Don't monkey around with the Air Force

  • Published
  • By Capt. Shannon Mann
  • 916th ARW Public Affairs Office
At some point in our lives we've probably all been told to quit monkeying around, but for Senior Master Sgt. Michael Hartsfield, that was just part of his job here in late January.

In a very unusual twist of events, a privately-owned Japanese snow monkey escaped from her owner in early December after her mate died. The monkey traveled more than 15 miles over a six-week period. Unfortunately for her, the journey came to end when she decided to breach the base's security gates.

"I got a call from security forces one night saying they spotted a monkey on top of billeting," said Sergeant Hartsfield, who is the 916th Air Refueling Wing first sergeant and full-time base pest management technician. "They wanted me to come and get her, but I told them that if they couldn't get close to her then neither could I."

Sergeant Hartsfield worked in conjunction with Tech. Sgt. Tim Edwards, a reservist who works full-time for the active duty host 4th Fighter Wing.

"What we're trying to do, we've got a live trap set," Sergeant Edwards said. "We're getting her used to going in and eating the fruit."

Base officials worked closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help capture the exotic primate. She finally trusted the trap set for her and was captured Jan. 29 after roaming the base for nearly a week.

The monkey was calm during capture even though her presence on base made for some interesting moments, especially since the active-duty wing was going through an operational readiness inspection when she decided to show up, along with the inspector general.

"My husband's call sign is 'monkey,'" said Maj. Wendy Gresis, the 916th ARW executive officer. "They had to change his call sign for the week because people couldn't figure out if they were referring to him or the real monkey."

The monkey was safely returned to her owner and the members of Seymour Johnson AFB are glad to have finished their monkey business.

(Air Force Reserve Command News Service)

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