Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – August 2, 1943
Monday, August, 2, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
Aug. 2, 1943 Diary Page
This morning I woke up to hear some of the boys talking and asked what the trouble was. Sgt. F____ said he had heard someone calling his name and thought it was the guard. He had gotten up and looked for him but found no one. I got a couple of the boys up and passed out some flashlights and we got our guns. With all the talk about paratroops around I was taking no chances. We searched for half an hour before I found him asleep. I shined the flash in his eyes to wake him up then turned in the report to the Captain that he had been sitting down, probably had been asleep but that I hadn’t caught him asleep. That would have meant another man in the Guard house and that would (not) do my reputation and the companies any good. I can’t understand a man sleeping on guard. They have been warned time and again and fully know the consequences. This morning he was called in and given a week, eight hours a day, walking guard plus the job of digging a latrine which is no easy job in this country. The latrine will be dug after the eight hours of walking. I hope it teaches him a lesson. The Captain was really sore and has made an order that the whole company drill 2 hours a day for a week, in hopes that it will make the boys watch each other and see that this kind of stuff stops. All the men are up in arms and raising hell about it. It’s the Cpt’s idea but I’m interested in seeing the outcome. I won’t pretend to judge him until its over with. It’s a gorgeous cool night. Just perfect for sleeping. Well here goes so . . .
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1943 Diary Recaps
January 1943 Recap: We first met Lt. Reichard in January, stationed at McClellan Air Base in Sacramento, where he was in charge of a motor pool unit. Expecting to be sent overseas, their orders were changed and they became restless to see action. Lt. Reichard’s sweetheart, Ginnie, would write frequently, and he would go to dinner and movies with local girls – Dorothy, in Sacramento, and Marie, when the unit moved to Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho. The men have spent their days in lectures, and physical demonstrations to try to keep sharp mentally and physically. But they are getting increasingly restless.
February 1943 Recap: The unit continues to be restless as they still haven’t any orders for overseas. The days are kept busy with lectures, physical demonstrations, and frequent hikes in the mountains above Boise. Lt. Reichard receives a promotion to Lieutenant First Class and continues to write to Ginnie back home, though her letters are becoming more infrequent. February 1943 comes to an end with the unit still feeling bored and discouraged.
March 1943 Recap: March brings uncertainties in weather and daily life to Gowen Field. Still no word about overseas orders, the outfit must now share quarters with another unit. There is now time to begin a photo album, collecting pictures from times with the outfit. Letters from Ginnie are becoming more infrequent but there is no shortage of dates with the local girls in Boise. March comes to an end with everyone in the outfit anxiously awaiting word of upcoming furloughs.
April 1943 Recap: Last minute furloughs come through, and Lt. Reichard returns home to Maryland for some time with his family on the farm. He and Ginnie have a chance to talk things over and hopefully save the relationship. Just before leaving Boise, the unit gets orders that a move will come at the end of April. April comes to an end with the men spending a week in Stockton, California getting ready to ship out. But where they are going remains a mystery.
May 1943 Recap: The long journey begins by train as the outfit travels cross country to Camp Shanks, New York, where they will prepare to head overseas. Lt. Reichard now knows the destination: Casablanca, Morocco in North Africa. After ensuring that all the supplies are in order, the outfit boards the “West Point”, the newest in troop carriers and heads to sea. Lt. Reichard spends many peaceful evenings enjoying the time at sea before landing in Morocco. May ends with the outfit setting up camp and adjusting to the customs of Morocco.
Lt. Reichard’s WWII Diary Project : On January 1, 2009, WorthPoint began a three year project following the life of a WWII soldier through the daily pages of his diary. To read about the inception of this project, or to add your own comments, click here.
Diary transcription: Shari Seippel Diary photos: Claudia Forbes
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