Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – August 5, 1943
Thursday, Aug. 5, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
Aug. 5, 1943 Diary Page
Today was another one of those scorchers. The only relief we had from it was the ice cream we had for dinner. We send in the ingredients to a place here in Tunis and they make it up for .30 a quart. That’s a pretty good profit, but then we can’t be too choosy over here. This afternoon we put a 350 gallon water tank on a Jeep frame supported by four legs made of angle iron and made a pretty nice shower out of it. That means, now we don’t have to run a hose out to H.Q. to take a shower. We have a force pump that we fill the tank with so it’s a hell of a nice set up. About 5:30 a Lt. in the signal corp. came over and ask(ed) me to take a wrecked signal truck up to Mateur. As I felt like making a trip I said O.K. It seems the truck had had an argument with a train. It was obvious who won. When we hooked up and started away the darn thing trailed two feet to the right. That meant we had to ride the center of the highway the whole trip. You could see the other drivers cussing us as we came on. We got back about eight so I lay down and wrote about five letters. This letter writing business is really getting to be a problem. There is so little to say now. I’m having a hell of a time filling in this diary. Some of you people who think it’s a cinch, just try writing 250 words about each day’s happenings. Just do it a month and see how it actually turns out. While you are trying I’m going to sleep.
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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: Shari Seippel Diary photos: Claudia Forbes
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