Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – June 30, 1943
Wednesday, June 30, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
June 30 1943 Diary Page
This morning I felt a lot better. I don’t know what it was they gave me but it sure did something. I was weak as hell and spent the whole day lying on a cot in the dispensary but there was a decided improvement. This evening I feel almost like a normal human being. Most of the day was spent lying on my back reading poetry from a volume of selected English and American poets. It was excellent and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. This afternoon right after dinner Sgt. Enright came in and told me that Pvt. H____had been found asleep last night while on guard. That is a serious offense over here as it should be and it was doubly serious last night as we were on the alert expecting a raid by paratroopers. There was only one alternative and that was the guard house. He is awaiting court-martial. H_____is a tricky situation that has been bothering me for quite a while. He is Indian and has a decided persecution complex. He seems to feel that all the men don’t like indians (sic) and goes out of his way hunting trouble. I have given orders long ago that there would be no kidding him as he would not take it right. I have watched him closely and can see no reason for the way he feels as most of the boys go out of their way to be pleasant to him. I do myself. This putting him in the guard house won’t do him any good but it’s to (sic) serious an offense to let slide. I’m somewhat at a loss as to how to handle him. He is at his worse (sic) when he gets drunk and has several times threatened to knife men. Well it’s late and I want to get some sleep.
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The Day That Was: June 30, 1943
|• The 3rd Fleet Amphibious Force under Rear Adm. Richmond K. Turner, supported by land-based aircraft under Vice Adm. Aubrey Fitch, landed Marines and army troops on Rendova, northwest of Guadalcanal, and other islands in the New Georgia area in the Solomons as Operation “Cartwheel” continued. The Trobriand and Woodlark islands between Solomons and New Guinea were also occupied. (http://www.worldwar-2.net/timelines/asia-and-the-pacific/pacific-islands/pacific-islands-index-1943.htm)
• Serrate radar-homing equipment fitted in RAF night-fighting aircraft was first used. The receivers allowed Beaufighters to home in on German night-fighter interception radars. (http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/rafhistorytimeline1943.cfm)
• The British published aircraft losses incurred to date: Axis 18,031; RAF 9,906. (http://www.fortunecity.co.uk/meltingpot/oxford/330/time.html#1943)
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