August 25, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

25 August 1945

Sarah: My Dearest Darling:

Well, at last I got some mail from you this evening. Your letters of August 10th and 11th arrived this evening and I was so glad to read them. After a famine,  that is not having the privilege of your good letters, it is so good and refreshing to read your letters. I read them over twice as soon as they arrived and I have just finished reading them again. As I said in last night’s letter, I’m afraid mail won’t be coming through so well from you for about 3 or 4 weeks, that is until this big move is over which is in the offing. They had a bad storm in Japan which we felt somewhat down this way today. The wind has been very high at times and it has rained off and on throughout the whole day. It was very very close and humid all day, in fact, it is now even though it is rather late. About noon we had a lot of thunder and lightning. Is the most I’ve seen or heard since we left the good old United States.

In short, I spent almost the entire day lining things up and going through some magazines and cutting out some things which I thought might be of value. I also took care of some more follow-up letters and then this evening before starting this letter to you I wrote a letter to Scheus and one to the Powells. In your letter of the 11th, I found three more of the pictures that you said Gen had taken when she had her camera on the 4th. The pictures are all very good and I enjoyed them very much. The only disappointment was the fact that you were in only two of the five pictures. You know Dear, you look sweeter than ever and I am more lonesome than ever for you.

In your letter of the 10th,  you had just heard the news about Japan and was wondering in your letter if I might be home sooner. That is by Christmas or the first of the year. Dear, the Army is more unpredictable than the weather, so I would not venture very far on when I might be able to get back. They publish and release all kinds of statements about points, combat troops, time overseas, etc, etc. But as I told you last night, I will not count on any thing for sure until I see the Golden Gate. 4 months from tonight is Christmas night, and I might be home by then. (Personally to me that is hardly to be hoped for).  By late next spring I will probably have a pretty good chance to get back to the States. Dear, I think it will be a good idea for you to finish your thesis this first quarter if possible or get as much of it as possible done, so if something very surprising should happen you will have most of it done. Don’t plan on too early an arrival, then if I should get back sooner than expected then we cannot be so disappointed. Don’t worry, I shall keep you informed as time goes along.

Darling, the way you are fixing the shells sounds very interesting and I’m sure they will be very attractive. I’m rather anxious to get home to see the things. I find it rather hard to remember all the things I’ve sent home for you since I’ve been overseas.

Your story about Donnie and the other boy being, “Jesus men,”  was pretty good. I hope it makes a lasting impression upon him and that Rachel and Don will give him all the proper encouragement along that line.

Darling, I’m enclosing an advertisement concerning a book which I think will be very good for us to add to our library. I looked through the book one day and I think it will prove helpful to any of our future young people in our church. Whenever you are down to ABPS again you can look for it or have them order it for us. That makes me think, do you have all the volumes of Latourettes’ History  of the Christian Church? I believe I noticed somewhere that he had completed the last volume and that is now ready for sale. Dear, I will close for tonight. God bless you Beloved in all things. Be sure to give the folks my love.

I’m just yours, Darling, for always In

 Christ’s perfect love,

 Willis

Colossians 3:3

August 24, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

24 August 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

This evening I had hoped to have some mail from you but much to my disappointment there wasn’t any letters from you. I suppose now until we are settled down again will have very poor mail service.  I certainly miss not having your letters. Perhaps there will be some mail tomorrow. It would have been good to have had some mail from you, for today marked my 18th month overseas. In fact, I’m now starting on my 19th month. I do hope it won’t be too long until I’ll be able to see you. The men who are back in the States are the lucky ones now, for if they have a fairly good number of points they stand a pretty good chance of getting out in a few weeks or months. I do hope that Bob will get out in a short time. I know Marjorie will be overjoyed with such a thought. Rumors here are flying thick and fast but I put stock in none of them. I’ll really believe it when I see the Golden Gate or the good old West coast.

Battleships Missouri and Iowa off the coast of Japan. August 20 1945.

According to what we heard today, the peace treaty is to be signed on the Battleship Missouri a week from today. The sooner they get it over the better it will be. The landings on the Japanese homeland will probably be a big show and they will probably take a lot of pictures of the whole thing. Anyhow, coming in on this operation I got to see the mightiest task force and air operation for full fledged combat. It is something I shall never ever forget.

I spent almost the entire morning taking care of follow-up letters to those who lost loved ones in this operation. I did do some reading shortly before dinner, but after having dinner I came back down here and had my devotions and then took care of several things that needed attention. After supper this evening another soldier came in to see me about a problem (marital).  I really feel sorry for him. I was right in the midst of writing a letter to Doug Powell when he came in to see me. After the soldier left I finished the letter and then I started this letter to you, Dear. By the way, did I fail to mention the fact that I did receive a North Shore Baptist and a letter from Mil? It was really good to hear from her after not hearing for so long. You haven’t talked to her for a quite a while have you, Dear?  She said they had a very nice vacation up in Wisconsin;  but it was rather good to get back. Dave, Phyllis’ boyfriend is hoping to come home from Italy soon. And Richard is out this way somewhere now.

It rained for a few moments several times during the day. It has been very close and sultry but I do think that it ought to be good for sleeping tonight.

The North Shore Baptist which I received was for July 6th and it has an article about you and the Bible school. But I also noticed the fact that it said Oliphant is reported missing in action. Do you know whether or not they have heard any more word. Did his B-29 go down over the Japanese mainland or at sea? Do they know whether or not his whole crew is missing? If he went down over the mainland he may be liberated when we go in with the occupation troops. 

By the way, I took enough time this afternoon to place the last pictures you sent me in the album. And then I spent a few moments looking at all the pictures that you have sent me since I came overseas. They are all very good and so helpful to me in this time of our separation, but the time I’m waiting for is when we can be together and I will not have to look at a picture but I can have fellowship with the one I love most of all now and forever. It is impossible to make love to pictures. They help but there just isn’t any response. Even if pictures talked I want nothing but you, the original.

In your letter of August 3rd you told me about Sherry calling you and what a time she had with the things they had stored. I was certainly sorry to hear that John’s books have been soaked. I hope they weren’t too bad. If she dries them out properly I think she can save them for John. That’s always the danger of storing things in the basement, that is unless the basement has an exceptionally good drainage system.

You also mentioned in this letter that Edna said she might join the Waves if she doesn’t hear from the Red Cross. I certainly hope she doesn’t, I think there are so many other things that she can do. What kind of a job does she have any way? Is she dissatisfied with the job she has now?

Well Beloved, I know this isn’t the best kind of letter but I am very tired and must get to bed so I can have a little rest. God bless you Beloved in all things. Thank you for being such a wonderful devoted Christian wife.

 Always and forever yours in the 

love of Christ Jesus,

 Willis

 Colossians 3:3 

August 23, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

23 August 1945

Sarah: My Dearest One:

I was rather disappointed tonight when I failed to receive your letters for August 10th and 11th. I do hope they come soon and some others as well. There is nothing in all this world like your letters to help make it a brighter day. I read your letters of last night over again today and they helped. I do hope that Mr. Paul is coming along all right and that you will not have to spend so much time at the office that you will have to be away from the cottage when Paul, Gen and the children come out to the cottage. According to what you told me before, they should be out to the cottage with you now. I hope there is good weather so they can fully enjoy their stay out there.

Most of the morning was spent working and lining things up. I also studied and worked on my message for this coming Sunday morning. Following the dinner hour, I came down here and took care of some more follow-up letters to those who have lost loved ones. And then I worked on my concluding lecture on, “ How we got our English Bible.”  There were a very good number in attendance considering everything and many of them told me how much they appreciated the class and thought it was helpful to them. That was very kind of them and I do hope that it will strengthen them in the faith and help them to be desirous of knowing more about their Bibles.

