Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 22, 1943

Thursday, July 22, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa

July 22, 1943 Diary Page

July 22, 1943 Diary Page

Well, this has really been a rugged day. We started work at 700 hours and finished it at…well that remains to be seen, We finished the day’s work in the shop and I just sat down to fill this little item out when the phone rang saying I should take all the men and the trucks to the ammunition dump as we will be unloading bombs all night long. Well I still have a few minutes so I will be finishing this. I’ve gone to order the cooks to prepare a midnight snack. Some of the guys are really bitching as they have just come back from taking a nice cool shower. I don’t blame them in the least. We spent much of the day getting used to the captain and of course getting the paperwork straightened up. I don’t think he is going to bother us much. He likes his ____ to much. I had a chat with him and found out that he’s not so dumb. He seems to be a pretty smart type and I feel sure we will get along fine. I found out he was a parts guy for 12 years at the Auburn auto motor plants and evidently was doing alright. In a solo talk on insurance he made today he mentioned he had 50,000 worth of insurance himself. You can’t keep that up on hay.

Well the island of Sicily is still taking a beating. We even have over 1/3rd of the island in our possession and am beginning to think we may finish it off in less than two more weeks. If that is so, maybe we will be home in a year. Optimism. Why sure. You have to have that to keep sane over here. I’m ready to pull up stakes for Italy anytime now.

Good Night

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The Day That Was: July 22, 194

•    Deportations of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto began. The extermination camp Treblinka opened. http://gmu.mossiso.com/689/?p=timeline

•    The American 7th Army forces led by Gen. George S. Patton captured Palermo, Sicily. General Patton moved his troops across Sicily through August.   http://timelines.ws/20thcent/1943.HTML

•    A task force of two battleships, five cruisers and nine destroyers under Rear Adms. Robert Giffen and Robert Griffin bombarded the Kiska area in the Aleutians. http://www.blountweb.com/blountcountymilitary/wars/ww2/timelines/1943_ww2.htm

treblinka-2deportations

Arrival at Treblinka, in Nazi Occupied Poland

photo courtesy: http://isurvived.org/TOC-I.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.

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.

Production Credits:
Diary transcription: Shari Seippel

Diary photos: Claudia Forbes