Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – August 3, 1943
Tuesday, Aug. 3, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
Aug. 3, 1943 Diary Page
Ambition must be catching up with me. I wrote fine letters tonight. Of course that is the advantage of “V-Mail.” There is only so much room to fill out yet it counts as a letter and gets an answer. Did I say ambition was invading my shores. There is a little stronger murmur about this drilling and the Captain’s physicology of discipline. I’m still watching. He could be right, but I wonder. This afternoon I took an adjustable spotlight off a wrecked Auto-car tractor and put it on my Jeep. The “Ginny G” sure is getting decked out. German helmet, blast horns and now a spot. Of course she is souped up in addition. A captain turned a m —— Jeep in today to exchange for a good one then sat around talking for a while. He built quite a few of Lacy Meyers’ champion racing motors, so that led from one thing to another and we had quite a nice talk. He built a few jobs for boats. He did one Ford V-P so that it would turn up 7000 RPMs with no load. Mister that is RPMs in any man’s language. I would like to get into that game after the war. The more I run across these fellows the more it fascinates me. The battle of Sicily still progresses although for the moment slowed down by the increasing resistance of uniformed Nazi troops. The people of Sicily seem very friendly towards our troops. In one _____ one of our men ran across his grandfather. An example of what a melting pot the U.S. really is. We still don’t just know how Italy is going to turn. We can hope.
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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
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