Help keep our O-2B Skymaster looking great, donate today!
|Type:||Observation & Communication|
|Length:||29' 9"||9.07 M|
|Height:||9' 4"||2.84 M|
|Wingspan:||38' 2"||11.63 M|
|No. of Engines:||2|
|Powerplant:||Continental IO-360C (and D)|
|Max Speed:||199.00 Mph||320.00 Km/H||172.97 Kt|
In 1967, the Air Force completed an exhaustive search for an improved
observation aircraft to replace the aging O-1 aircraft used by Forward Air
Controllers in Vietnam. Already on the production line, the Cessna 337
Super-Skymaster was a popular twin-engine, four-seat general aviation aircraft
with a unique push-pull design. Engines mounted on the forward and rear of the
fuselage gave the C-337 the extra power and reliability of two engines while
retaining the advantage of centerline thrust and a high wing, making it an
excellent platform for observation missions. Minor alterations, the installation
of a gun sight, under-wing pylons, a smoke generator; glass panels in the lower
starboard door and a loud speaker for psychological warfare and the C-337 was
transformed into the inexpensive and versatile O-2 Skymaster.
Skymasters were widely used for reconnaissance, target identification, damage
assessment and air to ground coordination. Several O-2 aircraft were equipped
with three 600 Watt amplified speakers and leaflet pods for psychological
warfare operations. In-service modifications gave some O-2s the capability to
carry light weapons, such as rockets, bombs and mini-guns.
The museums 0-2B serial number 67-21465, was manufactured by Cessna Aircraft,
Wichita, KS, and delivered to the USAF on 18 Jan 1967. It was the 26th 0-2B off
the assembly line out of only 31 produced. 67-21465 was used for psychological
warfare operations, dropping leaflets with many different messages, some
instructional, but mostly warnings of impeding defoliation flights or
exhortations to enemy troops to lay down their arms. O-2 67-21465 was also
equipped with a 300 lb 1800 watt amplified speaker system. Particularly
effective, the O-2s engaged in psychological warfare operations were frequent
targets for enemy ground fire.
After service in Vietnam, the museums 0-2B, serial number 67-21465, was
assigned to the Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center (MASDC) at
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. In October of 1973, 67-21465 was
re-called to active duty to fly with the 163rd Tactical Air Support Group of the
California Air National Guard. In 1975, the 163rd TASG moved to March Air Force
Base in Riverside, California. By 1982, 0-2B 21465 was fully retired from United
States Air Force with a total of 4,696 flight hours, and a bad case of metal
fatigue. In June of 2000, 0-2B 67-21465 was brought into the Adopt-an-Aircraft
Program by Civilian Volunteer and Aircraft Restoration Crew Chief/Historian
Craig Clary. 67-21465 remains the property of the USAF on loan to the March
Field Air Museum.
- - - - - - - - -
According to the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA/RSA), Maxwell
AFB, AL, the museum's O-2B has the following history:
O-2A, s/n 67-21465, was manufactured by Cessna Aircraft, Wichita, KS, and
delivered to the USAF on 18 Jan 1967. , (according to paper work at Cessna this
aircraft was actually built as an 0-2A s/n 33700505, but was later reconverted
into an 0-2B variant) It was the 26th 0-2B off the assembly line out of 31
total produced. This is a model 337.
Sep 1967 - To 14th Air Commando Wing, 5th Air Commando Squadron (PACAF), Nha
Trang AB SVN (assignments to Tan Son Nhut AB SVN). Arrival date of 4 Sept 1967
with 315.3 aircraft hours.
June 1969 - To 14th Air Special Operations Wing (PACAF), Tan Son Nhut Air
Base in South Vietnam. (deployments to Nha Trang AB SVN)
July 1969 - To Nha Trang Air Base in South Vietnam
Oct 1969 - Unit moved to Phan Rang AB SVN (assignments to Bien Hoa AB SVN)
Aug 1971 - To 315th Tactical Airlift Wing (PACAF), Phan Rang AB SVN
Jan 1972 -To 77th Combat Support Group (PACAF),Tan Son Nhut AB SVN.
(deployments to Da Nang Air Base in South Vietnam).
Feb 1972 - To Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center, Tucson, AZ.
The aircraft arrived with 2712.2 flight hours on the air frame.
Jan 1973 - To Oklahoma City Air Materiel Area OK
Apr 1973 - To 111th Ogden Air Logistics Group (Air National Guard), Willow
Grove NAS, PA.
Mar 1975 - To 163rd Tactical Air Support Group (ANG), Ontario AP CA. There
were a total of 23 0-2A's and only one 0-2B, with this unit at this time. Later,
the 163rd TASG transitioned from 0-2A's and the 0-2B to F-4 Phantoms. The
transition took a full year to complete.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
In 1975, the 163rd TASG moved to March Air Force Base in Riverside,
California. In 1982, 0-2B 21465 was fully retired from United States Air Force
service with a total of 4,696 flight hours on the air frame, and a bad case of
metal fatigue in it's wing structure. In June of 2000, 0-2B 21465 was brought
into the Adopt-an-Aircraft Program by Civilian Volunteer and Aircraft
Restoration Crew Chief/Historian Craig Clary.