Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – May 30, 1943
Sunday, May 30, 1943
Casablanca, North Africa
May 30, 1943 Diary Page
This morning I decided I was going to sleep late but couldn’t so got up around seven thirty and cleaned up. While I was shaving I heard there was a bunch going up to get a shower so I joined. That is the third shower that I have had since I got off the boat. You have to go up in a group as there is only one valve to 20 showers and they don’t want to waste the water. At least fifteen fellows have to go or you can’t get showers. Most of the morning was taken up with censoring letters which is getting to be a definate (sic) nuisance. After dinner I got some of the boys together and we took off for Fedala for a swim. I sure was surprized (sic) at that place. The beach looks almost as good as those in the states and there sure was a crowd enjoying it. French Arabic Spanish and more than a few varieties of English could be heard from one place to the other. The water was cool and very refreshing. There was very little surf so all we could do was straight swimming. We left about five so we could get back in time for chow. Of course a captain who went along knew a short cut back and got us properly lost so we just barely got back in time. This evening a Lt. of the Medics and I went into town to a show. The Red Cross took over a new theatre here that would do credit to New York and has free shows for all our soldiers. It’s a good deal. The shows are old but not too bad. They must seem wonderful after 6 months here.
To view previous diary entries, click here.
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The Day That Was: May 30, 1943
|• The Dies Committee on Un-American Activities reported that 40,000 Japanese are still at large in the U.S. and an uncertain number were trained in Japan as saboteurs. The committee also criticized the War Relocation Authority for releasing 1,000 Japanese per week from relocation camps. (http://www.sfmuseum.net/war/43.html)
• The Japanese abandon Attu Island in the Aleutians 19 days after American forces invade. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_World_War_II_(1943))
• Dr. Josef Mengele arrived at Auschwitz as research assistant to Dr. Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer. (http://timelines.ws/20thcent/1943.HTML)
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.
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