Welcome to the Batcat Homepage
Thai Welcome Message
The United States Air Force
553rd Reconnaissance Wing
Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base
and their Lockheed EC-121R Aircraft

This page provides information about the 553rd Reconnaissance wing at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base from 1967 to 1971. The 553rd Recon Wing was comprised of two flying squadrons, the 553rd Recon Squadron and the 554th Recon Squadron. Both squadrons shared common aircraft from the 553rd wing. Maintenance was provided by the 553rd Electronic Maintenance Squadron - EMS (later the 553rd Avionics Maintenance Squadron - AMS), the 553rd Field Maintenance Squadron - FMS, and the 553rd Organizational Maintenance Squadron - OMS, plus intelligence, transportation, administration (Headquarters), parachute riggers, food service and others. Together these units were -
Batcat
Wing Patch BATCAT area first added 06/08/96, Last Updated 11/27/14.

IMPORTANT UPDATE - My wife and I completed the sale of our Maine home and we are now settling into our California home to be nearer our grand children. With this move the only valid email for webmaster Larry Westin is westin@westin553.net - several areas on my Batcat pages continue to show our previous Maine address and phone number. I'm in the process of correcting those areas to show my new contact information, which is Larry Westin, 21721 Verde St., Tehachapi, California 93561, phone (661) 823-4707.

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URL for this new Batcat Homepage server is:
http://www.westin553.net/batcat00.htm

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Larry & Sue Westin's e-mail address
westin@westin553.net


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Batcat Quick Link Navigation Menu

Batcat Veteran Benefit Information
553rd Maintenance - EMS/AMS, FMS & OMS
Batcat Contact Page
EC-121R & Other Batcat Aircraft
Batcat Upcoming Reunions
Batcats Keeping In Touch
Batcat Patches & Flags
Memorial Plaque Dedication & Reunion
Batcat Casualties & Purple Heart at Korat
Batcat Photos 67-71, Individual & Crew
Batcat's Primary Mission
For Whom The Angels Have Called
Batcat WAF - Intelligence Shop
Life Support Shop
Sensors Monitored by Batcat
To Be added Later
To Be added Later
Personal Experiences
Overview of Batcat & CHECO reports
Models of the EC-121R
Ameri-Thai Locator Help
Homefront, Bat Label, Sawadee Flyer
Batcat Orbits
CIM Log, MPC, Songs
Batcat Mascot - Snoopy
Batcat Book
Navy VO-67 Dropped the Sensors
Batcat Party Suits
Korat RTAFB & Korat City 1967 to Now
Batcat Combat Wounded - Purple Heart
Community Outreach
Batcat Training Certificates and PJSS
Pot Lid, Dune Moon Deployments
Survival Blood Chit
Batcat License Plates
553rd to 388th Changeover, Last EC-121R
Batcat Museum
Bob Hope USO Shows at Korat
Buddies and Blogs
Vietnam The Virtual Wall
Batcat Generals
Links of Interest

The Quick Links Menu is an effort to make navigating my Batcat site easier
Quick Links covers commonly requested areas, but NOT everything
Scroll down this page for information not listed in Quick Links


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Freedom Isn't Free

For those in US Military Service
Batcat 21

On April 25, 1969, 18 members of the
553rd Reconnaissance Wing were killed
with the loss of Batcat 21,

Less than 5 months later Batcat suffered another loss,
On September 6, 1969, 4 members of the
553rd Reconnaissance Wing were killed
with the loss of Batcat 19,

We remember and think of all of you often; you are not forgotten!!

Batcat 21

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Reproduction Batcat Wing
Patches Available

Quality reproduction 553rd Reconnaissance Wing patches are available. Cost is $7.00 each including postage. To purchase Batcat wing patches contact:

Bill Herridge
P.O. Box 119
Gatesville, TX 76528

Click here to see an image of the reproduction patch which is available from Bill. Color, about 273K. Bill Herridge played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes at the 2008 Dedication and Reunion at Wright-Patterson AFB. Color, about 220K.


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* * * Upcoming Reunions * * *


No Planned Upcoming Reunions at this time


Click the Upcoming Reunions Page for further
details of upcoming Reunions

Last updated 10/06/14.

Click the Completed Reunions Page for further
details of completed Reunions

Last updated 10/17/13.

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The 553rd Reconnaissance Wing Memorial Dedication
and Reunion was held at the
National Museum of the United Sates Air Force
Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton, OH

August 21 to 24, 2008

Click the Batcat Plaque Dedication & Reunion Page for details.

Batcat was able to perform its mission only through the
hard work and dedication of a lot of people, including
maintenance, supply, headquarters, transportation, aircrews
and many others. We thank all who attended the dedication and reunnion!!


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Batcat History Book Available!!!

Batcat Book Cover

Click here or on the book cover for more information on the Batcats book

Fellow Batcat Jack Sikora and I have written a 168 page, illustrated book about Batcat. It is now availble for purchase direct from iUniverse, Inc., from Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com and others. Click on the book cover above to see details about the book, including how to purchase the book direct from from 3 sources. Batcats book now available in electronic format!!

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Caution on E-Mail filters

Several times recently I've attempted to reply to e-mails only to receive back from the server messages such as "recepient not accepting mail from this user" or "user not on the accepted list." It is rather frustrating to try and reply to an e-mail only to have it returned by your "Spam" or "Junk" mail server filter software. If you have your e-mail setup to block, please include my e-mail address westin@westin553.net in your email address book. That shows me as a valid recepient. Thank You - Larry Westin.

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Batcat's Primary Mission

Many Homepage viewers have asked me just what the purpose of Batcat was. I can summarize the mission by saying that all those who served with the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing, Batcat, both on the ground and in the air, worked to achieve a single primary objective - to keep the number of names on the Vietnam Memorial as few as possible.

During the Vietnam war most of what Batcat did was classified. Aircrew members probably had a better idea of the operations than other members of the wing since they attended classified intelligence briefings before each mission. If you worked in headquarters planning, in supply providing parts or equipment, transportation moving people, food service providing meals, or were a maintenance technician working long hours making engines run, or radios work, that operational information was very likely not made available at the time, or only very limited information was given at best. Recently a retired Army officer sent me an e-mail, please take a look at this message from Retired Army Lt. Colonel Fred Johnson. Only through the combined efforts of EVERYONE assigned to work with Batcat did the mission get accomplished. Added 12/02/04.

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I flew with the 554th Recon Squadron as a Combat Information Monitor (CIM) from Nov. 1968 through Sept. 1969. Others who participated with this unit expressed an interest to me in seeing information on the Internet about the 553rd. What you see today is more than 13 years of effort to build this page. Please feel free to correct my errors and omissions. I especially want to hear from aircraft service, mechanics, electronics, intelligence, transportation, administration, food service, etc., in fact ALL who worked with Batcat in anyway, and anyone interested in the Batcat operations, Korat, or the 388th TFW which was also based at Kort RTAFB. It required a lot of people in many different specialties to keep Batcat flying, I'd like to hear from all of you. You can e-mail me at westin@westin553.net.

Batcat flew out of Korat RTAFB. Sensor data picked up inflight was normally relayed directly to Nakhom Phanom (NKP) via a data link. Code name for the operation at NKP was "Igloo White." If the aircraft was out of range of Igloo White, sensor information was encrypted by the CICO/ACICO/CIM aircrew while inflight, then radioed to Siagon via High Frequency (Shortwave) radio. Other times Batcat passed real time intelligence directly to ground forces. Sometimes this operation was referred to as "MacNamarra's Wall" and at other times as "MacNamarra's Electronic Fence" after then Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamarra who was a primary proponent of this form of electronic warfare.

