KEITH "TURNKEY" BROWN--Death of a Friend

Keith Brown died August 18, 1997, of an apparent heart attack. He served his country in Vietnam, 1970-72, in the Air Force and was known as "Turnkey" or simply "TK" to his friends. Keith was born on November 18, 1950.

Keith was a former Squad Leader for the "Vietnam Veterans Home Page" Web Site in the "Veterans Organizations and Support Groups" main section. He also started a List of E-mail addresses for the "VietnamVets" IRC channel on EFnet, for a time, to notify its members when we were "open" and give them a hearty "Drop on by!" or to notify us all if someone *needed* to chat, so we could give them support.

His gal Reggie, or "Green Eyes" (GE) as he loved to call her, let his friends know in Cyberspace of his death.

Below are two poems that Keith emailed to me at different times, plus a later post helping a brother as he was quick to do. I think finding "Family," as on the VVHP and the IRC channel, and Reggie and the VA, helped, as his "enthusiasm" and "tone" seemed to change for the better. I've also included some emails, uncut, that have been sent to me since Keith's passing. When more arrive, I will add and upload the new file.

As of this writing, I still have not removed Keith from my email lists. For some reason, when I mail out to folks, it never occurs to me to do so. I guess they will just stack up in his account...unread. I probably should delete his email address...but I can't...just yet.

This is a sad time for the VVHP.


For any comments, please email to:

This is a poem that I wrote after my first trip to the wall in July, 1992.



In the darkness of the night,
we walked alone in our thoughts.

I stopped not to gaze upon Lincoln
in his magnificent chair, but
to catch my breath and wipe a tear.

Continuing down the dark walk,
venders selling their wares to my right,
onward we walked, alone in the night.

Three men, standing tall and proud,
the guns in their hands silent...but loud.
Farther I walked, through the valley of names.

I stopped, unable to see ahead.
I swallowed my fears, to the left I steered.
Three names I saw, two were friends,
one, his father I'd met.

Years of pain flooded in my brain,
the laughs, the crys of silence in my mind.
What do I do?
Twenty-two years of bitter memories flash.
Trying to maintain control, failing momentarily.

Silence is heard except for one demented woman
talking trash about all around her.
She angered me. What right does she have to complain?
As she lives, unlike the many names who so sadly
reflect the pain of thousands.

Death means peace to those who are there.
Living means hell, agony, yet...
To enjoy the next sunrise as they may not.

Move on -- breathe the breath of life
and remember the dead as they would have
if they were the ones who were
doing the same as I.

copyright © July 1992 by Keith Brown, all rights reserved

This is something that I wrote in 9/94...


What is PTSD? Not having feelings that show, even to yourself. A self medicator. A person who wants to be in control. A person who lacks control. Trying to cope with yourself. Trying to cope with others. Knows the true meaning of "trust." Knows the true meaning of "Betrayal." Laughing at stupid things. Laughing at nothing. Being steadfast at beliefs. Being steadfast at nothing. Being a successful person. Being a drop out. An expert at "faking" it. Being well-to-do. Being poor. Being happy on the surface. Hating everything, including yourself. Caring for everyone, except yourself. Not caring for anything. Never can cry. Being alone. Being alone, even with family and friends. Staying in your cave. And the cave never ends while you're alone.

copyright © September 1994 by Keith Brown, all rights reserved

On Wed, 10 Apr 1996, Deanna Shlee wrote:

Hi, Bill. Thanks for sharing all this with us. I've copied the VVHP
Platoon, who certainly understand, and are now your support group.



Hello Bill...... Welcome HOME!

As Deanna told you, I am kinda ramrodding the IRC (internet relay chat, which is a real-time chat area). We would really enjoy having you drop by and BS with us. The topics are varied...some funny...some not; and there is a mixture of all kinds of people hanging out there--NamVets, active Military vets, civilians, college kids, a guy that is active duty with the Canadian military, an Aussie, and many more!

If you would like me to add your name to the "notice list," please let me know. If you already have software, connect to one of the EFIN servers. Once connected, type /j #vietnamvets in the status box; and if anyone is there, talk (type) away! If you have a PC and don't have IRC software, let me know; and I'll gladly send you a copy of the latest MIRC software (which is freeware, btw).

As to the hearing voices, screams, crying, etc...I can identify real quick with that got to the point that I HAD to do something. I have been in counseling for PTSD for the past 3 years...a VA outreach program. Well, to make a long story short, I went to the VA --- told them my problem and they have been trying to help...they even treated me like a real person. :-)

Drop me a line, Bill ... feel free to email me -- get us on the IRC ... whatever you feel like, and I'll return the message as soon as I can. (I'm on mostly in the eves.)

Take care, bro; and, again...WELCOME HOME!

(Turnkey on the IRC, WEBPHONE, POWWOW, and most other things!)

On Tue, 19 Aug 1997, Lynn McMillen wrote:

Dee, hon, Did you get this?


I know that Keith Brown (Turnkey) has been a member of this list for many
years...sometimes active and sometimes not so active. He has also
attended several get-togethers and managed to meet many of you in person
over the years.

