CESSNA O-2A "SKYMASTER"
The O-2 was a military version of the Cessna Model 337 Super Skymaster. Distinguished by twin tail booms and tandem-mounted engines, it featured 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 January 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.
Warner Robins Air Logistics Center supported the USAF O-2 fleet by managing all the avionics and gun systems used on the aircraft. The O-2A on display was delivered directly from the factory to the 504th Tactical Air Support Group at Da Nang AB, Vietnam in August 1967. In September 1970 the unit and this O-2 moved to Cam Rahn Bay AB, Vietnam. It returned to the United States in March 1971 serving with various Air National Guard Units before arriving at its final unit before USAF retirement, the 602nd Tactical Control Wing at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. The aircraft was removed from USAF service in March 1980 and flown to the Museum in 1986.
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