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Many have asked me how I came about the nickname of MadMonk. Well, as Paul Harvey would put it, “and here’s the rest of the story”.

The story actually begins back in 1967 at Ft. Campbell, KY. We were undergoing some rather intensive training in preparation of joining our 1st Brigade in the war in Vietnam. My unit was E Company-Recon, 1st Battalion of the 501st Infantry Airborne, 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. day during this rather intensive training I mentioned (which was quite near the time we were to be deployed to Vietnam) it sort of came to me that, even as short as it was, my having very blond, almost platinum colored hair in a combat situation was most definitely not an ideal condition. So I lathered up my head and shaved it completely bald.

This didn’t seem to sit very well with my leadership at the time and I caught a bit of hell for it, however, it made perfect sense to me as it seemed that the best way to survive in any firefight was not to present any well defined target. I mean, if I were to somehow lose my headgear during a firefight what better target than this bright white globe popping up from cover to shoot at you? Right?

Now...after deployment to Vietnam I maintained this “close haircut” look for some time and during one of our very early missions somewhere in a dense jungle type area (damned if I know where) we ran across this old, old abandoned Buddhist pagoda where I happened to find this very old and very large (2" to 2 ˝" diameter) bronze coin with a square hole in the center of it. I thought it to be a real unique find and I was so enamored with it that although it was badly tarnished I managed to scare up some leather thong and craft the coin into a necklace which I wore from then on.

Okay...So jumping ahead in the story, there this grunt in one of the line companies (A Co. 1/501 I believe) named Mike Sharp. He was a rather plain looking fellow with glasses that hailed from somewhere in Michigan and he went by the nickname “The Hippie”. He had a peace symbol drawn on his helmet cover and a large pewter peace symbol necklace around his neck. Don’t let this fool you as this guy was a hellion and I was convinced that he was at times quite insane. He was awarded a number of medals including the Silver Star and was promoted quite rapidly to the rank of Staff Sgt. E-6.

In our capacity as a Recon Platoon we were called on quite often to assist various line companies which frequently included the unit he was with and as I became more familiar with this crazy bastard he began calling me “The Monk” due to my shaved head and my old coin necklace.

As our tenure in beautiful Southeast Asia progressed and his reputation compounded I began calling him “The Mad Hippie” due to the role he played in a number of rather controversial incidences. Not long thereafter he reciprocated by calling me “The Mad Monk” and the nickname has stuck ever since. So now you know “the rest of the story” except I intentionally left out the particular incidences that instigated each of us to call the other “Mad”. I prefer to keep that little bit of the story unpublished, okay?

I will, however, tell one side light to the story that I can’t really say surely happened or not. I heard a report that Mike Sharp after returning home to Michigan I guess really couldn’t handle the transition from one minute being a “hero” to the next minute being a “mother-raper and baby-killer” so one day he lost it and pulled a combat assault on the neighborhood gas station/convenience store which only succeeded in his earning some time in the “cuckoo’s nest”. A truly sad epilog on the story of an average American boy that was radically changed by the Vietnam War.

Michael “MadMonk” Bradshaw, Sgt. E-5
E Co.-Recon, 1st/501st Inf.
R.V.N.-Dec. 1967 to Dec. 1968