After finishing high school in Japan and attending two years at Sophia University in Tokyo, she returned to the States with her parents in 1966.Then, the 19-year-old in search of adventure and a way to serve her country joined AID and was off to Vietnam.Plucked from obscurity to deliver the weather report on evening AFVN news broadcasts, the vivacious Keith etched her image into the memories of hundreds of thousands of Americans serving in Vietnam from 1967 to 1969.She was a sight for sore eyes in a hostile world and provided plenty of comic relief on the air as well as in person during hundreds of trips to visit troops from the DMZ to the Delta.I’ve got photographs of people sitting around the Pineapple Palace talking to each other. I think I was there in a very fortunate time frame because I missed the drug culture that hit in the latter part of the 60s and the early 70s.Was the conversation at the clubs ever about the controversial nature of the war? At one time, we had a troop level of about a half a million.Now living in Florida, Bobbie Keith continues to support Vietnam veterans and their causes and frequently speaks to young people and patriotic groups such as the Korean war vets, Jewish war vets and the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) about the American experience in Vietnam. You were 19 in 1966, and decided to get a job that would take you to Vietnam. USAID was looking for volunteers, so working for a foreign aid project sounded more meaningful and easier to deal with.
I think everyone believed what we were doing was right.We learned all about the country, the history, the economy, the political situation, plus we received three weeks of Vietnamese language training, which is an extremely difficult language because it’s tonal and if you can’t hear tones, you can’t learn the language very well.Of course, we were thoroughly indoctrinated into the Domino Theory.Thus ended one of hundreds of Armed Forces Vietnam (AFVN) broadcasts by the young and adventurous Agency for International Development (AID) clerk and volunteer morale booster, Bobbie Keith.Click here to see a short video of one of her broadcasts.