Sunday, November 6, 2011

How the O-2s Really Got to Viet Nam

It may not be new, but it's new to me.

Just a week or so ago, I was sent a link to a Thailand Aviation article on a Navy observation unit — VO-67 — that used P-2 Orion anti-submarine aircraft in Viet Nam for jungle surveillance. The aircraft were modified versions of the P2V-5F aircraft, redesigneted as OP-2E. The occasion for the article was the unit being awarded a Presidential Unit Citation forty years later.

In that article, it talked about the cooperation between the Navy surveillance aircraft and a unit of Air Force FACs (Forward Air Controllers) flying O-2A aircraft, a military version of the civilian Cessna Skymaster.

The FACs flew every day and night (mostly night) to identify the latest changes in anti-aircraft emplacements for use in the flight planning for the larger P2V-5F/OP-2E aircraft.

By happenstance, just a few days later, an old Air Force friend (and F-4 Phantom pilot) sent me a story about the O-2 and included his own observations on the aircraft. They make a good story, and it's good history.

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