Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 14, 1943
Wednesday, July 14, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
July 14, 1943 Diary Page
Today I think we _______this time lag that we have had between the times we tear a motor down and when we get the parts. This sometimes takes as many as three or four days which means that shop is cluttered up with dead parts and the crew has no place to work. That is a situation that has been holding up our production for quite some time. This morning I went down to headquarters and asked if I could have 2 extra motors as well as 2 extra assemblies of all types put in trucks. I am going to set up and overhaul shop that will just do that kind of work so that when a truck comes in for an overhaul we just put in a new motor then overhaul the old one at our convenience. They are going to try to get us those so we should be sitting all right in a few days. As it is we have been turning out about 3 complete overhauls a day plus all the miscellaneous stuff that comes in. I know now that all the estimates made in the states as to the number of trucks an M.M.Q. Co. could maintain in the field should be cut in half. The conditions of the truck and the supplies available just about cut the total in half. I’d like to go back to the states in about six months and make the rounds of M.M. Co.’s and talk on maintenance under actual operational conditions. That’s out of the question. Well we seem to be gaining ground steadily on Sicily. We have a decided superiority of the air and are landing more troops and equipment every day. Sounds pretty good. We had an Amateur show tonight put on mostly by my outfit. It was pretty good.
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The Day That Was: July 14, 1943
|British and German paratroops fight for key Primosole bridge in Sicily. (http://www.worldwar-2.net/timelines/war-in-europe/southern-europe/southern-europe-index-1943.htm)
US destroyers bombard Kiska in the Aleutians. (http://www.blountweb.com/blountcountymilitary/wars/ww2/timelines/1943_ww2.htm)
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