Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – August 9, 1943
Monday, Aug. 9, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
Aug. 9, 1943 Diary Page
This morning a bulletin on the Sicilian campaign came in and said the German Front has shrunk to 40 miles and was dissolving fast. It also stated that any evidence of evacuations was being watched closely and that it would be practically impossible to evacuate. The enemy positions are being bombed incessantly and it looks like we are pushing ahead for a quick kill. This afternoon another bulletin stated the line had shrunk to 25 miles so it looks like the end is near. Still no signs of evacuation. Any boats flying between the Island and the mainland are being sunk whether a barge or boat regardless of size. For once we seem to be taking full measure of our advantage. I only hope we follow up the Sicilian defeat immediately with an invasion of the continent. Lord knows we are putting enough troops on the island and the harbors of Algiers, Oman and Bizerte (?) are full of ships. We can’t afford to waste much time. The news of the Russian and South Pacific Islands are equally encouraging. If this war would only end. There is so much to do in so little time and it seems a shame to be wasting it this way. I’m getting old fast and have done nothing so far. When men start coming up and asking for transfers then I begin to worry. I’m worrying now. I don’t know how much longer this is going on but I’ll give it another two or three weeks then ask for a transfer if nothing comes up. I can’t take seeing something I put my time and thought building for a time torn down in a few weeks. I went over to the show tonight. It was fair. I hear Bob Hope played at the 319th Airborne about 5 miles from here.
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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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