My Batcat Homepage begins with text articles, these files are all ASCII text and can be downloaded and printed with any word processor. For that matter you can even print them with the DOS print command. In places where there are columns I strongly suggest you print the files using a non-proportional font such as Courier or New Courier. Sometimes fixed pitch fonts are referred to as monospace or fixed space. Using a fixed pitch font allows the columns to line up correctly. Most word processors default to a proportional font because it looks better.

Unless otherwise indicated, all photographs taken by webmaster Larry Westin.

Veteran Benefit Information

New information, maps and images added on herbicide and toxic chemical use at Korat RTAFB.
As those of us who served get older, we encounter medical conditions and other needs unnecessary when we were younger. I've added a new area titled Veteran Benefit Information. This area has links on how to obtain copies of your DD-214 and other military records, to the Veterans Administration, Veteran Benefits, Social Security Special Benefits to veterans (not just retirees), information about Agent Orange as well as other of the "Rainbow Herbicides" used at Korat RTAFB and other locations in Southeast Asia, and national veterans organizations. My objective is to provide a starting point for veterans to learn about what services and benefits which are available and they are entitled to, as well as where to obtain more information, file and pursue claims. Check out the little known Veterans Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefit. Includes information about asbestos exposure and how to find help. Area added 05/11/09, last updated 11/27/14.


553rd EMS/AMS, 553rd FMS and 553rd OMS were the
Skilled Maintenance Service Technicians who kept the
Lockheed EC-121R Batcat Super Constellations Flying

The EC-121R and other aircraft required skilled maintenance service technicians to keep them flying. Click here for more information about the skilled maintenance service technicians who kept the Batcat aircraft flying. This area also includes information about the 193rd Tactical Warfare Squadron of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard and the EC-121S the ANG flew from Korat RTAFB. Originally part of this opening Batcat homepage. I moved it to its own page on 02/18/07, Last updated 07/07/14.


553rd Life Support Equipment Section Shop

The Life Support Equipment Section Shop, or more commonly known as the Life Support Shop serviced, inspected, repaired, maintained and stored the Life Support equipment. Life support equipment included parachutes, survival vests, life preservers, smoke masks and other safety equipment. In addition Life Support provided training in water and other survival skills. Originally scattered throughout these Batcat pages, I moved Life Support to its own page on 06/21/14, Last updated 07/23/14.


The Aircraft Flown by Batcat
The Lockheed EC-121R Super Constellation

Click here for more Details of the Lockheed EC-121R Super Constellation, Lockheed EC-121S and C-121G Super Constellation, Lockheed EC-121D and EC-121T Warning Star, Kaman HH-43B Huskie, and the Beech QU-22A and QU22B Baby Bat! Included are many images of the EC-121R, of the EC-121D, C-121G and EC-121S, details of the inflight emergencies, details of the loss at Otis and the two losses of Batcat EC-121R's at Korat in crashes wich claimed a total of 22 lives, with USAF crash summaries for both Korat losses. A list of all the EC-121R's built including serial number, Lockheed construction number, former Navy Bureau numbers and their final disposition. Also Beech QU-22 information (which was intended to replace the EC-121R), with a full list of all the QU-22's built including their final disposition (several exist and fly on the civil register today). The C-121G aircraft were loaned to the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing by the Pennsylvania Air Guard, while the EC-121S aircraft were flown by the Pennsylvania Air Guard. Updated 11/09/14.


Static Display and Radio Controlled
models of the Lockheed EC-121R Super Constellation

Click here to view some Static Display and R/C Flying EC-121R models. Model aircraft sizes range from 1:144 to 1:16, die cast and wood types of models. YouTube videos of the R/C model taxing and flying. Model Page added 07/02/14, Updated 07/11/14.

Beautiful Color EC-121R views of
EC-121R sn 67-21490

I purchased a really nice color inflight view of EC-121R 67-21490. Photo is U. S. Air Force photo KE 35179, taken January 15, 1969, by Master Sergeant Roman G. Contos, USAF. Labled as a "High angle side view of U.S. Air Force EC-121 of the 553rd Reconnaissance Squadron in flight of Thailand." I believe this is the best inflight view of a Lockheed EC-121R I have seen yet. Size is set to be about full screen with resolution set to 1024x768. Here is another image of EC-121R 67-21490 at higher resolution, inflight with more of the Thai country side shown. My thanks to Dean Boys for alerting me that this photo was for sale on eBay! Color, about 127K and 850K respectively, added 02/15/00.


EC-121R sn 67-21485, 67-21475, and 67-21477

Recently I obtained 4 very nice EC-121R color prints from the Terry Panopalis collection in Canada. Here is a color inflight view of EC-121R 67-21485. which shows more of the Thai country side. Image is color, about 122K. Here is a second, above view of EC-121R 67-21485 showing how Camouflage blended the airplane in with the ground. Image is color, about 164K. Third image is a ground view of EC-121R 67-21475, right side, at Otis AFB, Massachusetts, on May 17, 1969. Look closely and you can see the FM radio antennas on the top of the outside vertical stabilizers. Image is color, about 107K. After late 1969 training for the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing was moved to the West Coast. Fourth image is the left side of EC-121R 67-21477 at McClellan AFB on October 25, 1969. Color, about 96K. My thanks to Terry Panopalis for going out of his way to get me these color prints. Added 02/21/10, updated 08/01/11.


Lockheed EC-121R for the
Microsoft Flight Simulator

Manfred Jahn is in the process or creating freeware flight simulator models of all main variants of the Super Connie. He has just uploaded EC-121R Batcat 21478 for Flight Simulator to a public server where you can download the flight simulator data. Here are some flight simulator screen shots: EC-121R Take-Off with the gear up, flaps still in takeoff position, EC-121R Cockpit lined up for takeoff, 67-21478 Beginning a takoff roll at Korat, EC-121R 67-21478 in flight about 1/2 front view. All screen shots are color, about 38K, 131K, 114K and 58K respectively. Manfred Jahn resides in Cologne, Germany. His work was created specifically for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004, also known as Flight Simulator 9. He can be reached via email at "manfred dot jahn at uni-koeln dot de" (be sure to form this into correct email format, remove the spaces along with the words "dot" and "at" which must be replaced with the correct email characters). Added 06/07/09.

An Overview of Batcat

The origin of Batcat came from a group named "College Nine" because of the nine college professors who came up with the idea of using sensors. Defense Secretary Robert MacNamarra embraced the concept at which time the code name changed to "Practice Nine." At the White House on January 13, 1967 President Lyndon Johnson issued National Security Action Memorandum 358 which gave "Highest National Priority" category to "Project PRACTICE NINE." This document effectively gave birth to Batcat. My thanks to the President Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library for providing this document. B&W, about 225K, Added 11/14/12.


A short History of the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing. Now available in two formats, 553rd History in ASCII text format. This should be readable with any browser. Also the same wording is as a 553rd History in Adobe PDF format. The PDF format is in an easier to read font, however it does require the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view. If you encounter a problem reading the PDF version, view the ASCOO text format. This history includes additional information from Homepage visitors providing additional information, and to correct errors. This revision of the History has errors corrected, and added information about how the 553rd Reconnaissance Squadron performed the ABCCC mission in Cambodia with the call sign Ramrod. My thanks to Bill MacDonald for providing the Ramrod ABCCC information. Now Rev. Q, updated 04/21/14.

The Air Force Historical Research Agency has declassified some of the "Project Contempary Historical Examination of Current Operations Reports," or more commonly just a "CHECO" report. Several Project CHECO reports which pertain to the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing are available. Added 07/30/14, updated 09/05/14.

