Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – August 11, 1943
Wednesday, Aug. 11, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
Aug. 11, 1943 Diary Page
I wonder if there ever will come a time when I will get used to the darned flies. If for nothing else I will be thankful to get back to the states to get rid of the damned pests. It is impossible to imagine how they stick. Have you ever been half way asleep and had some one run a light straw up and down your face while you batted away at it yet couldn’t wake up enough to see the cause. Every time you swing on it, it ___________ lifted then came back. Well that is the way these flies operate. They pick a favorite spot on you then walk all over it. You bat at him and he mostly just ducks. If you come close enough he may become annoyed and move but he’ll bare his teeth and snarl at you when he has to go that far. Last night we had one of those accidents that seems to be typical of N. Africa. We are beginning to feel there is more of a chance of “coming back” up at the front then behind the lines. Yesterday evening a couple boys were cleaning a “45” up here on the fill and it went off. They got up and looked around and saw no disturbance and there had been no yell so they figured all was well. This morning at roll call there was a sergeant missing so someone went to see if he was over sleeping. He was. In fact he slept so soundly they buried him two hours later. A neat round hole punctuated a puzzled frown on his face. Today as usually on Wednesdays I went over to Jannette’s home and enjoyed another of those evenings. I think I would be lost over here without that family. I got in pretty late.
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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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