Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with William B. Keightley, October 31, 2005

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - Traveling to Marine Corps boot camp

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Partial Transcript: The following is an unrehearsed interview with Mr. William Keightley for the University of Kentucky Libraries Charles T. Wethington Alumni/Faculty Oral History Project.

Segment Synopsis: Keightley talks about his feelings as he was traveling on a train to Parris Island, South Carolina for Marine Corps boot camp. He talks about the "brainwashing" that occurs at boot camp.

Keywords: Attitudes; Awareness; Boot camp; Brainwashing; Cabooses; Declaration of war; Furloughs; Helpless; Home; Parris Island (S.C.); Passenger trains; Sentimental Journey (Song); Songs; Transportation; Travel; Trepidation; Troop trains; Trucks

Subjects: Attitude (Psychology); Basic training (Military education); Draft.; Marines; Military bases.; Military education.; Military life.; Military training camps; United States. Marine Corps; United States. Marine Corps--Military life; World War, 1939-1945

00:05:33 - Arrival at boot camp and adaptation

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Partial Transcript: Well when you, when you arrived at Parris Island, what was your initial impression?

Segment Synopsis: Keightley describes his arrival at boot camp at Parris Island, including being given uniforms and haircuts. He talks about new recruits having to salute everyone they saw. He talks about their daily schedule and how it was fairly easy for him to adapt to boot camp after growing up on a farm, unlike others in his platoon who grew up in cities.

Keywords: Accents; Adaptation; Adapting; Age; Arrival; Athletics; Calisthenics; Corporals; Drawls; Farmers; Farming; Haircuts; Intimidation; Kentucky; Manual labor; New Jersey; New York; New recruits; Non-commissioned officer (NCO); Parris Island (S.C.); Physical condition; Physicality; Platoons; Private First Class (PFC); Quonset huts; Rifle ranges; Salutes; Schedules; Struggles; Uniforms

Subjects: Attitude (Psychology); Basic training (Military education); Discipline; Marines; Military bases.; Military discipline.; Military education.; Military life.; Military training camps; Physical fitness.; United States. Marine Corps; United States. Marine Corps--Military life; United States. Marine Corps--Officers.; World War, 1939-1945

00:10:26 - Drill instructors and non-commissioned officers

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Partial Transcript: Now the thing about the Marine Corps as opposed to like the Army is, uh, the Marine Corps, every, every man's a rifleman.

Segment Synopsis: Keightley talks about the attitude among Marines compared to the Army. He talks more about the "brainwashing" that occurs at boot camp. He says their drill instructors had already been in combat and told them what to expect. He talks about how they were treated by NCOs, including one platoon member who was targeted by the NCOs because he had been dishonorably discharged from the Army before joining the Marines.

Keywords: Army; Attitudes; Boot camp; Brainwashing; Dishonorable discharge; Drill instructors; Enlisted; Equipment; Esprit de corps; Experience; Friends; Kicked out; Non-commissioned officer (NCO); Platoons; Pride; Rangers; Rifleman; Socializing; Teaching; Treatment; Underage

Subjects: Attitude (Psychology); Basic training (Military education); Combat.; Discipline; Marines; Military bases.; Military discipline.; Military education.; Military life.; Military training camps; United States. Marine Corps; United States. Marine Corps--Military life; United States. Marine Corps--Officers.; World War, 1939-1945

00:18:16 - Rifle practice

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Partial Transcript: Were you pretty good with a rifle?

Segment Synopsis: Keightley briefly talks about rifle and combat training, and speaks about his limited experience with hunting in Kentucky before he was drafted.

Keywords: Bayonets; Grenade launchers; Hand to hand combat; Hand-to-hand combat; Hunting; Killing; M-1 rifles; Rifle practice; Rifles; Shooting; Techniques

Subjects: Attitude (Psychology); Basic training (Military education); Combat.; Firearms.; Marines; Military bases.; Military education.; Military life.; Military training camps; United States. Marine Corps; United States. Marine Corps--Military life; Weapons.; World War, 1939-1945

00:20:20 - German prisoners of war

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Partial Transcript: Did you ever get KP duty?

Segment Synopsis: Keightley says that he never had to do kitchen patrol (KP) duty, but he was in charge of supervising some German prisoners of war as they cooked and did other types of manual labor. He talks about speaking with the prisoners and says that there was no animosity between the Germans and the American soldiers. He talks about how farmers in Kentucky had been using German prisoners of war to help on their farms for years.

Keywords: "Prisoner chasers"; Advanced training; Animosity; Atomic bombs; Attitudes; German prisoners of war; Guards; Harvesting crops; KP duty; Kentucky; Kitchen patrol duty; Manual labor; Mess halls; Naval Radar Training School; Navy Radar Training School; Relationships; Saint Simons Island (Ga.); Sea Island (Ga.); Socializing; St. Simons Island (Ga.); Talking; Work detail

Subjects: Attitude (Psychology); Basic training (Military education); Marines; Military bases.; Military education.; Military life.; Military training camps; Prisoners of war.; United States. Marine Corps; United States. Marine Corps--Military life; World War, 1939-1945

00:25:58 - War statistics

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Partial Transcript: You know I just, uh, believe it was yesterday--

Segment Synopsis: Keightley lists some statistics about World War II, World War I, the Revolutionary War, and the Mexican-American War.

Keywords: Deaths; Mexican War; Mexican-American War; Revolutionary War; Statistics; Troops; World War I; World War II; Wounded

Subjects: Mexican War, 1846-1848.; United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783.; World War, 1914-1918; World War, 1939-1945

00:27:48 - Attitudes of Marines / Mental health

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Partial Transcript: Well when the, um, when the day came for you to graduate from boot camp...

Segment Synopsis: Keightley talks about how he felt after graduating from boot camp and talks more about the attitude of Marines compared to the Army. He talks about a veteran of the Vietnam War that he met during his career at the post office and discusses the mental health issues that veterans sometimes face.

Keywords: Afraid; Army; Attitudes; Better; Boot camp; Delayed stress syndrome; Elite; Graduation; Memorial Day; Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); Proud; Vietnam War; Vietnam veterans

Subjects: Attitude (Psychology); Basic training (Military education); Marines; Mental health.; Military bases.; Military education.; Military life.; Military training camps; United States. Marine Corps; United States. Marine Corps--Military life; Veterans.; World War, 1939-1945

00:32:21 - End of World War II

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Partial Transcript: Well I'm sure when, when the atomic bombs were exploded and the, the war came to, to an end, you had to breathe a big sigh of relief.

Segment Synopsis: Keightley talks about feeling relieved when the atomic bombs were dropped and the war ended. He talks about later visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a tourist.

Keywords: Atomic bombs; Deployment; End of the war; Hiroshima (Japan); Nagasaki (Japan); Pearl Harbor (Hawaii); Private First Class (PFC); Ranks; Reactions; Relief; Touring; Visiting

Subjects: Attitude (Psychology); Marines; Military life.; United States. Marine Corps; United States. Marine Corps--Military life; World War, 1939-1945

00:35:00 - Lessons from the Marine Corps

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Partial Transcript: So you spent about two years--just under two years in the Marine Corps.

Segment Synopsis: Keightley says that being in the Marines taught him to be self-reliant and self-confident.

Keywords: Experience; Insecure; Lessons; Self-confidence; Self-reliant

Subjects: Attitude (Psychology); Discipline; Marines; Military discipline.; Military education.; Military life.; United States. Marine Corps; United States. Marine Corps--Military life; World War, 1939-1945

00:36:13 - Being stationed on Sea Island

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Partial Transcript: But you know, being there at, uh, St. Simons Island, and I don't know how much you know about that place but--

Segment Synopsis: Keightley talks about being stationed on St. Simons, Sea Island, Georgia which was a naval radar training school. He talks about General Eisenhower visiting the base. He talks about the naval officers, pilots, and their fighter planes.

Keywords: 1939; Basketball players; Fighter planes; Flights; General Dwight D. Eisenhower; Home; NCAA championship teams; Naval officers; Pilots; Rest and relaxation (R&R); Saint Simons Island (Ga.); Sea Island (Ga.); St. Simons Island (Ga.); Visits

Subjects: Attitude (Psychology); Marines; Military bases.; Military life.; United States. Marine Corps; United States. Marine Corps--Military life; United States. Marine Corps--Officers.; United States. Navy.; World War, 1939-1945

00:41:06 - Plans after leaving the Marine Corps

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Partial Transcript: Did you, did you ever think of making the Marine Corps a career?

Segment Synopsis: Keightley says that he didn't really have a plan when he left the Marines. He talks about the monthly payment veterans could receive, but they were not allowed to work while receiving the benefits. Keightley decided he would rather work. He talks about why he decided not to go to college, and talks about how the veterans returning changed college sports.

Keywords: 5230 Club; Age; Basketball coaches; Basketball scholarships; Bear Bryant; Eastern Kentucky University; Football coaches; Freshmen; G.I. Bill; Getting out; Honorable discharge; Leaving; Money; Paul McBrayer; Plans; Salary; Size; Structure; Wages

Subjects: Attitude (Psychology); Careers; Marines; Military life.; Occupations.; Professions.; United States. Marine Corps; United States. Marine Corps--Military life; Veterans--Education (Higher)--Kentucky; Vocation.; Work.; World War, 1939-1945; World War, 1939-1945--Veterans.

00:44:59 - Working in sales

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Partial Transcript: What did you want to do?

Segment Synopsis: Keightley talks about how he began working at Streetman Biscuit Company through his uncle's connections. He talks about traveling all across Kentucky to sell their product to grocery stores. He says that the job was easy, but the schedule did not work well for him and he was under pressure from deadlines.

Keywords: Bus stations; Deadlines; Grocery stores; Interstate highways; Jobs; Keebler Company; Lawrenceburg (Ky.); Maysville (Ky.); Orders; Pressure; Products; Retail; Sales; Sales meetings; Salesman; Salespeople; Salesperson; Saturdays; Shreveport (La.); Streetman Biscuit Company; Supermarkets; Travel; Trust; Uncles; Warehouses

Subjects: Careers; Lexington (Ky.); Occupations.; Professions.; Vocation.; Work.

00:52:11 - Working for the U.S. Postal Service

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Partial Transcript: So I, I did that for about, uh, about five years.

Segment Synopsis: Keightley talks about becoming a mail carrier in Lexington, Kentucky after taking the civil service exam. He talks about how it gave him more time for his hobbies than his previous job.

Keywords: 1952; Baseball; Basketball; Changes; Civil service exams; Civil service tests; Fishing; Free time; Hobbies; Mail carriers; Mailman; Postal workers; Softball; Sports; U.S. Postal Service; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Careers; Civil service positions; Lexington (Ky.); Occupations.; Professions.; United States Postal Service.; Vocation.; Work.

00:55:11 - Working for Coca-Cola

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Partial Transcript: Well and now, you know what?

Segment Synopsis: Keightley backtracks to talk about one of his first jobs in Lexington, at the Coca-Cola Company. He talks about the various positions he worked and why he ultimately left that job.

Keywords: Assistant plant managers; Drivers; Florida; Jobs; Myrtle Mae Mitchell; Owners; Products; Promotions; Route supervisors; Schedules; Short Street; Small towns; The Coca-Cola Company; Vacations

Subjects: Careers; Lexington (Ky.); Occupations.; Professions.; Vocation.; Work.

00:58:35 - More on working for the U.S. Postal Service

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Partial Transcript: But, uh, yeah, then, then, then of course I went to Streetman and then I went, went to the post office.

Segment Synopsis: Keightley talks more about becoming a mail carrier in Lexington, Kentucky. He describes his daily route in the Cooperstown area near the University of Kentucky. He talks about delivering mail on foot and riding the city bus before they were given their own vehicles. He talks about moving to a downtown route, which he preferred. He talks about his relationships with the families he delivered mail to.

Keywords: Career path; Changes; Christmas; Christmastime; City buses; Community; Construction; Cookies; Cooperstown; Deliveries; Downtown business routes; Families; Hospitals; Mail carriers; Mail routes; Mail trucks; Mailman; Motorized; On foot; Parcels; Personal contact; Postal workers; Relationships; Relays; Residential routes; Rose Street; Schedules; Sorting mail; U.S. Postal Service; University of Kentucky; Vehicles

Subjects: Careers; Civil service positions; Lexington (Ky.); Occupations.; Professions.; United States Postal Service.; Vocation.; Work.

01:05:20 - Beginning to work for University of Kentucky athletics

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Partial Transcript: Well, in, in just the few, uh, minutes we have left, why don't you just go ahead and tell me how--your first initial contact with the university.

Segment Synopsis: Keightley talks about how he came to work for the University of Kentucky Athletics Department through a connection at the post office. He talks about starting as a cashier at the ticket office, eventually becoming an assistant to the equipment manager George Hukle. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: 1957; 1972; Assistants; Changes; Contact; Equipment managers; Fans; Football; George Hukle; Joe B. Hall; Part-time jobs; Post offices; Practices; Season tickets; Selling tickets; Statisticians; Ticket offices; Weight training

Subjects: Basketball; Careers; College environment; College facilities.; College sports--Kentucky; College sports.; Kentucky Wildcats (Basketball team); Lexington (Ky.); Occupations.; Professions.; University of Kentucky--Basketball; Vocation.; Work.