Welcome! Many of us who were temporary inhabitants of Korat RTAFB, might have heard of, seen, been in the company of, or gotten in the way of Roscoe. Roscoe was unique. Many stories have been told of his life and times on the Air Base. His presence in briefings, or in the Clubs is the basis for many "legend" type stories. Many are true, and many are the maybe slightly exaggerated as a result of one too many "pops", or the passing of time and decreasing gray matter! Regardless, thousands of people have knowledge of Roscoe, and he has secured his place in history. He has been documented in published articles and books, and the presence of his marker on the current Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base still elicits comments and questions about his life.
There has been some conjecture as to how Roscoe first appeared on base. Some say that he just showed up on base one day, that he was a local. But independent sources have confirmed that he was from elsewhere. Quote one writer to me: "... but I didn't agree with ROSCOE being a Thai mut adopted off the streets. I was TDY with the son of Capt Roscoe Anderson some years ago when we put up the markers presently standing. He told me that the dog did come from Japan in a Thud." I would think he would know for sure.
What is presented here is what I've received from a few generous folks who wish to document what went transpired on this base, and that Roscoe is a unique part of its history during the Vietnam War years. As always, any stories, photos or related facts that you readers out there have that you would care to share would be deeply appreciated. Return to the main page to find the email contact.
Roscoe came to Korat as the pet of Ray Lewis, a 105 pilot from Japan in 1966. He followed Ray everywhere, and when Ray flew a mission he waited for him at ops. When Ray was shot down, Roscoe stayed at ops until the last crews left. He then came to the club and looked every where for his departed master. Later that night he came to the door of every hooch where the crews lived looking (for Ray). From then on, Roscoe was the jock's dog. I personally witnessed this.
Received info via Col. Bill Koch and from Otto Uebel via the YahooGroup. These pictures from Otto Uebel, who along with Gene Ponce and Dan Massola visited Korat RTAFB October 2004. The following excerpt is from Otto's email to Bill about Roscoe:
Thank you to Otto, Gene, Dan and Bill for the Roscoe update!! Bob
Official Roscoe. (USAF photos; matrix arranged by Otto Uebel)
I was stationed at Korat in 1972 as a GIB in the 469th TFS. My first meeting with Roscoe was when, shortly after arriving on base, I went to the KABOOM for lunch. As I approached the club I saw a dog standing patiently by the dining room entrance. Being a green lieutenant and an FNG, I had never heard of Roscoe before and had no idea what a VIP this animal was! As I opened the door to enter, Roscoe started to go in ahead of me. I blocked his way with my leg to keep him out. Just then, a major who was on his way out of the club saw what was going on and said "what the fuck do you think you are doing, lieutenant!?", and held the door open for Roscoe to enter. As I sat eating my lunch I witnessed Roscoe wandering around the dining room being greeted and treated by all he approached. That was my introduction to Roscoe. (Terry Guyton)
An interesting anecdote about Roscoe: One day outside the Officer's Club at Korat, a Thai was fixing a piece of concrete. The concrete was wet and along came Roscoe and he walked through it. The Thai was going to smooth it, but I made him stop and wrote the word Roscoe near the footprints. I don't know if the footprint and name are still there or if they were eventually replace. I hope no one ever removed them. I was on TDY to the EC-121's of College Eye at the time. (Col. William C. Koch, Jr. USAF (Ret))
Roscoe cooling it near the mailbox. (photo courtesy of Jim Traywick)
Later that year, another lieutenant in the squadron, Bob Hancock, was assigned the duty of "Roscoe Control Officer". One day the squadron ops officer told Bob that Roscoe needed a trip to the vet for shots. Bob got the keys to the squadron truck and went outside to do his duty. In just a few minues, Bob returned to the building. The ops officer, seeing Bob come back in, said "Hancock, I told you to take Roscoe for his shots!". Hancock replied, "Roscoe doesn't want to go. I opened the truck door and he wouldn't get in, so I didn't take him." At that point the ops officer firmly reminded Bob that Roscoe was, after all, a dog and needed help in making such decisions. Bob was still a little at a loss as to how to persuade Roscoe to go. The ops officer helped him out by saying "pick him up and put him in the truck and take him to the vet, Hancock!" Bob did it, but he felt very bad about forcing Roscoe to do anything that was against he will. (Terry Guyton)
(photo courtesy of Jim Traywick)
While a member of 388th Hospital Group in 1971, I talked to the base veterinarian who had just been ordered by the base commander to eliminate all dogs on base including Roscoe. The vet told me that in doing this he would incur the anger of every fighter jock on the base and his own physical health could be in jeopardy. However he did follow his orders, and asked me to witness the following: He laced some hamburger meat with enough lethal drugs to kill several large dogs, and gave it to Roscoe out on a field. Roscoe ate it all and left the area. Roscoe was not seen the rest of that day. Nor was he seen the next day. But on the third day Roscoe reappeared at KABOOM a little wobbly on his legs. It was like watching the return of the dead--the second resurrection. The base vet had followed his orders, but it seems that Roscoe was meant to remain on the base, which he did until his death in 1975. No other attempt was made to remove Roscoe. Indeed the vet said he would not do it again even if ordered. This euthenasia order was the most insane order that I could imagine to demoralize the troops, right up there with taking away the Aussie type hats which was ordered about the same time. (Name withheld by request)
A nap during a tough day can't be beat! (photo courtesy of Chan Worley)
Roscoe used to bum rides. He would stand in the middle of the street. Cars would stop and open the door and Roscoe would get in for a free ride. I have seen him riding in the staff car with the Wing Commander many times. He knew he owned the air base. (Bob Wall "Rocky" Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.))