About 2:30 the men came by and wanted me to pitch for them again. I did and we again won by a score of 12 to 4. I got a hit every time I was up to bat. I guess we’ve been pretty lucky and I get a lot of teasing about my pitching. The manager of another team approached me last night and wanted me to become a member of their team, but I told him I would stay with this team, and besides, I don’t have enough time to play with any other team. As it is I feel I’m probably playing more than I should. I want to always be thoroughly prepared for all services. I hate to see individuals come up to the service time and prepare something with the attitude, “ Well, let’s get this over.”  Under Army conditions it is very easy to neglect proper preparation and I have always sought to be as well prepared as possible. Therefore, I devote my spare moments to things that will lead me to thorough preparation.  To think as some do, “ that I’ll study and prepare more thoroughly when I get out of the Army,”  is one of the devil’s lures to a matter of fact service. As an example, last Sunday I had planned and prepared a message which I thought would be helpful for the men, but Saturday during the night I awoke and thought about my proposed message; and because of the particular training schedule which had taken place on Saturday I felt led to change my message and develop an entirely new one. I must have thought about it for about an hour during the night. Sunday morning I had only enough time to get down an outline before my 11:00 service;  but I felt ready, for I had been keeping up my devotions and study from time to time. A quite a few have told me how much the message meant to them, and even last night and tonight some more told me what they thought.  Personally, along with the preparation of the service and the message, I have learned a very important thing is “to know where your congregation or people are”. And that isn’t always such an easy task when you have such a group as you have in the Army, but I have always prayed about it and find that the Lord does help very much in a proper understanding. In other words, besides be thoroughly prepared in my message in prayer, I always aim to start, “ where they are.”  And I think you know what I mean by that. I’ve learned that you can prepare a very good outline and message but if you don’t start where they are you more than likely will only harvest part of that which you had hoped for. I guess that is about clear as mud, but knowing me as you do, you can probably see a gleam of light indicative of what I mean. Won’t it be good when we can talk these things over again as we used to, Dear?

Willis and Captain Mason. February 1945.

By the way, even though I didn’t hear from you I did receive a letter from each of the following;  Roy String,  Raymond Cox, Wallace Cornell, and the Gratiot Avenue Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. As soon as I answer the letters I will send them on to you to read. Just before writing this letter I wrote a letter to Mr. Mason (Major Mason’s father) in answer to the nice letter which I received from him this last week. It rained several times today Dear and from the way the clouds are drifting around here tonight I think we may have some more during the night.

I was so glad to hear through you and Paul and Gen had such a good time on their visit at her folk’s home. And I was glad to know that they had such a nice time at the church in East Moline. You know I’m rather lonesome and anxious to see the folks out there also. That is surely nice of the man to let Howard and Cleo have his new car so they can go on their honeymoon together. I’ve just heard that gas rationing is over in the States now. Won’t it be grand when we can get our car again and we can have the tank filled and can go as far as we want without figuring out how much gas we have on our card? I guess our job will be getting a car. However, I do know that Bo Hebling will do all he can to help us. It will certainly be a privilege to ride along with you at my side again. That thought alone floods my mind with memories of many hours of riding and talking together on different trips we made in Little Paul. When we get another car I think we will name it Paul II, what do you say? 

Well Darling, it is growing rather late and I’m tired for some reason or other, so I’m going to say good night. God bless you my Beloved in all things. And convey my love to the folks. Sweetheart, I love you more than ever for ever in the love of Christ Jesus our Lord.

Just yours forever in the love

 Of Christ Jesus,

 Willis

Colossians 3:3

 P.S. By the way, I’m starting with this letter to send your letters to 1522 Elmdale. 

August 22, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

22 August 1945

Sarah, My Beloved Darling:

This evening I had two letters from you, they were for August 12th and 13th. They were so very good and were a real blessing and source of encouragement to me in every way. The one which I think is for the 12th you have dated 11th, but you told about the church service that morning and also that the folks came up toward the evening so I’m sure you must have been writing that letter on the 12th, for that was Sunday. If that is correct, that means that there are two of your letters missing in between those I received today, namely yours of August 10th and 11th. I do hope they come in tomorrow. Besides your letters, I had two bulletins from North Shore Baptist Church and one from the First Church of Long Beach, Dr. Mantey, Connie, Louise Davis and John and Helen Mueller. The letter from Dr. Mantey was very nice and I will send it on to you to read very soon.

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

Early this morning I left here to call on some of my men in the hospitals. That is generally a long tiresome job, especially when you have to go so far in a rough riding Jeep over very rough roads. I got to see a quite a few men from my outfit. I also took one of my men along to find the grave of his cousin who died here on this operation. I’ve done that on several occasions, for it is very hard for the men to get around, and I know how I would feel if I wanted to see some loved one’s grave. At noon I had dinner with a chaplain friend I met while at Chaplains school. We happened to be right near his place when dinner time rolled around so we stopped there. While making my other calls, I happened to run into Alrik in one place. We talked for about 5 minutes but that was all because I still had one more place to go and then it was a long way back here.

It was a little after 4 when I arrived back here, so I read my devotional material and then your letters came which I read immediately. Naturally, I was very much surprised to hear that Paul’s and Marjorie’s baby boy had arrived, for I didn’t know it or did he. He had just called me to take midweek service for him. So I called back immediately and told the fellow in the office there to tell him about the news. When Paul arrived here later, that is just as I was finishing with the midweek service, he had found he had a letter from his mother-in-law telling him the glad news. Of course he was very much thrilled to know that they had a boy. Well, I do hope we can be having our own family pretty soon, I know you also love children, and above all, I know you will make a wonderful devoted Christian mother.

By the way, in the letter which you apparently wrote on August 12th, there were enclosed two pictures which were taken on July 4th, they were very good but I had to soak them for almost half an hour before they would come apart, evidently they had been pretty well soaked and stuck together, even the stamps on the envelope had come off and it was pretty well smeared. The pictures you enclosed were not taken with our camera were they? These are larger than our own camera takes. That one with you in it is very very good.

We have just had a nice hard rain and everything smells so nice and fresh. The sky is filled with many large thunderheads and the beautiful full moon makes a most impressive sight as it peaks in and out among the beautiful clouds. We also had a very beautiful sunset this evening. There were enough clouds to make a nice setting. I do hope you and the Vogels are having a good time at the cottage.

I was glad to hear that Myrtle Johnson finally got a reservation on the train so she could get home to see her parents. How many weeks vacation does she get? I was surprised to hear that Wilson’s flew out to the coast. Perhaps sometime we can fly together. I would love to have you fly in a C-54. They are wonderful planes and I know you would enjoy flying in one.

Darling, it is late and I am tired after today’s activities so I will have to close for this time. God bless you Beloved in all things and be sure to give the folks my love.

Yours forever in the love of our 

Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

August 21, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

21 August 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

It was surely good to have your letter of August 9th this evening. Your letters are always so good and they helped me more than you will ever know. I also got a very nice letter from Laura Pettygrove. She is all upset about Harry, and I don’t blame her. I will answer the letter right away and send it on to you so you can read it. It will be better than me trying to tell you about it now. And besides that I received three letters in reply to those I sent to loved ones who lost their own out here in this operation.

Soldiers playing baseball.

Early this morning, I came down here and wrote a letter to Arthur Mitchell in answer to his last letter. I’ll send it along with this letter so you can read it, for I’m sure you will enjoy the letter. I am very much interested in him and I do pray and hope that he will be able to grow more in the Christian life. I know he is really desirous of growth. After that, I studied until noon and took care of some things that needed attention. Following the dinner hour, I visited with some of the men in their company areas and then came back here and had my devotions for the day. About an hour later the men came by and wanted me to pitch another ball game for them. The game lasted quite some time and it was really hot. Again I had good luck pitching, the opposing team got one hit and we won by a score of 6 to 1. I also got two very good hits. I do like to play baseball. As soon as the game was over I took a shower and cleaned up for the evening meal. Shortly after that I attended Paul’s Bible class on Ephesians. And then Don and I came back to our tent and we have just finished a good long talk about spiritual things. We talked for over two hours. You so seldom have such an opportunity and it does help to just talk things over once in awhile. Don was very much interested in what I’m planning on doing when I go back to civilian life. He says he thinks I ought to be a teacher or president of some Christian college. And he thinks you and I ought to major in some kind of special young people’s work. He said he has felt that way for some time and the more he hears and notices from the response and the remarks those make who attend services, the more he thinks that is what we are to do. He is very gracious in things he says. If there is some truth in it and if our work is effective that way, so much more glory to His name, for in myself I am very weak. Above all I want to thank the Lord for His goodness to us, Dear. It is going to be something for us to be thinking about when I do return, whether I go on and take more school work or plan on accepting a pastorate.  What do you think, Lover? Let us be praying about it in the meantime.

