From YANK Magazine

FORT BRAGG, N.C.—COs have become accustomed to unusual requests for emergency furloughs that not even a demand from a GI for five days to attend a conference with his publisher excites them anymore. But S/Sgt. Nick James, a mess sergeant for a headquarters company in the 100th Division came up with a new one here. He walked in to his CO with a special delivery request from the Barrett Park Zoo, Staten Island, N.Y., to go there at once at the zoo’s expense—to pacify a chimpanzee.

100th division sergeant animal trainer chimpanzee

Circusman S/Sgt. Nick James and his pal Sammy

With 22 years of circus, zoo and stage experience to his credit, Nick has trained more than 700 animals in his day; he was with Ringling Bros. for 11 years and before he came into the Army he had his own animal farm on Long Island, N.Y. When he donned khaki, he turned over to the zoo on Staten Island a 9-year-old chimpanzee named Sammy sent to him as a baby by Frank (Bring ‘Em Back Alive) Buck.

Recently, when the zoo people set about to paint Sammy’s cage, the chimp insisted on having a brush. The keeper, unaware that Nick used to keep Sammy happy by giving him a brush and a pail of water, refused to cater to his artistic complex. The chimp then went into such a rage that he tore two steel bars out of the ceiling of the cage. He wouldn’t let anyone go near him, and he was too smart to fall for the trap when they placed a box at the mouth of his cage and baited it with his favorite sweets.

Sgt. James was granted his emergency furlough. He visited Sammy at the zoo. Sammy, after a few friendly nips, calmed down and came out of the cage for his former master. The paining was finished and Nick returned to duty.

For More on the 100th Infantry Division Check Out:

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