Letter from Mrs. Arnold Lee

Madison, Wisconsin

July 30 – ’45.

Willis A. Reed,

Chaplain (Capt)

184th Infantry

Dear Chaplain,

Willis leading service on Okinawa. 1945.

Received your letter of comfort and information about our dear son. It was a terrible shock to us all but we have expected some kind of bad news, as LaVerne always was so faithful to write home and his last letter he wrote was written the 29th of April, I received it the 8th of May. LaVerne was such a pal to us all at home and his leaving us has and now will alway leave a vacant place. His other brother is waiting shipment for across now any day.

This war has saddened so many homes I wish it would soon end.

I wrote you a few days before I received your letter, to see if I could get some information, to have for his memorial the 12th of August, so I hope this letter reaches you before you prepare to send me the information again.

Will we have a chance to get our boy’s body home after the war? I wish I could, I’d like to have him in our family lot. Will we get his things he had with him?

I wish I could hear from one of the fellows that had been with LaVerne a few days before his death.

Thanking you again for your very comforting letter.


Mrs. Arnold Lee,

Madison 4,

R. #1 Wisconsin

Letter from Mrs. Dara Mendenhall

Ina, Illinois

May 26, 1945

Dear Sir:

Willis conducting baptisms on Okinawa. 1945

I am writing you in regards to my Son, S/Sgt. Waldo N. Mendenhall, who was killed in action on Okinawa Island (April 14, 1945)

He was with the 184th Inf. And the 7th Division. I have been wondering if you could give me some information as how my son was killed. Where and how he was buried.

He always attended church and Sunday school when he was at home.

I am hoping to hear form you soon. As it will mean so much to me, I wish to thank you for the kindness of your words of comfort to the ones in service over there.

If it isn’t asking too much, Please let me hear from you. As I am just broken hearted about my son.

Yours truly,

Mrs. DAra Mendenhall

Ina, Illinois



Ina, Illinois

July 12, 1945

Willis A. Reed

Chaplain (Capt.)

184th Infantry

Dear Sir:

I want to thank you for letting me know about my son who was killed on April 14th 1945 on Okinawa. I would be very happy if you could take a picture of Waldo’s grave and send it to me if there are any charges let me know.

We are heart broken, and our hands are tied as there isn’t anything we can do.

Sincerely yours,

Mrs. Dara E. Mendenhall

Ina, Ill

P.S. This was Waldo’s address:

S/ Sgt. Waldo N. Mendenhall 36011066

Co “E” 184th Infantry A.P.O #7

C/o postmaster

San Francisco, California

Hoping to hear from you soon. Thank you very much.

Letter from Mrs. Lillie V. Morton

Mrs. Lillie V. Morton

Rockdale, Tex R2 Bx 118

Aug. 15 1945

Chaplain Willis A. Reed

Willis leading service for a small group of men on Okinawa. 1945.

I want to thank you for your comforting and inspiring spiritual words in the death of my darling son Johnny who was killed May 23rd. I thank God that this cruel War is Over according to the news reported yesterday. I have one Dear Son living in the Philippines last heard of and the many many other dear soldiers that have been spared can come to meet those loved ones. But the absence that the war has left in my home and all other homes that the dear boys and girls had to give up their lives and can never come back to us. But one thing I can say thank God he was prepared to meet our blessed savior and dwell in a heaven of rest where we can all be United when our work on Earth is done but it is so hard to understand why God saw fit to have my family circle of twelve dear children broken in the war and had to be buried over there on the enemy’s land. Thank you for your services over his body and will you please tell me how he was killed and was his dear body blown to pieces or was he killed by bullet wounds. Was he killed instantly or did he have to suffer life away? Oh please tell me if all his body was buried it together and he was buried in a casket of some form where I can get his body brought back to be laid to rest in our home Cemetery where he wanted to be laid to await the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And do you know why the letters I wrote him was not delivered to him he never heard from home after the 7th of April? It was so hard to know he had to die without hearing from me as faithful as he always was to me. Will you please tell me who to write to get his dear body. I want to just as soon as I can get it and it is grave marker where I can be sure I get my dear son’s body. You are as in Christ. 

