Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 23, 1943

Friday, July 23, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa

July 23, 1943 Diary Page

July 23, 1943 Diary Page

As I said last night I went to work and we really put it out. It is a military secret and would (not?) interest you any how to know how much we unloaded. It is sufficient that you knew we got it and at five o’clock this morning. It was really a lovely night with a clear blue sky. The stars were out sharp and twinkling and as long as you weren’t working it was cool. However inside those freight cars are hot houses and after ten minutes you are soaked. When midnight came along were more than glad for that snack. Coffee and sandwiches made of Spam really hit the spot. Well the bed felt just as good at five and I don’t think I turned over once until after nine. Today we just took it easy. After dinner we went down to the salvage yard and got about three or four motors and a few transmissions & transfer case assemblies to work on when ever we get any spare time. This will save time in motor overhauls as we will simply replace motors and do the overhauling when we are not as rushed.
The ancient Gods of Rome let loose. Their fury this evening in a magnificent display of cracking thunder and jagged lightening. Huge black clouds swiftly and turbulently chased one another across the heat hazed sky like the fiery steeds & chariots of Caesar. It was a gorgeous sight and I watched it with the awe and respect due to such mighty steeds. A few drops of rain were the only evidence left of this swift passage.

Good Night

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The Day That Was: July 23, 1943

•    The battle of Kursk, USSR, ended in Nazi defeat. Six thousand tanks took part.

•    Patrol Squadron 63, the first U.S. naval aircraft squadron to operate from the United Kingdom, arrived in South Wales for antisubmarine patrol duty in the Bay of Biscay.

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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