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After Action Report
Marine Fighting Squadron 251

Date of Action: October 10, 2008
Base of Operations: c50
Division Assignment: CAP C50

VMF-251 took off at 2337 with eight F4F-4 Wildcats from aircraft carrier C50, assigned to defend the task group from attack.

Red Flight
Maj. Wyatt
1st Lt. Sidle
2nd Lt. 1Duke1

Blue Flight
2nd Lt. Bodie
2nd Lt. Lane
2nd Lt. Roche
2nd Lt. Gwardyak

Carrier defense was coordinated with Supermarine Seafires of 353rd and 327th. VMF-251 to patrol at altitude of 30,000ft. 353rd climbed to 20k, with 327th at 10k. Additionally, two Seafires of 327th and two from 353rd climbed to 15k, and patrolled in quarter arcs outside of warning range, between bearing 000 and 180 on task group's west side.

At about 0000 scout fyvsix of 353rd sighted enemy Bf-109 fighters approaching carrier from SW, altitude 25,000ft. Shortly after 353rd made contact with 109s and engaged. Meanwhile, second scout, Dolfo from 327th vectored to last known location in search of enemy strike package, and made contact with Bf-110s at 15k. VMF-251 and 327th turned to intercept.

Defense squadrons made contact with 110s at 11 o'clock low, and rolled in. However enemy spotted CAP and went to full power, decreasing altitude to 10,000ft. Speed differential prevented CAP from running down 110s until after enemy attack released bombs and carrier and cruiser hit and sunk.

VMF-251 and 327th engaged 110s over remainder of task group. Wyatt, HAMMERR, Sidle and 1Duke1 downed 110s at 0008. Bodie crashed at 0008. HAMMERR claimed additional 110s at 0009 and 0011. Survivors of enemy strike then withdrew.

Per CIC remainder of 251 and 327th withdrew south to defend A22. En route redirected to pursue 110s and 109s at low altitude engaged in running fight while withdrawing west from 22 over water. Parts of 251 and 327th briefly made contact, before enemy disengaged when remainder of 251 arrived.

Squadron reversed and returned to A22. Lane recovered at field at 0046. Roche and Gwardyak took on fuel and ammunition at 0047, followed by Wyatt and HAMMERR at 0048, and Sidle at 0049. 1Duke1 crash-landed at 0050. Squadron formed up to patrol airfield. Sidle elected to return and landed at 0050.

Wyatt, HAMMERR, Roche and Gwardyak resumed patrol, and climbed to 20k in orbit over airfield until about 0115, then returned. Squadron recovered at 22 by 0120.

Personnel Status
Maj. David Wyatt Landed
2nd lt. HAMMERR Landed
1st Lt. Michael Sidle Landed
2nd Lt. 1Duke1 Landed
2nd Lt. Norwood Bodie Crashed
2nd Lt. C.J. Lane III Landed
2nd Lt. Neil Roche Landed
2nd Lt. Karl Gwardyak Landed

Equipment Status
8 F4F-4 6 Recovered Safely

1 Damaged

1 Lost
16 Drop Tanks 16 Expended

Pilot Victories
Maj. David Wyatt 1
2nd lt. HAMMERR 3
1st Lt. Michael Sidle 1
2nd Lt. 1Duke1 1