Lily V Morton.

 Johnny carried a steel back New Testament and billfold and knife. I want them if they can be shipped to me by return mail.

 Lilly V. Morton

Letter from (Rev. Dr.) Henry L McClellan

1003 Hancock St.

Sandusky, O.

Captain Willis A. Reed

184th Infantry, APO #7

My Dear Chaplain:-

Picture from the memorial service at the 7th Division Cemetery on Okinawa. 1945.

Your letter of condolence dated June 10, 1945 and postmarked July 10 has reached us at the same time as (air mail) letter of last week from Cape. J.W. Brokau. We sincerely appreciate the sympathetic thoughts, quotation given here; and as well the facts of informations which will remain a comfort to us – wife and self. Let me extend our thankfulness to the Chaplain of his faith who said the service, the committal for his burial. He was the only close survived of our family and we must have abiding faith and trust in our God – even when the “way” seems filled with mystery.

I am glad you spoke of “his grave is marked by a lovely white cross.”

Maybe God will bring us together someday before our sunsets, and meantime we thank you for thoughts and kindnesses.

Very truly and sincerely,

(Rev. Dr.) Henry L McClellan

P.S. Enclosed and headed by favor Capt. J.W. Brokau


Captain John W. Brokau, Commanding,

Co. J. 184th Infantry #7

Dear Captain Brokau:

We have been greatly moved and deeply sustained by the assurance from your letter that our son, “Donald,” won the admiration of all members by his courage and devotion to the service; a tribute no doubt to his trining and education – military and college.

You have very succinctly given us facts we shall treasure, in beautifully expressed letter. He was our only son and come thro to Ohio to see us early February last; very hopeful and valiant.

His employer Corporation of Troa was recently writing about his return to them – Bishop Shayer of Los Angeles, Rev. Heppel Hill of Salinas, Calif. have written most sustaining words to us.

Perhaps our paths may meet somewhere and sometime that I pray. Thank you for your personal expression.

Kindly and sincerely,

(Rev. Dr.) Henry. L McClellan

July 18, 1945

P.S. Do you mind passing an enclosed letter on to Captain Chaplain Willis A. Reed 184th Inf. Who has expressed thoughtful words.


Letter from Mrs. Herbert M. Paige

2617 Gallatin Road

Nashville, Tennessee

October 16, 1945

Dearest Chaplain,

I am writing in regard to Vernon L Nance, 34494676.  A few months ago I heard that Vernon had been killed on Okinawa the 25th of May.

Willis in front of the chapel on Okinawa.

I’ve been wondering if perhaps you knew just how he met his death. You see, my family was very fond of him and of his family. He and I went to High School together but he was called to the Army while we were Seniors. He only had one furlough during the time he was in the service and that was in order that he might be present at the Graduation. It made all of his classmates proud to have him march down the aisle with us. Somehow, he, in his uniform, seemed to represent all the things we wanted and believed in.

Vernon was the only one of that class of ’43 who didn’t return. God must have a very special place for him in Heaven for he was, indeed, a very special person and one worthy of any honor which might be bestowed upon him.

Will you write me and tell me of his last days and of the way he met his death? I should appreciate it very much.

Very sincerely yours,

(Mrs.) Herbert M. Paige

2617 Gallatin Road

Nashville, Tennessee

Letter from Mrs. Lydia Rhode

As we do not have Willis Reed’s letters from February 22-March 22, we will be posting a variety of other things.  This week will be the letters from families of soldiers killed.

Sheboygan, Wis.

August 24 / 45

Robert A. White

1st Lt., 184 Infantry


Dear Sir,

We were deeply shocked to know that our son, Raymond was killed in action on Okinawa Shima. How patiently we waited for his safe return to his loved ones.

Through your knowledge we found lots of consolations knowing how it happened and that he was laid to rest with full military honors, and services of his faith.

