Bozho (Hello),

I have decided to make this CPN Veterans Organization report on the lighter side for a change. All U.S. Military personnel and veterans, including me, are haunted by superstitions. Superstitions are found in every unit, from the battalion headquarters down to the fire team, the chief’s mess to the flight line, or the cockpit of a fighter jet to the depths of a nuclear silo. Some are rooted in military history, and others are born from a series of unfortunate events. Something is always happening to someone. That’s life. A survey of military personnel and veterans revealed what superstitions service members carried with them while serving or even after leaving the service. Some are very interesting.

One of the best-known superstitions is that tankers will not allow apricots in their tanks. This belief is prevalent throughout any armor profession in the military, including U.S. Marine Corps amphibious landing vehicles. Having that devilish fruit on board is believed to cause equipment failures, or even death.

Sometime in 1985, a superstition was started about not having a spoon with your M.R.E.s (Meals Ready to Eat) leading to bad things happening. A year later during a training static line parachute drop, one of the guys had no spoon in his M.R.E. and he broke his leg on the jump. Ever since that jump, the M.R.E. spoon is a superstition.

Another strange superstition has to do with the opening of a can of Dr. Pepper within the Base Defense Operation Center. If someone opens a can of Dr. Pepper in the BDOC, then bad stuff begins to happen. Everything on base can be quiet and peaceful, but a person opens that can of soda and the whole base goes crazy with nonstop 911 calls. Crazy and stupid stuff begins to happen. It’s a superstition that reverberates throughout the Military Security Forces.

The Coast Guard has a banana superstition. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, bananas were one of the foods rumored to help, because of their high vitamin B6 content. A boat’s chief culinary specialist brought bananas along on a patrol for the crew’s welfare. Sailors are superstitious that having bananas on board before getting underway and while underway is bad luck. Either the patrol can be extended, or the ship will experience an unexpected equipment failure. Well, the boats patrol got extended by double. But this superstition is not limited to the Coast Guard; the U.S. Navy recognizes it as well. This superstition dates back to the early 1700s. Sailers back then didn’t realize the bananas would break down and release a gas that made them ripen faster and they could break down into alcohol, creating a fire hazard that plagued ships. Wow, and I love bananas.

The Airborne Divisions have a beret superstition. A paratrooper’s beret is his “good-luck” charm. If the paratrooper is in uniform, they must have their beret with them, either wearing it or carrying it on their person. Not having it on your person is “bad luck.”

Another superstition in the military is “never curse the rain-god” three times. It will bring on a downpour. There are times when this might be a good thing.

There is a very strange superstition about M.R.E. applesauce. Eating the applesauce that comes in the M.R.E.s is bad luck. Every time someone in your team eats the M.R.E. applesauce, equipment will malfunction, or someone will be injured. I love applesauce, too, and I’ve eaten it from an M.R.E. That could explain a few things.

What superstitions do you know of? Or have?

Migwetch (Thank you).

Remember, our monthly meeting of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Veterans Organization is the fourth Tuesday of each month, May 28 (unless otherwise notified due to weather or conflicting events) at 6 p.m. (or as soon as you can get there) in the North Reunion Hall on the CPN Powwow Grounds. All CPN veterans and spouses and their families are welcome. Membership in the veterans organization is not required; come and visit us and enjoy our socializing. For more information, you can contact Daryl Talbot.

Daryl Talbot, Commander