The United States Air
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
BATCAT area first added 06/08/96, Last
WEBMASTER CONTACT INFORMATION
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 email@example.com - several
areas on my Batcat pages continue to show our previous Maine
address, phone number and email. 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)
Westin Family Personal Quotes:
Larry Westin - "May I Always
treat All others with Dignity and Respect."
Susan Westin - "If you Fall
Down 6 times, Get Up 7..."
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URL for this new Batcat
Homepage server is:
The Quick Links Menu is an effort to make navigating my
Batcat site easier
Quick Links covers commonly requested areas, but NOT
Scroll down this page for information not listed in Quick
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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!!
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Reproduction Batcat Wing
Quality reproduction 553rd
Reconnaissance Wing patches are available. Cost is $7.00 each
including postage. To purchase Batcat wing patches
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 * * *
2017 553rd Reconnaissance Wing Batcat Reunion
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Click the Upcoming Reunions Page for further
details of upcoming Reunions
Last updated 08/20/16.
Click the Completed Reunions Page for further
details of completed Reunions
Last updated 02/04/16.
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The 553rd Reconnaissance Wing Memorial
and Reunion was held at the
National Museum of the United Sates Air
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
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History Book Available!!!
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org in
your email address book. That shows me as a
valid recepient. Thank You - Larry
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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
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
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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 email@example.com.
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
New information Agent Orange storage at
Korat, new maps and images added on herbicide and toxic chemical use at Korat
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 that 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, and educational help. Includes information about asbestos
exposure and how to find help from a Veteran Attorney, American Legion,
Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Area added 05/11/09, last updated 08/06/16.
Maps and Information for other
Thai bases used by the USAF
Click here to find
Maps of Thai bases used by the USAF during Vietnam Era.
Area added 08/04/16, last updated 08/05/16.
553rd EMS/AMS, 553rd
FMS and 553rd OMS were the
Skilled Maintenance Service Technicians who kept the
Lockheed EC-121R Batcat Super Constellations
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
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
Flown by Batcat
The Lockheed EC-121R Super
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.
Static Display and
models of the Lockheed EC-121R Super
Click here to view some
and R/C Flying EC-121R models. Model aircraft sizes range from 1:144
to 1:16, plastic, diecast and wood types of models. YouTube videos of the
R/C model taxing and flying. Model Page added 07/02/14,
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.
sn 67-21485, 67-21475, and
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
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
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
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,
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
An Overview of
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
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
IGLOO White an Overview
The 553rd Reconnaissance Wing, Batcat was one part of the three
major components which together was Igloo White. The three components of Igloo White consisted of the following:
1 - Delivery of the sensors, first accomplished by U.S. Navy squadron VO-67
and later by F-4's of the USAF 25th TFS, 2 - Monitoring of the sensors by
the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing, Batcat, EC-121R aircraft and 3 - Assimulation
of the sensor data by the Infiltration Surveillance Center (ISC) at Task Force Alpha at Nakhon Phanom RTAFB.
Alternately the sensor data was assimulated in flight by the Batcat EC-121R Combat Information Center air crews.
Here is information about Task Force Alpha and the Infiltration
Surveillance Center located at Nakhon Phanom RTAFB. Added 05/12/15, last updated
The PACAF CHECO Reports
The Air Force Historical Research Agency has declassified some of the
or more commonly just a "CHECO"
Project CHECO reports which pertain to the 553rd Reconnaissance
Wing are available. Added 07/30/14, updated 09/05/14.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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. My thanks to
Brian Cotterill, brother
of A1C Michael J. Cotterill who was killed in the April 25, 1969 loss
of Batcat 21, for updating the URL. Added 09/27/09, updated 06/15/15.
553rd Reconnaissance Wing EMS (AMS)
in Ground Combat - Purple
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
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
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
WAF - Intelligence
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
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
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
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.
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
WAF's - and
the Fort Round Eye Compound
Beginning in December 1968 additional WAF (Women in the Air Force)
arrived at Korat RTAFB. Click here for more information about those
which were assigned to the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing. To accomodate the increased number
of WAF's the 388th Combat Support Group created "Fort Round Eye." Added 04/15/15,
last updated 12/06/15.
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
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
Batcat People - Keeping in
Photos of 553rd Men and Women, Individual
and Crew. Photo area added 07/03/99, Last updated 06/11/16.
Individual Contact Information. E-mail
and other information. Contact area added 04/11/00, Last updated 06/24/16.
Looking for Others. Search area added
04/17/00, Last updated
Personal Experiences. Personal
Experiences area added 06/28/02, Last
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
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 06/27/16.
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
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 03/20/16.
Batcat Patches and
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
Batcat Patches by
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
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
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
Find your Buddy
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Cliff Jensen has a
Batcat homepage profile for Batcat with
pictures, videos, personal blog, information about me and
other Batcat information. Added
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
and request access. My thanks to David Smith for providing
information on this Batcat blog. Added
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.
