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After Action Report
Marine Fighting Squadron 251

Date of Action: August 9, 2009
Base of Operations: A42
Division Assignment: Defense Sector Able

VMF-251 took off at 2301 with eight F4U-1A Corsairs. Squadron formed up and proceeded NW to defend elements of 7th Fleet operating in Leyte Gulf:

Red Flight
Lt. Col. Wyatt
2nd Lt. Coronado
2nd Lt. King
1st Lt. Lane

Blue Flight
1st Lt. Bodie
CWO2 Nelson
1st Lt. Roche
WO1 Millsaps

Capt. Sidle stationed aboard 7th Fleet to coordinate defense with task group.

Squadron climbed to altitude of 15,000ft and entered patrol stations at edge of radar circle, assisted by VF-17 at 25,000ft outside radar, with elements at 7000ft nearer task group.

Coronado suffered mechanical failure at 2312, was able to rejoin squadron. Millsaps experienced mechanical failure at 2326 and forced to return to base. Remainder of squadron continued patrol until large formation of Ki-84s spotted by VF-17 high cover W of task group at 20,000ft. VMF-251 scrambled to intercept, arrived piecemeal.

Wyatt and Coronado engaged first. Coronado bailed out down 2349. Bodie and Millsaps arrived, followed by Roche. Millsaps shot down 2326. Roche shot down 2350. Bodie bailed out 0011.

While engaged with Ki-84s, King and Lane encountered formation of Ki-67s approaching task group low from SW and moved to intercept. Wyatt disengaged from high Ki-84s to locate strike package. Lane shot down 2349, and King at 2350. Wyatt located strike and engaged with low elements of VF-17, shooting down Ki-84 at 2355.

Remnants of strike package egressed, and Wyatt and VF-17 returned to stations. Wyatt returned to base and recovered at 0041.

Personnel Status
Lt. Col. David Wyatt Landed Safely
2nd Lt. Eli Coronado Bailed Out
2nd Lt. Frank King Shot Down
1st Lt. C. J. Lane III Shot Down
1st Lt. Norwood Bodie Bailed Out
CWO2 John Nelson Shot Down
1st Lt. Neil Roche Bailed Out
WO1 Billy Millsaps Mechanical Failure

Equipment Status
9 F4U-1A 1 Recovered

2 Mechanical Failure

6 Lost

Pilot Victories
Lt. Col. David Wyatt 1