Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – August 10, 1943
Tuesday, Aug 10, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
Aug. 10, 1943 Diary Page
The wind has been trying to blow us off the map all day. Dust was lying a quarter of an inch deep on my desk and everything else as well. This country is beginning more and more to remind me of the days we spent at Fort Hill and Camp Bradley. Maybe the dust is what brings back to mind those days tonight. It’s funny, but I can picture nearly every day I spent in the army at will. I seem to be able to remember the most trivial incidents as clearly as if they had happened yesterday. I couldn’t begin to start into them here and you’ve probably read about it anyway in previous passages in this diary. I value the friendship I’ve made over the country. I remember one in particular that was made due to an extra dose of energy. I was down in New Orleans and swimming in Lake Pontchartrain. I saw a nice looking motorboat a mile out and I decided to swim out and look her over. I was a little soft so hung onto the anchor chain to rest up before the trip back when so very lovely thing lusciously undressed in a bathing suit leaned over and told me to please go away she didn’t like strangers. I told her to go jump in the lake so she did and we both hung on and talked then I was invited aboard. Her father, mother and several friends were enjoying themselves and I joined. It turned out her father had done some motor boating in the Chesapeake in the same boat. I got to see them quite a bit after that. I’ve had a lot of fun in this army as well as the multitude of headaches. We have the deadline on G.M.C.’s cut down to four trucks now. That is damn good considering that we have had only salvage parts. Tonight is beautiful. The wind feels like it is just off the Chesapeake and the moon surely came from Maryland.
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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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