able to reach some of those who need Christ here.

  After having dinner, I immediately left here for the old 184th Infantry. I saw Paul Wells and also Don, but as yet his orders had not yet come through. I was back there when I found all the mail waiting for me. It really helped me so much. I didn’t have time to read it then because I had to go to Corp Headquarters and also the 7th Division Headquarters. That took quite some time but in all, I managed to get back here in time to get something to eat this evening. After supper, I came up to my room and read your precious letters as well as all the others. It took a long time and it is now very late and I’m quite cold so I think I’ll bring this letter to a close soon and crawl into my good old sleeping bag.

Lover, I think that was a grand idea of yours to send the National Geographic to Paul and Gen and Stan and Lee for a year. That is a very good gift I’m sure and I feel they will find it helpful. Dear, you are such a wonderful wife in every way and it means so much to know how you’re always thinking of nice things to do for others. I do love all of them so much and will be very happy to see Paul and Gen and those wonderful boys of theirs again.

  Goodnight Sweetheart and God bless you more than ever before. Be sure to give the folks my love.

 Only and forever just yours in

 Christ’s wonderful love,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3 

November 29, 1945

Seoul, Korea

29 November 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

Well, today we had some turkey so that made up for not having it last Thursday, in fact, they gave the men half a day off. We had gravy, sweet potatoes, (canned) peas and carrots, raisin pie and bread. I’m so looking forward to next Thanksgiving for maybe we can be together to enjoy it. This business of being so many thousands of miles from you is difficult to say the least.

Sarah looking at her diamond. 1945.

I spent the entire morning getting things straightened up in this room which is to be my regular office. The Catholic chaplain will have his own office which will help a lot, especially when it comes to having devotions and quiet time. This is the finest office I have ever had and I know Don will like it when he comes. This is really a splendid setup. The chapel is almost like a dream. In fact, this whole setup is. They say this is one of the finest buildings in all of Korea and I can readily believe such is true. As soon as I can I will take a couple of pictures of the building to give you an idea of what it’s like. After all the kind of places I’ve had, it seems almost like a dream.

  After having had my dinner I came over to the office and studied for my message for the first-midweek service which we had this evening. There were 18 in attendance which is a start. I had hoped that there would be more than that but I’ll keep on and seek the Lord’s will in the future work here in the hospital. I spoke this evening on this theme, “Today’s Number One Problem.”  My scripture was Nehemiah 4:1-9. I built my outline on the idea of reconversion and then applied the same to our spiritual life and relationship to God.

  I visited with a lot of men today. It is good to meet the various groups of men – I’m seeking to use all these opportunities to gather pertinent information which will help our work together in the years to come. It will be so wonderful to work with you by my side again.

  It has been very cold all day and it has been cloudy most of the time. The sun did shine for about an hour once this afternoon. I’m surprised we haven’t had snow before this time. I suppose you’ve had quite a little snow back there by now.

 I was certainly amazed to hear about Bob Bothwell being out of the Army and back in school at Northern. I can imagine Bill probably gave a fine talk and I can imagine some of his dry humor. It was good to hear that Gilbert Johnstone is looking so well. Is he discharged also?

  I can imagine you would be about worn to pieces after an evening with the children on a Halloween party. I hope you will be able to see Midge Witering Bennett and have a talk with her. I’m continuing to pray for her. She is a fine girl and I can understand how terribly she must feel, for I handled a good many cases like that since being a chaplain. 

It was certainly a surprise to hear that Gilbert and Pat are expecting a baby in April. How are they getting along out there in the church they have? You said Gilbert is going to school. Where is he going to school? In Iowa somewhere?

  Well Lover, I’m going to close for tonight, remember, I love you much more than ever forever in Christ’s wonderful love.

