Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 31 1943
Saturday, July 31, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
July 31, 1943 Diary Page
Today I took some lessons in Carboration. I didn’t think there were so many jets in the world as there is in a Jeep carburetor and they all come out. Most carburetors we work on you can’t take the vets and so that simplifies matters immensely. Well I took my Jeep carburetor apart and polished it up so you could see your face in its barrel and now she runs like a dream. I got about 72 out of the “Ginny G” this evening coming back from Jannettes and that ain’t hay mister in a Jeep. If you don’t believe me try it on some of these N. African roads and see if it doesn’t keep you occupied. This morning we got an order to send out six Jeeps to be assigned. Well we had 4 available Jeeps and 2 ready for salvage. We pulled those 2 out and got to work on them. Boy what a mess. We finally finished them or rather made them run. I don’t know how long they will continue running. One of them throws out an oil screen that would do justice to a navy smoke layer. She has 15,000 miles registered on her speedometer and that is a hell of a lot of miles in this country for a Jeep. Most of them fold up at around 10,000 through no fault of their own. These Jeeps are pretty rugged little devils and take a hell of a beating. Most of them are wrecked before they are worn out. This evening I went over to Janettes and had a nice visit. I got back home in camp to find about 6 letters awaiting my pleasure and low and behold 2 of them were from Chick.
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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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