THE OREGON INTERNATIONAL AIR SHOW SEPTEMBER 20-22, 2019 McMinnville Municipal Airport
In 1966, a replacement design for the 0-1 Bird Dog was requested by the United States Air Force. From that came the 0-2 Skymaster. Production commenced quickly and the first Skymasters were being delivered in 1967. They were used heavily throughout the Vietnam War, and followed that up with sporadic usage in different branches during different conflicts. The plane was eventually retired in 2010.
The story of O-2A #395 that is coming to the air show is similar to that of the many O-2s that served in Vietnam, in that it was flown across the Pacific to serve in the Forward Air Control (FAC) role. It was assigned to the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron and flew out of DaNang, on a variety of missions over North and South Vietnam as well as Laos and Cambodia. In their role as FACs, the O-2 crews flew low and slow, spotting enemy positions and coordinating airstrikes by the “fast movers;” the F-4s, A-7s and such. Armed only with marker rockets and occasionally a gun pod, it was a dangerous job and a total of 82 O-2s were lost in combat.