  By the way, the last letter I wrote to Jack and Bertha I asked them to check with Bo Helbling and see if he could give me some idea what the cost of a new Chevrolet or Buick car will be. We will need a car no matter what we do and it will help in our work if we accept a church, and if we decide to go on to school it will mean a lot to have it to go various places and preach on the weekends. Even though I do take more school work, I will want to speak somewhere almost every weekend so I can improve and make contacts and perhaps be able to lead some to Christ. I know a new car will run rather high and I don’t know whether we will be able to get one, but it won’t be so good to buy one five or six years old and used rather roughly during the years of rationing, and then have a lot of trouble and expense as we try to use it. And if we get an old one we will have to buy another later when maybe it won’t be so easy. And besides, if God so wills I hope we will be able to have our own family started in the future. What do you think about it, Dear? As soon as I find out what the cost will probably be, I’ll send it on to you so you can tell me more definitely what you think we ought to do.

By the way, in your letter you told me about Mr. Paul becoming worse and having to go through another operation. I was certainly surprised and sorry to hear that, I do pray and hope that he gets along all right. Be sure to tell them that I shall remember them in my prayers. I know that Mrs. Paul must be very worried, it has certainly been a lot of trouble for them this last year. I’m sorry that his illness has come at such a time to interrupt your vacation out at the Dunes;  but then I am glad that you can be of help to them in this time of their trouble. I do hope that his illness will not interfere with your time out at the cottage when Paul, Gen and the children are out there with you. I’m so anxious to know what a time they will have out there with you. I wish I could be there also. I do hope there won’t be any complications from Mr. Paul’s operation.

  It seems like there is something I wanted to tell you or talk about tonight, but for the life of me I cannot think what it is. I suppose after I’m through with the letter I will find out what it is I wanted to tell you.

The sunrise and the sunset today were really beautiful and I know you would have enjoyed them very much. I only wish we could enjoy some of these things together. Perhaps if the Lord so wills it won’t be too much longer until we can start to enjoy some of these things.

In your letter of July 31st you said Ruth told you that Charlie had passed his physical examination and that he may be subject to call within 90 days. Now that the war is over I do pray and hope that he will not have to go in. I think it is ridiculous that he should have to go into the Army anyway. After all, he has a family to take care of, there are plenty of others who are unmarried and do not have his responsibilities. Even if the war were still going on I think it would be unwise to draft him and leave Marion with the children to care for.

Beloved, it is rather late and I’m tired so I think I will close for tonight. God bless you and be sure to give my love to the folks.

Yours now and forever in the

 love of our Lord Jesus Christ,

 Willis

Colossians 3:3 

August 20, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

20 August 1945

Sarah: My Beloved Darling Sweetheart:

This evening I had the joy of receiving your most welcome letter of August 8th. It was surely good to have that letter to know what you have been doing and how you are enjoying your stay out at the cottage. I also received a letter from Freddie Romer. And the Baptist Leaders for August. As I’ve said so many times before, it is always a brighter day when I have a letter from you. What joy when I won’t have to be looking for letters, all I’ll have to do is look for you or call, “ Sweetheart, where are you?”  And then I can hear your answer,  “Here Dear, what do you want?”  That will surely be a wonderful day, and as for me, it can arrive none too soon.

Willis Reed at his chapel on Okinawa. 1945.

After having breakfast this morning I came down here to the Chaplain’s tent and wrote a letter to my father. I always try to get a letter off to him every week. I also wrote a letter to Paul and Gen and then a letter to Louise Davis. I now have enough letters to send you home another envelope of letters from some of our friends. I send you those letters because I think you will probably enjoy reading them. Just as I was finishing the letter to Louise, a soldier came in to see me about a problem. Honestly, some of the things I’ve contacted and had to handle almost break my heart. I just wonder how mankind can live so carelessly and expect to escape.

