Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 19, 1943

Monday, July 19, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa

July 19, 1943 Diary Page

July 19, 1943 Diary Page

Today is the day I’ve dreaded for a long time. This evening when I came out from Tunis after hunting our weapons carrier which had been stolen there were some orders sitting on my desk stating that a Capt. So & So would report for duty to this outfit. It is quite obvious that he outranks me so there goes my command. For a year now I’ve had command of these boys and now this has to happen. It gives a little glimpse into the appreciation a man gets in this army for good work. It looks almost certain now that I’m a First Lt. for the duration. Maybe I’ve let this command mean too much to me. That is a bad habit of mine: that is letting things I make or create become so important to me. In the army that is sticking your neck out. However it is pretty rough serving as a junior officer in an organization you built up and trained for a period of a year. I know I should take it like a man with a smile on my face but its pretty hard to wipe that cloud of resentment and disappointment away right at present. God, why didn’t that Captaining of mine go through. It’s funny how little it takes to destroy a secure faith in the work he is doing, but right now I’d like to chuck it all right over the fence and tell this army of ours to go to hell. Its taken me 2 years and a half to work up to a place where a Captaining is practically a cinch then having it taken away before you even get it … well maybe I had better not say what I think. It won’t do any good any way.

To view previous diary entries, click here.

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The Day That Was: July 19, 1943

•    USAAF planes bombed Rome for the first time, with the Basilica at San Lorenzo wrecked.

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

Video production: Alison Harder

Narration: Mountain Vista H.S. Theater Department

Jeremy Goldson, Department Chair; Bryan Smith – voice of Lt. Reichard

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