The L-16 was a US civilian aircraft in military colors. During WWII, the Aeronca 65TC Defender had been pressed into service as the O-58, performing light observation, utility and liaison duties. It was later redesigned, designated the L-3, and served in many theaters and in many diverse roles.
After the war, when US civilian aircraft production resumed, Aeronca upgraded and redesigned its prewar designs into the 65-hp Model 7AC Champ. The Champ quickly became one of the the most popular training aircraft of the post-war pleasure-flying boom. The 7AC, in turn, was soon upgraded to the 7BC, with a larger engine, and was subsequently produced for the US Army under the designation L-16A (85-hp engine) and L-16B (90-hp engine). It served in the Army throughout the Korean War, where it performed many of the same roles it had in WWII: target spotting, observation, general utility, and even rescue.
In the late 1950s, quite a few L-16s returned to civilian life, where most of them shed their wartime paint and resumed life as 7BCM or 7CCM Champs, teaching primary students to fly all across the US. Still others went on to serve in the US Civil Air Patrol, a civilian search-and-rescue arm of the US Air Force.