Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 8, 1943
Thursday, July 8, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
July 8, 1943 Diary Page
If this kind of weather keeps up there will be no kick from me. Last night was one of the most wonderful sleeping nights you could imagine. I don’t think I turned over once during the entire night and I sure hated to get up. This morning early we got a good start and really turned out some trucks. I don’t know how much longer the parts situation will hold out but we can hope. We may not be the heroes of this war but the heroes wouldn’t last very long without us so we keep plugging along. It’s really a pretty soft job compared to what some of the line outfits put up with. I imagine we could have it pretty rough though if we didn’t have such a complete superiority of the air. We have been right up here at the front now for three weeks and have only seen two air raids and they were nearly thirty miles away. I don’t know what it will be like if we ship over and get into the enemies’ home territory. It probably won’t be so soft. I know some of the maintenance outfits had a pretty rough time of it when they first came over. Maybe I’ll have an interesting story to tell my grandchildren after all. “Damn these flies.” Please pardon the language but if you had to put up with these flies I think you would go into murdering the English easy and with a far greater flourish. They are the most persistent bastards I’ve ever heard of. Well I’ve gone into this before so I won’t bore you with it again. On the whole, today was totally uneventful. We finished the trucks.
To view previous diary entries, click here.
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The Day That Was: July 8, 1943
• Vila, Kolombangara in the Solomons is bombed by US Naval aircraft. (http://www.blountweb.com/blountcountymilitary/wars/ww2/timelines/1943_ww2.htm)
• American B-24 bombers struck Japanese-held Wake Island for the first time.(http://timelines.ws/20thcent/1943.HTML)
• US invasion fleet passed Bizerta, Tunisia.(http://timelines.ws/20thcent/1943.HTML)
• As the battle of Kursk reaches its climax, the exhausted German forces are unable to make any further gains while losing vast numbers of men, tanks and planes. Soviet claims for the day are 304 tanks and 161 aircraft, while the Germans claim 400 tanks and 193 aircraft. (http://www.worldwar-2.net/timelines/war-in-europe/eastern-europe/eastern-europe-index-1943.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