Batcat Bill Person has provided some unique perspective of the operation. Read his article Sensors Go to War. For more information may I recommend the Batcats book. Added 08/06/06.

This 553rd Reconnaissance Wing Organizational Chart gives an overview of the wing and its various units which together was Batcat. My thanks to Chuck Silverstein for the document I used to create this image. Added 05/28/01.

This 553rd Reconnaissance Wing Welcome Booklet given to new arrivals. This booklet is dated July 1969 and contains a welcome letter, wing history, wing insignia information, plus information on housing, transportation, finances, required fees, required briefings, curfew, money, bars and clubs, off limit areas, and a base map. My thanks to Lynn Gates for the document. NOTE this is a large file, about 1.6 Mega bytes. Added 06/04/07.

The 553rd Reconnaissance Wing achieved initial operational capability in early December 1967. During December 1967 there a number of V.I.P.'s which visited Korat RTAFB, and Batcat. On December 23, 1967 President Lyndon Johnson visited Korat RTAFB. Click here for an image of President Johnson talking with Batcat A1C Brian Benson during LBJ's visit to Korat. Standing between Benson and LBJ is Lieutenant General William Momyer. My thanks to Cliff Jensen who sent me the image after he received it from Bill Schmieding. Color, about 88K. Added 04/01/11. Afterwards President Johnson went to the "Kaboom" officers club where he was given a presentation from a 388th TFW F-105 pilot who explained what a mission up north involved. Afterwards President Johnson shook hands with those at the officers club. My thanks to Mike Cassidy who was at the officers club to see and shake hands with President Johnson. Added 07/23/14.

Batcat was heavily classified at the time. During training the need for secrecy was repeatedly emphasized. Many officers doubted the value of the project. Then came the Khe Sanh siege where the concept proved itself remarkably well. Ground commanders recognized the value in lives saved. Shortly afterwards an article named "Spotting the Infiltrators" appeared in the May 27, 1968 edition of Newsweek magazine. This was the first public information about sensors. Gene Heflin first brought to my attention that such an article was published. My thanks to William "Bill" Schultz for sending me the article to scan. Image of the article is B&W, about 256K, Added 04/01/09.

553rd Reconnaissance Wing Casualties

This is a list of the 25 individuals who lost their life while assigned to the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing. The names of those 553rd members killed on operational missions are listed on two panels of the Vietnam Memorial Wall. For those of you who have not had the opportunity to visit the Vietnam Memorial, on the Mall in Washington, D.C., here is an image of Vietnam War Memorial Wall Panel 26W with the names of those killed in the April 25, 1969 loss, and an image of Vietnam War Memorial Wall Panel 18W with the names of those killed in the Spetember 6, 1969 loss. I took both wall photos on April 19, 2004. While in Washington I checked with the Park Service and learned that only those individuals killed on operational missions are listed. The names of those who died by accident or from natural cause deaths are not included on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Updated 05/27/13.

Vietnam Wall - Call for Photos. The Education Center at the Wall has a project to obtain phtoogrpahs of all those who were killed in the Vietnam War. Check The Education Center at the Wall for more details. Click on the "Call for Photos" link for more information. My thanks to Art Kveck for bringing this project to my attention. Added 09/27/09.

553rd Reconnaissance Wing EMS (AMS)
in Ground Combat - Purple Heart

While air crews flew combat missions every day, they didn't encounter the enemy directly. Members of the 553rd Electronic Maintenance Squadron (EMS), would soon become the 553rd Avionics Maintenance Squadron (AMS), did encounter the Viet Cong enemy directly while TDY to South Vietnam. Read how TSgt. John Linaburg was wounded at Nui Ba Den mountain. TSgt. John Linaburg, 553rd EMS, was the first and only member of the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing to be awarded the Purple Heart for combat wounds. Article written by 553rd Com Shop OIC Ron Cox. Added 10/18/09. New Images added showing 553rd EMS at Nui Ba Den mountain - Ron Cox sent these after action photographs sapper attack. This image shows SSgt. Saltzen with living quarters on the left, the relay van on the right, B&W, about 117KB. Getting the Damaged Relay Van ready for Airlift back to Korat RTAFB, B&W, about 96KB. A second van on the mountain was the severly damaged maintenance van, B&W, about 162KB. 553rd EMS technicians serviced the equipment in the relay van. While preparing the relay van for airlift back to Korat, this unexploded sapper charge was found! This is the type of explosive charge planted by the Viet Cong to blow up the vans. B&W, about 184KB. This image shows the mountain the Viet Cong climbed to attack the vans, B&W, about 143KB. This image shows the view from the relay van position with its overview of the Mekong Delta. Mekong River in upper part of the image. B&W, about 172KB. My thanks to Ron Cox for sending these photographs. Images Added 11/22/09. My thanks to James F. Geimer, 553rd Avionics Maintenance Squadron, was assigned to the Nui Ba Den mountain installation in June 1969, for the next four images. First two images taken before the VC attack. Mortar site next to living quarters manned by Army. Color about 176K. View of trailers and living quarters from heli pad. Color about 191K. Next two images after the attack. Day 1 after attack, A1C Burdick, a 553rd RMT from Korat. Color abut 162K. Front of living quarters and .50 Cal Mach Gun in sandbag pile. Color about 180K. Added 04/01/11.

Batcat WAF - Intelligence Shop

First Batcat assigned WAF (Women in the Air Force) was 2nd Lt. Charlotte J. C. Holder, now Col. Charlotte Clinger USAF retired. To welcome Lt. Holder to the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing as the first WAF, this Presentation to the 1st female member of Batcat set of "helpful" instructions was given to her as a guide by those in operations. B&W, about 312K. Added 10/22/13.

Lieutenant Charlotte Holder had recently completed intelligence training when she was assigned to the Deputy Chief of Operations for Intelligence (DCOI) office, 553rd Reconnaissance Wing, arriving during September 1968. Charlotte wrote this article on being the First WAF assigned to Batcat, PDF format, about 19K, also available in ASCII text format, about 11K, if you have difficulty reading PDF files. This article describes her arrival and information about providing intelligence while working the Batcat DCOI. Here is the 553rd DCOI Organizational Chart, about 116K. Before each mission all aircrew were given an Intelligence Briefing at the Wing Headquarters building,& color, about 95K. Unknown to me until we exchanged emails, there was an unique 553rd DCOI Patch, color, about 90k. Added 02/14/09.

Charlotte Holder Clinger and her husband recently set up a fund for oral histories for women veterans as part of the Betty Carter Women Veterans Historical Project at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Click here to view Charlotte Holder Clinger's oral history of her career. Added 09/22/14.

Tom VonAchen sent this image of the 388TFW Intel Patch, the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing was also based at Korat RTAFB. Color, about 173K. Added 02/06/10.

The Batcat Museum at Culpepper, Virginia

Hank Smith is the curator of the Batcat Museum at Culpepper, Virginia. This page shows some of the items on display, as well has how to arrange a visit. Batcat Museum info added 10/05/13.

Batcat People en route to Korat

Some air and ground crew traveled from Otis AFB to Korat on board the EC-121R aircraft. Most of those in the 553rd Reconnaissance wing traveled to Korat via Lockheed C-141A Starlifters. My thanks to Bob Bulen for providing this image. Color about 126K, added 07/01/08.

Batcat People - Keeping in Touch

Photos of 553rd Men and Women, Individual and Crew. Photo area added 07/03/99, Last updated 11/22/14.

Individual Contact Information. E-mail and other information. Contact area added 04/11/00, Last updated 11/27/14.

