Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 10, 1943
Saturday, July 10, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
July 10, 1943 Diary Page
And another week ends. As the week ends so begins the invasion. At three this morning our forces began the landing operation and this afternoon when I went to the hospital to get K____ and Schwartz the first casualties were being brought in. Ten ambulances full had just come from the airport. The beginning of another sentence in the pages of history. A sentence is all it deserves probably yet thousands of boys will give their lives leaving only a memory and some pictures on their mothers desk to show for twenty or some years of labor bringing him up to be a good citizen. A memory. Oh yes I forgot a sentence in a page of history. Befitting words for the labors of a mother and hopes of a father. Modern science has developed to the extent that one man can successfully kill a hundred in a few seconds. It is obvious that we are advancing toward the peak of civilization. All day today planes have almost blackened out the sun with their goings and comings. They no sooner return than they load up and take off again. The present and the past is being destroyed and I wonder what a picture of the future would look like now. Maybe it’s best we don’t see it. Now it is best we live for today. I never have liked that way as I have a bit of the dreamer in my makeup and I like to plan what I’m going to do in the years to come. There is a certain satisfaction a man gets out of seeing his well laid plans materialize. Now what is there to plan for? That I think depends on each individual. It is cool tonight. I will put on the extra blanket. A pipe tastes good when it’s cool.
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The Day That Was: July 10, 1943
|• Allies invade Sicily. Troops land under cover of naval gunfire and aircraft. The overall commander is General Dwight D. Eisenhower, USA; the naval commander is Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham, RN. Western Naval Task Force under Vice Admiral H.K. Hewitt, USN lands the US Seventh Army under Lieutenant General George S. Patton, USA, and Eastern Naval Task Force under Vice Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, RN, lands the British Eighth Army under British General Sir B.L. Montgomery. Naval gunfire continues to support the forces ashore throughout the Sicilian campaign. US naval vessels sunk during the Sicily landings include the destroyer USS Maddox (DD-622), LST 313, and the minesweeper USS Sentinel (AM-113). The destroyers USS Roe (DD-418) and USS Swanson (DD-443), the attack transport USS William P. Biddle (APA-8), LST-382, LST-345 and the submarine chaser PC-621 are damaged in collisions. (http://www.blountweb.com/blountcountymilitary/wars/ww2/timelines/1943_ww2.htm)
A US 7th Army M4A1 lands at Red Beach 2, Sicily on July 10, 1943
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
Video production: Alison Harder
Narration: Mountain Vista H.S. Theater Department
Jeremy Goldson, Department Chair; Bryan Smith – voice of Lt. Reichard