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2005-10-31 Interview with William B. Keightley, October 31, 2005 AF008:2005OH102 A/F 695 01:11:12 William B. Keightley Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Rupp, Adolph, 1901-1977. Hall, Joe B. (Joe Beasman) Hukle, George. United States Postal Service. Marines. University of Kentucky -- Basketball. Basketball coaches -- Kentucky. Keightley, William B.; Interviewee Suchanek, Jeffrey; Interviewer keightley_af_0695 1:|11(8)|14(10)|32(26)|35(34)|39(20)|50(13)|57(8)|69(6)|88(13)|99(19)|113(1)|123(13)|147(30)|166(3)|184(17)|194(25)|212(15)|219(10)|228(21)|235(25)|252(5)|265(4)|270(27)|282(12)|288(25)|317(29)|319(22)|338(7)|351(8)|361(35)|380(6)|386(21)|414(7)|424(29)|438(2)|445(2)|460(11)|467(14)|496(9)|505(32)|516(29)|537(22)|564(11)|573(30)|582(8)|594(2)|612(12)|615(32)|626(2)|637(2)|646(21)|653(18)|656(21)|682(2)|712(8)|724(24)|735(29)|742(16)|753(2)|776(8)|790(2)|808(10)|819(9)|837(15)|866(16)|884(31)|895(8)|905(34)|922(14)|940(12)|959(2) audiotrans BKeight interview SUCHANEK: This is an unrehearsed Interview with William Keightley for the University of Kentucky Library Charles T. Wethington Alumni Faculty Oral History Project. The interview is conducted by Jeffery Suchanek on October 31, 2005 in Lexington, Kentucky. SUCHANEK: Mr. Keightley, last time we stopped we had just got you in the Marine Corp and I was wondering, you, you, you'd talked about your experience during taking a physical being naked half the day and then you boarded a train for Paris Island right? KEIGHTLEY: Yes sir. SUCHANEK: I imagine you had some trepidation going to boot camp didn't you, you didn't know what your future had. KEIGHTLEY: Well, ah, yes, it's a absolutely, you, you, there was some trepidation and I recall riding this, was not a total troop train and it was six other guys that went to Paris Island with me none of whom I'd ever knew before or had seen before in my life and anyhow we were allowed access to the what would have been the caboose of the, of the train you could go out and stand out in that area and look down the track, well look where you'd already been as you were chugging along and I recall the most popular song of the day at that particular time was Sentimental Journey and that thing kept running through my mind. SUCHANEK: Kind of melancholy. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah it is melancholy, you know, here you are dang just. SUCHANEK: How, you were what 18? KEIGHTLEY: Just barely turned 18. SUCHANEK: 18 years old, had you ever been? KEIGHTLEY: Not knowing. SUCHANEK: Had you ever been away from home for a long period? KEIGHTLEY: No, not, not any, any distance no, no because you know again in those days you, you didn't get far from home, but yeah and again as I say it was like the day that FDR declared the war you kids just like myself really didn't know what I meant and then all of a sudden you get a little bit older and as I said the day the declaration of war was announced I, I thought well this thing will be over before I ever have to go but it didn't work out that away but yeah we, we pulled into some train station in Yemasee and you know I think that may have been in South Carolina I think, Yemasee, I'm not certain and they, they dropped us off there and then of course there was other Marine recruits coming in from other areas of the country into that same station and they dropped those off and they put us in this big tractor trailer truck and hauled us off to Paris Island, kind of a truck like it had double doors on the side something, but it looked like a cattle truck and they used that for transportation and it was a, well, it, it you know it was really, really an experience not knowing what was going to happen and the other thing is in that, in that period of time I was at Paris Island I did learn something I didn't think was possible you know what, you can brainwash people, you know when you tell them every move they've got to make, ever place you go, the time and when you eat, when you go to the rifle range, and the most healthiest I ever felt in my life was when I went back to, oh let's see what was it, Beaufort, Beaufort South Carolina, I got a five day furlough before I had to go to Camp Lejeune but they had purchased my Grey Hound bus ticket, they handed it to me in an envelop and I be honest with you, I, I, I didn't know if I had enough sense to get home. SUCHANEK: Laughing. KEIGHTLEY: Because you know I had not been allowed to think of anything and all of a sudden here I am, kind of like a, you know if you capture some animal and make a pet out of him and then you turn him lose you know the worlds out there to try to gobble him up well that's exactly the way I felt. (Laughing) SUCHANEK: Well, when you, when you arrived at Paris Island, what was your initial reaction? Do you recall arriving? KEIGHTLEY: Oh I, oh yeah, I, it you know, it was unbelievable because we were living in quanson huts and just as soon as you hit there the first thing they do, they run you through the lines to get your wearing apparel, your dungarees, your helmet, and then the second thing they do, they run you to the barber shop and they cut all your hair off and you can always, it is easy to tell the new recruits, they, they intimidate you so much, the people, the, even, even the NCOs' I'm talking about PFC's and Corporals, when you met one of those guys on the sidewalk, you have to holler "Gang Way" and step aside and salute him, if he's just a PFC. If, and everybody's got hair, some of them had been there for about oh say 12 weeks, hell you was always jumping off the sidewalks salute some other recruit because he'd been there long enough to grow some hair (laughing). SUCHANEK: (Laughing) How, how hard was it for you to adapt to military discipline? KEIGHTLEY: I, I had no, no problem with the discipline whatsoever, none, and you know we were talking about the time a few minutes ago we, we lived there on the rifle range and when, when, when darkness came you, you had to go in the tent because there was no, there was no lights on the rifle range and then the next morning they'd get you up about 4:30 and they'd take you out to calisthenics in platoon formation and they really, that, that was a pretty, pretty tough part of it. SUCHANEK: Yeah, I was going to ask you about that (phone ringing in the back ground). KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, that was pretty. SUCHANEK: Now, you'd, you'd grown up on a farm, been used to hard labor, played basketball? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes. SUCHANEK: How hard was the physicality of boot camp? KEIGHTLEY: You know what? I, I've always laughed about that degree and I'll tell you why, they put me, it was 94 in a platoon, 92 of these guys I was in a platoon with was from New York and New Jersey. SUCHANEK: (Laughing). KEIGHTLEY: And I had one, one guy from Georgetown whose, I, I did not, was not acquainted with him but he was the only other Kentuckian in, in that platoon. SUCHANEK: You must have felt like a foreigner. KEIGHTLEY: Well I did but you know what, I, I guess because of my unusual drawl, you know I became; I became a favorite with the guys. SUCHANEK: They thought you were funny. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, yeah they thought it was funny and. SUCHANEK: And you, you thought they, they talked funny? KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, oh yeah, they were terrible, yes, but anyhow I used to tell them, you know we'd get up to get up to go to calisthenics and 4:30 in the morning and they'd just be moaning and groaning and I'd tell them, I'd say "hey fellows, if I was back home in Kentucky, I'd be half through milking my cows by now". (Laughing) Which was the truth and you know, I was in a lot better physical condition then guys that had lived in the city and hadn't really been subjected to manual work, which, which I had been because you know they were just kids that not street kids like they grow up to be today but their kids that had never really had to do any manual labor. SUCHANEK: How did they adjust? KEIGHTLEY: They. SUCHANEK: I suppose. KEIGHTLEY: You know I had, I had one guy in my platoon that was 27 years old and he really, really had a struggle with it and I really, you know had a lot of sympathy for him because he wanted, he wanted to make it and, and you know he, he just had a struggle. SUCHANEK: Did he make it? KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, he, he, he made it, well he made it out of boot camp, now I don't know which a away he went but anyhow he made it from boot camp. SUCHANEK: Now the thing about the Marine Corp as opposed to like the Army is the Marine Corp every, every man's a rifleman where in the Army that's not necessarily true. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. SUCHANEK: What did they do to instill that spree decor in the, the saying once a Marine always a Marine. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, that's, yes like you know now there's an old adage I'm not as lean and not as mean but I'm still a Marine (laughing) that's the old adage of today, number one I think its starts with that in my estimation and poor judgment of using the right word of the brain washing part and when you, you get through that and you look back at it and you get through the, the basic training before you receive the advance training you, you begin to feel, your chest kind of swells a little bit with pride, hey look a here man, I'm pretty, pretty tough kind of guy and I feel good about myself and. OUTSIDE PARTY: Sounds like you win. KEIGHTLEY: (Laughing) He, he graduated from the Citadel and you know, they're tough, if you ever, did you ever listen or read Pat Conroy's books? SUCHANEK: No, huh-uh. I'll have, I'll have to look at, I'll. KEIGHTLEY: Oh dang, I'm telling you, it, it's, it's really something, he's got, well he's got a book on tape that. SUCHANEK: Who is that? KEIGHTLEY: That, Walt McCombs, he is trainer for soccer. SUCHANEK: Oh, okay. KEIGHTLEY: But he, I worked with him; I guess for about 14 years, he was here with basketball. SUCHANEK: Oh, okay. KEIGHTLEY: They move them around occasionally, yeah. Yep. SUCHANEK: So let's get back to the Marine Corp.. Now, were you're drill instructors, were these fellows who had already seen combat? KEIGHTLEY: Now, what's that? SUCHANEK: Your drill instructors where these? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes, yes. SUCHANEK: Had, had they already seen combat? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes, yes, one of them was a ranger and yeah they had already seen combat and I had another guy in my platoon his name was Kenneth Cane he had, he had served in the Army and got kicked out, got a dishonorable discharge and he was an officer in the Army. SUCHANEK: Really? KEIGHTLEY: And he got back into the Marine Corp. Thank you. UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: There you go. KEIGHTLEY: He got back into the Marine Corp. because you know, he, he wanted an honorable discharge and this guy lived really a tough live with those NCOs' that were over him because he had been. SUCHANEK: An officer? KEIGHTLEY: An officer and got kicked out. SUCHANEK: Where they more rough with him you think? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes, yes, yes, yes. I know they used to, you know you get a lot of instruction especially about your, how to take care of your equipment and nomenclature of it and how to take it apart and put it together and they'd always try to make a guinea pig out of him and he knew more about it than they did and it, he, he'd take the challenge, you can see the anger in him when they'd call on him and I mean he would go into dept that they probably had never heard of. I always found that to be quite interesting, but and you know I'm going to tell you something by gosh, I just thought of it, you're from Youngstown? SUCHANEK: Yeah. KEIGHTLEY: My drill instructor was from Youngstown. SUCHANEK: Really? KEIGHTLEY: Just yes sir, Sergeant, Sergeant Schovich. SUCHANEK: Schovich? KEIGHTLEY: Schovich. SUCHANEK: That, that would be a Youngstown kind of name. KEIGHTLEY: Yep, Sergeant Schovich, he, he'd already, he, he was, he naturally he was a stern guy but he was a good guy, he really was and then I had a little old PFC, he was about 5 - 8 and he suffered from the little man syndrome, he tried to be the nastiest dam guy that ever walked. (Laughing) But yeah, I just thought about Schovich being from Youngstown. SUCHANEK: How about that. KEIGHTLEY: I'm sure he'd be at the time he was my DI and he was probably 27 or 8 so he'd be, you know 85 if he were alive. SUCHANEK: Sure. Now these drill instructors who had seen combat would they, would they tell you all about what, what to expect if got into combat? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes, yes, yes, yes that was the reason they would use those instructors, yes, I mean they'd teach you know, they'd teach you on your, on your field project, digging fox holes and telling you, you know how, how you were going to have to, you were going to have to be on your own and you, you going to have a buddy with you and you have to cover each others back and you know, they, they taught you all those kind of things because they'd been exposed to it and, and. SUCHANEK: Do you know where they had seen combat? Like in the South Pacific? KEIGHTLEY: What's that? SUCHANEK: Did they, did they tell you where they had seen combat? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yeah, yes, yes. SUCHANEK: Like Guadalcanal? KEIGHTLEY: One of them yes, one of them was on Iwo Jima, yeah, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, what's the name of that little island Tarawa, which one of the bloodier battles. SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: But yeah, yes, they, they shared, they shared that with you and we would have of a night, you know, they get platoon together and maybe we'd sit around and talk always somebody could play the guitar or the harmonica, something and you know, socialize to just a small degree. SUCHANEK: Did you make any friends there? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yeah, oh yeah, yes, yes and you know Jeff, the strange thing is again when you get out and you're 20 years old you think there is plenty of time I'll see these guys again. I had another young man in my platoon his name was Ronald Stupa from Cleveland and he had enlisted in the Army when he was 16 years old and he got caught being under age and they kicked him out and he, and he, he was in my platoon. He stayed in almost a year before they discovered he was under age so, it's a real melting pot. SUCHANEK: Sure. Sure, where you pretty good with a rifle? KEIGHTLEY: Well, yeah I was, you know if you practice enough you can do a little bit of most anything if you practice enough. SUCHANEK: Had you, had you done some hunting in Kentucky? KEIGHTLEY: I did, in maybe from 14 to about 16 and then I decided I wasn't hunting food so I decided it just wasn't right to shoot some wild animals so I quit. I, I quit when I was about 16, I didn't do anymore hunting, I used to squirrel hunt, rabbit hunt, but you know what, never ate them so why kill them, so I quit but I got in enough shots you know on, on the rifle range to satisfy me. SUCHANEK: Did they teach you hand to hand combat? KEIGHTLEY: Oh you had that, yes, with the, with the bayonets, showing you how, how to use your rifle and how you could lock up another guy that had a bayonet so he couldn't move, you know we used that, that M1 rifle, it had so many uses, it was a grenade launcher, it, you could launch tank grenades now that thing though when, when you used it to do that you had to, you had to rest the stock of the rifle against something else other than your shoulder because there was to much recoil and to much kick from it. SUCHANEK: Hurt your shoulder wouldn't it? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, of course in training camp you used a sand bag but I don't know if a sand bag would always be where you'd need to use it in real combat and. SUCHANEK: Did you ever get KP duty? KEIGHTLEY: No sir, never, never did get KP, never did. SUCHANEK: How about that? (Laughing) KEIGHTLEY: Never did, we'll get to a little later but I, after I got dispatched from assignment from Camp Lejeune that was the advance training and they dropped a bomb on Nagasaki and. SUCHANEK: Hiroshima. KEIGHTLEY: Hiroshima then I was deployed back, I was getting ready to leave the States and then they deployed me back to Sea Island Georgia, St. Simon's Island, a Naval Radar training center, there was 35 Marines and the rest of the personnel there were basically Naval Officers that were pilots it was a Naval Radar Training school and they were, they were pilots but you talk about the KP when I first was, they sent me to Sea Island we had German POW's and they worked, they worked the mess hall and I, I served as, as a prisoner chaser. SUCHANEK: What was that? KEIGHTLEY: Huh? SUCHANEK: What was that? KEIGHTLEY: That was Sea Island Georgia. SUCHANEK: What's a, what's a prisoner chaser? KEIGHTLEY: Well, okay we'd take this work detail out, you know, they had, they'd have them to work everyday at something, it may be picking up trash, it may be cutting grass, it could be any kind of, it could be any kind of manual labor and you, you had to go out with them everyday and take your rifle and stand guard of course, they were just like me, they weren't going to go anywhere, you know the thing the hostilities were over in Europe and they were just waiting for to be sent home so, and they where a wonderful bunch of people, you know there was no animosity, it was you'd get, they would always take you out to your work details in, in a truck and it's one of those, had no high bed well you'd get them up in the truck and I had a, I had a little carbine rifle that I carried, I never put a clip in it of course but anyhow you know you'd hand them your weapon and they give you a hand to pull you up in the truck and away you'd go bouncing on your marry way. SUCHANEK: Laughing. KEIGHTLEY: Some of them could speak, a few of them could speak, be pretty fair English but they were really, really good people, clean cut people, they were a clean, clean group of people. SUCHANEK: Would you try to talk to them? What did you talk about? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yeah, we, we were you know, we were allowed to talk to them, we you know we'd socialize with them, bring them back part of them and then you had of course I was fixing to say part of them were detailed to the KP and cooking and it was. SUCHANEK: Did you talk to them about the war at all or? KEIGHTLEY: Well, you know the best we could of course, not, not many people know this Jeff, before I was actually drafted into, into the Marine Corp., we had German prisoners of war that helped harvest the crops here in, in the State of Kentucky, you know cutting tobacco, working in the hay fields, we had, we had German POWs here and of course we had what we called prisoner chasers with those although mine was all confined to one little island, they, they would you know older farmers cause all the young guys were gone they could go to the county court house and, and try to request and see if they could get some, some help. SUCHANEK: Did you know William Stone Dale? Out on Sunny Slope Farm? KEIGHTLEY: Who? SUCHANEK: William Stone Dale. KEIGHTLEY: No sir. SUCHANEK: Okay, he, he owned Sunny Slope Farm out there on Nicholasville Road and I interviewed him and at the time he was working his farm he had German POWs. KEIGHTLEY: Oh he did? SUCHANEK: Yeah. KEIGHTLEY: Well I didn't know if you knew that or not. SUCHANEK: Yeah, yeah that was the first time I had heard that. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, well, that's right, yeah. SUCHANEK: And he said he had no problem with them either. KEIGHTLEY: No, I mean they was they were no problem at all. SUCHANEK: They were happy to get out and to do some work. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah right, yeah, yes, yeah they, they, it was a very unique time in, in ones life I'll tell you, you know I just believe it was yesterday and I guess you, you know this if you haven't you've heard somebody tell it, I, I just saw a little statistic here that I found rather mind boggling in World War II of 90, 1941 through 1945 lead 16, 112,000 troops, we had 405,399 deaths, 671,846 wounded, and that compared to World War I of just about a third as many people killed. 