Looking for Others. Search area added 04/17/00, Last updated 11/09/14.

Personal Experiences. Personal Experiences area added 06/28/02, Last updated 10/06/14.

Movie Clips of Korat and the EC-121R. Movie clips and links to YouTube which show the EC-121R, 388th TFW F-4E, 100 Mission return, and Bob Hope entertainers Christmas 1968. Added 08/07/09, Last updated 09/16/09.

Batcat 21

In Remembrance of Batcats For Whom The Angels Have Called. Those Batcat's who have passed away after returning from Korat. Added 07/01/09, Last updated 08/09/14.

Batcat 21


Ameri-Thai Locator Help

During the Vietnam era there were times when American's fathered children by Thai women. Often the American returned home at the end of his assignement with the child growing up never knowing their father. The Ameri-Thai locator Help page is here to help Thai children of American fathers locate their father, who they may never have met. This page also helps father's who locate their Thai child. Gene Ponce, 553rd FMS, provides Ameri-Thai Locator Help assistance. Gene Ponce has been recognized by the Thai Royal Family for his work uniting children and parents. Added 09/07/14, Last updated 09/10/14.

Batcat Patches and Flags

The 553rd Wing patch was designed by Mr. Milton Caniff, famous for his cartoon character "Steve Canyon." The words "Cavete Cattam," translated from Latin mean - "Beware the Cat." In addition to the wing patch there are many other Batcat patches. Click here for detailed information and images about the Batcat Patches and Flags! My thanks to the many who have sent me images, and those who sent me patches to scan. Patch area added 12/04/99, Updated 09/26/14.

Batcat Patches by
Scott Pedersen, Ph.D.

Scott Pedersen has amassed a collection of 553rd Patch images, as well as patches from the successor units, the 353rd Special Operations Wing and 353rd Special Operations Group. Click here to view the Scott Pedersen Batcat Patch collection. This is a graphics intense page, it will take a while to download. Added 12/21/09.

The Party Suits at Korat RTAFB

Party Suits were totally optional, with many assigned to the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing going to Korat city tailor shops to have Party Suits made. Last updated 08/29/14.


The Batcat Legend Continues

You may not be aware that the Batcat legend continues. Today the USAF 353rd Special Operations Group (that is not a typo, it is the 353rd not 553rd) has its origins directly from the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing. The 553rd Reconnaissance Wing was officially inactivated on December 15, 1970. The USAF redesignated the wing the 353rd Reconnaissance Wing on July 31, 1985, redesignated again as the 353rd Special Operations Wing on 21 Mar 1989. Activated on 6 Apr 1989. Redesignated 353rd Special Operations Group on 1 Dec 1992. Here is a USAF Fact Sheet for the 353rd Special Operations Group. The 353rd SOG continues to use a slightly modified (simplied) Batcat patch for the 353rd SOG. Included in the fact sheet are the decorations won by the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing, Batcat, as well information about the lineage before and after Batcat. My thanks to Charlotte Holder Clinger for bringing this to my attention. Added 02/12/11.

Find your Buddy Project

Many times over the years I've been asked many times questions like: "do you have a list of those who worked in EMS during 1968," or "who were the other crew chiefs while I was at Korat," or "do you have a list of those who were on aircrew 27." Looking back I wish I had that kind of information. Well now David Butler has started such a list! David has started an Excel spreadsheet with searchable information. If you are interested in participating in this project please send David Butler an email at x9y9@sbcglobal.net providing the following information: 1 - Name, 2 - email address, 3 - 553rd organization, 4 - shop, crew etc., 5 - dates in country, 6 - Small remarks IE looking for someone, do you remember this or that.

David Butler has released the roster list sorted two ways, each in two different formats: Adobe Acrobat PDF and Microsoft Excel XLS. Names in order by: Last Name in PDF format and Last Name in XLS format, PDF size about 54K, XLS size about 93K. also sorter in order by Shop or Aircrew Number in PDF format, and Shop or Aircrew Number in XLS format. PDF size about 54K, XLS size about 93K. Added 02/14/09, last updated 06/21/09.

Batcat Internet Blogs

Cliff Jensen has a Batcat homepage profile for Batcat with pictures, videos, personal blog, information about me and other Batcat information. Added 05/19/08.

Batcat Ed Richey has started an Internet Blog for Batcats at http://batcat121.wordpress.com. From Ed Richey: I want to post my memories there and hope other Batcats will do the same. The older I get the more I reflect on those days. Hope you and other Batcats enjoy it. Added 09/13/09.

There is also a Yahoo Batcat blog at groups.yahoo.com/group/CaveteCattam. This is a moderated group, to subscribe you need to email CaveteCattam@yahoogroups.com and request access. My thanks to David Smith for providing information on this Batcat blog. Added 02/23/11.

Re-Enlistment on a Combat Mission

Batcat SSgt James H Jorgensen re-enlisted on a combat mission. Here is an image of SSgt James H Jorgensen on the left, and A/C Lt. Col. David Brown on the right administering the oath. Here SSgt James H Jorgensen holds his DD 256 Form. There was an advantage for enlisted personnel to re-enlist on a combat mission, the re-enlistment bonus was then income tax free. The wing performed re-enlistments for ground crew as well as aircrew on combat missions. Added 01/18/11.

553rd Reconnaissance Wing Training

Aircrew training involved specialty training at Otis AFB, Life Support training at Otis AFB, Global Survival Training at Fairchild AFB (SEA version), and PACAF Jungle Survival Training at Clark AB, Philippines. Certificates of completion were issued for each class. Click here for samples of USAF Successful Training Certificates. My thanks to Ron Turman for these copies of his training certificates. PDF format, about 568K. Added 02/11/12.

Batcats helped Train
Royal Thai Air Force Personnel

In several areas 553rd Reconnaissance Wing personnel helped train members of the Royal Thai Air Force. Here is a Royal Thai Air Force Certificate of Appreciation presented to Batcat Harry D. Henderson (553rd Avionics Maintenance Squadron). Certificate is signed by Air Chief Marshal Kamol Thejatunga, Chief of the Air Staff. My thanks to Harry D. Henderson for sending me this image of his certificate. About 115K, Added 02/12/14.

U.S. Air Forces Global Survival School
Fairchild AFB, Spokane, Washington

Prior to departure from the U.S., aircrew members were sent to the USAF Global Survival School at Fairchild AFB, Spokane, Washington. Here is an image of a Group of Batcats going through Survival School. On the back side are the Names of the individuals in the photo. Here is a list of the Names in an ASCII text file. The scene is from the site in the mountains east of the base. We were taken there to get some experience in survival skills in case we had to "walk out of the jungle" in South East Asia. Survival class groups were randomly thrown together. Shortly after the picture was taken we were split up into other smaller groups for experience in "navigating" our way through the mountains. My thanks to Amy Peterson, daughter of Batcat Mark Peterson, for sending me the images and names. Images are B&W, 249K and 131K respectively. Later Batcat crews attended an abreviated Global course because all would follow up with with additional jungle survival training at PJSS. Added 08/14/11.

Pacific Air Forces Jungle Survival School (PJSS)

Aircrews were given a one week course in Jungle Survival and Escape and Evasion at Clark AB, Philippine Islands. My thanks to Dave Pipher for providing these images of PJSS. Here some views of housing at Clark AB, basic quarters, view 1 and another view of quarters. Color images, 34K and 63K respectively. A view of preparing for the field exercise, color about 62K. Escape and Evasion instruction occurred at the end of the class. At the end of the E&E exercise the aircrew flagged down a helicopter so they could be winched up to the helicopter. Here are 3 views of the Sikorsky H-19 helicopters at PJSS. H-19 view 1, H-19 view 2 and H-19 view 3. Color, about 47K, 56K and 47K respectively. Added 01/24/10.

