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After Action Report
Marine Fighting Squadron 251

Date of Action: July 24, 2009
Base of Operations: C30
Division Assignment: CAP 30

Squadron took off at 2301 to defend C30 alongside 364th FG. VMF-251 assigned as pickets 25m out from task group at 24,000ft. After takeoff, squadron formed into two-ship flights:

Red Flight
Lt. Col. Wyatt
2nd Lt. Coronado

Blue Flight
Capt. Sidle
1st Lt. Bodie

White Flight
1st Lt. Roche
WO1 Millsaps

Red Flight patrolled north of carrier, with Blue on the E side, and White on the south. Squadron climbed to altitude and settled into patrols. At about 2320 reports of enemy aircraft heading W towards task group sighted from due E of carrier. Blue Flight vectored to investigate and spotted TBMs at 10,000ft. No sign of enemy fighters near the bombers, so Blue Flight engaged while remainder of squadron moved to rally.

Sidle shot down two TBMs at 2328 and two at 2329. Bodie crashed 2329. Remainder of squadron arrived as second wave of F6Fs appeared, engaged with 364th. Wyatt and Coronado engaged formation of 6-8 F6Fs. Wyatt shot down one at 2338 before remainder scattered by arrival of reinforcements from 364th. Sidle located and shot down SBD at 2340.

Red and Blue flights returned to carrier to rearm, while White Flight maintained patrol. Sidle rearmed 2342. Wyatt at 2348 and Coronado at 2352. headed out to area NE of carrier, while Red Flight maintained close orbit.

Late in the evening six F6Fs spotted E/NE of carrier. Sidle vectored to intercept and engaged two. VMF-251 and elements of 364th turned NE to assist, but no contact made. Sidle withdrew with damage when attacked by third F6F, but enemy did not pursue owing to additional support in area. Squadron turned back for the task group.

Sidle recovered at 0047, Wyatt at 0048 and Coronado at 0049. Roche crashed on landing at 0049. Millsaps bailed out at 0054.

Personnel Status
Lt. Col. David Wyatt Landed Safely
2nd Lt. Eli Coronado Landed Safely
Capt. Michael Sidle Wounded
1st Lt. Norwood Bodie Crashed
1st Lt. Neil Roche Crashed
WO1 Billy Millsaps Bailed Out

Equipment Status
6 A6M5 2 Recovered

1 Damaged

3 Lost

6 Drop Tanks 6 Expended

Pilot Victories
Lt. Col. David Wyatt 1
2nd Lt. Eli Coronado 1
Capt. Michael Sidle 5