Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 7, 1943
Wednesday, July 7, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
July 7, 1943 Diary Page
How such a contrast in weather is possible, I don’t know but I certainly am thankful for it. Today has been lovely. A cool breeze kept the temperature down to a reasonable working medium so we felt like a human being. This morning Sgt. Sanders and I got a 900-gallon water tank mounted on an old Italian truck. The truck would be more of a handicap than help so I went down to the salvage yard and picked up a 6×6 chassis and rear assembly and we made a beautiful trailer for her. We didn’t finish her today but by tomorrow evening it should be in working order.
I sent Sgt. W. M___ in at 5:00 this morning after ice. He came back at six this evening with no ice and said he had been bucking the line all day. I didn’t call him a liar as I had no grounds to prove him wrong but something sure smells ______ to me. I think I’ll leave the ice detail to the cooks. They have a way of getting supplies. We are really getting set up now. We have a screened in latrine, plenty; _________ for our shops and our mess hall is nearly finished. The mess hall is all screened in. I sure have a ______ bunch of boys and I wouldn’t trade them for a lot. Whew! This _____ deal is getting me. About five of my boys are sweating out expected fatherhood and I’m sweating out all of them. Right now I can’t figure out whether I want them all boys or girls or half and half. I’m worried about the condition of the mother and the expected dates haunt me. _____ I have one who has one but doesn’t know if it’s a boy or a girl. The father is having fits in his letters and I am in my sleep. What a life.
To view previous diary entries, click here.
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The Day That Was: July 7, 1943
|• Rocket scientist Wernher von Braun briefs the V-2 rocket to Hitler, who approves the project for top priority.( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_World_War_II_(1943)
• In the 3rd day of battle at Kursk the Germans occupied Dubrova. Erich Hartmann shot 7 Russian aircraft at Kursk.
• The German submarine U-951 is sunk by Army aircraft in the eastern Atlantic. (http://www.blountweb.com/blountcountymilitary/wars/ww2/timelines/1943_ww2.htm)
Werhher von Braun with a model of the V-2 rocket.
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: Sharri 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