Batcat Aircrew 100 Combat Missions

Completing 100 Combat missions was a milestone achievement. The first four enlisted to attain the 100 mission milestone. Back row Bob Levy, Tom Hicks, front row Bob Bulen, Dan Shull. My thanks to Bob Bulen for the image and names. The first officer to attain 100 missions is Col. Robert "Bob" Helfrich. Col. Helfrich accomplished the milestone in August 1968. My thanks to Joe Gonzales for the image. Added 07/01/08.

Mike Yates and Jon Pries sent me this poem titled I Flew by Brad Baker. Most appropriate as we all get older. Added 10/07/10.

the 388th Transportation Squadron
provided Batcat Aircrews Bus service

The 388th Transportation Squadron provided bus service for the 553rd Reconaissance Wing aircrews. Prior to each mission the bus traveled Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base to pick up the crewmembers. The bus first stopped at Wing Headquarters Life Support to so crews could pick up survival vests, and weapons. After the pre mission briefing the bus took the crew to the specific airplane for that mission. After return the bus picked up the aircrew for the post mission debriefing and return of Life Support equipment. After the post mission debriefing the bus returned the crew to their quarters. Shown here is an interior view of the crew bus as it returns the second Batcat crew 2, 553rd Squadron, at night after a mission dated 29 Jan. 1969, to the post mission debriefing. Note that Lt. Steve Rust still has his survival vest. Shown are Left to Right and to back: Lt. Steve Rust (CP); Lt. Jack Sikora (CICO); Major Dale Johnston (NAV); Tsgt. John Hobson (ACICO); A1C Tom Stear, CIM; A1C Carlos Mitchell (CIM). Photo taken by Sgt Tommy Mclendon (AF photographer). Crew bus view B&W, about 113K, added 12/02/07, updated names 07/10/12. My thanks to Jack Sikora for providing the image.

Survival Kit Blood Chit
In case of Misfortune

Aircrew members carried a Blood Chit on all combat missions as part of their survival gear. The Blood Chit said "I am a citizen of the United States of America. I do not speak your language. Misfortune forces me to seek your assistance in obtaining food, shelter and protection. Please take me to someone who will provide for my safety and see that I am returned to my people. My government will reward you." Blood Chit image about 131K, added 12/02/07. My thanks to Stuart Whipple for this image from his personal collection.

Snoopy, the 553rd's Mascot

During my tour with Batcat I had the opportunity to fly with Snoopy 1 time. At the time I was preparing to rotate back to the U.S. and had flown about 70 combat missions. If memory serves me right, Snoopy, at that time, had about 150 missions!! This first Snoopy image, Snoopy1.jpg was provided by Richard Weiner. Image about 45K. Paul Desrosiers sent me this article about Snoopy originally published in the "TheSwadee Flyer", and also this photo Snoopy2.jpg, image about 51K. Click here to view the Snoopy3.jpg image, about 28K, provided by Jim Bartholomew. Snoopy area Updated 10/23/01. This image of Snoopy4.jpg was taken Sept. 1, 1967, shortly Snoopy came to the wing. Image courtesy of Ed Thurston, color about 109K, Added 02/24/08. Hank Smith sent me this image of Snoopy's Face! Who could deny that dog! B&W, about 35K, Added 03/22/09.

Snoopy Returns Home

Ed Vickers sent me follow up information about Snoopy. While at Korat with the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing Snoopy accumulated either 145 combat missions. While at Korat Snoopy earned his wings. There was also the You Made It Award complete with Snoopy's signature! Note Snoopy's dog print along with wind commander Col. Ted Ostendorf's signature. Snoopy was well know and liked. To celebrate Snoopy's time at Korat a Press Conference was provided for journalists. Snoopy's departure was carried in the Bangkok Post newspaper, Saturday December 13, 1969 issue. NOTE - so you can read the text the image is large, about 655K. Thank you Ed Vickers for leaving the newspaper name, and date in the upper left corner. Images are 136K, 169K, 139K and 655K respectively. Snoopy's master, SSgt. James "Robbie" Robinson told me he returned safely to the U.S., passing away in Dallas in 1978. Added 04/20/08.

Snoopy's Full Story
by James H. "Robbie" Robinson III

James H. "Robbie" Robinson III, who was Snoopy's handler, sent me some images of Snoopy. Here we see Snoopy relaxing at the Airmans Club. Snoopy flew 158 Combat Missions. Here are some never before seen views of Snoopy. In the Aircraft Commanders seat. Here we see Snoopy Reviewing the Flight Engineer panel. Robbie and Snoopy looking out the window in flight. On the long flights flown by Batcat, there is a need for rest. Here we see Robbie and Snoopy at rest on a crew bunk. At the end of the mission it is always wise to wait for the stand to climb down. Its a long jump!! All these images are B&W, about 121K, 124K, 99K, 141K, and 90K respectively. Images Added 12/21/09. Here is the complete story of Snoopy, including what happened after Snoopy returned back to the U.S.! Added 06/30/09.

Jim Chandler provided this link to Snoopy's Bio at Find a Grave. Added 10/11/12.

Jim Chandler provided this link to Snoopy handler SSgt. James H. Robinson III's Bio at Find a Grave. Added 05/24/14.

Jim Chandler provided this link to Roscoe's Bio at Find a Grave. Roscoe was the mascot for the 388th TFW at Korat. Added 11/10/13.

The Development Test Deployments

This information was originally part of this opening homepage. As additional material has been added the opening homepage became rather large, so I decided to move some information to its own page. Take a look here for Details of the Test Deployments to Develop the Aircraft Sensor System! Included are text and images of the deployments. This area moved to its own page on 4/21/02, Updated 12/27/08.

U.S. Navy Squadron VO-67 was the first unit
to plant the Sensors monitored by Batcat

Initially sensor drops were made by U.S. Navy squadron VO-67 using the Lockheed OP-2E, a modified P2V-5 Neptune aircraft equipped with a Norden bombsight. Jimmie H. Butler's Homepage which details the efforts and sacraficies of U.S. Navy Squadron VO-67. Larry Gire has written a history of VO-67 detailing the sensor drop operation. UPDATE the VO-67 homepage has a new area which has listed all the books dealing with electronic warfare in Vietnam. Check out the VO-67 Book page. Navy Obersvation Squadron 67 flew the Lockheed OP-2E Neptune, which is a highly modified Lockheed P2V-5 Neptune. VO-67 flew from Nakhom Phanom RTAFB. Here is an image of OP-2E Bureau No. 128416, Mud River 11, taken during 1968, color, about 106K. Second image is of OP-2E Bureau No. 131455, Mud River 6, believe this photo taken at Davis-Monthan AFB, going into storage. Color, about 116K. Third image is of OP-2E Bureau No. 131423, Mud River 10, note the lack of tip tanks and radom below the nose. B&W, about 157K. My thanks to Terry Panopalis for going out of his way to get me these prints. Added 11/03/02, Updated 04/01/12.

U.S. Navy Squadron VO-67 receives
the Presidential Unit Citation 12/21/07

VO-67 Association Vice President Bob Reynolds sent me this email - It is my pleasure to make a historic announcement. Observation Squadron Sixty-Seven ( VO-67 ) has received the Navy Presidential Unit Citation for its actions during the Vietnam War. This announcement, from the Secretary of the Navy, comes almost forty years after this unique ultra secret squadron performed with courage and valor along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and in support of the Marine combat base at Khe Sanh, South Vietnam in 1968. The order was signed December 21, 2007 by the Secretary of the Navy, the honorable Donald Winter.

Some interesting history: 1. No PUC's have ever been awarded to either a P-2 Neptune or a P-3 Orion squadron in Naval history. Thirteen patrol squadrons received the PUC during WW-2. These units operated PBY-4 and PBY-5 aircraft.

Congratulations! from all Batcats to all of those members of VO-67 for this long over due and well deserved award!!
Let no one forget that VO-67 lost 3 aircraft and 20 aircrew members during operational combat missions dropping sensors for Batcat to monitor. Added 12/29/07.

Images of the Sensors Monitored by Batcat

Loading Sensors into a delivery Pod. Added 6/10/99, about 36K. Here are two more sensor images neptune.jpg, about 58K, of the Lockheed Neptune aircraft used to drop the sensors. Image sensor2.jpg, about 118K, shows the sensor just as it is leaving the Neptune pod. My thanks to Jeff Glasser, author of The Secret Vietnam War: The United States Air Force in Thailand, 1961-1975 for providing these sensor and Neptune images.

For the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing Memorial Dedication and Reunion at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, the Museum put on display for the first time sensors monitored by Batcat. The sensors were not put on display until the evening of August 22, when the 553rd Recon Wing had the banquet dinner. Ralph Blankenship took these images of the sensors on display. Sensors view 1 and Sensors view 2. Randy Spencer took these images of the 4 description panels which describe Igloo White: panel 1, panel 2, panel 3, and panel 4. Here is an image by the USAF Museum of the sensors. Our thank yous to the National Museum of the USAF for taking the sensors out of storage and displaying them! Added 09/24/08, updated 08/19/11.

Bob Cumby sent me these images of sensors which are on display at the Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin AFB, Ft. Walton, Florida. Here is a view of 6 types of Sensors monitored by Batcat. The ADSID was the most commonly used sensor, with the Commike audio sensor used only in limited circumstances. All images are color, about 42K, 54K and 32K respectively. Added 08/17/07.

Bill Serstad was an engineer for Magnavox who worked on the sensor development. Here is an inside view of the Acoubuoy sensor with the cover removed showing the circuit boards inside. From the top of the picture: the rolled up antenna and microphone, then 16 printed circuit cards, receiver, transmitter, command decoder, audio circuits, line spectrum detect etc. The power management circuits were just above the large terminals that would connect to the battery pack. B&W, about 78K, Added 07/12/09.

The Batcat Orbits

Batcat 553rd Reconnaissance Wing missions were completed by flying orbits over specific areas of interest to monitor the sensors dropped by other aircraft. Sometime back Randy Spencer supplied me with some printed information he recieved under the Freedom of Information Act about the Batcat orbits. I created a JPEG image, now revision D, of the eleven Batcat Orbits I know about. Not all orbits were flown all the time. Pink for example was an early orbit discontinued after a few months (Navigator Hank Green gave me a corrected Pink orbit during the 2001 reunion). After first adding this image I learned of two additional orbits, both with the name BLACK. On this image they are labeled BLACK-1 and BLACK-2. BLACK-1 was flown from 1967-1968, while BLACK-2 was a 1971 orbit. Mike Burroughs and Bill Person provided details on what I call BLACK-1. Dale Cullop provided the details of the BLACK-2 location, and also that this was a low altitude orbit, flown at 11,000 feet. All other orbits were normally flown at about 16,000 to 18,000 feet. Additional information from Jim Roth, via Jim Bartholomew, that this orbit was used for air traffic control for aircraft flying in Cambodia. While researching the Batcats book I learned of an eleventh orbit, Orange, and this is now shown on the revision D of the orbits chart. Chart is now about 295K to achieve adequate detail. Added 04/01/01, updated05/30/05.

Project 972

Project 972 was the code name used by the Joint Chiefs of Staff for "MacNamarra's Wall" or "MacNamarra's Electronic Fence." Batcat was one part of Project 972 along with the units at Nakhom Phanom (NKP) which planted the sensors, and Task Force Alpha, the Infiltration Surveillance Center at NKP. Transporting the Sensors Batcat monitored required moving the sensors from there arrival point at the deep water ports at Camp Vayama in Sattahip (near U-Tapo RTAFB), to Nakhom Phanom. This was the task of the U.S. Army 519th Transportation Battalion. The mission was classified during the Vietnam War. The 519th Transportation Association, Thailand, is presented by Joe Wilson's Project 972 web page that details the work of the 569th Transportation Company as well as other units of the 519th transportation Battalion in transporting the sensors. Included on this homepage is an interesting statement by Khe Sanh Marine Regiment commander Col. Lownds, about how the Marines felt about these sensors Batcat monitored 24 hours a day (submitted by Army LT Jose Benavides, USAR). Added 05/02/02, updated 07/08/09.

Previous Reunions Information

The 553rd Reconnaissance Wing has participated in 2 combined reunions, the Return to Southeast Asia Reunion held in Bangkok, Thailand, the 2008 Dedication and Reunion at Wright-Patterson AFB, and others. click here for details on earlier reunions. Update 10/17/11.

Batcat Outreach Activities
Working with the Thai Civilian Community

Often and in many ways Batcat personnel took part in community outreach projects while in Thailand. Added 05/30/05, updated 07/23/14.

Homefront Award

Robin Collord sent this image of a Batcat Home Front Award presented to Mrs. Patti Collord. The award is signed by 553rd Reconnaissance Wing commander Col. Gus Wiser, and 553rd Reconnaissance Squadron commander Lt. Col. Donald Ewing. I had never seen this award before, but at the time of my assignment to Batcat I wasn't married. Color, about 201K, Added 02/18/06.

The Bat Label

Label for the 553rd Brew at the Bat Cave. My thanks to Chuck Silverstein for loaning me this very rare item to scan. Added 12/12/99. Bill Holbrook informed me that new arrivals were handed a can of Gusweiser beer upon arrival when the first units came to Korat in Oct. 1967! UPDATE - Dag Weiser, son of the first 553rd Reconnaissance Wing commander, Gus Weiser, sent me some original labels. Two of these labels are now in the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Updated 06/11/05.

the Sawadee Flyer was
Korat RTAFB Newspaper

Greg Moore sent these images of edition which detailed the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing, Batcat, turning two years old. Shown here in two parts. Part 1 and Part 2 together show the full article. Images about 516K and 546K respectively. Added 03/09/08.

Batcat License Plates

Take a look here to remember the flight line vehicles which carried the 553rd Batcat License Plate. My thanks to Dave Rindone for sending this image. Added 01/02/05.

Some states allow personalized license plates. LeRoy "Roy" Fretschl has had two Batcat personalized license plates in the state of Maine. Top plate is older showing the Lobster, the current plate shows the Chickadee. My thanks to Roy for providing these Maine Batcat license plates. Added 06/26/06, updated 09/24/08.

Doug Schmidt appropriately dressed for the season in front of his Batcat license plate. Pennsylvania Batcat personalized license plate. My thanks to Doug Schmidt for providing this image. Color, about 100K. Added 01/01/09.

John Urban has not only a Batcat license plate, but also an unique license plate frame. Arizona Batcat personalized license plate. My thanks to John Urban for providing this image. Color, about 151K. Added 01/18/09.

Stuart Whipple just returned to Northern Wisconsin by a lake. Here is his new Wisconsin Batcat personalized license plate. My thanks to Stu Whipple for providing this image. Color, about 196K. Added 06/26/13.

Mike Yates recently purchased a new truck which now has this Batkat personalized license plate in the state of Texas. My thanks to Mike for providing this Batcat license plate image. Added 05/24/08.

