Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – June 19, 1943
Saturday, June 19, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
June 19, 1943 Diary Page
Last night about ten o clock (sic) I was awakened by a soldier from headquarters. His story was that paratroopers had been dropped in the vicinity of Tunis and that all outfits should be on the alert. Today, all truck drivers were ordered to carry their guns so there must be something to it. I can’t see the point to it as it certainly is a one way ticket. There ought to be orders out that there will be no more prisoners. What we are going to do with what we have is more than I can see. It’s impossible to imagine how many we have. I’ve seen countless truck loads of Italian prisoners in this area alone. Most of them are being used for labor details and they don’t seem to mind it at all. In fact they seem quite happy about the situation as a whole. I pity the Italian people more than a little as they have no easy out. If she doesn’t seceed (sic) to us we are going to have to bomb her flat. If she does and we occupy her, then Germany is going to do the same. Today we continued setting up our shop and made a good deal of progress. I moved out of my pup tent which was more holes than tent into the big shop tent. I have a pretty nice little room segregated off and tomorrow I’m going to get the foot locker out and pack it to live out of instead of a barracks bag. I finally got disgusted trying to get two wheels for the Jeep so took two off of a small Jeep trailer parked in the woods and replaced them with my two bent ones. Some one is stuck and it isn’t me. Well it’s time to turn in. I wish I could see Ginnie for a while.
To view previous diary entries, click here.
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The Day That Was: June 19, 1943
|• Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels declared Berlin to be Judenfrei (cleansed of Jews). Ten years earlier, the Jewish population in Berlin was estimated around 186,000. (http://www.worldwar-2.net/timelines/the-holocaust/the-holocaust-index-1943.htm)
• The RAF carried out a raid on the Schneider armaments works at Le Creusot. (http://www.worldwar-2.net/timelines/war-in-europe/european-air-war/european-air-war-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: Kathleen Long
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