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After Action Report
Marine Fighting Squadron 251

Date of Action: March 27, 2009
Base of Operations: A87
Division Assignment: Escort

VMF-251 took off at 2301 with 10 P-40Es, assigned to escort Lynchmob to target area. VMF-251 took Intermediate, Close Cover and Close Support positions with 412th Spitfires at Top Cover.

Red Flight
Lt. Col. Wyatt
2nd Lt. Joffe
2nd Lt. King
W.O. Fowler

Blue Flight
Maj. Morgan
1st Lt. Bodie
1st Lt. Trol
1st Lt. Lane

White Flight
Capt. Sidle
1st Lt. Roche

Capt. Hammer launched late and formed with White Flight. Bomber strike gathered at 15,000ft. Red took Close Cover trailing at 17,000ft, Blue Close Support leading at 15,500ft, and White as Intermediate screening ahead at 19,000ft. 412th took position at 25,000ft over formation.

Formation proceeded NW towards target area, at which point bombers began to spread out. No contact with enemy on approach or over target. Bombers dropped without harassment, then turned S to recover at A82. Single 109s encountered on exit and one formation of bombers lost, but 109s destroyed by 412th. Drazz claimed one at 2340.

Group returned to 82 for rearm. Entire squadron rearmed and back in the air by 0000. Bodie and Morgan damaged in accident on rearm pad and forced to shut down. Morgan's aircraft recovered with damage, Bodie a total loss. Hammer reassigned to lead Blue Flight. Squadron circled field and formed up while 412th and Lynchmob proceeded with rearm operations.

Bombers finished taking on fuel and ammunition, and launched again for low-level follow-up strike on 72. VMF-251 climbed to 15,000ft, but fell behind strike package. Wyatt ordered jettison of drop tanks to keep up, but squadron encountered 109s passing near 36 area and forced to engage.

Joffe shot down 110 at 0025. Hammer shot down 109 at 0026. Trol shot down 109 at 0029, but sustained damage and forced to withdraw. Hammer shot down 109 at 0031. Squadron entered fighting retreat S against multiple 109s. Short of reaching friendly lines, 109s joined by squadron of 110s, which turned in to engage. Joffe shot down 0039, King shot at 0039. Sidle shot down two 109s at 0039. Sidle shot down 0041. Wyatt shot down 110 at 0041, but shot down himself at 0041. Hammer, Fowler and Lane shot down 0042.

Trol managed to return to base and recovered with damage at 0047. Roche returned to base at 0054.

Personnel Status
Lt. Col. David Wyatt Shot Down
2nd Lt. Ben Joffe Shot Down
2nd Lt. Frank King Shot Down
W.O. Shawn Fowler Shot Down
Maj. Charlie Morgan Landed Safely
1st Lt. Norwood Bodie Destroyed on Deck
1st Lt. Trol Landed Safely
1st Lt. C.J. Lane III Shot Down
Capt. Michael Sidle Shot Down
1st Lt. Neil Roche Landed Safely
Capt. Mike Hammer Shot Down

Equipment Status
11 P-40E 1 Recovered Safely

2 Damaged

8 Lost
20 Drop Tanks 20 Expended

Pilot Victories
Lt. Col. David Wyatt 1
2nd Lt. Ben Joffe 1
1st Lt. Trol 1
Capt. Michael Sidle 3
Capt. Mike Hammer 2