Roscoe made multiple round trips daily between the KABOOM and Fort Apache. I would often see him in the parking lots of those places, waiting for guys in green goatskins to get into a vehicle, knowing they were most probably headed for his destination. (Even if that wasn't the case, the driver would always make a detour to drop Roscoe at his stop!) Sometimes you would see him wait for a time, pace impatiently, then decide to "hoof it" because no riding opportunity developed, and take off trotting down the road. (Terry Guyton)
Bicycles were used by almost everyone on the base. Cyclists were a common sight, and Roscoe paid no attention to Americans on bikes. But let him catch sight of a Thai on a bike and he would give chase, nipping at their feet and barking. And the poor victim knew better than to kick out at Roscoe in defense! (Terry Guyton)
Too hot to walk, Roscoe bums a ride. (photo courtesy of Chan Worley)
I was at Korat in the 34th TFS from 30 May 74 to approximately 30 May 75 (after the war). Roscoe was kind of old and fat when I arrived at Korat. He used to sleep under the pool table at the O'club. Also, once he slept in the Wing Commander's chair in the main briefing room. The Wing Commander, Col. Russell I believe, moved over and sat in the next chair. He said, " I know when I am out ranked." (Bob Wall "Rocky" Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.))
Hey! Why isn't my table ready? (photo courtesy of Bill Koch)
The club officer tried to have him thrown out of the club. There was a lot of hell raised over that. So the squadron paid his club dues and Roscoe had his own club card from then on. (Bob Wall)
Stretch and roll!!! (photo courtesy of Bill Koch)
Another thing I recall is seeing pictures of Roscoe and his "teelok", a stray bitch that wandered around the base, posted at various places on the base with text in English and Thai saying "do not shoot this dog" - a warning to the cops that he and his girl were under the protection of the commander. (Terry Guyton)
Dog about Base!!! (photo courtesy of Homer Terry)
Roscoe had a teelock too. Her name was "Pave Dog". She was a black Labrador and about two years old. She could run rings around Roscoe. I don't think anyone ever saw the two ever getting it on together though. At his age Roscoe cared more about the kitchen at the O'club and stayed close by. Pave Dog on the other hand was a bar fly. She stayed mainly at the CTF, short for Crew Training Facility. Guys would give her beer and she would really get plastered. I have seen her too drunk to walk on several occasions. (Bob Wall "Rocky" Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.))
A News-worthy dog
Noticed on your site that you are interested in photos/stories about Roscoe. Here are three of his grave site. I hope you find them useful. I was in the 40th/469th that brought the F-4E's to Korat in the late 60's. I am currently involved in a project in which I am dealing with many slides from that era. If I find any more of Roscoe I would be happy to send them along. As you can see in the attached images, Roscoe's brass plaque and head stone are in a pretty sorry state. I am toying with the idea of organizing a group to do something about correcting this situation. The only problem I have is I do not have a current contact (liaison to the USAF?) at Korat who speaks/writes English. If you have such a contact I would sure appreciate knowing - preferably email. Regards, Jim Wilkinson
Page supplied by Gary Stallones
Credit for the preceding stories and photos has been attributed as best as possible. Others to be thanked/credited are Mike Scott, Air Force Association, writers for the Sawadee Flyer, and my Mother.