Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – August 7, 1943
Saturday, Aug. 7, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
Aug. 7, 1943 Diary Page
Today marks the end of the fourth week of the invasion. My original guess of six weeks may still be good because opposition now is pretty terrible. They have the Nazi forces pinned up in the north east corner and all hell is letting loose. The Nazis don’t give up so easily. There are several wild rumors that Sicily fell last night but no verification. It would suit me fine. We are all wondering still just what Italy will finally decide to do. One thing seems certain and that is if she does capitulate we won’t get her navy as the Nazis would never let a plum like that drop into our laps. It will in all probability be scuttled.
Well the Captain is really getting this outfit on the rocks. The boys are all complaining and petty differences that have always been left alone prior to this are becoming headaches. Little jealousies are getting in the way of the work and he doesn’t see a thing wrong. Each man is getting so he is afraid he may have to do more than another and a continuous bitching campaign is now in progress. It’s got me worried sick, because I can’t do a damn thing about it. I’ve found out the boys are doing a little undermining up at headquarters and its beginning to show results. I think the Captain is beginning to reside in the chamber of disfavor and is completely unaware of it. It may not do any good, but I’m not one for interfering with others’ business. I went over to Janette’s tonight and had dinner. They certainly have been swell to me.
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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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