Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – June 24, 1943
Thursday, June 24, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
June 24, 1943 Diary Page
This evening, in fact the whole afternoon as well has been very interesting. Four of us started out about three to see the ruins of Carthage. Those of you who have studied the old Roman Empire will probably remember the part Carthage played. I had not realized that we were so close to this ancient city until I looked over the map of Tunisia this morning while censoring my mail. We found the place only nine miles from Tunis and of course it was not as wonderful as it is put up to be nevertheless it is still worth seeing. To the average eye it is dissapointing (sic) but to me after my art background, I found [some] of the Frieze’s very interesting. Most of them have been destroyed and the thousands of soldiers hanging around are not doing what is left any good. However there is enough left to build up in an imaginative mind a picture of some once lovely buildings with tiled floors inter-spersed (sic) with Friezes of many colors and stone with gardens boasting every hue of the color wheel. I took a few pictures just to prove I was there. Later on we went around to the beach for a swim. There I met a lovely french (sic) girl and we tried to talk for a couple hours. We got along fair. Her father is an artist and when I told her I had studied she said I should meet him. It is tomorrow so I hope nothing happens. When we came back to camp we ran into some good news. We have 57 trucks on an a-1 priority to be fixed. That means work and plenty of it which doesn’t hurt the men’s nor my feelings what so ever (sic). This morning we had a non-com meeting and I think we accomplished something for a change. We are going to get rough on all infractions of rules. This general is hard as rocks and we need __________, etc., so it’s a good disciplinary measure. We have been far too lenient in the past and some are taking advantage of it.
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The Day That Was: June 24, 1943
|• Royal Air Force bombers hammered Muelheim, Germany, in a drive to cripple the Ruhr industrial base. (http://timelines.ws/countries/GERM1939_1944.HTML)
• The German submarine, U-200, was sunk by naval land-based aircraft (VP-84) in the north Atlantic. (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: 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