Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 9, 1943
Friday, July 9, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
July 9, 1943 Diary Page
Some day I’m going to turn my company loose armed to the teeth and take Uncle Sam’s army apart piece by piece. We have had a truck on deadline for two weeks now because of a bad crankshaft. Today a new motor was brought up to us so we could get the truck back to work so the men put her in. They were just putting the finishing touches on it when the phone rang and we had orders to take it out as it belonged to another unit. What could I ______ do but take it out. Well it was hanging in a sling when another order came through telling us we could keep the motor and hoping we had (not) gone far with the job of pulling it. Well we put it back. A whole day nearly wasted by a crew. At that rate we ought to win the war in a hurry. Today I noticed a hospital ship making steady trips to the northeast of here and back and it puzzled me. Now I know. Our boys have supposedly landed on Sicily. I know the ships all pulled out yesterday morning. Today I went into the hospital to take K_____ and Sch_____ mail to them. I talked with a nurse there for a little while and she said they had been told to expect casualties tomorrow and be prepare(d) for plenty. This is going to be nothing but rough. There is an outfit up on the cape that has been ordered to dig 500 graves immediately. Sounds like there might be a war going on. I got my film today. They sure turned out good. That is a sweet little camera I brought over with me. This was a windy and dusty day. Whew!
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The Day That Was: July 9, 1943
|• Operation ‘Husky’ begins, with the US 82nd and the British 1st Airborne Divisions making the first landings on Sicily at night. However, due to navigational errors, hundreds of U.S. paratroopers are dropped in the sea and are drowned, while many others are widely scattered and miss their assigned targets. (http://www.worldwar-2.net/timelines/war-in-europe/southern-europe/southern-europe-index-1943.htm)
• The German submarine U-590 is sunk by naval land-based aircraft (VP-94) at the mouth of the Amazon River, Brazil. (http://www.blountweb.com/blountcountymilitary/wars/ww2/timelines/1943_ww2.htm)
82d Abn Paratroopers on board a C-47 plane heading for Sicily,
July 9, 1943 – “Operation Husky”
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