CESSNA O-2A "SKYMASTER"
(Courtesy of the USAF Museum)
to read this amusing account as written by Colonel Wood.
The O-2 is a military version of the Cessna Model 337 Super Skymaster. Distinguished by twin tail booms and tandem-mounted engines, it features a tractor-pusher propeller arrangement. Derived from the Cessna Model 336, the Model 337 went into production for the civilian market in 1965. In late 1966, the USAF selected a military variant, designated the O-2, to supplement the O-1 Bird Dog forward air controller (FAC) aircraft then operating in Southeast Asia. Having twin engines enabled the O-2 to absorb more ground fire and still return safely, endearing it to its crews. The O-2 first flew in Jan. 1967 and production deliveries began in March. Production ended in June 1970 after 532 O-2s had been built for the USAF.
Two series were produced: the O-2A and the O-2B. The O-2A was equipped with wing pylons to carry rockets, flares, and other light ordnance. In the FAC role the O-2A was used for identifying and marking enemy targets with smoke rockets, coordinating air strikes and reporting target damage. The O-2B was a psychological warfare aircraft equipped with loudspeakers and leaflet dispensers. It carried no ordnance.
The O-2A on display was assigned to the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron at Da Nang, South Vietnam in the late 1960s. It was transferred to the Museum in December 1982.
Southeast Asia FAC aircraft losses:
O-2A Skymaster total lost: 104 In combat: 82 First loss: 1967 Final loss: 1972