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After Action Report
Date of Action: April 25, 2008
9 F4U-1Ds of VMF-251 rolled from Task Group 79 at 2304 and entered into holding circuit around carrier for remainder of strike group to launch. 251 assigned escort of TBMs flown by Fighting 31 Tomcatters, coordinated with F4U-1Ds of LCA. Maj Wyatt, 2nd Lt. Guthrie, 1st Lt. Drazz, 2nd Lt. Roche comprised Red Flight, Capt. MEF4UD, 2nd Lt. Lane, Capt. Morgan, 2nd Lt. Bodie, 2nd Lt. 1Duke1 in Blue Flight.
Once all aircraft assembled, strike proceeded E to sector 18.8.4. Strike then turned NW on course to 15.10.8. At about 2330, lone Ki-61 spotted near strike force. Wyatt, Guthrie and Roche broke to pursue while remainder of group continued to target. Target downed by Guthrie at 2334.
Strike turned to 15.11.6 onto target. Some of 251 armed with rockets proceeded to target and attacked. Morgan destroyed three ammunition factories and AAA gun and MEF4UD destroyed ammo factory at 2336, Drazz destroyed three ammo factories at 2337. Remainder of squadron engaged by enemy CAP, consisting of A6M, Ki-84 and N1K2 fighters with altitude advantage.
In sharp action, 1Duke1 crashed, Morgan claimed A6M5 and MEF4UD shot down at 2337. Morgan, Lane and Bodie shot down 2338. Wyatt shot down N1K2 at 2339. Roche shot down at 2340. Wyatt, Drazz and Guthrie withdrew out of target area and regrouped as able.
On egress, Drazz tracked flight of Ki-84s from slightly low. Enemy showed no awareness. Wyatt spotted same group at his rear and entered dive to open distance. Enemy pursued with Drazz trailing. Ki-84s disengaged. Drazz downed one at 2350. Wyatt and Guthrie joined engagement. wyatt downed another at 2353. Remainder of Ki-84s withdrew. Guthrie recorded victory at 0029 when damaged aircraft from group crashed.
Wyatt, Guhtrie and Drazz returned to task group. Wyatt landed with damage at 0010. Drazz assumed operational command and rearmed with Guthrie at 0014.
Drazz and Guthrie took off again and continued to patrol. Jumped by high group of Zeros and engaged in brief running battle back to carrier. Guthrie heavily damaged by enemy fired during engagement. Both returned to task group and recovered at 0055.