Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 29 1943

Thursday, July 29, 1943

Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa

Tonight we had a party. There had been quite a bit of talk about one for quite some time and I was really looking forward to it. Of course I didn’t know what I was getting into. We were having a bunch of our nurses ? and after 2 months in Africa I was willing to let down some of my requirements for looks. You can’t expect too much and with all due respect and admiration for the wonderful work these girls do, they are not noted for their looks. I grant you I have seen some gorgeous ones but they are few and far between. Well as luck would have it there was one that was lovely (lonely?). I could see what she was doing there but decided to act first and ask questions afterwards. She turned out to be a darn good dancer and was very friendly so I thought everything was set. Now don’t get your hopes up too. Her husband was here with her. He is a captain in M.C. How they have managed to stay together all this time puzzles me. Of course she explained it but it still doesn’t seem possible and it would have to happen to me. Well she did revive my belief in the physical attraction of American women again. You know I wonder if our N.African friends and the Europeans to come are going to judge our women by the average nurses they see. If so our standards are sure going for a tailspin. Today was a rather dull day and I just hung around the shops. The war in Sicily seems to be about over. . . The ____ is one_______ up in a small ______ so here on Cap Bon ___ it looks food for us.

Good Night

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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.

Production Credits:
Diary transcription: Shari Seippel Diary photos: Claudia Forbes

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