116,000, it was I found that. SUCHANEK: Total war wasn't it? KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, you know what I had never read that. SUCHANEK: Of course. KEIGHTLEY: I'd missed that somewhere in the history. SUCHANEK: Of course the Russians had 20 million causalities. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, yes, yes, Revolutionary War had 4 thousand, dang gone, the Mexican War was a little tougher than I thought it was (laughing) had 13 thousand, I thought that thing didn't last long. SUCHANEK: (Laughing). Well, when the, when the day came for you to graduate from Boot Camp and I understand from that point forward they, they start calling you a Marine. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, right. SUCHANEK: And they, they, they pin your insignia on you or something is, is I imagine that's a big day for, for being a Marine. KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes, yes it is, yes you got, yes, yes, you're out of the nest and now your ready to fly but like I told you, I went to Beaufort and I didn't know if I could, if I should have been out of the nest (laughing). SUCHANEK: Now, when you get out of Marine Boot Camp is, do you really feel like, you know you're the elite? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes. SUCHANEK: Better than the Army? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes, yes, you know that's right, yeah, I have to say, you know, you wouldn't want to tell it I guess to a Army recruit but yes it, you know they of course the Marines they carry that stigma you know always getting in the pictures of the war and you know the pretty boys and so forth and the other will say you know, they are the ones who had to do the dirty work. SUCHANEK: (Laughing) Yeah, yeah you're right. KEIGHTLEY: But it, it is, it's an attitude, it is. SUCHANEK: First in and the last out, right. KEIGHTLEY: That, that's right, yeah, first in and last out and that's, it's you know it's, I've never met a guy that served in the Marines what wasn't proud of it and you know I mean, I bumped in to them occasionally around here, older guys, most of them, most of them were in Vietnam, I had, had a guy to write me a letter, real, real interesting letter that I worked with when I was at the Post Office carrying mail, he wrote it in, the last letter I got from him was 2001 but he was sharing with me how he was going to celebrate Memorial Day, this guy was a little bit shaky, I mean people that worked with him were a little bit afraid of him, now he, he wasn't a Marine, he was an Army man but I'm going to let you read that letter sometime just to get the, the feeling of a man that, fighting odds that he's not going to get out unlike myself, the odds was in my. SUCHANEK: This was, this was why he was in the service, he wrote you this letter? KEIGHTLEY: Yes sir this guy, yeah. SUCHANEK: Was in Vietnam? KEIGHTLEY: Yes he was. SUCHANEK: Oh, okay. KEIGHTLEY: It's, the dang gone letter. SUCHANEK: What every happened to him? KEIGHTLEY: You know what, I haven't, his name is Richard Castenelli, he was still working at the Post Office when I got this letter from him in 2001, now I, I really don't know because he was a guy that needed a little counseling almost every day and I know that I felt like that I was somewhat special to him because he always came to me and he wanted to, to sit down and talk and. SUCHANEK: So you think he had delayed stress syndrome? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, he was, he, he, I'm trying to think, he, he was swung up in a tree in a cage and they left him in the wilderness in Vietnam and they tried to inflict some kind of damage to his gonads and he's always speaking of, you know I was a little or a little afraid or a little leery that he might turn violent you know. SUCHANEK: Sure. KEIGHTLEY: How, how it happens in work places of course see he was in service 20 years later than, than I was but it's, it's a real, real interesting letter. SUCHANEK: I'm sure when the atomic bombs were exploded and the war came to an end you had to breath a big sigh of relief. KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes, yes sir, yes sir, surely did, yes. SUCHANEK: So you were in for how long? KEIGHTLEY: I, I was in for just a little less than two years. SUCHANEK: Okay. So you spent (phone ringing in the back ground). So you spent the rest of your time. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes in the state, yes. SUCHANEK: Right, uh-huh. KEIGHTLEY: You know it was. SUCHANEK: What was your rank when you got out? KEIGHTLEY: Sir? SUCHANEK: What, what rank did you have? KEIGHTLEY: Oh I was a PFC, hey when you go in the Marine Corp if you can get one stripe that's about, that's about it. (Laughing) They don't have too many of the big boys at the top. SUCHANEK: Right (laughing). KEIGHTLEY: But no, you know that was a, that was a really happy, a happy day for me, I just felt like the world lifted off my shoulders because I was getting ready just being deployed not knowing where in the heck, well knew going to Pacific but where. SUCHANEK: Well, you're probably going to be used for the invasion of Japan. KEIGHTLEY: Well yeah and I, I had the, the good fortune, well yes, yes, it was good fortune, I toured both Nagasaki and Hiroshima with the basketball team back in the 70's and I had, our tour guide was a school teacher that was in the, in the classroom the day they dropped it in Nagasaki. SUCHANEK: Wow. KEIGHTLEY: And he had some, boy they got some weird, weird pictures, made a tour through that Peace Park. SUCHANEK: Get's your attention, doesn't it? KEIGHTLEY: Oh it does, yes, it does, yeah and you know they are a little bit, they, they a little bit uncomfortable really having to take you on the tour because, because of the fact (phone ringing in background) you know what they did at Pearl Harbor, they, they feel a since of guilt there. (UNINTELLIGIBLE NOISE; sounds like break in tape recording.) SUCHANEK: So you spent about two years, just under two years in the Marine Corp, what did you get out of your experience as a Marine? KEIGHTLEY: Oh, well, I, I, I think I really got a feeling of being self reliant, self sustaining, really feeling that whatever you know life had to throw at me that I, I was ready to cope with it, I, I think that, I think that was the biggest thing that I got out of it and I knew, knew full well that, that I could make it, see before you go in and you've just been, you spent your lifetime in just one little area and not knowing how the rest of the world is, sometimes might be a little bit insecure but it gave me a lot of self confidence. SUCHANEK: You got home; you used that Greyhound ticket and got home from Buford, right? KEIGHTLEY: That's right, dang gone right man; I started on my route right then, yes sir. SUCHANEK: You said I can