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After Action Report
Date of Action: March 21, 2008
VMF-251 launched from Task Group 76 with 5 Mitsubishi Type-0 fighters at 2309, assigned to provide combat air patrol for carrier group, coordinated with JG11 and Fighting 31. Stampf of JG11 defense commander, providing traffic control from carrier. 251 took up patrol position at 5000ft ASL, roughly five miles out from task group and patrolled half-circle south of carrier. Red Flight consisted of Maj. Wyatt, Capt. Morgan and Lt. Bodie, Blue Flight Capt. MEF4UD and Lt. Roche.
At or about 2340 two P-40s spotted low near carrier. MEF4UD and Roche moved to intercept and assisted driving enemy off. Contact made with main body of enemy strike group by JG11 and Fighting 31 at 10,000ft, consisting of B-25s and P-40s. VMF-251 climbed to altitude and joined attack. Morgan shot down B-25 at 2351 during sharp action. All enemy aircraft destroyed or driven off, and no damage reported to carrier or other ships of task group. Mogran forced to ditch at 2352 due to engine damage.
Remainder of Red Flight elected to rearm. Wyatt successfully touched down at 2357 and took on fuel and ammunition. Bodie damaged on landing and returned to tower. Wyatt returned to station to CAP fleet. MEF4UD and Roche returned to rearm at 0026. MEF4UD took on fuel/ammo. Roche struck deck hard and damage to aircraft prevented launching.
Wyatt patrolled area west of carrier, while MEF4UD headed east. Large force of enemy bombers escorted by P-40s and F4Fs sighted west of task group 76. Enemy turned west towards 77, and were caught between CAPs of both task groups. In sharp action at low altitude Wyatt shot down an F4F at 0040 and P-40 at 0042, before returning to base low on ammunition at 0050. MEF4UD recovered aboard carrier at 0058.