Christopher H. Keuker
March 7, 1940 - December 28, 2015
Christopher H. Keuker passed
away on December 28, 2015 in Englewood, FL. Captain Company A
1/22 Vietnam 1967.
Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart. Was badly wounded in March 14, 1967 battle with BN size force of NVA
and lay in kill zone overnight unable to move until he could be retrieved the next morning.
Chris was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Class of 1962.
At the U.S. Military Academy
Chris graduated number 56 out of a class of 601. He was 1st
Sergeant of Company G2
of 2nd Battalion 2nd Regiment in the Corps of Cadets Organization.
At a future date he will be interred in West Point Cemetery.
Keuker, Christopher Hendrik Mar. 7, 1940 - Dec. 28, 2015
Christopher was born March 7,
1940 in Bombay India. His mother held an American passport, and
his father worked
in Indonesia and at the time held a Dutch passport. The family was in Indonesia when World War II broke out, and Chris,
along with his mother, sister, and two brothers spent the war years in a Japanese internment camp while his father was kept
in another Japanese prison.
After the war, 5 year old Chris
and his family returned to the states. He grew up in the Bronx,
Syracuse and Buffalo New York.
In high school Chris was an honors student with a gift for mathematics and science.
In 1958 he was awarded an appointment to The United States Military at West Point, graduating in 1962 in the top 10 percent of his class.
After graduation Chris completed
Airborne and Ranger training at Ft Benning Georgia and was then
assigned to Panama.
In 1966 Chris deployed to Vietnam with the 4th Infantry Division and was given command of A Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry.
Chris's unit saw sustained and heavy combat in Vietnam's central highlands. On March 14, 1967 Chris was severely wounded leading
his troops in combat. He was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action, the Bronze Star for bravery, and the Purple Heart.
Over a two year period, Chris
was treated for severe wounds in Vietnam, Japan, and the United
In 1969 he retired from the Army as a Captain with full disability.
Over the years Chris has
maintained a positive attitude. He had made known that attending
the 50th reunion of his West Point class
was a 'must do event'. With the help of his West Point classmates, Wounded Warriors and Veterans, family and friends,
Chris and his family in May of 2012 traveled to West Point for the reunion with his classmates.
Chris was a life member of disabled American Veterans. He was also a member of Punta Gorda Masonic Lodge F&AM #115.
Chris is survived by his wife
Dixie, children Dr. Christopher Paul Keuker, and daughter in law
Susan Hart- Keuker of Boston Massachusetts,
daughter Lisa Keuker, of Greenwich Connecticut, and stepson Robert Sewell of Englewood Florida, grandchildren Christiana Barile,
Nicholas Barile, Lester Tuck, Tyler Tuck, great grandchild Luna Harbert, sister Francis Vedder and brother Oscar Keuker.
Chris will be cremated. The
family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to
Wounded Warriors of South Florida
(https://wwofsf.org/donate/) or Disabled American Veterans (https://www.dav.org/). A Memorial Service will be held at
Englewood Masonic Lodge located at 265 Pine Street, Englewood, FL on January 28th at 2 PM.
Burial will be at West Point at a date to be determined.
Chris, from all who loved and
knew you, job 'well done', rest in peace.
Arrangements were made with Englewood Community Funeral Home, Inc.
You may share a memory or express condolences to the family at www.englewoodfh.com - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/heraldtribune/obituary.aspx?pid=177184322#sthash.SUiSADrW.dpuf
From the Herald-Tribune website
Harold Penxa, who served under Chris keuker in A 1/22 Infantry writes:
I feel fortunate to have been
trained by returnees, mostly Beret , Rangers, et al.
Trained to be individuals, not as a "unit". The difference was unsettling at first, but slowly I adjusted to the fact that I would be tested
by my peers. (one man OP at the Oasis) and some other chicken-shit pranks that were part of the bonding process I'm sure.
