Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – June 29, 1943
Tuesday, June 29, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
June 29, 1943 Diary Page
This morning I woke up feeling pretty fair and thought the sickness was on its way off. However by noon I thought differently and I ended up down at the dispensery (sic) tonight in a bed. No one understands just what is wrong but then there are so many stomach ailments that occur to us in N. Africa that it makes little difference. I think most of it is that we don’t eat any fresh vegetables or meat. I’m getting as I can hardly look a meal in the face. I’d commit a murder right now for one of mother’s chicken dinners. The mere thought of it nearly kills me. This morning Sgt. Kaiser and I went out and toured the country side for electric wire. There is a certain brand of wire evidently put up by the Germans that makes excellent welding wire and we cut a couple hundred pounds. We are doing quite a bit of welding as these trucks sure are beat up. We spot weld them together and hope they will stay that way then ship them out. Sometimes I wonder what keeps them going. The way that we have to improvise a repair job is something. Today we found a job with its head warped about .008 so Sgt. Moore got out a file and filed it down and it worked. That was a major operation. So far this week we have had three complete motor overhauls which is work that is supposed to be done by 4th Echelon shops. Of course I’ve been though that argument before. We still can’t find any mail. I’m getting weak sweating it out.
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The Day That Was: June 29, 1943
|• U.S Marines landed on Nassau Beach near Lae in New Guinea during Operation “Cartwheel.” (http://www.worldwar-2.net/timelines/asia-and-the-pacific/pacific-islands/pacific-islands-index-1943.htm)
• Germany began withdrawing U-boats from the North Atlantic in anticipation of the Allied invasion of Europe. (http://timelines.ws/20thcent/1943.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.
Diary transcription: Kathleen Long
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