Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 18, 1943
Sunday, July 18, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
July 18, 1943 Diary Page
This morning I had planned on sleeping a little late but was wakened by Sgt. Enright at the usual time. When Enright awakens me I know there’s been trouble as he is always the last man up. Well it seems Cpl. C_______, during his tour of guard last night had decided that he would sit down for a while. This is a known, dangerous act as it tends to encourage sleep. The O.D. drove up and started checking the area and couldn’t find the guard. Meanwhile Sgt. W. Moore our permanent duty & guard Sgt. had also noted the case of the missing guard and started looking himself. They ran across C_______ coming from behind the trailer he has made his home, rubbing his eyes as thought he had been asleep. When acosted (sic) with the fact he finally admitted that he had sat down but swore he had not been asleep. The O.D. did not turn him in for which I am thankful. I can’t understand an intelligent kid like C______allowing such a thing to happen. He had no excuse. I talked to him for a few minutes but I’m getting a little disgusted with talking. He was given two weeks walking every night from 6-9 with full field pack. I would have busted him but that has to go through headquarters and with one man already in the guard house I don’t think my reputation would be enhanced any. This morning I had the men clean up & check their tools and get their shops back in order. If we don’t do that each week the tools get lost and the place begins to look like a tornado. This P.M. we went to the beach.
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The Day That Was: July 18, 1943
|Naval and Army aircraft attack the Buin-Kahile area on Bougainville in the Solomons. The Naval airship K-74 is shot down by a German U-boat in the Florida Straits. This is the only naval airship lost to enemy action (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: Shari Seippel
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