Keith Goudy used his typing skills during his 14 months in Vietnam from 1970-71. Now he volunteers to preserve the history of his fellow Vietnam veterans.
The Estes Park, Colorado, resident serves with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund on their project to acquire a photo for all of the 58,276 troops on The Wall.
“I call it Operation Missing Photos,” Goudy said. “I give them four names each week. We put it on the Vietnam Memorial Fund Facebook group. And someone will see it and then they’ll send in the photo to us.”
He also is a volunteer administrator for the VietnamWarHistoryOrg Facebook group, which he said is the largest historical based Facebook group on Vietnam War history.
Goudy became one of the early administrators in 2014 when the group was started by Erik Villard, an historian for the U.S. Army Center for Military History. Goudy had a history background because he was a summer worker for Jackson Hole History Museum in Jackson, Wyoming, from 2013-16. “I fell in love with history,” he said.
Around 2015, Goudy started a Vietnam Veteran Wall of Honor memorial Facebook group. This is so family members and others can post their remembrances of Vietnam veterans who have died since the war.
“My focus is that people will post about folks that died after the war,” he said.
Many Gold Star families have joined that memorial group. Goudy said he finds it gratifying when he receives feedback from these survivors of veterans.
“When I get a personal note from a son or daughter, understanding what their dad went through, that’s worth a lot,” he said.
He also volunteers for a Vietnam War Book and Film Club Facebook group. This is where people can post book reviews and discuss films.
Goudy devotes from four to eight hours daily to his Facebook groups. He enforces their prospective rules for membership: no cursing, no swearing, no politics, no racial slurs. The history group is strictly for Vietnam War history from 1955-75. The memorial group is for remembrances of veterans who have died since the war. The book/film group is for book reviews and film discussions.
The war history group has more than 34,000 members. The other two groups have 4,000 members apiece.
“It’s all volunteer,” he said of his work. “I feel it’s my way to kind of pay back for the guys who never got home.”
Goudy, 69, was born and raised in Moundsville, West Virginia. When the birthday lottery for the draft happened in December 1969, his birthday came up under 60.
By the end of March 1970, he was in basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He stayed at Fort Knox for advanced individual training for clerical school since he had two years of typing in high school.
After AIT, he had 30-days leave and by late August 1970 he was in South Vietnam. He was put on a C-130, after processing in, and flown to An Khe base camp. The 4th Infantry Division left Pleiku and officially moved to An Khe in 1970. After three days of in-country training, the Soldiers received their duties.
Since he typed well as a “71 Bravo” clerk/typist, Goudy was sent to work at the 4th Infantry Division supply office as one of their two clerk/typists.
The 4th Infantry Division decided to go home in December 1970. Goudy was transferred to the Da Nang support command and assigned to their inspector general’s office as the lone clerk/typist. He extended his yearlong tour two months so he could receive an early-out and not have to do any stateside duty. He left Vietnam in October 1971 and was discharged from the Army.
“Anytime a clerk/typist would see action was if your base was overrun,” he said laughing when asked if he saw combat.
Goudy, who has a bachelor’s in sociology from West Liberty State University in 1977, retired in May 2009 from the disability agency for the state of Ohio after three decades of service. He volunteered at the Nevada Veterans Home in Boulder City, Nevada, before moving to Colorado with his wife of 42 years, Nancy.
Through his Facebook work, he has learned more about the Vietnam War and the services and sacrifices of his fellow veterans and their families.
“I’ve got a lot of friends now that I’ve never met,” he said.
Editor’s note: This is the 255th in a series of articles about Vietnam veterans as the United States commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.