 Forever yours and yours only in

 Christ’s eternal love,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

November 28, 1945

Seoul, Korea

28 November 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Words are not adequate to describe how happy I was to receive two more of your precious letters. They were you are as of November 12th and 15th. I’m missing yours of the 11th and 13th. Perhaps they will arrive in the next few days. Lover, those letters certainly refueled me as only anything you have to do with refuels me. Thank you, Lover, for being such a wonderful wife to me in every way. I also got a letter from Mr. Abernathy, Dolores Nelson, two from Connie, the Secret Place and Louise Davis. Louise sent some very nice snapshots of Marguerite’s wedding, I’ll forward them to you right away so you will be able to see them, for I’m sure you will enjoy seeing them. By the way, the two pictures you enclosed in your letter of the 15th are grand and that close up of you is very good. Your diamond shows up very well. And the one of you and Mom in your little gifts here from Korea is very good also.

Thanksgiving Mother And Son Peeling Potatoes 1945 Painting by Norman Rockwell

By the way, I also got some material from the Publication Society and also the Goodspeed Bibles from the young people at First Church of Long Beach. And I also had two Lexington Unit Journals.

  This morning I spent most of the time going around visiting the various men to become acquainted with them and tell them about the service we are going to start having every Thursday evening beginning tomorrow evening. It will be a midweek service. The chaplain who preceded me only had one service on Sunday morning at 10. In brief, what a chaplain. I’ll tell you about it when we are together.

  About an hour before noon I devoted the time to study and devotions, as well as preparing my message for tomorrow evening. I was still unable to get situated in what will be my permanent office because they still have some things to move.

  As soon as I had my dinner I left here for the old 184th Infantry to see if I had any mail and if Don’s orders had come through. By the way, you’ll be interested to know that I have my own Jeep now and do my own driving. It was certainly a cold miserable ride but it was more than worth it when I found your wonderful letters awaiting me. When I arrived over there I was very sorry to find that Don’s orders were not yet there so I was unable to bring him back here with me. However, we did have a good visit and I was able to get back here around 4:30. Immediately I read your good letters then I had my evening meal. It was a pretty good meal.

  I came right back here and read your letters over once more and then read the other letters. Bill Moore, a very fine Christian young man, is leaving early tomorrow morning for the USA so we visited for almost 3 hours. As a result, it was very late. He is a marvelous Christian and I know the Lord will use him. I only wish there were many more like him. Please keep this work especially in mind as we start our work here. Well Lover, I will close for tonight. God bless you and the folks in all things.

 Forever just yours in Christ’s love which

makes us one,

 Willis

Colossians 3:3

 P.S. Enclosed find the four pictures of Marguerite’s wedding. Please inform our friends of my new address. Thank you, Sweetheart.

 By the way, Mrs. Abernathy asked me to join their Legion post.  I can do it while over here so you make arrangements for membership. It costs $2.50 a year. Have publications sent to our Chicago address. He will take care of it for us.

November 27, 1945

Seoul, Korea

27 November 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Well, 5 years ago tonight you set my heart at ease by saying, “ yes.”  If you remember I asked you on the 25th but you said, “ I’ll tell you later after I think it over.”  Those were two very long days. It was so good to have your blessed promise, Dear. I just wish there were some way to tell you just how much you mean to me. Darling, you have brought nothing but pure joy into my life. Do you remember the night when I asked the folks if it were all right with them? Remember it was in the hall, and do you remember what the Chief said?

General George C. Marshall in China to oversee the end of hostilities. November 27, 1945.

  Because of changes being made here I was unable to get situated permanently today but I spent most of the day becoming acquainted with the different ones around the hospital. Around three I came here to my room and studied until after 5. I had my devotions and then started to read a book which Don gave me entitled, “Christian Church X-rayed.”  From what I read, it sounds like a very good book.

  After having had my supper I decided to wash out some of my clothes which took some time. Later, I looked for a very fine Christian sergeant who has been with the hospital ever since activation. He is supposed to leave day after tomorrow. We had a very fine visit and he told me all about the Protestant chaplain who preceded me here in this hospital. I shall not go into detail now. It will be better to talk it over when we are together. Lover, please pray especially for this work here. I’m hoping to be able to give them something to think about. By the way, they have around 100 nurses here. Remember what I told you that Betty Jean Rothenberg told me on Okinawa? I’ve been here a little over twenty-four hours and many things are as she indicated I can see.

