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    Piva North Airfield (Piva Uncle, Piva 1) Autonomous Region of Bougainville 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  Piva North Airfield was located at Piva on Bougainville. Also known as "Piva North Airfield" or "Piva Uncle Airfield" or "Piva 1", "Piva U" or "Piva Bomber Strip". Prewar and during World War II, part of the "North Solomons" or "Northern Solomons" or "Bougainville Province". Today located in Torokina Rural LLG of Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB) in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Construction
One of two parallel runways built by U. S. forces. By December 30, 1943 Piva North Airfield was completed. On January 9, 1944 officially opened surfaced with marston matting / Pierced Steel Planking (PSP). 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. 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.

Wartime History
Piva North was used by Allied bombers, fighters and transports including aircraft from the U. S. Navy (USN) and U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) until late 1944. During late 1944, used by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) until the end of the Pacific War in September 1945 and in the months postwar.

Allied units based at Piva North Airfield
U. S. Navy (USN) units
30 TB Squadron (TBF) - Mar 23, 1944 - ?
VT-305 (Avenger) 1944
VB-305 (SBD) 1944
VMO-251 (FG Corsair) 1944
U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) units
1st MAW, HQ (Avenger)
VMF-215 (F4U)
VMD-254 (photo lab detachment) January 16, 1944
VMF(N)-531 (PV-1 Ventura)
VMTB 233 (TBF) Munda January 17 - March 2, 1944 United States
VMSB-235 (SBD) Bauer Field June 5, 1944 - June 24, 1944 Green Island (Nissan)
VMSB-236 (SBD) Munda January 25, 1944 -
Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) units
5 Squadron (Wirraway, Boomerang, Beaufort) November 11, 1944 - September 1945
Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) units
25 Squadron (SBD) March 23, 1944 - ?
3 Squadron (PV-1 Ventura)
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."

Today
Piva North Airfield remained in use until 1988 at the start of the "Bougainville Crisis" and became overgrown and disused since. Today, the former runway is 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 at the airfield. Read Plaque.

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Last Updated
April 7, 2020

 

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