August 18, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

18 August 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling:

Well Darling, there wasn’t any mail from you this evening, I had hoped there would be at least one letter from you, but I got two yesterday.  You just cannot fully realize how much it helps me to have a letter from you. They do me more good than any other one thing. I do hope it won’t be too much longer when we won’t have to depend upon letters to know what the other has been doing. Vogels will soon be out there with you and I know you are going to have a wonderful time together, be sure to tell me about it. I love them so very much and it will be so good to see them again.

This morning slipped by very rapidly and I studied for a while and then two different men came in to see me about some problems which they had. More home problems, I cannot for the life of me think what some of these women are thinking about back there. And I have no more respect for the men who runs around with them either.

I relaxed for about one half an hour following my dinner and then came back down here and did some more studying. The men came by and asked me to pitch for them again. It was quite a ball game, the score was 5 to 4 and I had pretty good luck at bat getting two hits out of three times at bat. I do like to play baseball. 

Immediately following the game I took a shower and prepared to have our evening meal. For the last week or so our food hasn’t been so good. I certainly get tired of pork sausage, spam and Vienna sausage so often. In fact, I have had so much of it that I don’t eat it anymore when it is served. I’ve often wondered where all the beef is that they have been telling you civilians back home we are getting out here. Some of the outfits get it like the Air Corps and Navy personnel, but we men in the Infantry seem to be in a different class. Forgive me for complaining, for really I am not going hungry and I am thankful for what we do have, but to have some of your good cooking again will be about the most wonderful thing I can imagine. Many times I am reminded of some of the good things which you and Mom have made. It makes all the difference in the world when a person’s love and devotion is wrapped up in their cooking for the ones they love. I suppose our food will be rather poor now until we are settled down again in our new location. 

Right after supper I had three more men come to see me about some problems. More of that mentioned above. One was concerning a soldier who was killed on this operation shortly after we landed. All in all I have been very busy all day although from what is said above it looks like very little was done on my part. You know it isn’t the easiest thing to write about everything, many things are only fully appreciated when we can talk about them together. 

Darling, in your letter of 26th of July you were worrying about sending me some more things. Please don’t worry about sending me anything now for a while, for things for us in the future are going to be most uncertain. Really, I’m getting along fine and I have most everything I need. In fact, I have some things which I cannot decide what to do with them, that is whether to keep them them or send them home to you before we move again. I shall request things if I need them so don’t worry, Dear.

Churchill voted out as Prime Minister. July 1945.

I was rather surprised to see that Churchill was voted out as Prime Minister, but that is the way history goes. I don’t know too much about Atlee but it does seem that he is quite liberal and socialist through and through. Undoubtedly there is going to be some great changes in Britain in the next few years.

It rained several times today and it looks like it might rain some more tonight. The old tent has been standing the wind and weather very well since we fixed it up that one time. It will certainly be something to be able to sleep in a regular house again on something besides the ground or an army cot. Whenever the wind comes up the old tent makes a lot of noise with flapping, etc. 

Darling, enclosed in this letter find two shots of one of our churches here on this island. This picture was taken during the battle as you will notice. Shuri was in the Marine sector of the fighting, as a result, I didn’t get to see it until the battle was over. The church was in the best shape of any of the buildings in the city of Shuri, all other buildings were completely demolished or only a wall or so standing. All Christian buildings were spared if possible. You can see that this building didn’t take any direct hits from large artillery. What damage was done was from flying shell fragments. This building was constructed of reinforced concrete, so from evidences in this picture you can see the effects of flying shell fragments. 

Darling, I am very tired and it is getting late so I think I will close and try to get a good nights sleep for tomorrow and its responsibilities. God bless you Beloved in all things and remember I love you more than ever I have before. 

Always and forever just yours in

Christ’s wonderful love,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. The enclosed pictures came out of a Catholic newspaper.

August 17, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

17 August 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling Wife:

This evening I was again pleasantly surprised with two of your letters, they were for August 6th and 7th. I can see from what you said in the letters that you are having a good time at the cottage and I do hope that it will prove to be most refreshing to all of you. I’m sure that it is going to be good for Paul, Gen and the children. I’ve been thinking a lot about all of you and I do hope that all of you are able to have a good time. Your description of the sunsets brought back some precious memories and made me so very very lonesome for you my Dear. Besides your letter I got a very nice letter from Mom. She is so sweet and I do love her so very very much. I only hope she has a good rest out there at the cottage with you. I would certainly like to be there with all of you. Just two years ago tonight I was on the train on my way to Harvard University. Darling, those have been two very long years, and from the looks of things, it is still going to be quite a while before I’ll be able to be back there with you for good. I’ll certainly be glad when the day comes when I can get out of the Army, it may be all right but I would never want to spend my life in it even with the rank of a full General. Just to be with you in the Lord’s work again will be the wonderful thing I can think of right now. There was some mail also from Stan Beaumont, Marguerite Simonian and another bulletin from the First Church of Long Beach. 