Then I also took care of some other things that needed attention, and by that time it was time to leave here and prepare for our noon meal. After having dinner, I decided to rest for about a half an hour which I did, it was rather warm but it was good to relax for a few moments. As soon as I got back down here I sent home a box of a few souvenirs I picked up here on the island. I won’t tell you what it is, I’ll let you be surprised. I sent the things back to you in the can you sent the last cookies and peanuts in. I hope it comes through to you all right and not crushed all to pieces. You are to receive it in six to eight weeks.

After sending the package to you, I had my devotions and did some more studying and general straightening up around here. I had about an hour so I wrote a letter to each of the following, Delores Nelson, Stan and Lee, and Connie and Mae. And then following supper I came down here and talked for about an hour to a soldier who came to me following yesterday morning’s message. We talked for most of the time about accepting Christ and putting Christ at the head of their home, he is married and they have a boy four years. I also gave him some tracks and a Reason Why to send to his wife. I shall appreciate your prayer in that man’s behalf.

Don told me there were to be some news shorts at the movie tonight so immediately following my talk with the soldier we went up to the movie area and saw the news. As soon as the main feature started I came back down here to write to you, Darling. By the way, we had several little showers during the day, it did help to freshen the air, and tonight it is nice and cool and unless my tent mates decide to pickle themselves I ought to have a fairly good nights sleep.

Darling, your talk on, “Will you?”  to the young people of the CE  sounded very good and I’m sure it must have been a blessing to the young people. I like very much the way you developed the theme of your message. I think it was timely and appropriate and undoubtedly challenged those who heard it.

I know you must have been happy to see so many good friends down at Buena.  I will be glad to see some of them myself and I hope it won’t be too long. It was something to hear that Roland Turnbull’s brother preached there at Buena that evening. And it was indeed a quite an incident that both of you should use the same illustration in your messages. All the names you mentioned made me homesick to see them. You are the main one I want to see, but after we have been together for a while it will be nice to see some of our close friends together. I love the word together, especially when I think of what it means to us together in Christ Jesus.

I was certainly surprised to hear about Dave Beecher and his wife and children joining North Shore Baptist Church. I know Dave quite well, he attended Northern my first two years and then went out to Nebraska and took a church at Kearney, and from there I believe he went into the regular Army as a Chaplain. Now that the war is over, I doubt whether he will come out here unless he comes out to take over some chaplain’s place with the Army of Occupation. I knew he hadn’t been overseas very long. In two more days I will be entitled to wear three overseas stripes.

I’m sorry to know that Don and Ruth Obenland had their home robbed, I was surprised they didn’t take anything of value. It may be that they were trying to locate some plans or figures which he has around the house.

Thank you for enclosing the picture of Stan and Lee’s church, it looks like a rather nice building and under their leadership it ought to grow both spiritually and in numbers. It is really a blessing to have such good friends as Beaumont and Vogels, isn’t it Dear?

Dear, thank you for the cookies which you sent me, if all goes well I ought to receive them in two or three months. From what you told me about them they sound very good. I shall be looking forward to their arrival. Won’t it be good when I won’t have to depend on Uncle Sam to bring me a sample of your good baking? Just to be there every day and partake of your cooking and baking will mean a whole lot.

Those little drawings you sent me of a day at 209 was very clever Dear and I enjoyed it very much. I think they were very good and it meant a lot to me to know that you did it with your own hands. I showed it to Don and he thought it was very good also. I’m glad that Bob has had all that delay in the States, it will mean a lot to him now. For if you are overseas, they always keep putting you off with the excuse that there isn’t enough transportation. Being back in the States with as many points as he has, he ought to be out of the Army soon. I only hope his being transferred into the ATC doesn’t hold up his discharge. I think he ought to try and get out just as soon as he possibly can. For the sooner he gets out and get settled in a job the better off he will be. I’m sure Margaret must be hoping for him to get out soon also.

Well, it hardly seems possible but in a very short time you will be back in school at Northern. And I’m hoping, if God so wills, to see you sometime during this school year.

Dear, it will be so good to see you again and talk with you, but now it is late and I’m tired so I must close for tonight. God bless you Beloved in all things is my earnest prayer. Be sure to give the folks my love.

