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Cessna produced 3,431 aircraft; it was also built under license by Fuji in Japan. The name was chosen because the role of the army's new aircraft was to find the enemy and orbit overhead until artillery (or attack aircraft) could be brought to bear on the enemy. Marine Corps inventories, initially designated as OE-1s in the Marine Corps until all US military aircraft designations were standardized in 1962.
The L-19 received the name Bird Dog as a result of a contest held with Cessna employees to name the aircraft. Swayze, an industrial photographer, was selected by a U. While flying low and close to the battlefield, the pilot would observe the exploding shells and adjust the fire via his radios, in the manner of a bird dog (gun dog) used by game hunters. The aircraft were used in various utility roles such as artillery spotting, front line communications, medevac and training. Marines in South Vietnam and later by clandestine forward air controllers (e.g., Ravens) in Laos and Cambodia.
Near the end of the war in 1990, the rebels' acquisition of SA-7 missiles resulted in the loss of two O-2As, while another was destroyed by mortar fire, and two more were lost in crashes.
Army was searching for an aircraft that could adjust artillery fire, as well as perform liaison duties, and preferably be constructed of all metal, as the fabric-covered liaison aircraft used during World War II (primarily Stinson and Piper products) had short service lives. The Cessna 305A was a single-engined, lightweight, strut-braced, high-wing monoplane with a tailwheel landing gear.
The United States Department of Defense (DOD) ordered 3,200 L-19s that were built between 19, entering both the U. In 1962, the Army L-19 and Marine Corps OE-1 was redesignated the O-1 (Observation) Bird Dog and entered the war in Vietnam. Because of its short takeoff and landing (STOL) and low altitude/low airspeed capabilities, the O-1 also later found its way into U. Air Force service as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) aircraft for vectoring faster fighter and attack aircraft and supporting combat search-and-rescue operations recovering downed aircrews.
During the early 1960s, the Bird Dog was flown by South Vietnamese (ARVN-Army Republic Vietnam/SVAF Republic of Vietnam Air Force), U. During the Vietnam War the Bird Dog was used primarily for reconnaissance, target acquisition, artillery adjustment, radio relay, convoy escort and the forward air control of tactical aircraft, to include bombers operating in a tactical role.
Its quieter noise footprint, lower speed, tighter maneuverability, short runway ability and better visibility (even to the rear) kept it highly valued by the ground units it supported and highly feared by enemy units it flew over. Three Bird Dogs were lost to enemy hand-held surface-to-air missiles (SAMs).
Two O-1 Bird Dogs were loaned to the Australian Army's 161 Reconnaissance Flight operating out of Nui Dat in Phuoc Tuy province.The USAF took delivery of the O-2 Skymaster in March 1967 and the O-2A also entered the U. During the Vietnam War, the O-2A was introduced as a replacement for the O-1 Bird Dog, in the forward air control (FAC) aircraft and served in that role with the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron.