Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 17, 1943
Saturday, July 17, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
July 17, 1943 Diary Page
This afternoon I saw a sight I will remember for a long time to come. Just after dinner four flights of over 100 planes each passed over in the direction of Sicily. They averaged about 70 bombers to 30 fighters. The B-17s seem to get all of the glory in this war but about all I see headed out are B-26’s made in Baltimore Md. I’ve seen about 10 B-17s since I’ve been east of Casablanca. Well it’s a cinch that someone got hell today. I would like to have gone along on this mission just to see what it was like. Today I was a little busy. I helped tear down and overhaul a GMC motor, replace a transmission and tear down a Jeep motor. This experience ought to be invaluable to me after the war and I intend to get plenty of it. Another day has gone by without me getting a letter. I can’t understand it as the others are getting a few. I never realized a letter could mean so much until coming over here. This is finished later this evening and I did get a letter. It was from Dorothy. I wonder what’s wrong there. It seems as all my women are deserting me. It seems my charm just isn’t of the lasting type. I can control easily, the situation while I’m there but they seem (to) forget after I am gone. Of course she says she loves me, but I’ve been feeding that line to them so long I don’t even believe it when it comes back. There was too long a time lapse between letters. This evening we had a movie for the first time in a long while.
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The Day That Was: July 17, 1943
|United Artists releases Disney’s animated and live-action feature film Victory Through Air Power to theaters. It cost US$788,000 to make. The film is based on the book by Major Alexander de Seversky.
Naval and Army aircraft attack Japanese Shipping at Buin, Bougainville in the Solomons. The Japanese destroyer Hatsuyuki is sunk during the attack. (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