Forever yours alone in Christ’s

 Wonderful Comforting and joy

 filled Love,

 Willis

Colossians 3:3

August 19, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

19 August 1945

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:

Well Darling, this day is about past and I’m so tired I can hardly see straight. It doesn’t seem that I’ve accomplished much but nonetheless I have been on the go all day long. This evening following the evening meal I had hoped for a letter from you but none arrived, I do hope there is a letter from you tomorrow. I always feel so lonely when I don’t hear from you, Dear. I did get a nice letter from my father and a couple other official letters. From all my father said, they have really had good crops in Nebraska this year. I’m certainly glad for the folks, for after so many years of poor crops they do deserve better years.

One reason I’m so tired tonight is because I had a very miserable night last night. Our officers had another blowout on that legalized insanity that comes in pretty bottles with pictures of flowers and feathers on the labels. What fools men will make of themselves over a something that makes them feel miserable for a day or two afterwards. They always come in shouting, yelling, talking filthy, or like last night they were singing some filthy sex song and then laugh and yell more. And then eventually one of them was sick and vomited right at the side of his bed. The power and the influence of that liquor industry in our country is one of our greatest menaces internally. They always manage to supply the enlisted men with beer and the officers with whiskey or other liquors. And then a few of us who do not drink or care for it have to put up with their carousing and drunkenness. There is going to be a many a wife and loved one who is going to have their sons come back alcoholics. Well, so much for that, but I think we better wake up as a nation, and see that the liquor industry is rolling in wealth while the health and moral and spiritual side of our national life is being tossed away to help them become rich.

I attended Chaplain Wells’ service then the Catholic chaplain had his mass and soon as that was over Don and I set things up for my service. There was a very good crowd in attendance at my service, in fact, it is the largest I have ever had since coming back here to the rest area. I spoke on the theme, “Man’s Greatest Foe.”  The scripture was Ephesians 6:10-20. I developed it along the line, now that Japan has surrendered and Germany has been defeated, we may be lulled into believing that our greatest foe is defeated, but I brought out the fact that our greatest “Satan and his angels”, are still our greatest foes. I concluded it along this theme, “ We do have a great foe in the person of Satan, but we have even a greater friend and savior in the person of Jesus Christ.”  And then I had my invitation for them to accept Christ, but none declared such a desire. However, one man came to me after the service telling me he would like to talk to me about a problem he and his wife has;  theirs is a split marriage. I made arrangements to see him tomorrow evening here at the Chaplains’ tent.

As soon as I had my dinner, I left here to have a service for one of the isolated units. It is quite a long way out there and the terrain is very rough. Don and I had the service for them and there were 24 in attendance. After coming back here, Chaplain Wells and I went over to the Village of Itoman  to see if we could find the Baptist Chapel we had there. But the condition of the city was so bad that it was entirely impossible to identify a building which might have been a chapel or a church.

We arrived back here just in time for supper, so having had my supper I came on down here and attended Paul’s evening service. Then I read my father’s letter. A man wanted to see me for a little while, I talked to him and now I’m writing to my Dearest Darling. I’m so very lonesome for your wonderful presence, it will be so good when we can be together again. 

That was something about Myrtle and Ruth thinking you were younger, to me you are and always will be my little sweetheart and your age makes no difference to me. Every one who sees your picture thinks you are around 22 to 26. And of course for some reason or other I’m always thought older than I am. I guess it’s because I’m coming out on top. The only consolation is the fact that I won’t be the only bald-headed man around.

I was certainly surprised to hear about Edna planning on going in as a Red Cross worker. If she does, I know she will make a good one, but personally, in a way I hate to see her go in. I think there are things she could do that would count a lot more. However, if she gets into a good place it won’t be so bad. Let me know what she does for I will be interested to hear about the outcome.

Well Dear, I’m sorry but I’m so tired that I will close for tonight and try to write you a better letter tomorrow evening. God bless you Beloved in all things. Be sure to give the folks my love.

Yours alone in Christ’s wonderful

 Abiding and binding love,

 Willis

Colossians 3:3

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