Marcophiles: WW II tale – Monkeying around, on board and off

CHRIS CURLE
Submitted Marcophiles
This monkey was so popular aboard a US warship during World War II that the captain of the destroyer backed up the ship so a sailor could save the overboard monkey.

Submitted Marcophiles This monkey was so popular aboard a US warship during World War II that the captain of the destroyer backed up the ship so a sailor could save the overboard monkey.

Submitted Marcophiles
Anthony "Bud" Lamendola, a 32-year resident of Isles of Capri, shown here during his duty on a US Destroyer in the South Pacific in World War II. 

Bud and other Marco area vets loaned their military memorabilia for the exhibit at Iberia Bank.

Submitted Marcophiles Anthony "Bud" Lamendola, a 32-year resident of Isles of Capri, shown here during his duty on a US Destroyer in the South Pacific in World War II. Bud and other Marco area vets loaned their military memorabilia for the exhibit at Iberia Bank.

So this monkey jumps on a dog’s back, misses, and ends up in the South Pacific ocean during World War II.

It’s not a first line to a joke; it is a photo on display at Iberia Bank and has a funny tale to go with it, courtesy of WW II veteran Anthony “Bud” Lamendola. More on the monkey and the dog in a war zone in a moment.

Bud and his wife Ruth have lived on Isles of Capri for 32 years. Bud served his country in the U.S. Navy during WW II on a destroyer, the USS Robinson. He has a lot of memories of those fateful times and is among several Marco area vets who are contributing their military memorabilia for an outstanding display, open to the public at Iberia Bank.

It’s the brainchild of Iberia’s VP and Marco branch manager Keith Dameron.

“The display will be open to the public, for everyone who stops by the bank to honor and pay tribute to those who made and are making our freedom possible,” Keith says.

“VFW Commander Lee Rubenstein will announce at Marco Cemetery ceremony on Memorial Day that Iberia Bank will be open from the conclusion of the ceremony until 3 p.m. so everyone can come to the bank, see the exhibit and enjoy free refreshments.”

That observance at the cemetery begins at 11 and is scheduled for about an hour. We asked Keith about what visitors to the exhibit will see if they go to the bank after the ceremonies.

“We’ve received mementos from generous veterans here from their service in conflicts going back to World War II. To add a spectacular backdrop, these valuable and personal military memory makers will be surrounded by 20 Presidential American flags.

“The display will be open to the public through Iberia Bank’s next ‘Shred Party’, on Saturday, June 18.”

Now, about that monkey on board the American warship USS Robinson, in the South Pacific during the war against Japan. As Bud tells it:

“Our bosun (boatswain) first class picked up the monkey off one of the islands and brought it aboard to make it a pet. We also had a dog on the boat as a pet.

“The monkey – the sailors called it Damian – used to like to ride on the back of the dog but the dog didn’t like it so, whenever the monkey would get a chance it would jump on the dog’s back. Of course the dog would try to shake him off.

“One day the monkey was running to jump on the dog’s back and the dog scooted out of the way and the monkey went overboard. As the monkey swam around, the bosun’s mate convinced the ship’s captain to back up the ship.

“The bosun jumped overboard got the monkey and climbed back aboard. That was the story of the monkey. I don’t know what happened to the dog.”

The monkey lives on in Bud’s photos on display at Iberia Bank.

Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail chris@chriscurle.com.

Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: don@donfarmer.com.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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