Now as we do not intend to have his body removed from the present plot, could we maybe get a picture of the Seventh infantry Division Cemetery? Or perhaps the surrounding of the place where his body was laid to rest?

I think it would comfort us in some way.

I would appreciate this very much if you could do this for me, if it is allowed and convenient to you.

Thanking you most sincerely,

Mrs. Lydia Rohde

Route #2 Box 300

Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Mrs. Joyce Hamm

As we do not have Willis Reed’s letters from February 22-March 22, we will be posting a variety of other things.  This week will be the letters from families of soldiers killed.


Dear Captain Reed,

Sometime ago I received your very consoling letter of May the 10th. I really cannot believe God has taken my dearly beloved husband as he was so young and we were happy.

Since his passing we have been blessed with a little son, whom I have called Larry Jon. God took his daddy and gave me his son to help comfort me.

Larry, as Clarence was known to all of us here, was very spiritual as we both were. He would write of passages of scripture he had read and one was the 23rd Psalm. So I know he was prepared to go and wasn’t afraid of death; for to know Christ as our Savior is life – not death. I have been comforted by this thought. I shall miss him so very much, and someday we will meet again.

I cannot believe he is gone, nor do I understand why – God has a plan in all He does – so will have to wait and someday I will know why. Those four lines written by Dr. Zimmer are so true and comforting, as I know Larry, my husband is watching me day by day.

I have his son to care for and love and this I am thanking our Dear God for.

You asked in your letter if there were ever anything you could do for me, I should let you know – and there is. I wonder if it would be at all possible for you to give me the name of the person or persons with my husband at the time of his passing -especially the chaplain. Also some of his friends or buddies who were with him in battle and play. Maybe you could have them write to me first and I will go on from there. I just want to have more intimate information concerning him than I have received, as he meant all in all to me, and our love was deep as the deepest sea.

Larry was looking so forward to the baby’s arrival and also to coming home, but God doesn’t want us to plan – but to live for Him day to day.

Please forgive me for the awful writing as this quite a task to write.

I would like to thank you once again for your kind sympathy in the hour of sorrow. God has sent people like you to comfort people like me.

I am young, only twenty-two, so will have to build my life on memories. Our son will do the rest, as God has so planned it that way.

Thanking you, I am

Very sincerely yours,

Mrs. Joyce Hamm

My address is:

Mrs. Joyce Hamm

Lisle, Illinois

C/o J.W. McIntyre

Letter from Mrs. James F. Parker

As we do not have Willis Reed’s letters from February 22-March 22, we will be posting a variety of other things.  This week will be the letters from families of soldiers killed.

Comstock, New York

August 15th, 1945

Chaplain Willis A. Reed (Capt.) USA;


Hq. Special Troops, 7th Inf. Div.

A.P.O. #7, % Postmaster

San Francisco, California;

Dear Mr. Reed;

I received your letter of May 6th, 1945: Telling us about our son Pfc. Morgan J. Parker 32851675. I have received other letters also but none of them stated the time of day that he met his death; as you said, words are not adequate to express our feelings and I do know personally that his passing leaves an ache in all our hearts here at home which can never be healed entirely. Anyone would have wanted to know him personally, in order to know what a very fine son he was. He left school half-way thru his third year high and went to work in order to take over full responsibility of a family of seven. Due to ill health his father was unable to keep things going, so Morgan did and never a word of complaint in any way. He was one in a million and it is with pain in my heart that I think now he can never come home. We had all looked forward and planned so on his return, so we could perhaps in some way repay him for all he has done for us.

I personally feel that the best of my life is over, yet I am still considered young having married very young. We have four other children: A boy, seventeen, one fourteen, one eleven and a little girl four years old. Morgan worshipped her and although she was barely two when he left, she still remembers him clearly. It’s so hard to make her understand. She keeps on asking why we don’t receive any more letters from him and when he can come home again to stay. Yesterday, when peace was officially declared, the boys came running in to tell us (I haven’t had the radio on since receiving the telegram) and the first thing she said was, “Mamma, now can Morgie come home and stay?”

