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After Action Report
Date of Action: February 27, 2009
At 2303 VMF-251 took off from A26, assigned to escort Ki-67s of Claim Jumpers. Strike to proceed at 12,000ft to attack A110 and V113. Squadron took off and formed by flights, circling airfield for altitude.
Ki-67s of Claim Jumpers took off at about 2306 and split into two groups. Strike under Dashe remained at low-altitude for NOE strike, while Racdogg began climbout with second formation under escort by VMF-251.
On climbout, Racdogg revised to cruise altitude of 20,000ft. 251 adjusted altitude. Red Flight at High Cover at 30,000ft, Blue at Intermediate, (24,000ft) White at Close Support, (20,500ft) Green Close Cover (22,000ft).
After beginning climbout formation briefly contacted enemy strike inbound to A26. VMF-251 maintained position after ascertaining enemy escorts did not make effor against bombers, however Racdogg shifted Claim Jumpers to full power. Due to altitude and speed cohesion of formation began to break up. After request from Wyatt, Racdogg reduced throttle.
Strike reached altitude and settled into approach. At about 2350 contact made with enemy CAP, comprised of La-7s. Racdogg again accelerated to max power. Blue, White and Green engaged. La-7 shot down by Trol at 2352, before being shot down 2356. Remainder of enemy driven off and squadron returned to formation as bombers began turn W on bomb run.
Despite warning from Wyatt bomber formation was pulling away Racdogg maintained full throttle on remainder of bomb run. Red Flight fell behind and shortly lost contact with formation. Green began losing ground as well. Wyatt turned Red to secondary target at V113 to regroup with bombers and settled into patrol of area S of base. Sporadic encounter with enemy fighters in area, but flight maintained altitude.
Meanwhile Claim Jumpers struck targets. Blue, White and Green maintained position on formation and screened formation from sporadic enemy attacks. At 0010 Sidle shot down Yak-9. Bombers started outbound S, but then turned E again, at which point Green, accompanied by Quanne, became separated from formation.
Red Flight sighted large group of high enemy in position as Green entered the area. Wyatt ordered withdrawal out E, but poor high-altitude performance restricted egress speed. Confused melee broke out between Red and Green and enemy fighters.
Wyatt shot down 0015 attempting to reach Quanne and Joffe, who were under pursuit by several enemy. aJoust claimed two and Sidle one at 0017. Coronado, Joffe, Quanne and King shot down 0017. aJoust and Roche shot down 0018.
Remainder of squadron continued egress with Claim Jumpers with limited sporadic contact with enemy, all successfully driven off. Bomber formation returned successfully with no losses to enemy fighter cover, and landed while VMF-251 remainder provided security over field. Santana landed 0034, Morgan at 0039, and Hammer at 0040. Bodie ran out of fuel and ditched short of runway at 0040.