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After Action Report
Marine Fighting Squadron 251

Date of Action: October 10, 2008
Base of Operations: c50
Division Assignment: Red Flight

VMF-251 took off at 2304 with ten F4F Wildcats. Squadron circled carrier to form up by flights:

Red Flight
Maj. Wyatt
2nd Lt. Hammer
1st Lt. Sidle
2nd Lt. Gwardyak

Blue Flight
Capt. MEF4UD
2nd Lt. Roche
1st Lt. Trol
2nd Lt. Lane

White Flight
Capt. Morgan
2nd Lt. Bodie

After second circuit of task group VMF-251 turned SE on a heading of 225 to rendezvous with A-20s of 332nd Flying Mongrels and P-40Es of Air Raiders. Rendezvous point was set for sector 16.7.4. Red and White Flights to climb to 25,000ft, with Blue providing top cover at 28,000. Air Raiders reported contact with enemy aircraft and engaged. VMF-251 and 332nd proceeded for rendezvous.

Squadron reached 16.8.4 area and turned 180 to rendezvous point, and continued climbing through 20,000ft. However shortly after turning squadron encountered high group of 109s at about 25-30,000ft. Wyatt advised C/O 332nd of contact, and 109s turned in to squadron.

VMF-251 forced to engage by high 109s. Wyatt ordered tanks away.Sidle claimed 109 at 2329. Lane shot down 2330, and Trol shot down 109 at 2330 and was shot down at 2331. Roche forced enemy into water at 2331. Wyatt and Hammer engaged alone with multiple 109s, and Wyatt claimed one at 2331, before bailing out after sustaining critical damage at 2332.

Morgan shot down two 109s at 2332, and Sidle claimed an additional victory at 2332. MEF4UD crashed at 2332. Hammer claimed two 109s at 2334 after downing one and forcing other into the water, and Sidle claimed third 109. Roche bailed out at 2334, and Gwardyak crashed. Bodie claimed 109 at 2335, crashed at 2337. Hammer claimed third 109 at 2337.

Sidle and Hammer engaged with last of 109s while Morgan withdrew. Sidle out of ammunition but continued to press enemy until 109s finally disengaged, allowing last of squadron to return to base.

Morgan successfully recovered aboard carrier at 2349. Sidle and Hammer back aboard by 2352. Hammer's aircraft lost due to incident while rearming on deck. Sidle shut down at 2354.

Personnel Status
Maj. David Wyatt Bailed Out
2nd Lt. Mike Hammer Recovered, accident on deck
1st Lt. Michael Sidle Landed
2nd Lt. Karl Gwardyak Crashed
Capt. MEF4UD Crashed
2nd Lt. Neil Roche Bailed Out
1st Lt. Trol Shot Down
2nd Lt. C.J. Lane III Landed
Capt. Charlie Morgan Landed
2nd Lt. Norwood Bodie Crashed

Equipment Status
10 F4F-4 2 Recovered Safely

1 Lost to deck accident

7 Lost
20 Drop Tanks 20 Expended

Pilot Victories
Maj. David Wyatt 1
2nd Lt. Mike Hammer 3
1st Lt. Michael Sidle 3
2nd Lt. Neil Roche 1
1st Lt. Trol 1
Capt. Charlie Morgan 2
2nd Lt. Norwood Bodie 1