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Walt Hardester

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Cuddles And The Monkey
By Walt Hardester
Posted: Thursday, May 05, 2011
Last edited: Friday, May 06, 2011
This short story is rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent stories by Walt Hardester
· Almost Busted
· Who to Believe?
· She Told Me To Do It
· Five Minutes Of Fame
· Papa There's A Big Fish
· A Steamboat Springs Nightmare
· I Wonder If He Even Realized
           >> View all 67
Memories That Make Me Smile
In Viet-Nam a lot of the units had pets, or mascots. There were all kinds of dogs, more than a few monkeys, and some Iguanas here and there.
Now cats on the other hand, I never saw one the whole time I was “In Country.”
I know the reason for this, but I won’t go there. I’m sure you can figure it out for yourselves.

One door gunner had a pet monkey named Charlie Dew. The gunner was a little strange, like most of us had to be to cope. When he flew he wore a white scarf and a WW-I type leather flight helmet. It should come as no surprise that his monkey would ride on his shoulder when he flew Med-Evac missions. Charlie had a pretty much free reign around the flight crew’s hooch and he had a peculiar penchant for eating the wicks out of Zippo lighters. Pretty much everyone had one, so every now and then you could hear somebody cussing Charlie for de-wicking their lighter. People would look at each other and say, “Charlie strikes again.”

Charlie sustained a minor injury one night during a rocket attack and everyone felt Charlie deserved some sort of recognition for his injury sustained under fire. I don’t know if he ever actually got one, but I do know that paperwork was done and Private Charles E. Dew was recommended for a Purple Heart.

The mascot dog at the Headquarters Co. 15th Medical Battalion was named Cuddles, a mutt so ugly she was cute. Deaf in one ear, when she was listening for something she would turn her head so the one good ear was straight up. When you called her, she would always look at you sideways. Cuddles was loved and well fed by the guys, and like Charlie, she was welcomed in all the hooches.

Cuddles had a penchant like Charlie, but Cuddles didn’t go after wicks. Cuddles was a drug dog before there were drug dogs. She would sniff out unsecured stashes and eat all she could. Most times it was only a small amount and she would just be a little slow for a while. But on one particular occasion she found a Mother Lode. The theft was discovered too late by the owner, so there wasn’t much to do but keep an eye on her. Cuddles laid out on some sandbags and didn’t move for almost three days, except to tilt her head and drink water sideways.
There is another story about a Great Dane and a Boom-Boom girl, but I’ll save that one for another time.

©2011 Walt Hardester


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Reviewed by CJ Heck 5/30/2011
Welcome Home, Walt. My hat is off to you for your service, especially today, Memorial Day. I would like to invite you to write something, anything you would like to talk about, for my Memoirs From Nam blog ( It's dedicated to Vietnam veterans. You can sent it to me at "
My warmest regards and respect,
Reviewed by Karen Vanderlaan 5/5/2011
wonderful remembering-thank you for your service!
Reviewed by J Howard 5/5/2011
i may have gotten a little lost along the way, but what wonderful memories for you to share. thank you for sharing something of a most difficult time that was indeed a wonderful story- how proud i am to be American-thanks to YOU.
thank YOU>
Reviewed by Jon Willey 5/5/2011
Vietnam, a hard place to exist for any living thing during that era Walt. Charley Dew and Cuddles, pets with peculiar habits in a peculiar place in a time of grief and strife for America's heroes. We can add them to the list of those that somehow endured. I bid you love and peace my dear friend. Jon Michael

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