Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 21, 1943

Wednesday, July 21, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa

July 21, 1943 Diary Page

July 21, 1943 Diary Page

Today officially ended my command. Why they didn’t just take my bars away, I don’t know. I’m certainly not interested in being a 1st LT and my chances of being a captain are practically nil, It seems my luck suddenly took an about face in December. Virginia began cooling off then we got our orders to go overseas and then were transferred to take over a rundown company on a station where it was impossible to get anything in the way of equipment and training facilities were not in existence as far as maintenance was concerned. I took Ray L____ and got an officer who suddenly got a nervous breakdown when we got to the P of C. Then when we get over here I get a Captain shoved over me after having command for over a year. It looks as if Virginia isn’t the only lady to walk out on me. Lady luck took a fade out also.

The captain arrived about 10 this morning. He is about 45 years old, had a reserve commission and went on active duty in November of 1940. He doesn’t seem to be a bad sort at all. That is of course first judgment. The fact remains that he is still a captain after nearly three years of duty and it is quite evident from the way he talks that he is not on the favored list at main NA headquarters where he was the maintenance officer. This is quite a comedown for him. Well if he acts decent we will treat him right. This evening I went into town to check the weapons carrier but there is still no results. Its probably lost for good. I went out to Jannet’s home and had a good visit. I enjoy her father as much as herself. I’m glad I found that family.

Good Night

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The Day That Was: July 21, 1943

•    The Italians surrendered to U.S. forces en masse in western Sicily. The Canadians started to push around Mt. Etna as the Catania drive faltered.

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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