One of the most prized items were the fiber rings that came strapped against the bombs to protect the hanging lugs from damage during shipping. They really made a good hot fire in the pot bellied stoves that we had in the huts, before we figured out how to convert them to oil burners.
We tried to keep posted as to when the next convoy of bombs would arrive at the Bomb Dump. This one day, four of us, including Joe Chicchino had received word that a convoy would arrive on that day. We were standing by at the dump when the convoy arrived and sure enough there were quite a few bombs that still had the fiber rings attached. The quick way to remove the rings was to cut through the thin part over the lug with an ax and then break them off. The quicker you were, the more rings that you got before the other guys got to them. Well, Joe was cutting the rings and in his hurry he accidentally missed the ring and cleaved a chunk out of the side of one of the bombs.
If you remember the explosives that we used, you could drop the bombs or rough handle them and everything would be OK but banging them together was not a good idea. Anyway, when Joe saw what he did, he dropped the ax, stuck his fingers in his ears and shut his eyes like he expected the thing to go off. We hooted and hollered and had a good time at Joe's expense.
Later, when we were at the barracks telling the other guys about the incident, one of the guys said "What would have happened if the bomb did go off?" You could have heard a pin drop and then a lot of knees banging together when the realization hit us. We could have wiped out the bomb dump and half of the base with it. That was the last time we went for fiber rings. We converted our stove to burning used oil.
Submitted by Bob Bilbruck, March 6, 2001