Picture Willis sent to Sarah.

Shortly after having breakfast, Don and I left here for the Division Headquarters to check up on some things that needed attention. I spent some talking over things with the Chaplain there and making plans for the future. By the way, while I was there I stopped by the finance office and found out that I had to sign for that travel pay which only amounted to $17.75, so they paid me in cash instead of sending you a check for it.  So now you won’t have to be looking for that check now that I told you about sometime ago. By the way, I hope you get the check of $105.25 all right for the month of July which I told you about a few days ago. Of course that check will be sent to the home address and I hope no one bothers the mailbox. Be sure to let me know about it, Dear.

From the Division we went over to the Engineers to pick up a nice pulpit which the men made for me to use in the chapel we have managed to construct out of scrap lumber of all kinds as well as some old ponchos. I visited with the men for a few minutes, but we had to hurry back for we had many other things to do. When I got back here there was a man to see Don and I about some things. By the time he left it was time to eat dinner so I had my dinner and immediately following dinner I washed out some more clothes. In hot weather like this it keeps you busy washing out your clothes. After that, I studied and worked on some things for this Sunday. We had an important meeting of officers which took quite a while and by the time that was over it was time to eat. Having eaten, I came back on down here and found the good letters which I told you about above. I only wish we could talk like we used to, Dear.  Paul got two letters from Marjorie but their baby hasn’t arrived as yet, as far as he knows, and he is pretty much concerned about the whole thing. And I don’t blame him, I know I would be very much concerned. 

Dear, just a few moments ago I had another one of those wonderful cookies and a handful of peanuts.  They were so very good. All of them are gone now but two and I’ll eat them soon. I have given a quite a few of them away and all are agreed that they are very very good.

Darling, often I’m reminded of how we used to talk to each other and how much it meant to me then and how even it means more now. On a lot of occasions I have shed a few tears thinking about those times. Humanly it is impossible to describe to you just how much I love you. I’m more lonesome for you than you will ever know.

I was sorry to know that Mr. Kemp has become so bitter about the death of his son. Naturally, it is hard for them to lose their only son, but he will only make his own life more unhappy by being bitter about the whole thing. My heart goes out to anyone who loses loved ones. If you could see some of the letters I receive from those who have lost loved ones you would learn a quite a few things. 

The annual planning meeting which they had at North Shore sounded interesting and now if they will only put some of those things in action, it will certainly help the church a great deal spiritually, and from what I know that is what the church needs most of all. 

 I was glad to hear about how well the Baptist Conference turned out this year at Green Lake. It must have been very very good. 

Well Darling, I must close for tonight. God bless you richly in all things is my prayer. I love you more than ever I have before, Dear. 

Yours alone in the love of our

Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

August 16, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

16 August 1945

Sarah: My Dearest Darling:

This evening I had the joy of having three of your letters, they were for August 3rd, 4th and 5th. They were so good and I was really becoming lonesome to hear from you. According to your last letter you were out at the cottage for your vacation and I do hope it proves to be very restful and refreshing both physically and spiritually. It must be nice to get away like that for a while. I received four of the pictures which you took on the boat trip and they are really good, I suppose the others will be in your next letters. I also got some other letters, they were from the following people: Paul Vogel, Faith Allen, Louise Davis, Connie, Dolores, Jack and Bertha, Katherine Riley, North Shore Baptist, Tremont Temple News and other official mail.

Early this morning Paul and I arranged for transportation and called on some of our men in the hospitals. It was almost 4:30 by the time we were able to get back here to our headquarters. Just before noon I had the privilege of seeing Alrik for about five minutes, he had just arrived with his new hospital outfit. From all we hear, the formal signing of surrender papers with Japan are to take place sometime tomorrow in Manila. The sooner they get this thing straightened out the better I will feel. I know of course we are going to run into some diehards in some places. Rumors are flying fast and furious now as to what we are going to do in the near future. I will just wait and see. Many men make themselves the most uncomfortable because they’re always getting their hopes up on something which they are not at all sure about and when it fails to materialize as they had hoped they immediately have the blues and do a lot of complaining. We never know, we may be home in three or four months, but I would rather count on the next spring or summer and be pleasantly surprised.

I’m still trying to fully realize just how good it is to know we are not going to have to fight as we did on this island. It hardly seems true that we are no longer at war officially. That is, we have been ordered to cease firing. Of course, I realize that V-J Day will not be officially proclaimed by President Truman until Japan has officially signed surrender papers through her appointed representatives.

Darling, the mail came in very late tonight and as a result I won’t be able to write you a long letter because it is very late now. It took a long time to read all of the letters which I received. God bless you Beloved in all things. Give the folks my love also.

Yours now and forever in the love

of Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

August 15, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

15 August 1945

The Day of Japan’s Surrender

My Beloved Darling:

I had hoped to have mail from you but again none arrived. Mail has been coming in very slowly the last few days. Of course, the big news came in this morning shortly after 8 o’clock when we received word that Japan had finally decided to surrender. They still have to sign the papers, etc. But we have been ordered to cease-fire. However, we must be on the alert for there will probably be some fanatics who may try to pull some things which will result in injury or death. It just doesn’t seem true that Japan has surrendered. All day long I have turned it over in my mind and it is certainly wonderful to think perhaps now men can start making their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. I’m sure there is rejoicing all over the world but why men should celebrate by drenching themselves in intoxicating liquors I will never understand. Seeing the conditions of some of the men is indeed heartbreaking. Instead of prayer and thanksgiving they drink and act like a bunch of fools.

The news of Japan’s surrender.

This morning I took care of some letters of inquiry from those who have lost loved ones. Of course, a lot of men came in to see me about when they thought we might be able to go home. That is most unpredictable. Now that Japan has surrendered our future is most uncertain. At best I will not expect to get home until next spring sometime. If any sooner so much better. As things are now, we are most uncertain, but I’ll do my best to keep you informed from time to time. The sooner I can see you and be with you always the happier I’ll be. By the way, today I figured up an it has been 581 days since I’ve seen you, Dear. That is a lot of days to be apart. After we get together I hope there will be no days apart. I know this, if I ever go anywhere for a few days I will want you along unless it is absolutely impossible. What do you say, Sweetheart? This day has seemed like weeks long and it seemed much much longer than this evening I found there was no mail from my Darling Sweetheart.

Just before noon Alrik called me to inform me that he is now assigned as a chaplain for one of our hospitals here. It was good to hear his voice. I hope I’ll be able to see him again soon.

Darling, shortly after dinner I made up a box of clothes to send home to you. There are sheets, pillow cases, shorts, undershirts, handkerchiefs and towels. You will note they are all white. I’ve never used the sheets since I left Oahu and I didn’t want to soil them. I am sorry some of the things are so soiled but Dear it is so hard to wash white things when you only have cold water and a little soap. The shorts and towels I have now are O.D. Color and they don’t show little tail gray so badly. You ought to get it in a month or so.

This evening I had the midweek service and there were 53 in attendance. My scripture was Acts the third chapter and entitled my message, “Under Observation.” Those who are Christians or who profess to be are under observation and need to  be fortified and strengthened in the power of Jesus Christ. From what several said it was helpful to them.

We had a lot more rain this afternoon. We did have a beautiful evening though. They really have some beautiful cloud formations here. So many men never even notice them, but being located as we are, we can see the Pacific Ocean very clearly. And I wish you could see the reflection of the clouds in the water when it is calm. It is indeed a sight to behold.

Chaplain Holt has quite a few points, he is married and they have twin boys. He is a very good friend of our Division General and he helped him get home so he can get a discharge. He have been in the service for a little over four years and had not seen his wife for about 26 months.

Well Darling, it is rather late and I’m tired so I’m going to close for tonight. God bless you Dear in all things.

For always and ever yours in Christ’s love,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

August 14, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

14 August 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Well, another day is past and there wasn’t any mail from you and we still don’t know whether Japan is going to accept the surrender terms. Perhaps we will hear sometime tonight. At least I hope it won’t be much longer. I thought probably I would have a letter from you today. I did receive a v-mail letter from Ruth Reid and the latest TIME Magazine; you will remember I told you that Don subscribed to it for me.

August 14, 1945.

This has been one of those days when you keep going all the time and it seems you have accomplished very little. Immediately following breakfast, I came down here to the Chaplain’s tent and wrote a letter to Daunt and Mil. I haven’t heard from them for a long long time now. Then I had my devotions and studied until shortly before dinner. After having my dinner, I got all my old dirty fatigues together and washed them. As I’ve said before, that is really a hard job, when you don’t have warm water and they become so hard to handle when they get wet. It started to pour rain and it lasted for about an hour, in the meantime I went to my tent and went through some things and tried to straighten them out.