However when the LT. and "platoon daddy" found out my skill set, They allowed me to do what I was trained to do. I was proud
and happy to get assignments that were "different". I asked John Curb about some of his decisions, as to how I was being utilized,
to which he responded, "I didn't want anyone to get hurt!". When I heard the talk of unrest about Chris's aggressiveness, I knew
that it was our best chance of survival in any given situation, not to mention that I understood our mission: "to close with and
destroy the enemy", period, no doubt, no questions. But I also knew and understood, that as I got "short" those jobs were
passed on to others. There are many men of "Alpha Company" that I would have followed, or led to the rusty assed gates
of hell itself. Chris Keuker was one I certainly would have followed.............
"SamIam" A Co. 1/22 inf, 4th Inf Div. 67-68 "Southeast Asian War Games"
The Sun-Herald newspaper posted the following article about Chris in 2012:
Vets help vet get to West Point
By STEVE REILLY
ENGLEWOOD When a waiter asked Chris Keuker if he wanted a salad with his lunch Friday at La Stanza Ristorante,
Keuker said, The (Japanese) never served us salad.
Not an unexpected response from
a 72-year-old whose earliest memories are of being in a World War
II Japanese internment camp
in Indonesia with his mother, sister and two brothers. All he remembered eating there were meals of bits of chicken in rice with one
loaf of bread that his mother divided up among them. Keuker called it a concentration camp.
Local veterans groups have
closed ranks and raised $3,500 so Keuker can attend his 50th
at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
A Vietnam veteran, Keuker earned a Purple Heart, Silver and Bronze Stars after being severely wounded in 1967.
Representatives of Nam Knights
of America MC-Southwest Florida Chapter, North Port-based AMVETS
Post 312 and
VFW Post 8203 collectively presented Keuker checks for $3,500 that will go toward the $12,000 needed to get him to West Point.
Retired U.S. Army Gen. James
Shelton and Gerson Beltran both members of the Wounded
Warrior Project will be among those
accompanying Keuker on his trip.
Keuker suffers from severe COPD,
a respiratory illness that requires 10 or more liters of oxygen
more than are permitted
on airline flights. Part of the fundraising effort is to rent an RV to drive Keuker to the reunion.
Keukers family lived in
the former Dutch East Indies now Indonesia when the
Japanese invaded. His father, then a
Dutch citizen, was separated from the family and imprisoned in a POW camp. The family remained in camps until
U.S. troops liberated them in 1945.
Relocating to the U.S. after
World War II, Keuker grew up in the Bronx, Syracuse and Buffalo.
He was a top pick
for West Point and joined the Army after graduation, training as a Ranger and paratrooper. He was sent to Vietnam,
serving as a captain in 1967.
When asked why he decided to
attend West Point and joined the Army, Keuker cited his
familys liberation from the
Japanese internment camp.
If it wasnt for the
American military getting us out, I probably would have been dead
by then, he said.
If I was going to be in the military, I might have well tried for the best place West Point.
In Vietnam, Keuker commanded A
Company, First Battalion, 22nd Infantry of the 4th Infantry
After engaging with the North Vietnamese Army, he received a Bronze Star.
A month later on March 14, 1967,
Keuker was shot by a sniper but continued to fight. When
he was found unconscious with seven dead enemy soldiers around him. He suffered wounds to his head.
We thought he was
dead, said John Sanderson, a member of the North Port VFW
who served in the 4th Infantry.
Though he did not personally know Keuker, Sanderson says he knew men who served with him.
Nam Knights Chapter President Bob Woods called Keuker a real hero.
People need to step up, recognize and support heroes like Keuker, he said.
Chris Keuker (center) at the 50th Reunion of his graduating class of the U.S. Military Academy
Chris on the left, his wife Dixie in the center
Biographical sketch of Chris on 1st Battalion website:
Chris Keuker - Japanese POW to 1/22 Company Commander
The official USMA AOG webpage for Chris:
West Point Association of Graduates
You Tube video of Chris at his Class Reunion:
Chris Keuker's 50th West Point Reunion
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