Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – August 8, 1943
Sunday, Aug. 8, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
Aug. 8, 1943 Diary Page
The captain left around nine o’clock so we had a peaceful day. The boys cleaned up their tools and put their shops in order for the coming week then went their own way. Most of them spent the day in bull sessions, writing letters or wandering around the countryside. Now is when most of our thoughts drift back home. We like to picture what we would do now if we were there instead of 7060 miles away in Nord Afrique. For some reason or other I would like to climb into that sailboat and run out to the bay for some fishing. I’d like to feel the gentle roll of the water as the boat lifted and fell sitting at anchor. I’d like to watch the clouds forming overhead and feel the soft caress of the salty breeze, the strong tug on the line as a hungry trout rises to bait and greedily snaps it down, discovering only too late his error. I’d like to see again a bay schooner running afore the wind with sails bellied out taut and fro churning the water into froth. Well I can dream can’t I? There is quite a strong rumor floating around today to the effect that Sicily has fallen. I doubt it. The last communiqué said the Nazis were defending a 50 mile front and I doubt if they dissolve that easily. The afternoon I received one of these “Straight from the Heart” letters as Virginia calls them. I like them because I then know where I stand for a while. I think she is being honest with me. I hope so. She is pretty mixed up and I think will have to work it out herself. I’ll write a long letter tonight to try & help but it’s her problem. This evening I went to Janette’s and had a lovely evening. They certainly have been swell to me.
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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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