Paul had his Bible class on the book of Ephesians which I attended. Immediately following that I wrote letters to the following people: Vivian Schaffer, Ruth Reid, Mr. and Mrs. Zude, and Mr. and Mrs. Pearson. I will forward the letters to you so you will have an opportunity to read them. It is certainly sultry here tonight and for some reason or other I am very tired. There is very little news today but I know that I love you much more than ever and will be loving you more this time tomorrow evening. I do hope there is some mail from you tomorrow. The cookies and peanuts are wonderful; and Sweetheart, I guess I am a little selfish but I’ve been hoarding them for myself. I have given Don and Paul each a couple and some of the peanuts. I will give them some more, but I’m going to eat a good share of them myself.

From what you told me in your letter of July 24th, you must have had a wonderful time at the Tannehills. Their little girl must be very sweet and unspoiled.

Darling, I’m so tired and weary that I think I will close for tonight. God bless you and remember that I love you more than ever I have before. Give the folks my deepest love.

Always just yours in the love of 

our Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. Enclosed find Holly’s letter.

August 13, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

13 August 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

I had hoped that I would have a letter from you today, but none came, however there are the ones that have already arrived and they are really a blessing to my heart. This evening I did have a very pleasant surprise and that was the arrival of the box of cookies which you sent me on June 2nd. That was the chocolate chip cookies with all those nice peanuts packed around them. Those cashew nuts are good also. The cookies came through in very good shape. They are so very good and are as fresh as can be. You are so sweet and thoughtful to send them to me. They came through in perfect shape. They made me more lonesome than ever to be home with you, Dear.

Newspaper from August 13, 1945.

All day long everyone around here has been waiting for the official word from Japan. And from the looks of things we will not know anything tonight. I do pray and hope that this thing will soon be over. I know people back in the States must be eagerly awaiting for the answer from Japan.

It was very hot and sultry this morning and shortly after dinner it started to rain and rained most most all afternoon, just before sundown it cleared up some; and we really had a beautiful sunset. It is really warm and sultry now even though it is getting late. There is no breeze whatsoever. I’m inclined to believe that we will probably have some more rain during the night.

I spent the entire morning studying and arranging some material which I had hoped to take care of for sometime. I like to keep things where I can find them when I want them because out here you do not have a lot of time to prepare things; sometimes I use what what available time I can to gather, to develop, or think of seed thoughts which I know will be helpful in our work with the men.

In that it rained all afternoon, I used my time to read several things that I have wanted to read and also had my devotions and worked on some thoughts for my message this coming Wednesday evening and Sunday. By the way, I forgot to mention the fact that I got a nice letter from Sgt. Visconti, my old friend of the 98th Division. He wrote me a very nice letter and it was so good to hear from him.

Immediately following our evening meal, I came back down here and wrote a letter to Chief and Mom. I always love to hear from them, and above all else, I want them to know that I love them with my whole heart and more than that I want them to know just how dear you are to me Dear and how thankful I will always be for your wonderful love and devotion to Christ and to me. Thank you my Beloved for being such a good Christian wife. After finishing their letter, Don and I had a long talk about things near to our heart, and of course you know that included you Dear. We also discussed some problems we have around here and entered into a covenant of prayer about the whole thing. Don is certainly a wonderful fellow and we really have some wonderful times together. I know you will like him very much. As soon as he possibly can he is planning on attending Bob Jones College. We are able to have so many good talks and he being an honest clean Christian makes it so much more joy than you are able to find in the Army.

I was surprised to hear that Gilbert Johnstone is back in the States. I hope that he is much better now. Did you ever hear what was his trouble? I’m sure that he must be very happy to be back in the States. I know when I saw him down at Biak he was pretty sick and tired of the Army has a whole. Do you know where he is stationed now in the States? I suppose he had some time home with his family. From what you told me in your letter, you must have had a very nice time down at the beach with the white color girls. Someday perhaps we will have the opportunity to go swimming together at the shack as we used to do. Remember, didn’t we used to have a lot of fun? I know I always enjoyed it very much.

Bridenstein is a Catholic chaplain and Chaplain Holt is a Presbyterian. I suppose Chaplain Holt is home now; and I know that he must be very glad to say the least.

Well Dear, I must close for tonight. God bless you Dear in all things is my prayer.

