Monkey BUsiness!


by: Dave C. D. Stedman
G3 (Contractor-BSC) (PKI)
© 2004

While in Vietnam in 1970
my platoon was setting up for the night and I had a couple of the guys go back to a trail we had crossed earlier to set up a "mechanical" ambush (Claymore mine attached to a trip wire and battery, essentially a booby-trap). They no sooner arrived back at our perimeter when the Claymore blew! We thought that a VC or NVA soldier had walked into the ambush.

I sent out a squad to check on it and they found nothing. We reset the mechanical and about ten minutes later it blew again! I was determined to find out what was happening so I sent out a squad to set the mechanical and then observe the area. About ten minutes later (as they told the story later) a monkey came down the trail, walking upright most of the time. He approached the trip wire, sniffed at it, and then threw a tantrum ... screaming as he went up and down the trees. He calmed down, found a stick near the mechanical, climbed up in the tree, and threw the stick down at the tripwire. After two or three attempts he was successful, blowing another Claymore ambush.

I have always loved monkeys but this one almost wore out his welcome. I am convinced he had previously experienced the wrath of a mechanical ambush firsthand and knew exactly what he was doing.

Dave C. D. Stedman

Vietnam Veterans' War Stories!