Saturday, April 21, 2007

Lucky charms come in more than a box

2nd BCT, 10th Mountain PAO
Multi-National Division – Center PAO

BAGHDAD – In World War II, many Soldiers carried a rabbit foot believing that it brought them luck.
Today, Soldiers carry on the tradition of good luck charms during their time in Iraq.
Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), stuff anything from bouncy balls to bottle caps in their pockets believing such items will bring good luck to them.
While some may say carrying good luck charms is purely superstitious, Soldiers disagree.
“While I was out on a patrol our vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device and the truck flipped over … I was supposed to be dead,” said Pfc. Kyle James, a native of Seattle, Wash., who serves as a gunner with the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment. “During the incident, I was wearing a cross that my mother gave me around my neck and when I took my shirt off that evening the chain was broken, but I was okay,” James said of the cross he now carries in his earplug case. “I believe the cross is good luck.”
Like James, other Soldiers have their own reasons for carrying such items.
“I have a plastic bag I keep letters from my family,” said Spc. Jeromy LeVeck, a gunner with the personal security detachment of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd BCT, and native of Finelay, Ohio. “I read the letters before and after patrols. They remind me of why I’m in Iraq.”
As Soldiers spoke of their good luck charms, Staff Sgt. Davis Francis, also with the HHC, 2nd BCT personal security detachment, rubbed his fingers across a worn, black, metal bracelet with someone’s name inscribed on it.
“The bracelet reminds me of a fellow Soldier who was killed in 2005 from an IED,” the Junction City, Kan., native explained. “After he was killed, I ordered this bracelet with his name inscribed on it as a memorial to him.”
Francis went on to explain that he had been wearing the bracelet for two years.
“I never take the bracelet off,” Francis said as he rubbed the bracelet. “It bugs me if I have the bracelet off.”
As discussions continued regarding good luck charms, one Soldier stood up and pulled out a bent bottle cap from his pocket.
“I have had this bottle cap with me since the first memorial ceremony I had ever attended,” said Spc. Justin Rankin, the 4-31 Inf. armorer and native of Horseheads, N.Y. “Just before the memorial ceremony I bought a soda which had this top on it. I’ve had it with me ever since. It is my good luck charm.”
While many Soldiers have good luck charms they carry, where the charms are placed is just as important.
“I carry pictures of my wife and children in my left breast pocket,” said Sgt. Shane Courville, a native of Orange, Vt., who serves as a medic with HHC, 4-31 Inf. “They are carried there so they can always be next to my heart.”
Although good luck charms are often thought of as individual keepsakes, there are some Soldiers who have a good luck charm for their vehicles.
“We have a soccer ball we carry in the back of our truck,” said Spc. Brian Cole, a 2nd Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd BCT medic and native of Jacksonville, Fla. “It was the first soccer ball we were ever given to throw out to the Iraqi children, but we kept it for good luck. We make sure the ball is with us whenever we go on missions. It never leaves the truck.”
Just like the veterans of previous wars, Soldiers continue to carry a little bit of luck with them wherever they go.

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