More detail on this person: Keith truly was one of the good guys. He loved his family, his friends and his Lancer Brothers from Vietnam. We are here to share our stories and to pay loving tribute to his memory. Keith was born in Seattle, Washington on Friday, June 3, 1949, to William and Amy Boyd. He had three sisters, one older (Nancy) and two younger (Charlene and Barb). He, along with his family, lived his entire life in the family home on Sycamore Street in the Phinney Ridge area of Seattle. While growing up, Keith generally had a Seattle Post Intelligencer paper route which required that he get to the "shack" by 4:00 a.m. to pick up and deliver the newspapers. For those of you who know Keith's sleeping habits, know that getting up at 4:00 a.m. and Keith did not go hand in hand. His dog, Pepsi, and his sister, Barb, often accompanied him on the route. He had a few more grown up jobs in high school followed by working as a substitute carrier for the Post Office. Keith was a "spirited" high schooler giving his parents a run for their money. On the plus side, he enjoyed working on cars, especially working with his friend, Richard Claus, on an old Henry J classic. Keith graduated from Lincoln High School in 1967 during the peak of the country's involvement in Vietnam. Keith, along with all the other male high school graduates, was given a draft number. Keith's number was low, and he decided to choose his own branch and job in the military rather than wait for his draft number to be called. Keith decided that he wanted to fly helicopters for the Army. Following basic training and flight school, on January 26, 1970, at Fort Rucker, Alabama, Keith was appointed as an Army Warrant Officer. His dad proudly attended his graduation. A photo of that day is in our program today. Like all pilots of that era, Keith was sent to Vietnam. He flew for the B Co, 158th Aviation Battalion "The Lancers" of the 101st Airborne, an assault helicopter unit. He served in Vietnam from March 3, 1970 to March 1, 1971. On June 6, 1970, while in Vietnam, he was awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross. For some reason, Keith never thought that he deserved the award and was a bit embarrassed that he received it, but the commendation reads otherwise and says that while on a routine combat assault, Keith's helicopter came under intense enemy ground fire. There was a group of "friendly forces" already on the ground in danger of being overrun. Realizing the need for an immediate extraction, Keith returned to the landing, disregarding the hostile weapons and flew them to safety. After his tour in Vietnam, Keith, like all the active duty warrant officer aviators, was granted early leave from the Army. So, after serving the one year in Vietnam, Keith returned to Seattle and to his job at the US Postal Service. Unfortunately, those close to Keith know that he returned with scars from Vietnam and anxiety that he would eventually learn to live with. In 1975, Keith's son, Justin, now 46 years old, was born. Keith loved golf and began taking Justin golfing at age 3. He had special short clubs made for Justin. Keith told us that almost as early, Justin learned how to operate the golf cart. Keith loved to golf with Justin, but confessed early in Justin's life, that Justin had become the superior player. While working for the post office, Keith went back to school, eventually completing his BA in accounting at Central Washington University in 1986. After his dad passed away in 2001, Keith stepped into his mother's life in a big way. He hung out at the family home to be nearby just in case his mother needed something. His mom lost her sight in about 2004, and Keith helped even more. He loved to have coffee and dessert with his mom and her caregivers - who also loved Keith. When not visiting inside the house, Keith worked outside in the yard which, by the way, never looked better thanks to Keith. On October 15, 2005, Keith married Imsuk Yi in a wedding officiated aboard the yacht Match Matcher by Keith's lifelong friend and boat captain, Ralph Hammersborg. Since their marriage 15 years ago, Keith and Imsuk have lived in a townhouse in Lynnwood, Washington. Keith loved Imsuk and her entire family. Keith, who always loved driving, especially enjoyed driving "the girls" (Imsuk and her 3 sisters) wherever they might want to go. Keith considered himself a salmon and fish and chips expert. There was always a restaurant that Keith considered to have the best salmon or the best fish and chips. One sub-par meal, and that restaurant was booted from the top spot. Most recently, Ivar's had returned as his favorite place for Fish & Chips and The Claim Jumper for salmon. Being a Boyd, the dessert was just as important as the meal. Barb remembers fondly that Keith would sometimes call on short notice and ask if she'd to go with him to "Free Pie Wednesday" at Shari's Restaurant near his home. Who knew that there really is something free? In addition to eating out, Keith loved to play golf and watch the Seahawks and often combined the three at a local golf course. When he physically had to give up golf, Keith still went out to eat at Billy Baroo's at Foster Golf Course, especially when the Seahawks were playing, generally with his good friend, Carl Cundari, and Justin. Keith typically ordered the salmon. Keith carried psychological trauma with him for his post-Vietnam lifetime. On top of that, his physical health began to take a downward turn. With his perseverance and Imsuk's wonderful care, Keith continued to move forward despite numerous complications and hospitalizations. He just refused to give up. Even while on oxygen, he regularly went to the Alderwood Mall to exercise and to have fish and chips at Anthony's (until it fell from his favor) and then at the Blazing Onion. It was no easy thing for him to get in and out of his car with his walker and oxygen tank, but he did it regularly. When that no longer was possible, Imsuk began driving him places and to his appointments. Justin stepped up in a big way as well and even installed chair lifts for Keith in their townhouse. Keith truly was one of the good guys. He was a devoted and loving son, father, husband, brother and friend. He was proud of everyone close to him and thought of others above himself. He especially loved Imsuk and Justin. We will all miss him.
This information was last updated 10/25/2020
Please send additions or corrections to: HQ@vhpa.org VHPA Headquarters
Return to the Helicopter Pilot DAT name list
Return to VHPA web site
Date posted on this site: 06/10/2022
Copyright © 1998 - 2022 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association