The Vietnam War Years of

Korat Royal Thai Air Base

Roscoe

Photos and stories about the dog who "commanded" an Air Base from

those who raised Roscoe, to those who encountered Roscoe, to those who have guarded his legacy and legend!

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 wished to document what transpired on this base, and that Roscoe was a unique part of its history during the Vietnam War years, and is still a formidable presence today! As always, any stories, photos or related facts that you readers out there have that you would care to share would be deeply appreciated. Go to the Communicate Page to find the email contact. 

 

What we'd really like is some video/8mm film of Roscoe in his element on base.  Please contact me if you can assist with this.

Captain Merrill Ray Lewis, Jr.

Killed in Action - 20 July 66

 

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. 


Clyde Hayman
Korat 1966 - 13th TFS Wild Weasel EWO

 (edited by the webmaster for clarity)

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)

Hi! I am the youngest brother of Merrill Ray Lewis,Jr.  ( Roscoe's "Daddy" ). He was my Mom's first son, and I was her last son, in a 2nd marriage, hence the different last names...
The picture of the kids on the couch with Roscoe, is Rays children, Buck and Tammi.  That picture is in Anaheim Calif. circa 1963. [Edited: That photo was taken late 61, Peoria, IL.  The dog is Gretchen, the family pet when the Lewis's were in the US.  Ray was working for an Airline and flying with the IL ANG.  Roscoe was born in Japan, early 1964. - source: Dave McNeil et. al.]
The snow picture, we believe to be from Louisiana, probably the same year, or early 1964. [Edited: the dog pictured is Gretchen.  Ray and family enjoyed the breed prior to Roscoe...] We remember his family leaving home, California, and being stationed in Louisana before he was sent to Yokota Japan, then to Korat...
 
Its such a long time ago, we're trying hard to get the dates and locations correct... Most family members are in Heaven with Ray and Roscoe...
"DM" (Dave McNeil) has been an angel sent from heaven...He posted a note on the Viet Nam Virtual Wall, in my brothers memory, about Roscoe... We emailed him, thanked him, ... and now I have been in contact with Ray's F-105 crew chief Tom Johnson, the last one to see him alive...
 
Also, with Otto who has lots of Roscoe info and emailed me the info of the statue of Roscoe in Korat...
 
Best Regards, Charley Holton - April 2008

Portions of correspondence from Tom Johnson to Charley Holton in February 2008 (edited):

I am Tom Johnson. I was crew chief on F-105D 62-4308 . I did launch your brother on his last mission . I did not know him well . We had shot the breeze together a time or two over a cool one . His reputation preceded him , he was a real leader in combat, a S.H. pilot.  I heard that he asked about me , since we came from different sqds. at Yakota . and he told me that he had heard good stuff about me . He said we are going to get along fine . I told him lets put a red star on "our" plane. He told me he wanted the same and would do his best . 
<------>  I must admit that when i got your e mail today i was surprised. I had to stop and compose myself , tears did come to my eyes . I was the last person to talk to him face to face.  He was a good brave warrior and the family should be proud.  I know i am proud of him , and I grieve to this day.  I also knew Roscoe, as we went to Korat on the same acft.

From a follow-up letter :

I would like to mention ( since I was there ) when Roscoe went to Korat we asked the flight crew on the transport if there was any problem with a dog on the plane.  They replied, "we don't see any dog , what are you talking about ???" That's the real deal on how Roscoe got to Korat.  Roscoe and your brother are legends with 34th T.F.S.  I am proud to have been a small part of it ......

Tom Johnson, February 2008

Latest page update / addition - 07/31/2010 on Roscoe page 2

(Unsolicited email received November 10, 2008.  Published with the authors permission)

Dear Mr. Freitag,

Many years ago, while in Vietnam, I read an article in Stars and Strips about Roscoe.  (I do have a good memory.) And at that time, I wondered if the dog had any connection to my uncle Ross Anderson. Uncle Ross and my Uncle Ken were both MIG killers in Korea BTW – and they married sisters who were both my aunts.  I never thought about it again until one time I was on a Delta flight about 10 years ago. I was sitting next to a Delta Captain talking about flying.  I told him I was a single engine Piper jock – and he laughed.  I asked him where he got his training and he said he was a military pilot in Vietnam.  The story got around to him being stationed in Thailand – so I asked him if he knew Roscoe? He went white and asked me how I knew about Roscoe.  So I told him what I just told you. 

 

Now, last night I (for some reason) googled Capt. Roscoe Anderson and your article came up.  It’s taken 38 years for the story to come full circle.  Roscoe was indeed named after my uncle Ross, who was killed in a 105 at Yakota.  After his death my aunt and cousins came to live with us in South Western Ohio.  My Aunt and cousins are still alive and well, living in California.  Uncle Ken still lives in Northern California.  Thank you for your web site.  It brought back a great memory. 

