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    Piva North Airfield (Piva Uncle, Piva 1) Bougainville Province PNG
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USMC February 1944

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Avery c1944

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USAAF c1945

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David Paulley 1982

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H Sakaguchi 2003

Location
Lat 6°12'1.52"S Long 155° 3'27.10"E  Located at Piva on Bougainville. Known as "Piva North Airfield" or "Piva Uncle Airfield" or "Piva 1", "Piva U" or "Piva Bomber Strip".

Construction
One of two parallel runways built by American forces. The main runway was roughly east to west. Another parallel runway, Piva South (Piva Yoke, Piva No. 2) was located directly to the south. Taxiways connected the two Piva strips together.

Piva North was completed on December 30, 1943 and officially opened January 9, 1944 surfaced with marston matting. At the height operations, the runway was 6,000' of marston matting, with 2,000' extension of compacted sand on the western end, but suffered drainage problems from the constant rains and soft soil.

World War II Pacific Theatre History
Piva North was used by bombers and twin engine aircraft from the US Navy US Marine Corps and RNZAF.

Allied units based at Piva North Airfield
USN Units
30 TB Squadron (TBF) - Mar 23, 1944 - ?
VT-305 (Avenger) 1944
VB-305 (SBD) 1944
USMC Units
1st MAW, HQ (Avenger)
VMF-215 (F4U)
VMD-254 (photo lab detachment) Jan 16, 1944
VMF(N)-531 (PV-1 Ventura)
VMTB 233 (Avenger) Munda January 17 - March 2, 1944 United States
VMSB-235 (SBD) Bauer Field June 5, 1944 - June 24, 1944 Green Island (Nissan)
RAAF Units
5 Squadron (Wirraway, Boomerang, Beaufort) November 11, 1944 - September 1945
RNZAF Units
25 Squadron (SBD) - March 23, 1944 - ?
3 Squadron (PV-1)
30 Squadron (Avenger) Espiritu Santo March - May 1944
31 Squadron (Avenger)

On March 8, 1944 shortly after dawn, Japanese artillery opened fire on Piva Airfield and destroyed one B-24 Liberator, three fighters and damaged nineteen other aircraft. Before nightfall all bombers left for New Georgia area airfields, aside from six TBF Avengers. The bombardment also damaged one 155mm gun and several tanks. The next day, the Japanese bombarded Torokina Airfield.

On July 5, 1945, Avro York "Endeavour" landed at Piva Airfield with Royal Highness (HRH) Prince Henry Duke of Gloucester, Governor General of Australia aboard. He was greeted by Australian Army, 2 Corps General Officer Commanding (GOC) Lieutenant General Stanley George Savige. Afterwards, he toured Motupena Point and 2/1 Australian General Hospital.

Airdromes Guide Southwest Pacific Area, July 1945:
"Piva North is the only Bougainville airdrome on operational status. Night landing facilities: search light on request. Service facilities: fuel and old tank truck delivery, repairs available. Accommodations for transient and emergency landed crews."

Postwar
This airfield remained in service after the war, until the start of the "Bougainville Crisis" in 1988.

Today
Disused since the "Bougainville Crisis" the airfield is now overgrown and abandoned.

Camp Fryslie
Built by a previous unit, this camp area was occupied by VMD-254 photo lab and when they arrived dubbed "Camp Fryslie" in in honor of Marine Sgt John V. Fryslie who was killed in a crash of PB4Y-1 32144 at Palmyra Airfield on November 28, 1943.

Japanese War Memorial
Erected by Japanese in August 1978 Japanese memorial with a statue and memorial plaque located at the airfield. [ Read Plaque ]

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Last Updated
February 9, 2018

 

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