Lt. Reichard’s WWII Diary – February 18, 1943
Lt. Reichard’s WWII Diary Project and Recap: 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.
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, Ginny, 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.
Transcript of Diary Entry February 18, 1943
Thursday, February 18, 1943
Gowen Fieid, Boise, Idaho
My eyes have been raising hell with me all day. They feel like I have sand in them but I can find nothing. If they aren’t better tomorrow I am going on sick call. Well its happened. We must have done another good job of underestimating our friend Gen. Rommel. That has proven a bad thing to do in the past and it looks bad now. In the last two days we have been pushed back seventy miles in Tunisia and it looks like we might abandon continental Tunisia. A month or so back every one was saying that it was merely a matter of days before the Axis would be pushed into the Sea. What happened? Why did we allow Rommel to get his wind. In my estimation he is one of the finest Generals in the world and I can’t see why any one would give him even a slim chance. He never misses a chance. Are we going to have to wait for the British to come up and save us again. It seems like the British are doing all the fighting in Africa while we do all the bragging. All we did was take over a territory that nearly wanted to be taken yet to hear us talk we have conquered the world. Today was just the usual. We are cleaning up the packing and Saturday should see the finish. I went out to the gym and worked out. They have a pressure tank to train aviators for high altitude flying. I think I’ll try it out next week. Tonight I saw a show on the post then came on back and read until eleven.
To view previous diary entries, click here.
The Day That Was: February 18, 1943
• Madam Chiang Kai Shek addressed both Houses of the United States Congress, saying “We of this generation who are privileged to help make a better world for ourselves and for posterity should remember that, while we must not be visionary, we must have vision so that peace should not be punitive in spirit and should not be provincial or nationalistic or even continental in concept, but universal in scope and humanitarian in action. . . .”—Congressional Record, Feb. 18, 1943 (http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/events/1943.html)
• In the wake of the Stalingrad disaster, Dr. Joseph Goebbels, speaking before an enthusiastic audience of soldiers and civilians in Berlin, announced the implementation of “total war,” which, for the first time, mandated the employment of German women in the war effort. (http://www.worldwar-2.net/timelines/war-in-europe/western-europe/western-europe-index-1943.htm)
• The Nazis arrested members of the White Rose movement, an anti-Nazi youth group. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_World_War_II_(1943)
• Chindits under Gen. OrdeWingate cut the railway line between Mandalay and Myitkyina. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_World_War_II_(1943)
• Two cruisers and four destroyers under Rear Admm C. H. McMorris bombarded Japanese installations at Holtz Bay and Chichagof Harbor, Attu in the Aleutians. (http://www.blountweb.com/blountcountymilitary/wars/ww2/timelines/1943_ww2.htm)
Diary transcription: Kathleen Long
Diary photos: Claudia Forbes
Video production: Alison Harder
Narration: Mountain Vista H.S. Theater Department
Jeremy Goldson, Department Chair; Sean McGill – voice of Lt. Reichard