Paul Albrecht recently got this license plate a Batcat personalized license plate in the state of Michigan. Note how Paul has enhanced his Vietnam Veteran plate holder with an EC-121R silouette and USAF logo with EC-121R on it. My thanks to Paul for providing this Batcat license plate image. Color, about 301K. Added 02/21/14.

Ray Sestak sent this image of his Batcat motorcycle personalized license plate in the state of New York. Ray rides with the Patriot Guard Riders of New York and has the BATCAT plate on the back of his 2001 Harley Softail Springer. My thanks to Ray for providing this Batcat license plate image. Color, about 71K. Added 03/30/14.

Batcat CIM Log

Mike Burroughs has provided an image of an early version of the CIM Log. This version was in use until about July 1968. Image about 92K, Added 1/17/04.

Military Payment Certificate (MPC)

Dave Pipher sent these images of Military Payment Certificates in use at Korat RTAFB. Here is a front side view of the 5 cent and 25 cent MPC, and a back side view of the same 5 and 25 cent MPC's. Color about 158K and 149K in size. Added 02/06/10.

Songs from Korat 1968 - Batcat and 388th TFW

Mike Burroughs provided the words to the Connie Song in text format, about 4K. J. J. Smith provided the words to the Connie Song in PDF format, about 23K. J.J. Smith, Bill Person and Charlie Bishop wrote the words to the song in 1968. Added 02/24/08, updated 10/07/10.

Some of these songs are available on the Kenneth G. White woolyfsh.com/seasongs/ site in mp3 audio format. Songs from various bases in Southeast Asia. My thanks to Bill Person for letting me know about this site. Added 05/23/14.

Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base
The War Years 1967-1971

Images of the base and the city. This information was originally part of this opening homepage. Due to size I decided to move some information to its own page. This is what Korat Royal Thai AFB Looked Like During the War Years 1967 - 1971!. Includes aerial views of Korat, the first Connies to arrive were Big Eye - College Eye EC-121D's, images of the Bob Hope show held at Korat RTAFB. NEW 07/07/05 - now included are views of the inside of the Batcat Command Post. I never saw the inside of the command post while at Korat, so I really appreciate Bob Look sending these images. This area moved to its own page on 04/21/02, Updated 07/23/14.

Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base
Extra Curricular Activities

This shows some Batcats who did extra curricular sports while at Korat (1967-1971)!. The 553rd EMS had both fast pitch and slow pitch softball teams, both teams did very well. Added 09/04/12, updated 09/05/13.

Bob Hope USO Shows
at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base

Entertainer Bob Hope and his entourage of performers of the USO performed Christmas shows at Korat RTAFB. The Bob Hope show images were originally on this page from 07/05/99, moved to its own page 10/17/13, last updated 03/06/14.

Korat City Images Then and Now

Nakhon Ratchasima, is better known to most of us assigned to the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing, Batcat, as Korat City. It was only a short distance from the base to the city. You could even walk, although most used a 2 Baht Bus, or Taxi to go from base to Korat City. Here are images of Korat City Then (1967-1972) and Now (2005-2014). See if you can spot the differences Then versus Now. The Korat City images were originally on this page from 07/05/99, moved to its own page 05/06/14, last updated 06/27/14.

Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base
Today 2000-2001

Two homepage visitors, Ron Brown and Gene Ponce, have visited Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base Recently. Take a look what Korat Royal Thai AFB Looks Like Today (2000-2001)! These photos were taken by Ron Brown in July 2000, and Gene Ponce in March 2001. Added 10/29/03.

Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base
World Parachute Meet 2004

Homepage visitor Jerry Felts sent me an e-mail about Korat being the base for a major parachute meet January and February 2004. Here is a fine overhead view of Korat RTAFB, 2004. Added 2/14/04.

Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base
Satellite Views 2012

Here are some satellite views of Korat RTAFB, 2012. Added 09/04/12, Last updated 09/30/12.

1970 the Last 553rd Recon Wing EC-121R
at the changeover ceremony to the 388th

Dave Shipton provided this Shark mouth EC-121R image. When the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing deactivated in December 1970, there was a turnover ceremony. This shark mouth painted Connie was the EC-121R which flew in the airshow at Korat for the turnover from 553rd to the 388th. The flight crew was, if I recall correctly, Lt. Col Given, Commander of the 553rd Recon Squadron, Maj. Wilson, MSgt. Dave Shipton and MSgt. Fred Duck. Added 02/18/07.

Here is a view of the Shark mouth painted EC-121R in the hangar. USAF serial number of the Shark Mouthed EC-121R is 67-21498. My thanks to Bob Ellinwood for this image. Color about 260K. Added 12/08/11.

Another view of the Shark mouth painted EC-121R on the ramp. USAF serial number of the Shark Mouthed EC-121R is 67-21498. My thanks to Tom Philpott for this image. Color about 139K. Added 11/19/12.

December 1971 the Very Last Lockheed EC-121R
departs Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base

After being disbanded as a wing on December 15, 1970, a few of the wing's EC-121R aircraft continued to fly out of Korat RTAFB as a squadron of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing. This image, provided by Craig Lefevre, is a photograph of the last EC-121R to leave Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base. As the airplane departed for the last time it overflew Korat with Number 4 engine Feathered as a tribute to the fallen comrades of the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing. The aircraft is sn 67-21478, and the departure date is December 6, 1971, aircraft commander is Don Robinson. Route of flight was Korat to Guam, Wake, Hickam, Travis (dropped off some of our personnel) and into the bone yard at Davis Monthan AFB, arriving December 13, 1971. Added 1/25/04, updated 6/27/04. Ricky Dietsch was on board the last EC-121R Connie out. Here is an image taken out of the EC-121R of the Korat RTAFB ramp as the Connie flew over with the number 4 engine feathered. Rick provides this story of being a crew member on the Last Connie Out of Korat RTAFB. Image color, about 81K, story in PDF format, about 37K. Added 03/09/08. At this time, December 1971, all the 553rd, now just the squadrons, inactivated. Here is an image of the last squadron commander and operations officer, Lt. Colonel Walter Given (left) and Operations Officer Lt. Colonel Donald Robinson (right), prior to the deactivation of the 553rd in December 1971. Color, about 19K, Added 03/01/12.

Links to other sites with BATCAT,
USAF - Lockheed Constellation - Korat - Interest

First Batcat WAF Charlotte Holder Clinger went on to retire as a full Colonel. She donated her documents and uniforms to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNC-G) Women Veterans Historical Project. Charlotte's contribution can be viewed On Line at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Includes Charlotte Holder Clinger's biography. My thanks to Charlotte Holder Clinger for providing this information. Added 04/19/09.

Cliff Jensen has created the 1st. Wave Batcats Site. Cliff and many of those who formed the first group of Batcats at Korat are shown here. Added 09/30/09.

The Vietnam War Years of Korat Royal Thai AFB, by Bob Freitag. Added 10/17/99.

Retired MSgt. Dean Boys Air Force Page. Has a lot of information about he EC-121 Aircraft, both in the "R" version and the early warning versions. Dean Boys updates his homepage frequently. Well worth a visit!! Added 9/29/99.

Alan Radecki created the Vintage Air blog on Batcat page with an image of EC-121R 67-21486 at Davis Monthan AFB going into the "Bone Yard." Added 10/10/14.

The USARSUPTHAI Association site has information about U.S. Army units based in Thailand during the Vietnam era. Added 05/20/14.

Public Law 110-181 SEC.598; the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act authorized the Secretary of Defense to conduct a program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. Click on www.vietnamwar50th.com to learn more about this effort to thank those who served. My thanks to Jake Awalt for letting me know about this site. Added 01/20/13.