Tim Dold

(Unsolicited email received because of the email directly above, which brings us back full circle if you read the opening statement - I have changed the color of the statement I'm referring to.  Published with the authors permission.)

Bob,
I'd like to introduce myself, my name is Douglas Anderson. My father was Roscoe E. Anderson whom the dog Roscoe was named after.  I heard about your site and the article from my cousin Tim Dold, who just today contacted me about the site and the articles about the dog.

I first heard about Roscoe back in 75, when the article came out in the Issue of TAC, and the story of Passing of a Friend. I was a crew chief on F-4C's, stationed at Luke AFB. I had joined the Air Force back in Dec of 74 and after Tech School was assigned to Luke.  I remember the day I read the article because like I said I had never heard the story.  After work, I called my mother and asked her about it and it was news to her also. I tried to contact somebody at the base pr office, thinking they might direct me to more info but to no avail.  I even wrote the folks at TAC hoping to get more info. Nada.

Through out my career I was always looking for more info and did get to see, via checking out a video from the base Audio Visual library, that had a small piece that included about 90 seconds or so that showed the dog. The video was transferred from film made sometime in the late sixties or early 70 as I remember.


Anyway, jump to 1990. I was now a Tech Sergeant stationed at Clark AFB in the Philippines in Quality Assurance. We got word that they needed someone to TDY to Korat for Cobra Gold 90. Needless to say there was no way I wasn't going to be on that TDY. After arriving   I found out that the grave site was in front of the old Officers Club. The plaque back then was a piece of brass with the name Roscoe in black paint. It was heavily corroded.  I thought that it needed to be upgraded. I contacted the Thai base commanders office and after a few phone calls and some yakking the next thing I knew it involved a Thai General. 
After it was all explained as to who I was and what I wanted to do.  I was given permission to have a new marker made. I also asked and was given permission to keep the old marker after the new one was available. I have included a picture of the marker just from the stone cutters shop (photo below - right). It is made of black marble with gold inlayed letters.  A side story to the whole TDY, just after I had new marker made, I made Master Sergeant and had gotten my line number while I was there.

The original marker, after I cleaned it up, is now in a wooden glass case I had made once I got back to PI. 
(see photo below)

Now as to the origin of Roscoe. I remember Ray Lewis as far back as 1962 when we were stationed at Macdill AFB in Florida. I believe that's when my dad and Ray met. They went to F-105 school at   Nellis AFB in 63. We had a dog named Ginger, a female German Shepard. She went with us when were stationed to Japan and she had a litter of puppies when we there. First stationed at Hakata AB, then up to Yokota. My mom nor I can remember if Ray got one of the pups back in 64 or not. Ray was assigned to escort us, my mother brother and I after my dad was killed in Sep of 64. I will always have great thoughts of Ray. He was Rock when my mom, brother and I needed one. My last vision of him was at the ceromony at the Golden Gate National Cementary where my dad is buried.

 I don't know if the dog was one Gingers pups or not. I think maybe he was.  I would like to think it was anyway.

Well hope this info helps in some way. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or info that might help.

Doug Anderson

Courtesy of Janet Lewis (via Dave McNeil - 2009)

Me, Buck (son) and pups
Roscoe has floppy ears, Watasi pointed.

Watasi belonged to Lee & Gail Thornton, our
next door neighbors so pups were together.
I do not remember who had 3rd pup

-- Janet Lewis (via Dave McNeil 2009)

Our kids, Merrill (Buck) and Tamara, sitting on sofa with a much older Roscoe.

-- Janet Lewis
(via Dave McNeil 2009)

Both dogs had come inside to play and get lots of attention.

-- Janet Lewis (via Dave McNeil 2009)

Roscoe and the bear at Korat.

--Janet Lewis (via Dave McNeil 2009)

Roscoe and Col. Sherrill at Korat.

--Janet Lewis (via Dave McNeil 2009)

Korat Revisited by Frosty Sheridan.

--Janet Lewis (via Dave McNeil 2009)

(click on the image to open a pdf of the article.)

Received an email from Peter Anderson, whose oldest brother was Capt. Roscoe E. Anderson.  He provided this site with a composition entitled "The Man Behind the Name Roscoe".  Thank you Peter for sharing this with us! July 2009

 

Click the icon below to read the PDF document.

©1998 - 2014 R.J. Freitag & Contributors, all rights reserved.
No part of this page may be reproduced in any form without the prior written approval of R.J. Freitag.

 Capt Roscoe Anderson

12/8/26 - 9/8/64