October 7, 1943

Willis didn’t write a letter on March 1, 1944, so instead we’ll post a letter he wrote to the Muellers.  They were friends from East Moline and we were fortunate enough to find a stack of letter that Willis wrote to them. Some of the details that Willis shares give a different view of the details which he shares with Sarah.

October 7, 1943

Dear John, Helen and Children:-

Undoubtedly you have been thinking that I had forgotten you, which of course is not true, because I’ve thought of you many times. John, you’ll never know how glad I was to receive your letter while still at Harvard.

The Mueller Letters.

I got my orders the next to the last day at Harvard by telegram, and my orders read to report to this outfit. A.A.A. means Anti-Aircraft Artillery. Our gun batteries range from the ordinary machine gun up to the 3 in Anti-Aircraft guns. Most of these positions are so well camouflaged as to not be seen. In this regiment I have 18 separate gun batteries to take care of, each battery having between 150 to 160 men. These positions are all the way from Seal Beach to Point Dune, 20 miles north of Santa Monica. We also have positions in L.A., San Pedro, Glendale, Hollywood, etc. We also have eight searchlight groups attached to this outfit.

Last Sunday I had five services. My assistant is my driver, for I have my own Jeep to get from place to place. We started at 8:30 AM from Headquarters and didn’t get back until 5:40 P.M. Each service lasted 45 minutes, the rest of the time was spent in travel. Some of the services are held in the dugouts under the guns. It is surely a great experience. Last Sunday morning I had 20 men crammed in a little hole or dugout, we had our service along with World Communion. This is as near the real thing as you could have in the country, all we lack is real shell fire, for our men are living under actual field conditions all the time.

We had two men killed in our outfit since last Thursday and as you know that involves a lot of extra work for the Chaplain. Some of the problems I’ve run into almost tear you heart out; it hardly seems that human beings could be so foolish and stupid.

I met Larry Upton while at Harvard and we talked on several different occasions.

Write to me soon, for I’m anxious to hear from you as soon as possible. I would like to be able to write more but I have a lot to do now.

With Love and Best Wishes,


Phil. 1:3

Col. 3:1-4

P.S. If you see Harry Allen’s, tell them as soon as I have a little more time I’ll drop them a note.

January 20, 1944

Willis didn’t write a letter on February the 28th, so instead we’ll post a letter he wrote to the Muellers.  They were friends from East Moline and we were fortunate enough to find a stack of letter that Willis wrote to them.  This letter sheds a bit more insight that we previously didn’t have about Willis’ last visit home in December.

January 20,1944

Dear John and Helen:-

The Muellers from East Moline.

Just a note to let you know I received your most welcome letter on retuning to Headquarters. It was surely good to see and be with Sarah again but it was surely hard to leave her because we do not know now how long it will be before we see each other.

I’m glad you had such a fine Christmas – I surely thought of you even though I had a very busy day.

I arrived in Chicago by air at 6 A.M. December 30th, which happened to be my birthday and our 1 1/2 year wedding anniversary. We made it from Los Angeles to Chicago in 14 hours and 15 minutes actual flying time, that also included our stops at Salt Lake City, Denver and Omaha.  We went over the tri-cities around 5 A.M., it was a beautiful sight from the air. We were flying at about 10,000 feet.

Our group is suppose to leave here January 30th, but we don’t know where to as yet. We are expecting to hear at any time now.  I don’t believe we will go to a port of embarkation as yet but we will never know until our orders arrive. I’m not sure what will happen to me for our Colonel says he wants me to go with him and another Colonel wants me to stay here in his outfit. It puts me on the spot because I don’t know whether I’ll stay here or go with this group. It’s all according to Washington.

How are the children? We are surely having wonderful weather here, yesterday the temperature was 88 and the mountains are beautiful for all peaks are covered with snow.

Well, I must close for now and may God richly bless you in all your undertakings.

With Love and Best Wishes,


Colossians 3:1-4

P.S. I’m enclosing one of the Christmas programs I prepared for our services.

Written on the side:

I’ll send you my new address as soon as I know what it will be.