“Apricot Jelly and Tanks”

Context: Live Interview, discussion about Marine Corps infantry culture and history.

“So when I first heard about tankers, tank crewman, tankers, when they were afraid of apricots, I was in bootcamp. One of the drill instructors made fun of a recruit who wanted to be a tanker. And he said, ‘watch out for those apricots’, and he said apricots were bad luck. Then, when I was in the fleet, on my first deployment to Afghanistan, my Lt James Beattie, he was a tank officer and volunteered to deploy with my unit (LAR, Light Armored Reconnaissance). We had LAV’s, it’s not a tank, but it has 8 wheels and a smaller turret on it. On our deployment to Afghanistan, and for the Marines on our vic, Osbourne was the driver. Any time he found anything apricot, he’d bring it on the vehicle, and he’d show it to the Lt, and the dude would freak out, and he’d make us throw it off the vic. One day, Osbourne forgot to tell him he had apricot jam, and they hit an IED and the Lt broke his thumb and Osbourne got a concussion. I mean, everyone lived, but it was still…… apricots on the vehicle, and the vehicle hit an IED. And then after that happened, Lt told me a story about WWII. About how one of the drivers didn’t believe the apricot thing, and he wrote apricots on the bottom of the tank while he was doing maintenance, and the tank hit an anti-tank mine. Yep. So from that day on, I .. I don’t mess with any apricots on any tank or tank like vehicle.”

Personally, this piece is a funny little legend I’ve heard quite a bit, but never experienced or seen. Almost all of the Marines I know have either heard about it or have their own stories. Hopefully I’ll never actually have to find out whether or not it’s true, although I highly doubt that there’s any causation in these cases.