In Memory

Jeff Keetle



 
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05/26/18 08:14 AM #3    

Dave Koehler

I heard various stories of how Jeff died in Vietnam so, several years ago, I did some research and spoke with a couple soldiers who were at the same place, Khe Sanh, the day Jeff was killed. I have a document I wrote and would be happy to share.


05/27/18 07:59 AM #4    

Barb Rogers (Denbow)

Dave, please share your findings about Jeff.  Steve and I are reminiscing about their friendship and the last time they talked before Jeff’s deployment.  He shared with Steve that he didn’t think he’d be coming home. 


05/28/18 11:38 AM #5    

Steve Beem

Jeff Wood and I joined the Marines on a three month delayed enlistment during the summer of 1970. Sometime later I met Jeff Keetle and we were having some beers at the Bob Lou bar. If I recall correctly  he was home on leave from bootcamp at the time. He “recruited me” to join the Army in the same “shake and bake” program he was in that turns you into a non commissioned officer in six months. Frankly, I think if I hadn’t already signed up I would have taken him up on it (my dad had been a sergeant major in the Army (WW2) and the National Guard. The 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles” was and is the best outfit in the entire US Army and one anybody would be proud to be member. 

 

In the nearly 50 years that have passed since our last conversation I have thought of Jeff many times, dying on that hill at Khe Sanh while I went on to enjoy my “Cinderella Tour” in the Marine Corps. Queue Rod Stewart “Some Guys Have All the Luck”…

 

My dad always told me “the Army does all the work and the Marines get all the glory!”. I see Jeff right now with that shit eating grin on his face and nodding his head.

 

When I first saw Jeff on the Virtual Wall, I wrote down some remembrances that popped into my head:

 

03 Aug 2003

 

Keetle

 

Engaging grin,

Infectious laugh,

Cool, clever, Class Clown.

 

Loved the Army ("Romeo Alpha!”).

At the Truckstop "Give me a Bravo Lima Tango!"

Image: Playing poker - resplendent in dog tags.

Beer, country roads and .22 rifles - Who shot the fox?

 

Last time I saw you

Bob-Lou Bar, shake and bake program, buddy system

“Can't go, already signed up for the Marines”

 

Rendezvous with Destiny

 

The letter came, did not have to open to see the clipping inside.

Sat on the steps of the barracks and wondered why.

 

Painted Tombstone epitaph - "I love you" - who?

Empty chair at the 35th High School reunion.

 

Jeff, you will be happy to know that you and those who served with you are now held in much higher regard today than we were in 1971.


05/28/18 02:00 PM #6    

Vance Dillard

We were in Spanish class, and one of us was having a tough go of it. It was either Jeff Keetle or Daryl Gentile that always had a stock answer for a question he did not know. The answer was “Yo soy muchacho!.” So who else among us was there?


05/29/18 08:35 AM #7    

Nancy Wasen

Somewhere I have letters he sent his mom. I was working at Young's IGA and Jeff wrote his mom to say when he got home he wanted me to take him to see Jimi Hendrix (like poof I could make that happen). lol

I always wished it had happened. What a bright spirit Jeff was

Shine on your crazy diamond

Nancy   


06/08/18 04:28 PM #8    

Jane Wierbiki (Picking)

My husband, David, and Jeff were good friends even though they went to different high schools. (Dave at Wooster HIgh School)  We all graduated in 68. They got to know each other at Charles Mill Lake where both families had cabins and both worked as life guards.  Dave was also at the gate of the campground.  

To us he was excited to go to Vietnam, but he was a wild and crazy guy.  (and also lots of fun!).  Nevertheless, we were heartbroken when his father called Dave to give him the news.  Our son, Brian Jeffrey, was born that same year.

 


06/11/18 05:45 PM #9    

Sue Shenberger (Pesci)

 

At the school where I taught, the 8th graders went to Washington DC every May.  I always had a group of 8th graders, and my assignment to them for their trip was always the same.  I wanted them to see how easy it was  to find a name on  the Vietnam Memorial wall.  I told them about Jeff, and asked them to look up and find his name on the Wall and do a rubbing.  If they brought this back to me, they would earn 100 bonus points added to their grades.  I never had a student come back without one.  I kept several and keep them in my Guide.

I learned about Jeff's death as I returned home from a college Spring Break in Florida.  My brother met me at the front door and told me before I even got into the house.  Talk about feeling guilty for having a vacation when a classmate has given his life for this country in a place halfway around the world.  Horrible feeling.

God bless you, Jeff, and thank you for your service.  You were one of the good guys.

Susie Shenberger Pesci


06/12/18 06:51 PM #10    

Kerry McGinty (Sadler)

I saw Jeff just before he left for Viet Nam, he was enthusiastic, laughingly saying how he couldn't wait to go.  I also remember when Jeff and friends T.P'ed our house on Sandusky St. the trees were so huge I have no idea how they did it, Jeff came over the next day apologized to my parents and cleaned up the mess!!!   We were all so fortunate to know Jeff and to have such wonderful memories of this wonderful person.  

 

 

 


07/04/18 01:55 PM #11    

Steve Denbow

Where do I begin.........?!  Jeff was one of my best friends in high school.  He was my "alter ego".  Always trying to get me out of my comfort zone to do the mischievious i.e. stay out later than I was supposed to, go were we weren't supposed to go, etc., etc. 

We hung out at his house alot.  His mom and dad, Paul and Jean, treated me like another son! 

We were lifeguards together at Mifflin Lake during our junior and senior year summers.  Saved some lives but lost one. On a late summer afternoon, a boater, outside of the swim buoys, decided to jump into the water, I assume, to cool off.  I watched from my guard seat as he went under the water.  As I continued to watch, I didn't see him pop back up.  At first I thought my eyes were deceiving me but soon realized he had not surfaced.  I immediately called to Jeff who was onshore.  Upon hearing what happened, he jumped into our lifeguard boat and rowed out to the spot where we last saw the boater jump in.  As soon as he could, Jeff dove down to try and reach the individual.  He dove many, many times until totally exhausted. Unfortunately to no avail.  Eventually, the county Sheriff and several other emergency personnel arrived onsite to begin recovery efforts.  Along with several others, we spent the next several hours late at night in a boat towing a grappling hook in hopes of locating the body.  Finally, the search was called off.  Three days later, the body was found some 600 yards from where the drowning occurred.  Jeff always felt like he had not done enough to try and save that individual. 

I'm not sure if very many people knew this about Jeff but his mother once shared with me that Jeff had some sort of muscular condition.  According to her, he was not supposed to live that long because of it.  Even so, Jeff was a great long distance swimmer and always had more energy than I did!  However, I never could figure out how Jeff passed his military physical?!  Knowing Jeff, he wasn't going to let his condition get in the way of his serving!

I was in Germany visiting Barb during her college semester abroad when I receivd a letter from my mom.  I'll never forget the overwhelming sorrow that overtook me when I read of Jeff's death.  The Vietnam War suddenly became very real to me!  I was absolutely devastated. I remember my trip back to the US was a very sad and lonely one. 

Jeff, thank you for all the good times we had!.  Thank you for serving!  Thank you for sacrificing your life for all of us!  

 


07/07/18 04:59 PM #12    

Cheryl Feasel



Jeff's name on the Vietnam Memorial Wall at the Clinton Veterans' Park.

 


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