It is so good it to be yours

Alone in Christ’s perfect love,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

August 12, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

12 August 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling:

Just before my evening service I came here to the Chaplain tent and found your grand letter of August 2nd awaiting me. I read it hurriedly and then proceeded with the evening service. It was such a good letter and helped me a lot with the service. It has always meant a lot to me to see you in the congregation. I do hope that it won’t be too long until I’ll be able to see you down there in the congregation.

Newspaper from August 12, 1945.

This was really a hot day and it is still rather warm. It was such a beautiful sunrise this morning and the ocean has really been very calm all day. I attended Paul’s service which was fairly well attended and he preached on, ”Wanted: A Faith.” For the next hour I came back here to the Chaplain tent and went over my message again while the Catholic chaplain had mass for his men. And then at 11 o’clock we had my service. We really had a fine crowd in attendance, all the seats were taken and a quite a few men were standing or sitting on the ground outside of the chapel. I spoke on Galatians 5:13-26. And used as the theme of my message this thought, “Winning Peace.” I introduced the theme by saying that almost all those I’ve talked to are saying, I hope they accept the surrender offer of Japan. We hope that on the basis of the cessation of hostilities, but at that moment we face an even greater choice or decision, are we going to accept the terms of self surrender to God’s word which means the hope of the kind of peace we have been fighting for. Then I further developed the message on these three points; called the three C’s. Condition,(World); Causes (of world condition) and last Cure (and how we can and will have peace). In the passages of Scripture used, we have vivid descriptions of the fruits of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit. And then I concluded with the idea that Christianity is more than some beautiful story of the past; nor is it a way of escape. It is intensely practical and the only way of life now for men and nations. A lot of men said some encouraging things about it, and several said they thought I ought to have it written and published. Very gracious and kind of them to say the least. I only pray and hope that it will challenge men to accept the way of life as we have it in Christ.

After the service was over I hurried to have my dinner so I could get a way to hold a service for one of our isolated units here on the island. Was I ever surprised, do you know that we had fried chicken for dinner, I could hardly believe my eyes. That was the first chicken I had had since last February. I had a wing and a small thigh. I could have eaten some more but I was very thankful for that much.

As soon as dinner was over, Don, the Jeep driver and I left in order to have a service for the isolated unit mentioned above. There were only 29 men in attendance but that was good considering the fact that they had a quite a few out on patrol seeking to round up some more enemy soldiers, and then of course there were others on the guard post. I use the same message that I did in the morning service. We arrived back here after 4 o’clock, so I decided to go up and stretch out on my cot until time to eat. I rested for about an hour, then having had supper I came down here and found your grand letter. As soon as I read the letter we had our evening service. This evening I spoke on Luke 23:1-12. Using as the theme of my message, “No Room for Christ.” I introduced it on a basis of how people or nations fix up their homes or rooms when a dignitary comes to visit their home or nation, but Christ was born in a stable. I showed how it was the religious leaders who brought Christ to be tried by the public officials; just so do we bring Christ to be tried by the world when we live carelessly in our lives and habit. And then my second main point was Herod as an example of sensuality. His life represented everything which the pleasure seekers are after and he mocked the life and power of Christ because of the shallow lives of the religious leaders who left Christ in the stable rather than in throne rooms of their lives and hearts. The world judges Christ greatly upon what power or effect they see Him having over the lives of those who profess to follow Him. And my last point was how Christ the stable effects the political world, as represented in the person of Pilate and Rome. Because we have given Christ the stable in our own individual lives, nations accept the same principle and give him the stable also, but then here I brought in the challenge for men as individuals to give Christ the place which will bring salvation, joy, peace and the more abundant life which we have been fighting for.

The air seems to pulsate with anxiety wondering what the next few hours may bring, will it be the cessation of hostilities or will it be more war and bloodshed. All everybody talks about around here is that one thing. I’m sure the same it must be true back in the USA as well as all over the world. The Christian people of the world and our nation must work harder than ever before, but we are going to have a wonderful opportunity, for I am fully convinced that it is the only hope or answer. I certainly wish you and I could talk this over as we did other things before. It is so hard to write things in a letter so they can be satisfactorily understood, and after all, the presence of the other means so much when you discuss such matters.

I’m glad you had such a nice visit with Marjorie Wells, Paul is expecting to hear anytime that the baby has arrived. You certainly had a long visit. Yes, Paul sent home a pair of Japanese binoculars, but I have a pair of that is even better than his, but now we are not allowed to send such things home, so all I can do is keep them and hope that I can take them home with me when I come home. I got them under about the worst conditions you can imagine so I would hate to lose them now.

