Arthur the A Troop Mascot
By John Sorich
A Trp 1/11, 69-70
Arthur didnít like the jungle. He was more at home in his ACAV. Our Troop mascot was a monkey whose name was Arthur. His friends called him Art. He wasnít the only pet we had, I believe there was a deaf dog who we called CRation. Arthur was the Boss.
Butch Kopsolias who was my TC when I came into country had purchased Art from some Mama-san about June 1968. The price was $25.00 and a carton of Salem cigarettes. Needless to say, Arthur was raised in a very dysfunctional family, A Troop. He did have some bad habits.
When Butch DEROSíed in April 1969, he gave Art to me and told me to take good care of him. I figured with some kindness, I could make Art a better monkey. He was smart and at the first sound of a round being fired he was down inside and wouldnít come out until the coast was clear. I recall several times during a firefight going down inside to grab another belt of M-60 ammo and there was Art. He would be touching himself in an impure manner and giving me monkey smiles. I donít know where he learned this, must have been those guys in the motor pool. His bad habits made him tough to live with. You could never tell when Art needed to relieve himself until it was too late. Whenever he felt the urge, no matter where he was, watch out! Butch showed me what to do before Art went to bed at night. He grabbed Art around the neck extended his arm so Art was over the outside of the vehicle and shook him and yelled at him so he literally scared the crap out of him, then he was usually good for the night.
Art loved to sleep with me, usually draped around my neck making me hot and sweaty. He really liked Top!! Ed Tinney was our Top. He would call Art and Art would go running and climb up on Top until he was holding both of Topís ears. At this point Art would do something to the back of Tops neck that really showed his lack of military protocol. Top would just grab Art and give him some jellybeans, which would ensure similar behavior again. There were times when Art would assert his dominance over other pets in the Troop. Each day when we cleaned our weapons on the front of our vehicles, Art would sit there and watch. Sometimes less savvy pet monkeys were introduced to Art. Once a nice looking girl monkey was brought over to meet him. He was smaller than she was and she flat punched him out and didnít show him any respect considering his time in grade. He got even by showing her how hard core he really was. He drank Diesel fuel and ate C-4. She followed and that was the end of her.
Once I remember that we had just made our NDP for the night and they were bringing in chow. Do you remember how hard it was to walk to the chow line get your food and try not to spill it as you tippee toed through the mashed down tangle of jungle? Dave Sherwood had just gotten back to his
track and not lost too much food only to remember that he had forgotten his kool-aid. He put his plate down and went back to get it. When he returned Art was sitting in his mashed potatoes eating his peas. Dave grabbed Art around the neck and started to scream at him, well you know what happened!! This was not the first time Art had done this to Dave. Dave being short, and wanting to even the score, did to Art what Art had just done to him. You can see why teaching Art good habits were so tough. He was always tearing up things like cigarettes and unread letters. So whenever you took him anywhere, people would be on alert. He could tell who liked him and who did not. Sometimes someone would get him going by slapping him and then pointing to someone else and saying ď he did it ArtĒ, where as Art would lower his ears and pounce on the innocent victim. By the way he could BITE!
He possibly was the longest lasting pet we had. When I left in January of 1970, I gave him to Dennis Cedarquist. He hated baths and getting cleaned up. The photo above was taken in April 1969 when we were by a river for a few days waiting for reinforcements. Every day we took a bath, he hated it. The photo appeared in the Stars And Stripes on May 18 1969. He also fit just fine in a steel pot, which we used to bathe him in. He was true to the Troop to the end, he was always there. No R&R. no DEROS, no shaming in the rear........ just the battlefield for him. Alas, Art may have met his demise at the hands of some hungry ARVN soldiers. Dennis Cedarquist said the last he saw of
him was after coming back from Cambodia. He was last seen going down the road in an ARVN duce & a half the wind blowing through his hair as he rode on top of the cab. Sin- loi Art! He was a great pet and we had many a laugh at his expense and he took our minds to gentler times. Thanks, Art.