Tens of thousands of U.S. and foreign pilots received instruction on the T-2 Buckeye, an outstanding Navy training aircraft. But the T-2—originally designated T2J—was not the Navy’s jet trainer that served the longest or was produced in the largest numbers. Those accolades belonged to the T-33 Shooting Star and its companion T2V/T-1 SeaStar, variants of the famed P-80/F-80 fighter aircraft.
From 1959 to 2004 the Buckeye transitioned would-be pilots from prop to jet aircraft, primarily at Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi. In the pilot-training role the aircraft was used for carrier qualification landings. The Buckeye also was used to train naval flight officers and, later, was employed as a utility aircraft for various specialized aviation units and as a drone control aircraft (the last redesignated DT-2).