I was surprised to hear about Willard Justice meeting Helen Anderson’s husband. I knew him quite well, he graduated a year after I left Northern. Is he with the Army or with the Navy?

It would have been nice if I could see Bill Doten, that is if he is on this island. I haven’t seen Bill now for several years.

Well, Lover, it is rather late and I’m tired so I think I will close for tonight. God bless my dear one in all things is my prayer. Also give the folks my love and best wishes.

I love you more than ever Dear

Because we are always one in Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

August 11, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

11 August 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling:

I had hoped that I would have a letter from you this evening but none came, maybe there will be some mail from you tomorrow. I do have your other letters and they do help me a lot you can be sure. Even though they have been read many times, they do assure me a new of your abiding love and devotion to Christ and to me.

Comic Willis sent to Sarah.

Just after finishing your letter last night, a news flash came over the radio about Japan conveying a message to Sweden and Switzerland to us that they were willing to surrender if we let them keep their Emperor. Dear, in less than five minutes this entire island was filled with tracer bullets, flares and anti-aircraft and machine gun fire. There were also many flares which were sent heavenward, and all over could be seen the anti-aircraft searchlights reaching their long fingers into the sky. Last night I, for the first time in my life, really saw mob psychology in action, men grabbed their guns and emptied the magazines. Honest to goodness they were shooting so much in all directions that many of us in our area hugged the ground as though the enemy were counterattacking. I’m sorry several men were hurt but thank goodness none seriously, honest, I cannot understand why a man would want to grab a weapon as powerful as our rifles and fire anywhere. And then to think it isn’t over yet, we still have to hear the final word that the Allies have accepted their surrender. And then we still have the job of going into Japan to occupy which isn’t going to be easy or nice. Of course, it will not be as bad as fighting our way in, but we must leave the whole thing in God’s hands, praying for His will to be done above all else. And then of course we had a lot of men who sought to celebrate by pickling themselves in alcohol, and as a result, I didn’t have a very good nights rest for two different officers came in very late and were well pickled and as noisy and profane as could be. Such a nice way to celebrate a bid for peace, isn’t it?

I can imagine that in the States they have been having a very anxious time also. I suppose everyone is waiting hourly for the news as we are that the war is officially over. It may be several days yet before it is over. But I do hope it won’t be much longer. If it is over soon, I imagine we will soon be on our way there to occupy some territory. That’s all that anybody has been talking about all day today.

Early this morning I came down here and wrote a letter to my cousin Jim and also a letter to Mike and Mildred and Uncle Jim. After that I spend the rest of the morning studying and working on my message for tomorrow morning. I will tell you about it tomorrow evening. Just before dinner I sent another group of letters to you to friends I have heard from within the last week or so.

After dinner the men came by and asked me to pitch another game for them. We won by a score of 11 to 8. I got along alright and was able to get three good hits and scored twice. It was certainly hot to play ball this afternoon, but exercise and sunshine helps a lot.

Until supper time, I studied and then having had my supper I came back down here and visited for a while with Don and went to the movie to see the news. I never care to stay to the movies, but I had heard they were going to have news so I went up to see it. I don’t care much for the movies, I would rather devote my time to answering letters from friends or talking to my Sweetheart through Uncle Sam’s courtesy.

For several days now I’ve wanted to tell you that I was paid for the month of July but have neglected to tell you. I drew $25 dollars for incidentals and had the rest sent to you by check. If I remember correctly, it will amount to around $105. By the way, my pay from March through June will eventually be straightened out, and as soon as it is, I will let you know. We will need to save all we can to buy our car, kitchen stove, dining room set and a few other necessary things for our work together for the Lord. That will certainly be a grand and glorious day when we can be together again in His work. For me, that day can come none too soon.

In that Cleo and Howard are going to be married I think we ought to think of a wedding present for them. Perhaps you have a better idea but I thought a nice picture of Sallman’s Head of Christ would be a nice present. However, I will leave it up to you to decide what you think is best. Perhaps you will be invited to the wedding. I’m sure it will be very nice. Howard is certainly a very fortunate young man for Cleo is a wonderful girl. 

I was surely glad to know that you had such a nice trip across Lake Michigan, from all you told me in your letter I know you must have had a very good time. I’ve traveled a quite a few thousand miles by ship now, but it was only half enjoyed because you were not along.

