CARROLL, ROGER WILLIAM JR.
REMAINS RETURNED 06/94 IDENTIFIED 10/95
Name: Roger William Carroll, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 20 July 1939 (Dallas TX)
Home City of Record: Kansas City MO
Loss Date: 21 September 1972
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 191900N 1030900E (UG056368)
Status (in 1973): Killed In Captivity
Other Personnel In Incident: Dwight W. Cook (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 1990 from one or more of the
following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with
POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. 2020
SYNOPSIS: Roger Carroll Jr. was born in Dallas, Texas and moved to Kansas City,
Missouri when he was six years old. The oldest child, Roger was very fond of his
younger sister and brother. He was raised in a Christian home, was an honor
student, and active in sports. Roger knew from an early age that he wanted to be
Roger entered the University of Kansas to study aviation engineering. While at
KU, Roger joined the Air Force and became a navigator on B-47 and B-52 aircraft.
Wanting to be a pilot still, Roger took pilot training and earned his wings
flying T-38 and F-100 aircraft.
After one tour in Vietnam, Roger returned to the States to train other young
pilots until he again took training himself, this time on the F-4 Phantom
fighter/bomber jet. His second tour of Vietnam began in early 1972. He told his
parents, "If anything ever happens to me, don't come looking for me. You won't
find me. The aircraft is such a bomb that if one hits the ground or something
hits it, it just explodes."
Maj. Carroll was assistant to the commander, and did not ordinarily fly combat
missions, but begged for the chance to fly, and was allowed to fly twice-weekly
missions. On September 21, 1972, Roger and his backseater, Dwight Cook, were
sent on a mission over the strategic Plain of Jars region in Laos.
The Plain of Jars region of Laos had for years been an intense area of struggle
between the communist Pathet Lao and the Royal Lao armed forces. Millions of
U.S. dollars had been secretly committed to the strengthening of anti-communist
strongholds in the Plain of Jars for some years. About one year before Carroll
and Cook were shot down in this area, Nixon's secret campaign in Laos had become
public. The area had been defended with the help of U.S. aircraft; the
anti-communist troops, primarily a secret CIA-directed force comprised of some
30,000 indigenous tribesmen, were, in part, kept resupplied by CIA.
Because Laos was "neutral" under the terms of the Geneva convention, and because
the U.S. continually stated they were not at war with Laos (although we were
regularly bombing North Vietnamese traffic along the border and conducted
assaults against communist strongholds thoughout the country at the behest of
the anti-communist government of Laos), and did not recognize the Pathet Lao as
a government entity, the nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos were never recovered.
During the mission, Carroll's aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and
crashed. Roger's prediction was correct. The largest piece of aircraft remaining
was no larger than three feet across.
A week after the aircraft crashed, a search party found several pieces of flight
clothing and a human hip socket at the site. They found identification that
belonged to Cook, but it was evident that the enemy had reached the plane first.
Carroll and Cook were classified as having "died in captivity." It is unclear
whether the two were captured and later died, were executed on the spot, or
perhaps tortured and mutilated as was sometimes deemed the punishment for
captured pilots. Neither Carroll nor Cook were promoted after their loss
incident, which seems to indicate the U.S. has positive information that they
were killed quickly.
The Defense Intelligence Agency further expanded Carroll's and Cook's
classification to include an enemy knowledge ranking of 1. Category 1 indicates
"confirmed knowledge" and includes all personnel who were identified by the
enemy by name, identified by reliable information received from escapees or
releasees, reported by highly reliable intelligence sources, or identified
through analysis of all-source intelligence.
By 1980, Carroll and Cook had been classified killed in action because there was
no verified information that they were alive. But the Department of Defense
still believes the Lao hold the answers to their fate.
The Pathet Lao stated that they would release the "tens of tens" of American
prisoners they held only from Laos - when agreements were reached with the U.S.
to halt their bombing there. Agreements were never made, and no American held in
Laos was released, even though nearly 600 Americans were lost in Laos.
Tragically, over 10,000 reports have been received by the U.S. relating to the
men missing in Southeast Asia, and many authorities believe hundreds of them are
Whether Carroll and Cook are among those said to be still alive is unknown. What
seems certain, however, is that our country has a moral and legal obligation to
the men who fought in our name. We must do everything we can to bring them home.
Roger Carroll's mother died in 1986, still believing her son was alive. The Air
Force has never fully informed Roger's family of the events of September 21,