March 20, 1944 (Monday)

Piva Uncle Field, Bougainville

Today was the payoff! In the middle of the night I received by devious channels a message asking me to be at Torokina at 0730, which meant a 0630 takeoff. While taxiing out of the crack of dawn I was forced to run the gauntlet of SBDs warming up for their morning strike. 

As I reached the last of the planes my right wheel went over a mound of coral, lowering the west left wing onto one of the SBD props, which very neatly clipped off about 3 1/2 feet of the wingtip. We taxied the plane over to the Army repair center and they put a patch over the jagged end, then cut back the aileron to the next hinge.

Took off at noon for Piva U, with Munda as an alternate if the plane began acting up. However she handled very well and we landed at Piva and parked at the NW corner. Just a few minutes before an ammunition dump nearby was hit by a Jap shell and went up in smoke and fireworks. Everyone ducked for shelter and when things calmed down a bit, 20 or 30 TBFs were frantically started up and taxiied down to another area. We stayed and took our chances. 

Remained at ComAirSols overnight with the Admiral. Adm’l. Halsey returned to Henderson in PBY in the afternoon.