Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – May 26, 1943
by Lt.Reichard (05/26/09).
Wednesday, May 26, 1943 Casablanca, North Africa
May 26, 1943 Diary Page
Tonight there are a bunch of soldiers down by the fence here bantering with the Arabs. It’s quite interesting to see the gesturing and jabbering as each side tries to make itself understood. A steel knive (sic), hand made is held up by a native and he asks six dollars. He knows enough English to name the moneys. Then the soldiers start jewing him down and a violent and friendly duel of patience is ensued. Generally you can cut them down to half or 1/3 of the original price and if you don’t cut them down they think you are a fool. They get the best of the soldiers sometimes but I think it all evens up in the long run. This evening I got some news I’ve been expecting but was rather hoping wouldn’t happen. Ray’s outfit pulled out. We have been together for nearly a year now and I’m going to miss him like hell. He is very much like myself and we got along famously. There are very few people I ever chum around with continually. In the 2-1/2 years in the army there have been only two. Larry Fritz and Ray Seitz. Larry and I were together about a yr. and a half, then he was shipped to Hawaii. Ray is only sent about 20 miles away so I’ll probably see plenty of him for the time being. I wish our equipment would come in so we could get our shops set up. I came over here to see a little action and I’m tired of sitting around. That’s all we did in the states. I wrote three long letters today and got one from mother.
• Death of Edsel Ford; Henry Ford re-elected president; Henry Ford II released from Navy to help stabilize company. (http://www.thecarconnection.com/article/1004897_ford-timeline-1943-1982)
• The Red Army begins an offensive against the German forces isolated in the Kuban bridgehead between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. (http://www.worldwar-2.net/timelines/war-in-europe/eastern-europe/eastern-europe-index-1943.htm)
• The submarine USS Trout (SS-202) lands personnel, currency and equipment on Basilan Island in the Philippines. (http://www.blountweb.com/blountcountymilitary/wars/ww2/timelines/1943_ww2.htm)
• Jews rioted against Germans in Amsterdam. (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.
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
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