In 1966 the United States Air Force (USAF) commissioned Cessna to build a military variant of the Skymaster.
As with the civilian version, the Skymaster was a low-cost twin-engine piston-powered aircraft,with one engine in the nose of the aircraft and a second engine in the rear of the fuselage.
The USAF took delivery of the O-2 Skymaster in March 1967. By 1970, a total of 532 O-2s had been built, in two variants, for the USAF.
Six former USAF O-2A airframes were transferred to the U.S. Navy in 1983 for use as range controllers with Attack Squadron 122 (VA-122), the Pacific Fleet Replacement Squadron for the A-7 Corsair II at Naval Air Station Lemoore , California. They were transfered to VFA-125, Nevada.