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Taste for Apricots Canned at Cua Viet

As reported in the Stars and Stripes Newspaper in 1968.

By S.SGT. Bob Donner

CUA VIET - Pears wonít do it, peaches have no effect, pineapple chunks and fruit cocktail cannot be blamed either.

Apricots are the only ominous fruit known to the Marines of the 1st. Amphibious Tractor Bn. at Cua Viet.

According to the AmTrac Leathernecks "there is no doubt about it, apricots do cause enemy rocket and artillery attacks."

Every time a can of apricots is consumed, the word goes out to "standby for incoming."

This may sound like an unfounded superstition, but as far as the AmTracers are concerned, the apricot hex is very real.

Cpl. Billy C. Cooper (Valdece, N.C.) Has been with the battalion for a year; according to him, the apricot jinx started about the time he joined the outfit.

"It all began when "B" Co. was on a patrol north of Cua Viet," Cooper said.

They were taking a break for chow and one of the Marines was eating his C-ration apricots when the company came under heavy artillery fire.

Cooper, an intelligence clerk on the battalion, said that the jinx started out as a joke.

"I didnít think much of it myself," he continued. "I ate then regularly up until June 12."

"About that time we started taking more and more rounds. Guys began to think that maybe there was something to this apricot business," he concluded.

Cpl. David H. Funkerburk (Columbia, S.C.) Claims that he too had a bad apricot experience.

"On March 14 of this year, I was sitting in my hut having a late breakfast of Cís, and was just finishing with my apricots when we started taking incoming.

" I jumped up and started making my way to the bunker. As I got to the door, a rocket round landed at the other end of my hut. Before I knew what happened, the explosion knocked my right into my bunker.

"Iíll never touch another can of apricots while Iím in Vietnam," he said.

"As far as Iím concerned, apricots are numbah 10 (bad)."

During an artillery and rocket barrage two months ago, HMC Benjamin W. Margot (Almedia, Calif.) headed for a bunker.

As he entered, he noticed a Marine sitting inside, quietly eating a can of apricots.

"The man asked me if I wanted some," Margot said. "When I asked him if he knew what he was doing, he replied Ďsure, eating chow.í Needless to say, I found myself another bunker."

For all I knew that bunker could have taken a direct hit," Margot Concluded.

A battalion hunt is currently underway for the individual who ate the bad luck fruit on April 15. Just past midnight Cua Viet was hit with mixed artillery and rocket rounds.

The Marines definitely feel a man eating apricots is a man to stay away from.

From Tarawa to Saudi Arabia, Apricots and AmTracs just don't mix.
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