21 June, 2008

Charms Candy Curse

Fruit Flavors of Evil?? Candy of the Devil??

I cannot find the origin of the curse. I try, but like any other curse or urban legend, the exact point of origin is always unclear.

Charms hard candy has been part of the field rations going back to World War II with some interruption. They still include them in current MREs and are encountered even today. Thankfully they only appear on one or two meal choices.

Some of my personnel here (in Iraq) heard the curse started sometime during the Gulf War in 1991.

Apparently eating the candy or even keeping the candy in ones possession would lead to the kind of bad luck you do not want in a combat zone.

There's anecdotal tales of people getting hit, and even killed for keeping the candy and eating it.

I always threw mine away. I do not like hard candy at all and never liked Charms in particular. So I guess I steered clear of the "curse" without knowing it.

There's a Marine Corps warrant officer here at Al Asad who said at MCRD "Boot Camp" back in the day that charms were considered bad luck back in 1987.

In a profession where dangerous conditions are the norm, it makes sense on a sociological level. Any group of people exposed to elevated levels of danger on a day to day basis would name an item as "unlucky" to explain bad happenings.

and I thought sailors were the superstitious............

Listening To:
Girls Against Boys "Park Avenue"
Preston School Of Industry "Falling Away"
Six Finger Satellite "Simian Fever"
The Hives "Walk Idiot Walk"
The Cardigans "Erase And Rewind"
The Call "The Walls Came Down"


Anonymous said...

Hi there. I went through MCRD San Diego in 1986 and served in the FMF (3/2) until 1990. Back then, there was no candy inside MREs aside from two little minty green pseudo-'Chicklets' packed up with the napkins and the random chocolate cookie bar or chocolate 'Ex-Lax' squares. The addition of commercial candy came in a later revision of MREs at the tail end of my service, but I don't remember any Charms®. I seem to recall Skittles and M&Ms, usually smashed up pretty good.

Of course, like everything else, the gear and TOE of my time has fallen into ancient history. I'm sure that everything has since changed down to the tiniest detail.

Semper Fi to anyone who may stumble across this post.

Anonymous said...

It's in the book and HBO movie "Generation Kill" too, the marines are always trying to get rid of Charms so they won't have bad luck. I was wondering what they looked like and found your blog.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update on Charms! I live in Sweden and "Generation Kill" just aired over here. Really good show and interesting to know more about the war in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

I served in peace time with 1/4 from 1996 to 2000 and we would get thrashed by our NCOs if we ever ate a Charm while out in the field. Because it would supposed to rain if you ate a Charm. I had a brother in 29 Palms during the same time and it was believed over there as well. Now when I went to Iraq in 2004 it changed from rain to bad luck in combat.
I always did wonder where it originated from.
And loved Generation Kill! It had those little details only Marines would understand like the Charms and everyone having Skittles!

Dirtsailor said...

Not just Marines, the superstition is among Navy personnel as well....I got so sick of skittles I cant even look at them now!

Anonymous said...

I heard of the charms thing from one of the recruiters. I am not a marine yet, but they said if you ever find charms in an mre just throw them away. They said they are just pure bad luck.

Dirtsailor said...

They pretty much have been eliminated from the MREs made now, but some are still out there lurking.