do this (laughing). KEIGHTLEY: Yes but you know being there at the St. Simons Island and I don't know how much you know about that place but. SUCHANEK: Nothing. KEIGHTLEY: It's, it's, it's Sea Island, St. Simons Island and Sea Island is the same, now Sea Island is where that exclusive golf course, Sea Island Golf Course, it's where, it's where the wealthy come to get a little R and R, in fact, while, while I was at St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Dwight Eisenhower came, came in for rest. SUCHANEK: Really? KEIGHTLEY: And I was, the, of course we had to prepare for that one you know, you had to get ready, have a dress rehearsal but, but I, they put me on the main gate that day for, for General Eisenhower and he come riding through. SUCHANEK: (Laughing) KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, I, but the other side of it was, there was 500 naval officers there and all of them, you, you got to know, you got to know quite a few of them and they had to make a, ever, ever six months, they had to make a cross country trip and I got acquainted with some guys from Cincinnati and some guys from down in Tennessee and you could get a weekend pass like leave on Saturday morning, you could fly to Cincinnati and I could have them pick me up and visit home for the day and then go back and leave on Sunday afternoon back to Sea Island Georgia. SUCHANEK: So they had to get a certain number of flight hours in? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes, cross country. SUCHANEK: Right, uh-huh. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, I found that to be rather interesting, they always flew a beach craft but they had, you know. SUCHANEK: Was that single engine or double engine? KEIGHTLEY: No, that's double engine. SUCHANEK: Double, okay. KEIGHTLEY: But they had the, all kinds of different fighter planes there at, at St. Simons and you had that North American Fighter it was a twin engine. SUCHANEK: The Lightening? KEIGHTLEY: It black, you couldn't see it, you know, everything on it was just black. SUCHANEK: Was it a P38? KEIGHTLEY: Yep. SUCHANEK: Or P39? KEIGHTLEY: P38, P38 that's split tail, yeah, yep. SUCHANEK: I never thought the Navy and Marine Corp got along very well. KEIGHTLEY: Well, it, the thing actually, the Marines are supposed to be a branch of the Navy. SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, but you know with the, we had, we had Marine pilots there also, in fact I was stationed with a guy, his last name was Dick and this is in 45, he had played on the first National Championship team NCAA Tournament team and that was in 1939, see the NCAA is not nearly as old as the NIT, 1939 was the first NCAA Tournament that, that was played and this guy was an all American forward from Oregon and I played with him on St. Simons base team and he truly was an All American, he was about, he was about 6 - 6 that's as tall as you could be and fly, you know you didn't, you didn't have any 6 - 10 pilots. SUCHANEK: Right (laughing). And I imagine he was pretty cramped in a cockpit. KEIGHTLEY: Oh yeah he was but I remember man you know, he, he, he must have been reasonably affluent, he had a big convertible and his wife was a real pretty blonde woman, I can see him driving up that main gate now. SUCHANEK: (Laughing) what kind of car did he have? KEIGHTLEY: I dang, I can't remember now, it might have been a DeSoto, believe it was, a DeSoto convertible and I don't know when DeSoto became extinct but. SUCHANEK: (Laughing) did you, did you ever think of making Marine Corp a career? KEIGHTLEY: Oh no, no, I never, no, never entered my mind. SUCHANEK: Okay. KEIGHTLEY: No. SUCHANEK: Well when you were getting out of the Marine Corp did you have any, what were your plans? KEIGHTLEY: Well, you know, gosh it was kind of like going in you had none when you were going in you know and came out and I didn't, at that time when you were discharged they had what they call 52 30 club, that was, do you need to change? SUCHANEK: Yes sir, I do. (CHANGING TAPE) SUCHANEK: Go ahead KEIGHTLEY: It had what they called 52-30 club that was for 52 weeks any veteran could receive 30 dollars a month for 52 weeks, well I signed up through one check, I said well, I can't, I got to work, I don't want, you see if you work you couldn't get it of course I'll tell you we had a bunch of people that didn't work for awhile. SUCHANEK: So you got 30 dollars for 52 weeks. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, 30 dollars for 52 weeks, 52 -30 club they called it. SUCHANEK: 30, 30 dollars a week that would have been a lot of money back then wouldn't it? KEIGHTLEY: Well 30 dollars, well let's see, that's 30 dollars a month, that's, yes. SUCHANEK: Was it 30 dollars a month or week? KEIGHTLEY: 30 dollars a month. SUCHANEK: Oh a month, okay. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, 30 dollars a month. SUCHANEK: Okay well that's not a lot then. KEIGHTLEY: No, no, that a, you know about a dollar a day. SUCHANEK: Yeah (laughing). KEIGHTLEY: But you know, it, a lot of them, a lot of them could make that work but I couldn't. SUCHANEK: Well now you, you had access to the GI bill. KEIGHTLEY: Yes sir. SUCHANEK: Did you consider that? KEIGHTLEY: I did and also had considered had an offer of a basketball scholarship to Eastern Kentucky and Paul McBrayer who I had spoken of earlier was a coach there but we had then returning veterans and most everybody well like myself see I would have been a, a 21 year old freshman and you had some 24 and 25 year old freshman and that's when the size of the players started coming up because people had, had been in, in the service, that's the reason why Bear Bryant had so much success here as a football coach. SUCHANEK: Players were bigger and stronger weren't they? KEIGHTLEY: Bigger and stronger, I mean, they, they weren't kids like Rich Brooks has got, these buys have been in the battle of the Bulge, Hiroshima or Guadalcanal or hey you know they no kids (laughing) so I, I gave that a little whirl but I decided I'd been so structured my entire life you know, like I saying before I went to the Marine Corp was just on that farm and you couldn't go anywhere, you couldn't do anything and then you come back and start to school and you just about enrolling in the same thing again, I just decided I was going to explore what the world had to offer but never being without something, without occupation, no, I always worked. SUCHANEK: What did you want to do? KEIGHTLEY: Well I really I started out as, as a salesperson. SUCHANEK: Is that what you wanted to do or was that just a job? KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, you know what I did because my uncle was highly successful and, and the guy that I don't think I told you or might have he was the president of Junge Baking Company and Mickey Mantle broke in, my uncle was president of the Joplin Miners that was the Western Association club when Mickey Mantle broke in. SUCHANEK: A minor league team. