May 16, 1945

Okinawa Shima – Ryukyu Islands

16 May 1945

Sarah, My Dearest Darling:

I’m going to start this letter to you now in that I have a few moments before supper. I’m having a service immediately following supper for one of the units of our regiment. I got up early this morning and finished your letter and wrote two v-mail letters one to Chaplain Soliday and Freddie Romer, I will enclose their letters so you can read them. Just as I finished, Paul came by and we proceeded to Regimental headquarters and made arrangements for services for the rest of the week. You see, even though I have mentioned we are in a rest area, that doesn’t mean that men are not training and having classes throughout daylight hours. When I use the term rest I mean we are not in the frontlines fighting.

by Willis: Yours and the jeep “Revelation.” Taken 11/20/43. Not so good too windy and too much dust. Taken beside one of our outlying batteries.

As soon as we secured a jeep for transportation we proceeded to the hospital to see some of our men who have been injured and will soon be evacuated to the States. While at the hospital I met the chaplain which is assigned to that hospital. He is a Methodist and really is the kind of chaplains we need. He graduated from Garrett in 1941. It so happens that he knows Bill Letz, a fellow I went to Lakeview evening school with. I don’t know whether you remember it or not but we met him and his wife at Lake Geneva in 1941. The unusual part about the whole thing is the fact that Bill Letz followed Chaplain Rooney as pastor of his former church at the time he came into the Army as a chaplain. Dear, I don’t know how to explain it, but I have some of the most unusual experiences in meeting people. The Lord is certainly good to us, Dear. I’ve become acquainted with people in all parts of the United States. Out of all these experiences I pray and hope that together we in Christ will be able to be effectively used for His great Kingdom program. Darling, I only wish you knew what a wonderful inspiration and challenge you are to me in every way.

I have just returned from my service for the men in one unit. There were a little over 50 in attendance. In that I didn’t have enough time to prepare a message, I used one I have given on several other occasions. My text was I Timothy 4:8-16. Several of the men talked to me afterwards and were very gracious in the things they said, and they assured me they were glad that I was their new chaplain. I certainly love His word and it blesses me more all the time. The more I study it and the more I see of the men, the more it increases my desire to be as well-prepared as possible; so we together can serve Christ.

After I got back I found three more letters from you, they were for April 27th, 28th and 29th. Those letters were certainly beautiful and they helped me so very much, Dear. I also got a letter from Dolores, Wallace Connell (of the 98th), and John Stroo of Christmas Island. As soon as I answer the letters I will mail them on to you to read. I got some literature from ABPS and a Lexington Unit Journal.

When we left the hospital this morning we went to Division Headquarters and picked up some New Testaments and communion supplies. I also dropped by the Red Cross and picked up some toilet articles for our men.

As soon as Paul and I had our dinner, we returned here to our outfits. I visited with some men for a while, then I came back here and studied my Bible and had my devotions. By the way, while I was at Division Headquarters Chaplain Holt gave me some snapshots he took of me. There were very small but they are pictures. They don’t have enough room to write on the back so I’ve numbered them and will explain each one. 1. Picture taken after one of our Vesper services. That is at Division Headquarters-that is a rock back of the altar and a piece of canvas spread above the altar. In that we are fighting troops we are not able to have a set up like that, Division Headquarters are always quite away back of the front lines. 2. One day while at Division Headquarters I got a new undershirt and shorts and took a shower out of an oil drum. That is my dirty shorts I’m holding in my hand. Chaplain Holt called to me and just as I turned he snapped the picture. 3. Another picture he snapped at Headquarters. 4. Another snap in front of Chaplain Holt’s altar. I hope you like them. Remember, I love you much much more than ever.

I’m going to start with your letter of April 27th and and also the 29th. By the way, we have a new moon tonight. I’m always glad to see a new moon because it means another month has slipped by and we are that much nearer the time when we can be together. I was interested to hear about the new servicemen’s wives club. Properly organized with a definite purpose and aim I’m sure it will be a real help to the wives as well as others. I’m afraid I cannot agree with Dr. Wilson’s prediction about Japan. If he were here and saw what we at the front have to go through he would change his mind. Honestly, I’ll be most surprised if Japan quits. My earliest prediction for defeat of Japan is the end of the year.

Don’t worry Dear, when I return I’m hoping to share my experiences with you and I want you to share yours with me, for how can we grow unless we tell each other everything. And have all things together. I think the word together is beautiful when it means what it does to us.

Warren being in personnel as he is is always quite away back of the frontlines, so tell Jenny not to worry, for we who are up at the front doing the fighting are the ones who are really in danger. Warren is in the Marine Division Headquarters which is very good. About his only danger is enemy air raids. I do hope we soon secure this Island, for our men are in need of a longer rest than we are going to have now.

The Japanese artillery here has been a major hold back in the final victory in this campaign. It is difficult for a person who has never gone through a barrage like this to imagine just how terrible it is. The enemy has the advantage because they are dug in caves and tunnels.

I’m sorry I had to quit this letter last night but we had an air raid and I had to blow my candle out, as a result I’ll finish this letter this morning.

I’m sure you must have had a fine time with John and Sherry after church. I’m glad you liked the toasted cheese sandwiches. I was sorry to hear that Helen Anderson had such a serious operation. I do hope that she gets along alright. I was surprised to hear about George Drier and Elaine Eklund being engaged. I was glad to hear about the good messages of Dr. Wilson had on April 29th.

Dear, I would rather miss my meals than not write to you so don’t worry about me not having the time to write. I love you dearly and it helps me more than you know to be able to write to you. There may be some occasions when it will be very difficult or impossible to write, but remember, if it is humanly possible I will write to you every day.

I must close for now Beloved, give my love to the folks.

Yours alone in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

Colossians 3:3

One thought on “May 16, 1945

  • Dan Reed
    May 16, 2019, 7:38 am

    Out of all these experiences I pray and hope that together we in Christ will be able to be effectively used for His great Kingdom program. Darling, I only wish you knew what a wonderful inspiration and challenge you are to me in every way. Willis and Sarah were a real team. Always reaching out to new people they cam in contact with and practically sharing the love of Christ.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *