A lot of people don’t know this, but we had 180 nurses in the country who worked with the AID program, many of whom went through extensive language training in Hawaii for a year before serving.
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I think everyone believed what we were doing was right.
The foreign aid program was something I sincerely believed in because we sent our people out to work in the rural hamlets.
Also, I was looking for an adventure, so going to Vietnam served that purpose too. We were trained to win the hearts and minds of the people.
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.
Click here to see a short video of one of her broadcasts.
Click here to see Photos from Bobbie Keith spent most of her childhood abroad.
They’d have movie and popcorn night, which was popular.
And then there was the Pineapple Palace, where all the reporters would come in and you could get the scoop on what was going on in Vietnam.
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.
When Keith left Vietnam for a nearly two-decade career of globetrotting in the service of the State Department, she abandoned any notions of a TV career, but never forgot what she regarded as the greatest honor in her life, bringing a little bit of comfort and home to young men fighting in Vietnam. Every member of my family served in one way or the other in the military, including my mother who was a Navy nurse in World War II.
There was the culture shock and then dysentery—“Ho Chi Minh’s Revenge.” The third week I was there I was out on the balcony when a rocket came in and hit the street.