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After Action Report
Date of Action: March 28, 2008
VMF-251 launched from Task Group 76 with 8 Mitsubishi Type-0 fighters, assigned to provide combat air patrol for carrier groups 76 and 51. 251 took up patrol position SE 51 and patrolled edge of radar between the 3 and 6 o'clock positions on map. Red Flight consisted of Maj. Wyatt, Lt. DeVice, Capt. Morgan and Lt. Bodie at 15,000ft, Blue Flight Capt. MEF4UD, Lt. Roche, Lt Drazz and Lt Trol.
At or about 2340 enemy strike force sighted SE 251 position headed W into 76. VMF-251 vectored by traffic control to intercept. Large formation of B-25s and F4Fs sighted, engaged by other A6Ms assigned to carrier group. Wyatt ordered attack on B-25s nearest position. High F4Fs spotted shortly diving on squadron from 8 o'clock. 251 formation broke up to engage enemy fighters in sharp action between 15,000ft and deck.
Wyatt shot down F4Fs at 2345 and 2346.DeVice credited with F4F at 2354. Morgan and Bodie crashed at 2345. Owing to aircraft damage, MEF4UD, Roche and Trol opted to return to base. MEF4UD successfully recovered at 2348, Trol at 2350. Roche short of carrier due to engine failure, ditched at 2355.
Wyatt, DeVice and Drazz remained on station. Enemy aircraft sighted approaching CV51 shortly after attack on 76 broken up, remainder of 251 hurried north. In brief action Wyatt downed P-40B at 0000. Engagement ended with only light damage to carriers.
Low on fuel and ammunition Wyatt opted to return to carrier. Damage to right landing gear would prevent re-launch. Wyatt made hard recovery at 0007, aircraft total loss. DeVice recovered 0004. Drazz continued patrolling, taking on fuel at 2357 and 0018, but no further contact with enemy forces.