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, yeah but anyhow he had been a successful salesman and I you know I thought I well, I, I'd like to sale and I eventually worked my way up to, went to work for Streetman Biscuit Company which is now known as Keebler they were the makers of Zesta Crackers. SUCHANEK: Where were they located? KEIGHTLEY: They, they're, they're bakery was in Cincinnati and. SUCHANEK: Where did you operate from? KEIGHTLEY: I, I operated out of Lexington, we had a, we had a warehouse, I started to work in the warehouse first and I worked in the office on with billing and that sort of thing and. SUCHANEK: How did you get the job? KEIGHTLEY: Well. SUCHANEK: Did you just apply? KEIGHTLEY: Another man from over at Lawrenceburg was division manager for this branch of Streetman Biscuit Company and that's, that's the way I got the position but my uncle tried to get me to go to Shreveport Louisiana because Junge Baking Company had a branch in Shreveport and he wanted me to go to Shreveport and go to work but I didn't, didn't much want to get that far away so I went to work for Streetman and finally moved up my uncle was a real close friend of A.P. Streetman who was the father of George Streetman, those two guys the A.P. and George owned the company so he gave me a job when I was 24 years old as a salesman and at that time they had a limit they were supposed to be at least 27 but I, I, I took that job as a salesperson, easiest thing I ever done in my life because you're selling a product that people if they need it they're going to buy it and if they don't need it, you can't, there's no need in trying to pressure them in buying it because it is a retail sales business. SUCHANEK: Who were you selling to, to stores or? KEIGHTLEY: To supermarket stores, I traveled, I had about 2 days here in Lexington and then I had couple other days like in Nicholasville, Lancaster, Winchester, you know in, in Central Kentucky and then I had a day where I would be up in Maysville and it you know you had to stay overnight. SUCHANEK: Now they didn't have the interstate highway system at that time. KEIGHTLEY: Oh no, no, no and I'll tell you the reason that that was such a, as I said it was the easiest thing I ever did in my life and the first thing was you had to get the confidence of the person who owned the grocery or the manager of the supermarkets or whatever and when you did that, you wrote your own orders, you didn't send them anything they didn't need, you just kind of worked on an inventory that's in your mind on how much their selling each week because they really didn't know how much they were selling except the little mom and pop grocery now they'd know. SUCHANEK: So you were doing both, the big chains, like A & P. KEIGHTLEY: Big chains, like A & P, Kroger. SUCHANEK: And then the corner markets that were the mom and pop as you say, right? KEIGHTLEY: That's right, yes, the corner market, yes and I, as I say, it was, it was a easy job but they had ever, every Saturday, you had to have a sales meeting, you know we'd have a new product so we have to, have a plan of attack, now that took your Saturday away from you so I'm almost back to square one and then the other thing that, is ever year like if I say here in this month of November coming up have really a big month and next year I dropped off say 3 or 4 thousand dollars they want to know what's wrong. SUCHANEK: A lot of pressure, wasn't it? KEIGHTLEY: It was pressure and, and you know for no reason because selling I mean, it, it was easy but you know there was pressure. SUCHANEK: And you had to hustle too didn't you? KEIGHTLEY: Oh well yeah, now let me give you this little bit of information, you talking about the superhighways, like for instance when I'd go to Maysville, I had to call all on the grocery's and restaurants and schools all of them and go to the hotel and tally up my orders that day of what I had sold and put that sheet on the top of the orders I had written and go to the Greyhound Bus Station to met the schedule of when that bus was leaving Maysville to come back to Lexington and I had to get it on there the day that I, that I sold the product so the next day they could load it and send it out now that, that thing there. SUCHANEK: It's almost like being a newspaper writer having a deadline. KEIGHTLEY: A deadline. Well it, you know sometimes as I say if you didn't control your own destiny by being able to write your orders if you had to wait to see some of these guys why you never would get an order back here so I, I did that for about, about five years and of course I was always close to the university I loved basketball and I played a lot of baseball, sandlot and I, I decided maybe, maybe I didn't want to do that the rest of my life and so I took, I took the test for the postal service which at that time, you know the postal service is completely changed, at that time with a civil service exam they only, they about 10% was all would pass it and everybody thought I was crazy for quitting that job you know wearing a coat and tie and a straw hat which, which you did back then. SUCHANEK: Sure. KEIGHTLEY: To carry mail, best decision I ever made in my life because it afforded me the opportunity to become part of the university and otherwise I, I would have never known. (UNIDENTIFIED NOISE IN BACKGROUND; sounded like recording was interrupted.) SUCHANEK: (Laughing). KEIGHTLEY: I kind of run away from these really good deals. SUCHANEK: (Laughing) you're not, if it's too good of a deal it's not true. KEIGHTLEY: Well it's, I tell you what it is, it's somebody over me. SUCHANEK: Okay. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah. SUCHANEK: Okay so you, you took the civil service exam for the postal service, why postal service, why did you, what, what? KEIGHTLEY: Well, I, I. SUCHANEK: Did somebody? KEIGHTLEY: At the time, at the time Jim I think I was still searching for that little something, I still had never been able to do like having a little free time for myself to do what I'd like to do, like maybe go fishing of course I love to play, I play fast pitch softball and of course I played baseball and I was still playing independent basketball but I could not, I didn't have time. SUCHANEK: Those Saturday meetings were cutting into your play time, wasn't it? KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, yeah, that's right, yes, oh yeah that ruined me, yes. SUCHANEK: (Laughing). KEIGHTLEY: That ruined me but. SUCHANEK: So you started with the postal service in what year? KEIGHTLEY: It was 57. SUCHANEK: In 57? KEIGHTLEY: Yes sir. SUCHANEK: Okay, so you, you had been a salesperson for 10 years? KEIGHTLEY: Well from 52. SUCHANEK: Oh, 52? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, uh-huh. SUCHANEK: Okay what did you do between 46 and 52? KEIGHTLEY: Well I had, I had there, see I worked in that, in, in the warehouse for Streetman. SUCHANEK: Oh, okay, so, you spent a number of years doing that. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, yeah, well now you know what there was about another year and a half in there that I just, yes I did skip, when I first came to Lexington, the first job I ever got was with Coca Cola Company. SUCHANEK: Oh, okay. KEIGHTLEY: Myrtle May Mitchell, they were located, located down on Short Street, I started as a driver and I worked at that for about six months and they made me a route supervisor and I worked that about another two or three months and then they made me assistant plant manager running a bottling crew and checking the trucks out to go out on the routes, it was two of us, two guys we worked from one week we'd work from 6 o'clock in the morning to 6 o'clock of a evening and he'd come in and relieve me and then the next week I would work from 6 o'clock of night to 6 o'clock in the morning. SUCHANEK: Well that messes up your system doesn't it? KEIGHTLEY: It messed my system up again, yes see but I'm still searching. SUCHANEK: (Laughing). KEIGHTLEY: But you know that place was also, was good for me, we had this older lady, Myrtle May Mitchell that, that owned, owned the Coca Cola Company and it was, Coca Cola was a nickel a bottle at that time, you paid 80 cents a case for the product and got back $1.20 for it but then Ms. Mitchell, gosh I guess she must have been 70 years old at that time, she spent a lot of time in Florida and I was, I was young, wasn't you know wasn't married and she wanted me to drive her to Florida and just be here chauffer and stay in Florida, well that didn't suit me either but I, you know, I stayed with them I guess almost 2 years, almost 2 years. SUCHANEK: Okay. KEIGHTLEY: And again I left there, they gave no vacation and you worked six days a week and the, the pay was okay for the, you know, that, that time of my life, it was okay but again it was you know it, it cramped you a little bit when, when Bill Hutchinson asked me you know why I would not work for them at Streetman Biscuit as a salesman, well I had already built up a, somewhat of a relationship with some people, this town wasn't nearly that big back then, you know (laughing). SUCHANEK: Right, it was a lot smaller. KEIGHTLEY: You, you get out right now to where the Campbell House was, that was nothing but, but just a farm land. SUCHANEK: Uh-huh. KEIGHTLEY: Any direction you go so, you know it was still somewhat of a small town but yeah, then, then, then of course I went to Streetman, then I went, went to the post office and, and I, I, I enjoyed it because I started residential routes of course when you know when you first go into an organization you don't get the choice spots but I started the, the first route I ever had was Cooperstown, right over here you know where Cooperstown is? Cooperstown, Clifton and Columbia, of course Clifton's gone now, that used to be, you, you don't recall when that was houses do you? SUCHANEK: Yes, uh-huh. KEIGHTLEY: You do? SUCHANEK: I sure do. KEIGHTLEY: And even Rose Street, where, where the hospital is, I carried mail to where that hospital is when, to the construction people had a little old box sitting on a post out there. SUCHANEK: Wow. KEIGHTLEY: But as, as time moved on and, and I stayed there with the postal service, I, I never ever wanted to do anything that they had but carry mail, I became a real good friend with the. SUCHANEK: Did you have a truck or did you do this on foot? KEIGHTLEY: Oh I started on foot, you, you rode the city bus. SUCHANEK: Really? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, you rode the city bus of course you tied mail out in relays we called it and they had boxes where you'd label you know, this, this bundle of mail goes and you'd start walking when you ran out of mail in your satchels, you'd be right there at this box, load her up and go again, no I started out, I started out on foot. SUCHANEK: So you have a big pouch that you carried? KEIGHTLEY: Oh, oh yes sir, had a big pouch. SUCHANEK: I imagine on, on Christmas time or, or holidays that thing would be pretty heavy. KEIGHTLEY: Now you know at that time of the year we used to make two deliveries everyday because we hired extra people at Christmas time. SUCHANEK: Okay. KEIGHTLEY: And then the guy like me was the carrier on the route, he'd stay in the office all day and sort the mail and we'd have, we say students at the university or whatever, they'd take the satchel and go out and deliver it. SUCHANEK: Okay. KEIGHTLEY: But now that, that doesn't exist anymore and but then I, I moved up to the carry the downtown business route and this is the one that really suited my time, I could go to work at 4 o'clock in the morning and you would sort mail until about 5 hours maybe 5 and a half at times, but it wouldn't take you but about, about an hour to deliver it. SUCHANEK: Because it was all concentrated? KEIGHTLEY: It was all, it, you, you'd, you'd just might have you know, your route might not be anymore than one block if you had the big First National Bank building on it. SUCHANEK: Right, right. Well how long did you do residential delivery? KEIGHTLEY: The what? SUCHANEK: Residential, how long did you have that route? KEIGHTLEY: I had, well, I, I had about three of them about I'd say about six to seven years. SUCHANEK: Okay, now when you're doing that residential delivery and I've always thought this about postal service employees that do residential routes, you really notice the season's don't you? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah and in, in this period of time we, we became motorized when from that little three wheel thing it looked like a tricycle up to the bigger you know, four wheel vehicles but I never, when I went downtown to carry the business route, I, I never got exposed to those, those vehicles to much after I gave up the residential part. SUCHANEK: So when you were doing a residential, did you ever have the vehicles? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yeah, yeah, yes, yes, I, I eventually as I say it became motorized. SUCHANEK: That was a big improvement wasn't it? KEIGHTLEY: Well yeah, yeah it was, to a degree although you know most people don't like changes you know, I was accustomed to tying my mail out and walking and I didn't much want to be bothered with that vehicle. SUCHANEK: (Laughing) because you'd have to get out and walk anyway? KEIGHTLEY: It, it changed my routine and. SUCHANEK: Yeah, right. KEIGHTLEY: And it, it changed a lot of things you went from, when I was carrying residential walking I didn't have to be bothered with delivering parcels and that sort of thing but when you once got the vehicle then you delivered parcels and whatever and so it, it, it made a little change. SUCHANEK: And you didn't get as much exercise, right? KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, that's right, no, not as much exercise but still enough (laughing), yes. SUCHANEK: And back then, I don't know if people still do this or not, they would, wouldn't they put like, give you cookies? KEIGHTLEY: Oh lord, yes, oh yes, Christmas time you'd just get loaded up. SUCHANEK: (Laughing) I remember we used to do that and. KEIGHTLEY: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. SUCHANEK: You know you would leave something for the mail man. KEIGHTLEY: These people you know especially residential you become an extension of their family because you know their kids and their brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles. SUCHANEK: The dogs? KEIGHTLEY: Dogs, got to know the dogs, yes. SUCHANEK: (Laughing). KEIGHTLEY: And, and you, you're just an extension of their family and yeah. SUCHANEK: That's something that is lost these days, isn't it? KEIGHTLEY: Yes it is. SUCHANEK: Of course you had I guess the mothers and the wife's stayed at home a lot too. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, you had, that's right you didn't have, most yes, I'd say probably 60 percent of the homes, the wife was there all day. SUCHANEK: Yes, so you got to talk to her. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, everyday. SUCHANEK: And now, you know, especially with, with, with people who have mail boxes out by the street, they never. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, no, no contact personal contact, yeah. SUCHANEK: Exactly, exactly. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah. SUCHANEK: Well in, in just the few minutes we have left, why don't you just go ahead and tell me how your first initial contact with the university, how did you get involved with the university? KEIGHTLEY: Well, it, my first contact with the university basically came because I was with the post office and the reason that this contact came about when, when you get through your daily routine around 12 to 12:30 everyday, hey you got, you got a half a day off so the university was using a lot of part time help and I helped in the ticket office early on. SUCHANEK: How did, how did you get that, who did you talk to? KEIGHTLEY: Okay, the man that, the man that was coach Rupp's statistician was a, was a supervisor at the post office and of course he knew you know, I knew him vaguely before I ever went to work there but, but you know he was acquainted with me and he knew a lot about my caring about the university and the athletics so. SUCHANEK: You were a big fan? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yeah, yes, I, I had I had tickets here at the coliseum 11 years before I ever went to work, well not before I ever went to work because I helped Harvey Hodges in the ticket office starting really about 1957, that was about the time I went to carrying mail, that's when I had the extra time and but George is a man that and George worked in the ticket office so that was the reason I started helping them down there and then he, at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon he'd come back here to do the issue the equipment, now this thing is changed now, you know, you got, you got to be here about 12 - 13 hours a day but back then practice didn't start until 3 o'clock. SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: And a. SUCHANEK: And it was more regimented, right? KEIGHTLEY: Yes right, yes, yes we didn't do all these things like have us a 6 o'clock practice of a morning, the weight training wasn't that big into it in the early years. SUCHANEK: Right, in fact they. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, weight training is reasonably new. SUCHANEK: Yeah, I mean, they discouraged weight training when I played high school ball because they said you'd get to muscle bound. KEIGHTLEY: Muscle bound, yes muscle bound. SUCHANEK: That's right, that's right, so you started in the ticket office doing what, just? KEIGHTLEY: Well just selling tickets you know back then you could buy up until about oh I'd say near 1960 they'd have capacity crowds here, it seated 11, 11 thousand five hundred but tickets were available because still society was hardly as affluent as it is today and then not only that but you had the football tickets. SUCHANEK: Oh so you were doing all? KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, doing, yeah, you'd, you did football, I, I did football, they got those tickets windows out front of the coliseum, you've probably seen them. SUCHANEK: Sure. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, I, I, I did football out there. SUCHANEK: Oh okay. KEIGHTLEY: So that, that was my initial entrance into this place. SUCHANEK: Okay and then you did that from 57 to about 61? KEIGHTLEY: Well yes, I, I helped George though a long, you know, probably from 57 to 61 occasionally if he, we used to have a lot of concerts and that sort of things here and, and I worked with you know those people with that thing so, when you kind of got in with the ticket man down here you pretty much had something to do anytime you wanted to do it. SUCHANEK: Okay. KEIGHTLEY: Of course now all of that has changed so but I, as I say, I would, I would help George, George he was moving along getting up in years and he sometimes he didn't want to stay here so I'd, you know I'd, I'd cover for him so the times 61 - 62 season came I, I helped him about everyday and he did that until he, he left in 1972. SUCHANEK: Okay so at that time you. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah. SUCHANEK: Were you still doing tickets at that time or were you just doing? KEIGHTLEY: No, I, I, I had, I had to move away from it because you know, I didn't have the time. SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: This thing was growing, Joe B was the coach to be and it was beginning to change a little bit. SUCHANEK: Okay, let's hold off that until next time, okay? KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, we can do it. SUCHANEK: We'll, we'll start talking about when you got into the equipment room here and, and go from there, alright? KEIGHTLEY: Alright we can do that one. SUCHANEK: Great. Keightley recalls the discipline, physical activity, drill instructors, and fellow Marines at boot camp on Paris Island. He summarizes his duties as a Marine and the impact military service had on his life. Keightley discusses his employment with Coca Cola, Streetman's Biscuit Company, and how his job as a mail carrier led to his involvement with the University of Kentucky. He remembers his early duties in the UK ticket office and as assistant to George Hukle (his predecessor as equipment manager). UKAW; University of Kentucky Men's Basketball