While I am very glad that the war is finally over, I just can’t bear to see them celebrate, for after all, Morgan was so very young and had planned so on coming home, it really seems more than I can bear at times. If they hadn’t drafted eighteen-year-olds, he would still be here in the States.

The verses you called to my attention were very fitting. I thought much the same myself; God must have had His reasons but it does seem so much more than I can bear. Right now, the future looks very dark and unpromising; It will leave a scar on our hearts which can never fully heal. This war will be remembered in more ways than one by our family and a great many of Morgan’s friends who all have the highest of praise for him.

Thanking you  sincerely for the family,

I am sincerely yours,

Mrs. James F. Parker Jr.

Comstock, New York

From Edith Welch – Yuba City, California

As we do not have Willis Reed’s letters from February 22-March 22, we will be posting a variety of other things.  This week will be the letters from families of soldiers killed.

Yuba City, Calif.

August 24, 1945

Dear Sir,

I am writing to thank you for your kindness.  Your letter meant so much to me and did put some comfort in my heart. Your letter told me of my husband’s burial and death. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in all of my life after trusting in God for his returning back to us.

I know you have a great responsibility helping those who are around you without we on this side, asking for information, but you are the only one who can help me as you know more about my husband’s cause of death.

Chaplains Willis served with at the Division cemetery. August 1945.

I want to ask you some personal questions about my husband and I do pray that you can answer some of them, as it bears on my mind day and night and has caused me to become absent-minded because I feel so sick at heart. God knows best and took Burl (my husband). He was a wonderful child of God, cared nothing for things of this world, didn’t smoke, drink, curse or nothing of those things. He believed in living a Holy life, pleasing to God. His letters always gave me great comfort if anything did happen to him, he always said, “If I die on this side don’t worry because I’m ready to meet God and I’ll meet you in Heaven.” I do have the faith that he died for God and his country and he made Glory Land.

Dear Brother, what I want to know is if you can find a buddy who knew PVT. Burl W. Welch. If you could ask someone from his company to locate such a person so I could correspond with them maybe I could find out more information about Burl.

  He lived two days, died in some hospital on Okinawa. I’d like to know if he was conscious those two days, if he was, I believe he left a message for me and his two children he loved so dearly. Please send me all the information you can get. If it’s possible, could you tell me of his wounds. Whether it was his face, arms, legs or body. I wonder so much about those things and you are the only one I know to write and ask about. I’d like to know how badly he was wounded even though I know he suffered a terrible death because he lived just two days.

  I didn’t get his grave mark or the name of the cemetery he was buried in. I like so much to know them, someday I’m trusting I get to visit him.

  Do they send pictures of the cemetery to relatives? Please sir, if it’s possible, I’d love to have four pictures of it for myself and the two children when they grow up and one for his dear mother and father.  

I know I am asking a great deal of you and I feel so little in doing it, although I know you will do that which you are able, but I know God will bless you.

  I have paid a great price for this war. It cost me my precious husband and companion, home and all the happiness I’ll ever know because it has taken life itself when they took Burl from me.

I know God is a faithful God and never fails, but I can’t understand why he took my Burl since we both were serving Him and putting all our trust and hope in Him. Some day I pray to pay the price that Burl paid so I can once more meet him again where there will be no more sad goodbyes, wars, and heartaches.

  If there is anything else you can tell me about him, you know how deeply it will be appreciated.

  I received his personal belongings and all it contained was two Bibles, identification booklet and billfold and pictures. Did they bury wedding rings on the boys? Please write me any little thing you can find out about Burl.  I’ll be looking forward to your letter each day that this letter leaves me. God bless you in your work and I know you are doing a wonderful job for all the boys who love you so much.

Pvt Burl W. Welch

38687328 184 Inf. Co. K

#P.O. 7

Mrs. Edith Welch

Yuba City, Calif.

Rt. 1 % Jas. Hensley