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The Cessna L-19/O-1 Bird Dog is an all-metal, tandem seat aircraft with downward sloping sides to increase visibility. In 1950, the company began building 2,400 L-19s for the US Army, USAF, Navy and National Guard. They operated as artillery mspotter and forward air control aircraft during the Korean War.

Between 1950 and 1959, a total of 3,431 various models of the Bird Dog were produced for all the services. Initially designated the L-19, in 1962 it was redesignated the O-1 Bird Dog. The primary difference between the Army and the Air Force aircraft were the radios. The Air Force added UHF frequency radios to control the fighter and bomber aircraft which dropped bombs, rockets, or napalm near friendly forces. The Army often carried high explosive and flechette rockets, while the USAF primarily carried white phosphorus rockets to mark targets.

The almost 360-degree visibility of the Bird Dog made it a great observation, control, and reconnaissance aircraft. It flew in the midst of the battle to identify friendly from enemy forces, to direct air strikes or artillery, to help with search and rescue, and to make bomb damage assessments. It was highly valued by the ground units it supported and highly feared by enemy units it flew over. During the Vietnam War, 469 O-1 Bird Dogs were lost to all causes. The aircraft were retired from U.S. service in 1974.

During 1975, a South Vietnamese Air Force pilot fled the North Vietnamese invasion in an O-1 with his wife and five children in the two-seat aircraft. They landed on the USS Midway helicopter carrier used to evacuate US Embassy officials.

The National Museum of WW II Aviation features WWII-era veterans!!

SUNDAY AUGUST 16TH

There are few WWII-era veterans left, and the National Museum of World War II Aviation is providing an opportunity for the community to meet-and-greet some of these honored WWII veterans.

Sunday, August 16, 2020 - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The National Museum of World War II Aviation
775 Aviation Way, Colorado Springs, 80916

Scheduled to appear are:
Ed Beck—Army POW captured during the Battle of the Bulge who escaped from captivity.
Marilyn Doenges—Army nurse who served in the UK and Northern France
JJ Inman—P-51 pilot who flew missions in China
Noe Romero—Served on the U.S.S Yorktown at the Battle of Midway
Bill Roche—B-17 waist gunner who was shot down by German aircraft twice.
Cole “Junior” Griego—U.S. Navy Medic in the Battle of Iwo Jima

Advance admission purchases are advised for this event because advance ticket holders will be given priority to enter the museum. Appropriate social distancing and face masks will be required and strictly enforced.**

Historic note: 75 years ago on August 14, 1945 the Japanese surrendered, and hostilities in WWII ceased. The formal surrender of Japanese forces was signed Sept. 2, 1945.