Well, Lover, it is getting rather late and in that I’m tired I will close for tonight. From all indications I may have some more interruptions in the night because they still have several bottles of that stuff around. God bless you my Dearest One in all things.

Just yours forever and so grateful

And thankful to be because of the

Love of Christ in Jesus,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. Remember Dear, it was just 19 months ago tonight that we had the privilege of seeing each other. It seems like that many years to me. I only hope it won’t be too much longer until we will be able to be together.

Also find enclosed two clippings from Stars and Stripes.

August 10, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

10 August 1945

My Beloved Darling Sarah:

This evening just before suppertime I had the joy of receiving your letter of August 1st. I hardly expect a letter from you today after receiving so many from you yesterday. This noon I received two more letters of inquiry concerning men who were lost and then I had a lovely letter from the Hollensteiners. As soon as I answer their letter I will send it on to you so you will have an opportunity to read it. As you will see in the letter, they are anxious for us to come out there. We will depend upon the Lord’s leading; I’m willing to go anywhere with you as long as it is the Lord’s will.

After studying and working on my messages for this Sunday, I took the time to write a letter to Miss Pettus and to Wesley and Edith Norman. As soon as dinner was over, I went back down to the Chaplain’s tent and wrote a letter to Emma Laymon. I had to do it in a hurry because I didn’t have much time. I was interrupted for a while but then I started to study, but in that I didn’t feel too good, I came back up here to my tent and relaxed for about one hour. I returned it to the Chaplain’s tent and studied until time for supper, and as I said above, your grand letter arrived which I read immediately.

News from August 10, 1945.

After supper I returned to the Chaplain’s tent and visited with Don, Paul Wells and another soldier for quite a while. It started to rain, and in that the side of my tent was rolled up, I hurried up here to roll it down before my things got wet. As a result, I’m typing this letter on my lap, with a very dim light.

Now that is all written it doesn’t seem like much but I have been on the go all day and I am very tired tonight for some reason or other. You know there are so many things on my heart which I would like to talk to you about but so many of them you cannot write satisfactorily in a letter. And besides, it isn’t so nice to know that someone is always reading your letters. They may not know you from the man in the moon, but after all, there are things which you just don’t care to talk about in the presence of others, such as the deep deep feeling in your heart and soul for each other. So many things happen each day which I wish we could talk about like we used to, and pray about them together.

If you went out to the Dunes with Mom on the sixth, I suppose you are having a good time. And above all, I hope you have a restful time. I know it must be nice out there now; it would certainly be grand to be able to go out there and spend a week together trying to catch up on all the things we have experienced since we saw each other the last time. If the Chief shouldn’t happen to be out there Sunday night, I do hope you and Mom will be careful and be sure to lock the doors as well so some prowlers won’t be able to bother you.

I’ve been wondering what Nona’s husband is doing now that she is working at NSBC? Is he in Chicago and do they have a little apartment to live? You’ve never said but I imagine they live together in a small place. Has he decided what he is going to do about going to Northern? Paul knew Nona’s former husband who was killed driving an automobile. He was a very speedy and somewhat reckless driver, and was killed returning from a service he had held for some church near William Jewell. He was very much surprised to hear that she had been married. He doesn’t know her present husband. Dear, I’m so glad that you and I are each other’s forever no matter what happens.

You were wondering how I found out what the writing means on the Japanese flag. When we are out in active combat this way, we always have so many Japanese American soldiers assigned to our units, and whenever we capture any enemy soldiers they are always cross-examined by them and they seek to find out any pertinent information that will help us in defeating the enemy. And of course, they always check all papers and documents. The flag has the names of officers and men of the same outfit who wrecked Nanking. By the way, did you say the Chief took the saber down to his office to show it to some people?

Well Dear, in that I’m rather tired I think I will close for tonight. God bless you, Dear. Be sure to give the folks my love.

Just yours forever in the love of

Christ Jesus our Lord,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

August 9, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

9 August 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

What a day! This evening I had a spiritual banquet on your four letters of July 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st.  Those letters were so very wonderful and they helped me more than you know. It is always a brighter day when I hear from you, Dear. Now that so many came at one time I suppose I’ll go without for two or three days. But in that time I’ll read these letters over several more times. I got some other mail also, Dear. There were letters from Mrs. Harry Allen, Scheu’s, Uncle Jim and Aunt Mildred, Dolores Nelson and more letters concerning loved ones lost in action. Whenever a bunch of mail comes that way, I always look for your letters first. It may sound funny but it’s like looking for you in a crowd of people, and inside of me I feel just like I know I would if I really could see you; and as I read the letters it is like taking you in my arms and caressing you as we did when we had the great joy and privilege of being together.

By the way, I’m sorry I cannot type this letter to you but our typewriter was sent in two days ago for some necessary repairs.

This morning I worked on my message and talk to the men this evening on, “How we got our English Bible.” I had just a little time left before dinner so I got a letter off to Lieutenant Erb. As soon as dinner was over, I came back down here and studied for a while. Then the men came by and asked me to pitch for them again. I didn’t really have time, but nevertheless, I finally went with them and pitched again for them. We won again three to two. I walked no one and allowed three hits. I’m teased a lot about my ball playing. I love to play and I like to win, and I try my best to be a good pitcher. I guess I am just lucky.

I studied for a while longer and just before time to eat your wonderful letters arrived. It was so near suppertime that I could not read them, so as soon as I had finished I came back down here and read your uplifting letters before our Bible class. There were 29 men in attendance this evening. All of them entered into the discussion very well and I know it even proved helpful to me.

Stalin, Truman and Churchill at the Potsdam conference. July 1945.

By the way, the big news around here today is the fact that Russia declared war on Japan. Do you remember in last night’s letter I made the remark that Russia might come in now that it looks like Japan is pretty well crushed? Maybe I only implied it, but when I heard the news this morning I wasn’t at all impressed or surprised. Most all feel that Russia only came in for self interest and to be sure to have something to say at the peace table. If it shortens the war, so much the better, but no one seems to trust Russia very far. I do hope Japan quits, otherwise it will be a slaughter and destructive the like of which this world has never known. If they do surrender, we can be expecting a move to the mainland very shortly to patrol and start rounding up enemy soldiers and the militarists. I certainly hate to think of fighting our way in from the beaches until every little pocket of resistance is crushed.

By the way, in one of your letters you informed me that the Chief’s Japanese rifle came through okay. I’m glad he liked it. Was he surprised? I certainly enjoyed his letter and as soon as I can find a little time I will answer it. I certainly love Mom and the Chief.

Day before yesterday you notified me in your letter to send your mail to the Chief’s office. I did so right away. I didn’t realize you were going out to the cottage with Mom on the 6th of August. I didn’t think you would go out till the 13th. If I would have known it a little sooner, I could have been sure you would have received all of them (my letters) and not wait so long for those that go to home address Chicago. Maybe the Chief will stay in a night or so and pick up the letters for you. I do hope you have a nice time up there with the folks and Paul, Gen and the children.

Dear, it’s very sweet of you to want to be sending me something all the time, but really, I’m getting along fine. What I want most of all is you, and of course it is impossible for you to send yourself. Your cookies and nuts were so good and I enjoyed them so much. The one box you sent took almost 10 weeks to get here and the other one with you sent the next day has been on its way about 13 weeks now. If you’re ever moved, it takes much longer. And things being as uncertain as they are, I don’t like to have you go to the trouble to prepare a lot of good things to eat and then have them reach me about 4 to 6 months later. As you know, I love to have your baking, but it is a shame to have it wait so long and see things damaged and not edible after so much handling. However Dear, at the end of this letter I’ll write a request hoping we will not be moved around so much that it will take the package a long time to reach me.

Dear, in your letter of July 18th you told me about how many at NSBC have not paid their pledge toward the new building. It is so easy to pledge and so many never do pay up. I’m glad we have hours paid up now. The First Church of Long Beach is doing wonderfully well. I think they are nearing $100,000 in cash and they only started last November. I’m glad to hear that there seems to be a better emphasis in Dr. Wilson’s sermons. I shall continue to pray for him and the church.

I do hope Bob doesn’t have to go overseas, I know it would be very good for both of them. But I do think they should beware of ever getting their hopes up too high about not being sent overseas. I’m hoping Bob will soon be able to get out of the Army and he may, who knows.

It was really hot today, but it is nice and cool now. You know, I think it isn’t bad at all, but by casual observation I’ve noticed people so often find reason to complain no matter what kind of weather we maybe having.

I’m glad you talked to Maurice and Edith about Berkeley. In my last letter to Dr. Mantey I asked him about what he thought. When I hear I’ll tell you, maybe you will see him before he writes and you will know how he feels. 

Well Lover, it is getting late and I’m tired so I’ll sign off for tonight. God bless you Dear in all things.

Just yours, Dear, because we are one in

Christ forever,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

P.S. Darling-

Please send me more cookies and nuts; cashew, walnuts, peanuts(mixed).

Thank you Darling,

Willis