General William M. KEYS

MY FIRST GUNS: I’ve always been around guns as long…

MY FIRST GUNS: I’ve always been around guns as long as I can remember. My family was small-town farm people from Pennsylvania and we always had guns around the house. My first gun was a single-shot .410 shotgun when I was eight. My first rifle was a Marlin clip-fed .22. The gun I hunted with the most was an old double-barreled LeFever shotgun. When I got in the Marine Corps, I qualified with the M1, M14 and later with the M16.

MY MENTORS: I had it great growing up. My mother and father’s families were very influential. Guns were guns, and I was just simply taught how to use them properly.

BIGGEST LIFE CHANGER: Becoming a company commander in Vietnam with a bunch of young Marines. They never let you down. They were great to work with and they gave it their all. That was a real honor. That was the most intense and meaningful adventure of my life. Even though I went way past that rank and on to Lt. General, that particular evolution, in combat with those Marines, was the most significant thing I did in my life.

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