Don Duvall lives in Laos and has in 2012 traveled the Ho Chi Minh Trail multiple times. Many fine photos show military equipment which still exists today, including a sensor once monitored by Batcat. My thanks to Bill Barrett for bringing this site to my attention. Added 11/14/12.

Chuck Silverstein has information about aircraft service, mechanics, electronics, etc. Chuck is just starting his Batcat Aircraft Maintenance homepage. Added 9/29/99.

Retired USAF Radio Operator SMSgt. A.J. Northrup's books "Fifty Fallen Stars" and "Fifty Fallen Stars and Beyond," about the 50 officers and enlisted men who lost their lives while flying on USAF early warning Connie's out of Otis AFB, MA, is now BACK IN PRINT. For more information e-mail A.J. Northrup. Updated 11/11/10.

Music of the Vietnam Era courtesy of Pete at the LZ Center. My thanks to Bob Langenhan for this link. Added 03/20/13.

Ron DeGroff has his own BatCat 14 Homepage. Ron is listed on the contact page. Please take a look. Added 4/15/01, updated 3/01/03.

William Keppel's father was an EC-121R pilot with the 553rd Reconnaissance wing during 1968-1969. William's father passed away in 1993, now he has on his Homepage some of his Father's Photographs of Korat, and the EC-121R. William purchased a new scanner to scan his father's slides. Added 10/20/01, updated 10/21/07.

Arley Hamilton, 553rd EMS, has 553rd Recon wing "Batcats" Homepage with images of the flight line, interior of the EMS shops, and individual images. Arley is listed on the contact page. Please take a look. Added 07/27/08.

U.S. Air Force Museum National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton Ohio. Details on museum aircraft plus links to other government sites. Here is a new Virtual Tour of the USAF Museum. Added 9/15/98, Updated 06/29/11.

The Official site of the Royal Thai Air Force. You may want to check their guest book friends who have visited their site. Added 3/11/00.

The Thailand-Laos-Cambodia Brotherhood site has a lot of information and links to Thailand based units. Added 10/17/99.

Bill Person was involved with Batcat from the begining, take a look at the Bill Person Homepage. Added 6/2/01.

Randy White's Homepage, http://www.lcompanyranger.com/. Randy White was a member of Ranger Company L, 75th Infantry, 101st Airborne Divison, Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol. This unit operated a long distance from their home base. When communications was difficult they often contacted Batcat for radio relay. Added 2/2/03.

Ralph M. Pettersen is a Lockheed Super Constellation enthusiast. He has an extensive Homepage which details the Constellation Surviror Homepage. In addition there are many links to other Constellation sites. Added 05/30/05.

Lufthansa Airlines is in the process of restoring to airworthy condition Lockheed model 1649 Starliner, the last type Lockheed Constellation type built. Restoration is in progress at the Auburn-Lewiston Airport, Auburn, Maine. Check back here for updated status on the path to an airworthy Constellation. Added 01/09/10.

Super Constellation Moves from Rome, NY to the Museum of Flight Seattle, WA well told in pictures. See the story of Trans Canada Air Lines 1049G CF-TGE during her move September 2009. Added 09/14/09. In a truly remarkable short period see the Reassembly of CF-TGE at the Seattle Museum of Flight by late September 2009. The rapid reassembly says a lot for the skill not only of those who did the reassembly, but also the skill of those who disassembled, and transported the Connie from New York to Seattle, Washington. My thanks to Ralph Blankenship for providing both these links. Added 09/18/09. Now CF-TGE has moved into Boeing Plant II. My thanks to Bob Langenhan for providing this link. Added 09/23/09. UPDATE Boeing decided to discontinue Plant II, with plans to tear it down. Now the last aircraft, including Connie CF-TGE reside outside at the Museum of Flight. Check here for images of the Last 3 airplanes to Leave Boeing Plant II. My thanks to Gil Jennings for this information. Added 12/04/10. In the continuing travels of CF-TGE, the Museum of Flight has now moved CF-TGE to the airpark across the street from the museum. My thanks to Mike Jones for providing this link. Added 01/15/12.

Larry Hughes' SEA Call Sign Page. Added 06/01/01, updated 02/18/07.

The The Air Force Together We Served site is a place where you can locate former USAF colleagues. My thanks to Ron Turman for bringing this to my attention. Added 05/22/09.

Grunts, The French Reenactment of Vietnam, USAF. Added 6/10/01.

Peterson AFB, Colorado has on display a Lockheed EC121T. This EC-121T is a converted EC-121D Airborne Early Warning version of the Connie. (Some EC-121T's were converted from the EC-121H.) This site has some nice interior views of the EC-121T. Added 06/11/05.

TREA - The Retired Enlisted Association. Site with information especially for enlisted of all services, including reunion information. Added 03/09/08.

The unofficial USAF Locator. Site with email, reunion and other information. Added 03/09/08.

Zoggavia Classic Airliner Photography from Finland with emphasis on the Lockheed Contellation and Super Constellation, both Civil and Military versions. Paul Zogg has added a page specifically for the 553rd Recon Wing and their EC-121R aircraft, click here for Paul Zogg's Batcat and EC-121R page. I purchased most of the EC-121R photo's at Davis Monthan from Paul's "Zoggavia" eBay sales. You can see the EC-121R's at Davis Monthan AFB, some just arrived, some intact in storage, some partially dismantled. Added 05/26/09 updated 07/26/14.

A site with more Lockheed Super Constellation Survivors information. My thanks to Gil Jennings for sending this link. Added 09/08/11.

The Stars and Stripes U.S. military news from Iraq, Afghanistan and bases worldwide. My thanks to Gil Jennings who provided this URL. Added 10/16/13.

Sites with additional information
about the war in Southeast Asia

The Virtual Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial Vietnam Memorial Wall honors the fallen of the Vietnam War. My thanks to Mike Burroughs and Ernest Bins who indepently provided this information at about the same time, and also to Dave Pipher who provided additional information about the Virtual Wall. Added 02/06/10, updated 02/17/10.

You can find individual biographies, and sometimes images at the Virtual Wall. Virtual Wall Webmaster Jack Morrison provided me with links to each of the 22 Batcats lost. Open this PDF file Batcat links on the Virtual Wall file. When the PDF file opens you can click on the link and view the details of each of the Batcat losses. When you click on the link you get the basic information, click on "full profile" for additional detailed information. My Thanks to Jack Morrison for sending this Batcat specific information about the Virtual Wall. Added 02/21/10.

There is a Virtual Wall area for the 554th Squadron Operational Losses. All those Batcats lost on operational missions were assigned to the 554th Reconnaissance Squadron. My Thanks to Mason Ezzell for sending this Batcat 554th Recon Squadron specific information on the Virtual Wall. Added 05/24/13.

The Gerorgia Tech Vietnam pages has vast information about additional Vietnam War Resources. My thanks to Ron Cox who provided this URL. Added 02/06/10.

Official USAF Biographies
Batcats who progressed on to General rank

The official US Air Force Site has changed the URL addresses for biographies multiple times. Instead of having a pointer to the specific URL, I know have the biographies of those assigned to the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing who made general grade as PDF files. Each is about 20K in size.

LIEUTENANT GENERAL KELLY H. BURKE - added 3/01/03, updated 6/27/04.

MAJOR GENERAL VAN C. DOUBLEDAY - added 3/01/03, updated 6/27/04.

MAJOR GENERAL RALPH E. SPRAKER - added 6/27/04.

BRIGADIER GENERAL CHARLES L. BISHOP - added 3/01/03, updated 6/27/04.



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