||John E. Elbert was the pastor at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church located at the south east corner of Bowen and School. His wife's name was Ella J. Elbert.
Willard C. Hafemann was the son of William F. Hefemann and a barber in Oshkosh, WI when he entered military service during World War II. He was assigned to the United States Marine Corps, 3rd Marine Division. He was married to Leona Ullbricht who went to San Diego, CA and worked for Consolidated Aircraft assembling B-24 "Liberator" Bombers. Willard landed at Empress Augusta Bay on Bougainville Island with the 3rd Marines and was fighting towards Torokina Point when he was wounded with fourteen other Marines by a Japanese aerial bomb that landed eighteen feet from their foxhole. He was evacuated to San Diego and awarded the Purple Heart the same day his wife was awarded a golden B-24 for her war work efforts.
||John E. Elbert
|Dates of Accumulation
||V-Mail Letter from Private Willard C. Hafemann, 3rd Marine DivisionUnited States Navy, to Reverend John E. Elbert.
Sept. 4, 1943
Suppose you were quite surprised to hear from me after such a long time but have been so busy fighting the war that just didn't have time to write to anybody.
Rec'd copy of the "Messenger" of May 23, June 20, and June 27th, for which I wish to thank you and the Service Committee of the church. We are always glad to receive newspapers of any kind, but of course the ones that have news in them about our friends are appreciated more than those that have big headlines in them telling how the war is coming out. Also wish to thank the Misses Delorese Hintz and Elaine Krueger for the letters received from them. Can't quite place the Hintz girl, but think that is Geo. Hintz's daughter.
Well, we have taken quite a big jump since last writing you, and are going right along, on that road to Tokyo. Are on a pretty large island at present, and outside of the ants, lizards, spiders, flies and any other creature that walks, swims or flies, it isn't such a bad place. After all it is a lot warmer here, which I like, because that other place was too cold and damp to suit me. Course sometimes it gets quite "warm" but after all we must expect those things, cause this is war.
It is usually on moonlight nights when "they" come. Yes, old "Washing-machine-Charlie" [Japanese air attacks] never fails. Getting pretty well used to it though now. Can don my helmet, dress, grab my flashlight, dive into my foxhole, and never wake up, course that all comes from practice! Even though all of us are scared during these times, the coconuts that drop off the trees during the day when you are walking along, for no reason at all, scare me most of all. The natives tell us that nobody ever gets hit with one, but guess you just have to keep clear of the trees like they do if you don't want to have one fall on you.
Have been attending church every Sunday, which is more than I did in civilian life. (I should be telling you) Don't know why it is, but it seems as though a person is closer to his religion out here in the "boon docks" than back in the states. Back there, I think one has too many other so-called "pleasures" to really think of religion the way he should.
Since landing here, our officers' barber got a survey, so "yours truly" was elected to "take over". So am now barbering again, for the Officers and like it very much.
Had a picture taken the other day, in my "barber shop" on which I am cutting the Division's Chaplain hair in my home-made "barber chair" which is an ammunition box with a back nailed on to it. They are going to send it to the Northwestern back there, so unless the high & mighty of yonder paper refuse to publish it, you'll be seeing it one of these months.
So until such time as our paths may cross again, I will close for now.
||World War II
||8: Communication Artifact
||Oshkosh Public Museum
||Elbert, John E.
Haferman, Willard C.
||World War II
United States Marine Corps
Pacific Theater of Operations
NOTICE: This material may be freely used by non-commercial entities for educational and/or research purposes as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format for profit or other presentation without the permission of The Oshkosh Public Museum. © 2005 Oshkosh Public Museum, All Rights Reserved
Last modified on: December 12, 2009