The Birddog in Combat

The L-19 and O-1 versions of the Birddog earned it’s medals fighting in the Korean Way and the Vietnam War. The “Dawg” fought well as it served in a number of now famous combat aviation units. For the most part there were no Birddog units in Korea, just brave individual pilots that flew recon, directed artillery and put in air strikes from the great and classic WWII fighter/bombers. In Vietnam the Birddog served in RACs (Recon Airplane Company) and SALs (Surveillance Airplane Light) many of which are now common names and numbers to those that preserve the Birddog’s history. Many considered the L-19/O-1 to be the most dangerous airplane in the air. It could stay up for almost four hours and in the process rain artillery on the enemy from as many guns as the fighting commanders would permit. I personally have seen the artillery from all the gun units of an infantry division artillery and those of two attached artillery groups fire on one target for six hours. A B-52 strike is only a fraction of this firepower. This page is dedicated to those who served in these great units, for every time the “Dawg” brought a pilot back safely, but especially to those who paid the ultimate price for our country while serving in these units.

The Toughest Dog In The Fight

Army Aviation Combat Units

21st Aviation Company Black Aces

73rd Recon Airplane Company Warriors

74th Recon Airplane Company Aloft

183rd Recon Airplane Company Sea Horses

184th Recon Airplane Company Nonstop

185th Recon Airplane Company Pteradactyle

199th Recon Airplane Company Swamp Fox

203rd Recon Airplane Company Hawkeyes

219th Aviation Company Headhunters

220th Aviation Company Catkillers

221st Recon Airplane Company Shotgun

Air Force Combat Units

19th Tactical Air Support Squadron

20th Tactical Air Support Squadron

21st Tactical Air Support Squadron

22nd Tactical Air Support Squadron

23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron

Raven FACS

Marine Observation Units

VMO 6 Marine Observation Squadron 6

O-1C Detachment of H&MS -16

During the Korean Conflict Birddogs were assigned to operational units. Listed below are the assignments of the L-19 Birddog in Korea. This list may not be complete. You are invited to send in additional information on the L-19 in Korea.

2nd Helicopter Detachment
3rd Light Aviation Section
3rd Helicopter Detachment
4th Helicopter Detachment
7th Infantry Division Aviation Co (P)
40th Infantry Division Aviation Co (P)
919th Aviation Maintenance Company
8085th Army Aviation Unit
8192nd Helicopter Detachment
8193rd Helicopter Detachment

Australian Army

161 Recce Squadron