  It was the most beautiful day, the sun shone brightly but it was just sharp enough to make you feel good when out in the open. According to the news reports, they got some bad snowstorms back in the States. I believe I heard someone say they had snow in Northern Illinois so that means probably you had some in Chicago.

  Of course being over here made me miss your letters, that is if there happened to be any mail came in over at the old 184th Infantry. I’m hoping to get over there tomorrow if possible, then I can pick up my mail if there is any. 

Darling, I have just returned from our Chapel – 8 of the men gathered there with me and we sang chourses and some of the old favorite hymns.

  I had wanted to write you a longer letter tonight but it is very late and I am tired so I’m going to retire for tonight. God bless you Lover in all things.

In Christ’s love,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

November 26, 1945

Seoul, Korea

26 November 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling Sweetheart:

Well, here I am over at my new assignment the 29th General Hospital (APO #901). It just doesn’t seem true that I’m no longer with the good old 7th Division. I find that it was of great privilege to have been a member of that outfit. The Division has some wonderful records and a greater portion of them were earned in the Philippines and Okinawa.

  The thing that made me the happiest was as the arrival of one of your wonderful letters. It was yours of November 14th. Yours of the 11th, 12th, and 13th are still missing. Lover, that letter helped me so much after missing a few days without mail. These letters reached me just before leaving the 184th at around 3. I also received Mom’s wonderful letter. The letters are always so very fine. It made me glad to know she like the little jacket which I was able to send her from Korea. She told me all about the new seed corn edition which Kenyon is adding to his present setup.

Mr. and Mrs. Mantey. February, 1945. From Willis’ scrapbook that he kept during the war.

  I also get a very fine letter from Dr. Mantey written during his New Testament class period. He was giving his class a memory verse test. He is certainly a fine man and I do love both Dr. and Mrs. Mantey. I also got a card from Louise Davis, she sent it on their trip (vacation) to Oklahoma. By the way, Dr. Manty enclosed a clipping about Divisions which were deactivated by October 31st and the others to be deactivated soon. In reading it over, I found that the 7th (Armored)  Division is to be deactivated, not the 7th Infantry Division. In reading it over I imagine he failed to notice Armored instead of Infantry and took it for granted that it was our Division. When you see him be sure to inform him that I’ll try to get a letter off to him as soon as possible.

 I got up very early this morning and went down to the old Chaplain’s office and started to get everything packed for my move over here. Don helped me and we sorted through most of the things, throwing away those things which will be of little value to us. We finished with the things down there about 10:30 and then went over to my quarters and packed my things over there. By the time we finished that job it was time to eat. Having had dinner, I bid many old friends goodbye and a little later left for Division Headquarters to sign out and get my classification card and papers. Then we picked up our equipment in the Jeep and trailer and made the trip over here. Chaplain Wells and Don came along with me. It was a few minutes after 4 when we arrived and somewhat later I had my supper and then came back up here to fix up my bed for the night. I also arranged my books and other equipment until I find out for sure where I’ll be located.

  For some reason or other I’m very tired and weary tonight and I’m going to try to get a good night’s sleep. I’m glad to tell you that I think I can avoid being promoted to a Major even though I am to be filling such a position. That helps as far as I’m concerned. My, I can see this is easily going to be the finest set up I’ve ever had since being in the chaplaincy. Now being assigned to a general hospital will give me experience with almost every branch of service in the work of chaplain. Now that it is over, I wouldn’t take anything for my combat experience but I wouldn’t go through it again if a man would give me $1,000,000. I’m certainly surprised to know that I was picked over so many other chaplains. Chaplain Wells when leaving this afternoon said I was the luckiest chaplain he ever saw and he felt I certainly deserved such an opportunity. Our Regimental Colonel was very gracious as were many others. Some of them did some very kind things in expressing their feelings in my leaving the 7th Division.

  You will be interested to know that I already have papers started through on Don. I’m certainly hoping I can get him over here. It has been rather cold today.

  Well Lover, it is very late and I must close for tonight. God bless you in all things, Beloved.

 Always just yours in Christ’s love,

  Willis

 Colossians 3:3

November 25, 1945

Seoul, Korea

25 November 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling Sweetheart:

If you noted the return address on this letter, don’t be alarmed because what I had hoped wouldn’t happen has happened. I’ve been transferred out of the good old 184th Infantry to the 29th General Hospital. Well, I’m afraid now that my chances for getting out of here in March are gone for now. I’m now being put into a Major’s position but there is nothing I can do about it. When I heard about the proposed plan yesterday morning, I immediately left here for Division to see if I could stop it, but they informed me that it was Corps order (24th) and that I would have to contact them, so I went right up there but the order was already printed and there wasn’t anything I could do about the situation. It certainly makes me feel badly about leaving the old 184th but I’ll do my best here under the circumstances. They have not yet started operation because of getting set up. From what I found out this afternoon, they will probably start to receive patients about three weeks from now. Of course, they tried to feed me that old line that I was picked for that most important job because of my splendid record, and they said I deserved the break on the basis of my record. The 29th General will be the one big and important hospital in all of Korea. Several other hospitals are being deactivated and at the present time, the low point personnel are being absorbed by the 29th General. Remember, this isn’t keeping me from pulling every string I possibly can to get out of here as soon as possible.

  Darling, I knew about this yesterday but I decided not to tell you until the orders arrived. They arrived this afternoon so I thought I might as well tell you now. Shortly after having my dinner, Don and I left here to go out to their location. It is certainly a wonderful location, in fact I understand it is the finest in Korea, but I will still miss the Infantry. I’m going to see what I can do about getting Don transferred to me over there. He wants to be with me otherwise he is going to go into something else because he had five other chaplains before me and he said he will never work for any other chaplain, for he had some pretty discouraging things happen before I met him in the 98th division. I met the Catholic chaplain there this afternoon and talked to him about 10 minutes before starting back here to the old 184th.

Paul Wells. Picture taken in Hawaii. February 1945.

  I got up early this morning and had a snack to eat, then I came down to the office and went over my sermon again. We had our morning worship service and there were well over 150 in attendance. In that Chaplain Wells was here this morning I had him help with the service. I preached this morning on the theme, “Making a Living.”  My scripture was I Timothy 6:11-21. I will not go into detail now, but it seemed to work out all right. After the service, many of the men came to me and said some very kind things. I wish you could have heard them, anyhow they helped me a little and maybe some of my work wasn’t in vain. Chaplain Wells will take over here until a chaplain comes in to replace me.

  This evening, after having had my supper I came over here to the office a few minutes to think and meditate on my message this evening. I used the story of the Prodigal Son as a basis for my message. There was a splendid bunch of men in attendance in spite of the fact that there were a lot on guard. The little chapel was packed full. It is the largest group we have ever had in the evening. Many more of them talked to me and said goodbye. As a result, it is rather late and your sweetheart is pretty tired. You would think I was a celebrity of some kind with all those who wanted my address and autograph in their Bibles.

  It just doesn’t seem true that I’m going to leave the old 184th. It wouldn’t be so difficult if it meant that I would soon be on my way to the States. As for me, that time can come none too soon. 

The great disappointment on top of all that has happened today and yesterday was the fact that there wasn’t any mail today. I had so hoped that some mail would have come through. I’m certainly hoping that there will be some mail for me tomorrow. It is so hard to go without hearing from you, Beloved.

   It has really been very cold today and is it going to get colder tonight. It is clear right now, so I would hardly expect snow unless it clouds up very suddenly during the night. Some good steam heat would feel good right now.

  Sweetheart, it is rather late and I’m very tired so I think I will close for tonight. Tomorrow will probably be a hectic day because I will have to get things packed up and if possible move over there to my new area. I certainly hope this is the last move I will have to make before that last wonderful move for the good old USA. Good night, Lover, be sure to give the folks my love, and remember, tonight finds me loving you more than ever.

 With my deepest love forever and

  always in Christ, because we are

 one in His love,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3

 P.S. Enclosed find a copy of yesterday’s order of service, it is the only one I had left.  In mimeographing it slipped through the machine without printing the cover so I took the cover of one we didn’t use so you can see what it was like.