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
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,
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
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
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
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.
Batcat Aircrew 100 Combat
Completing 100 Combat missions was a milestone achievement. The
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
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
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
Face! Who could deny that dog! B&W, about 35K,
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"
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
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
The Development Test
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
U.S. Navy Squadron VO-67 was the first unit
to plant the Sensors monitored by
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,
U.S. Navy Squadron VO-67 receives
the Presidential Unit Citation
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
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
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
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
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
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 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,
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
Batcat Outreach Activities
Working with the Thai Civilian
Often and in many ways Batcat personnel took
part in community outreach projects while in Thailand. Added
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
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
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.
Bob Bulen has a
Wisconsin EC-121R personalized license plate. My thanks to Bob
Bulen for providing this image. Color, about 264K. Added 04/26/15.
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.
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.
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.
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,
Military Payment Certificate
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
Songs from Korat 1968 - Batcat and 388th
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,
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
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
Bob Hope USO Shows
at Korat Royal Thai Air Force
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 02/20/16.
Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base
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
view of Korat RTAFB, 2004. Added
Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base
Satellite Views 2012
Here are some satellite views of Korat
RTAFB, 2012. Added 09/04/12, Last
1970 the Last 553rd Recon Wing EC-121R
at the changeover ceremony to the 388th
Dave Shipton provided
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
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
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
December 1971 the Very Last Lockheed EC-121R
departs Korat Royal Thai Air Force
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
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
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
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
Links to other sites with
USAF - Lockheed Constellation - Korat -
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
Line at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Includes
Charlotte Holder Clinger's biography. My thanks to
Clinger for providing this information.
Cliff Jensen created and maintained the
1st Wave Batcat homepage for 5 years. Now the 1st Wave Batcat is now off line. Cliff continues
to support the 1st Wave Batcat
Facebook Account which is open to ALL those
who served with Batcat, the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing. Added 09/30/09,
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!!
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."
The USARSUPTHAI Association site
has information about U.S. Army units based in Thailand during
the Vietnam era.
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
Here is a site to obtain more online
Vietnam War Websources. My thanks to
Herbert "Charlie T" Townsend for
letting me know about this site. Added 03/20/16, updated
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
Chuck Silverstein has
information about aircraft service, mechanics, electronics, etc.
on his personal Batcat homepage. Update -
Chuck Silverstein passed away October 9, 2015 and his Batcat
service technician homepage is now off line. Added 09/29/99,
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.
the Vietnam Era courtesy of Pete at the LZ Center. My thanks
to Bob Langenhan for
this link. Added
Ron DeGroff has his
own BatCat 14 Homepage.
Ron is listed on the contact page. Please take a look. Added
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,
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.
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
Tour of the USAF Museum. Added 9/15/98, Updated 06/29/11.
The Official site of the Royal Thai Air Force is URL http://rtaf.mi.th/
- VERY IMPORTANT while I show
the URL, I don't have it configured as a link. Reason for removing it as a
link is that Norton Safe Site says this site has dangerous content which may
harm or infect your computer with a virus. Be very careful accessing this site.
Added 03/11/00, updated 03/20/16.
Brotherhood site has a lot of information and links to
Thailand based units. Added
Bill Person was
involved with Batcat from the begining, take a look at the
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 02/02/03.
The U.S. Navy also flew the Lockheed Super Constellation which were
Navy models WV-2 and WV-3. This site
Willy Victor has
information about Navy use of the Super Constellation.
The Navy also lost aircraft and men in crashes of the Lockheed Super
Constellation. Detailed here is the loss at Da Nang of the
VQ-1 Lockheed Super
Constellation PR-26 crash which claimed 31 lives.
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
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.
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
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
Grunts, The French Reenactment of
Vietnam, USAF. Added
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.
TREA - The Retired Enlisted
Association. Site with information especially for enlisted of
all services, including reunion information. Added 03/09/08.
USAF Locator. Site with email, reunion and other information.
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
A site with more
Lockheed Super Constellation Survivors information. My thanks
to Gil Jennings for
sending this link. Added
The Stars and Stripes U.S.
military news from Iraq, Afghanistan and bases worldwide. My
thanks to Gil Jennings
who provided this URL. Added
about the war in Southeast
The Virtual Wall
Vietnam Veterans Memorial 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
War Resources. My thanks to Ron
Cox who provided this URL. Added 02/06/10.
Batcats who progressed on to General
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.
GENERAL KELLY H. BURKE - added 3/01/03, updated 6/27/04.
GENERAL VAN C. DOUBLEDAY - added 3/01/03, updated 6/27/04.
GENERAL RALPH E. SPRAKER - added
GENERAL CHARLES L. BISHOP - added 3/01/03, updated
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