I'm writing to let you know that Keith passed away this morning...
apparently from a heart attack.

I know he would want those of you who knew and loved him to know.

(his FL peach)


This is a shock!!! Thanks for letting us know, Lynn.

Reggie, thanks for sending this out. That must have been difficult at this time. Keith used to call me now and then, and we would talk for an hour or more. He never failed to include you in a large part of each much he loved you and how much you had filled his life for the better.

Some of those on this List, me included, met Keith at Ray Bruder's home in Pittsburgh for a reunion that Ray was so gracious to open his home to. I stayed at Ray's home and remember Keith driving up in his motor home that he was so proud of. He parked outside Ray's home and "plugged in" and took us for a "tour" of his vehicle...that's where he slept at night for the duration of the reunion. We all had some great fellowship together.

I speak of these things now because he lived a life we should talk of...he was always kind and gentle and served his country in time of war. He struggled with his demons from that war...but he kept going, kept working, and was there if we needed him.

Well done, Warrior! We will miss you...temporarily. I know you Walk Point for us.



On Wed, 20 Aug 1997, Ray Bruder wrote:


Feel free to share this with your lists. I feel sick. I was on a chat line yesterday, and TK was a topic of conversation. I was talking with another who had met TK, and we discussed his never-ending great personality, his bear hugs, and his big grins.

I will miss him dearly. Although we were only able to get together a few times, I considered him a close friend. He had to deal with his demons and did it without worrying what others thought. He was always glad to talk with anyone and try to help them best he could. He has found peace, and for that I can be happy. I regret never having the chance to meet GE (Reggie). He was so proud of her and loved her with all his heart. I will pray for the both of them.

Ray Bruder


On Wed, 20 Aug 1997, Tim Duffie wrote:


One of the problems with keeping a "roster" or "e-mail list" of our veteran friends is what to do when one of them dies. I was confronted with this recently on the CAP Web Site "Lost & Found." When we actually located the family of one of them, we found that he had died this past June. Since I had stolen that listing from Bill's "Lost & Found," I notified him.

We both had the same problem. What do you do? Do you hi-lite the name, hit the "delete" button, and let them vanish off into cyber-space? That seems rather final, not to mention cruel and heartless. I found that I could not do that.

I recently posted a "Net Vets" listing of all those Vietnam Veteran e-mail addresses I have accumulated over the past few years. Keith was listed under the "Air Force" section. Please go to:

and see how I dealt with his passing.

Tim Duffie
ICQ #2353499


On Wed, 20 Aug 1997, Jim Kelley (Texas Jim) wrote:

Deanna, I just got home from travel and must have missed earlier posts. Please tell me what happened!!! I can't believe it!!

Keith and I talked many times over the phone and became quite close. Maybe you are aware that I arranged for Keith to give Sonny space on his virtual server.

This really blows me away. Please give me the details and an address of where I can send a card or flowers. What is the name of his lady from Florida?



On Thu, 21 Aug 1997, Cheryl Hoffman wrote:

Dear Kelley,

Thank you for letting me know about Keith. I can't believe it. I talked with him just a few months ago, and he had me laughing as usual. I still owed him a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I feel so bad for Reggie. Keith loved her dearly and always talked about her. I know he leaves behind many, many close friends.

Love to you,


On Thu, 21 Aug 1997, Jim Schueckler wrote:

Does anybody have Reggie's snail-mail address? I want to send her a condolence note.



On 21 Aug 1997, Charles B. Wilber wrote:

--- Deanna Shlee wrote:

Duffie, that's beautiful! I had to send it on to the Lists for them to
view the URL also.
--- end of quoted material ---

I agree, Deanna. I just visited the site. It's perfect.

Charlie Wilber


On Thu, 21 Aug 1997, Judee Strott wrote:

Jerry and I are devastated over Keith's death...we had been talking with him about DC for Veterans Day.

Keith was a terrific fellow...talked with him via phone many times and met him in DC where we all exchanged real hugs for the virtual ones we had been sending...

Two in one year...McMike and Keith...gone, but not forgotten...

Hugs and GB,
Judee and Jerry

Always remember...*never* forget.


On Tue, 26 Aug 1997, Joseph Amant wrote:

Subject: TAPS--Keith

Hi Deanna:

I just saw your posting concerning Keith. Like many others, I was shocked when I heard the news.

While talking to Keith on irc about a month ago, he told me he was going to Philly for the weekend and suggested that maybe we could get together on his return trip (I live about 50 mi. north of Philly). I gave him directions to a local restaurant where we met for lunch on a Sunday afternoon and spent about an hour talking.

That was the first time I met Keith in person and, of course, the last time I saw him. I guess it is still hard to believe - I still watch for TurnKey to come into the channel. I won't forget his smile and wave as we parted ways, leaving the restaurant.

Joe Amant

In remembering, Keith remains with us, not in body but in spirit...the essence of what he was to us.


Revised 8-31-97 DGS

NOTE: This page was removed from the Vietnam Veterans Home Page in 2005 when they moved their website. It has been retreived from the Wayback Machine and reposted on this website in tribute to Keith.