Reporters' Notebook: Need rain? MRE candy is said to work like a Charm

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 22, 2005

Maybe the United States did have something to do with ending the half-decade drought in Afghanistan. According to members of the 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment, eating the Charms candy included in some Meals, Ready to Eat packages brings bad luck.

Specifically, bad weather.

A reporter with one of the battalion’s overnight patrols recently ignored advice not to eat the small fruit-flavored candies. The first day of the patrol had been sunny. The next day, it snowed, hailed and rained.

But it must have taken more than a few people willing to eat the candy last winter to bring the country the most snow in decades, and a wet spring signaling the end of a drought.

A tank full of trouble

Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment serving in Afghanistan were recently presented with a rather unusual item. Afghan police officers handed over an old Russian T-62 tank that had stood as a monument in the town square of Day Mirdad, south of Kabul.

Inside the tank were four unstable 155 mm rockets.

According to the U.S. military, the unusual cache was discovered as part of a larger weapons seizure that netted nearly two dozen mortar rounds, 12 rockets of various sizes, and a dozen timing devices for explosives. The cache was discovered by the Afghan police and handed over to 3rd Battalion soldiers.

The rockets inside the tank were deemed too unstable to move, so teams worked on disabling the rockets while leaving the tank in the town square.

Hitchcock was right

Aviation maintenance workers at Camp Taji in northern Baghdad are driving the high operations tempo for the base’s Black Hawk, Apache and Chinook helicopters. But with the temperature drifting ever-so-closer to the dreaded century mark, the heat isn’t their greatest worry.

“Birds are a concern as we move into the summer months — the big flocks,” said Army Maj. Christopher Brewer of Missoula, Mont., commander of Company A, 603rd Aviation Support Battalion, Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.

“[The 1st Cavalry Division] had a problem with them. Birds will probably be our biggest enemy.”

According to Brewer, the winged creatures can crack windshields and damage engines and rotors, even forcing precautionary landings on occasion.

Vince Little, Kent Harris and Joseph Giordono contributed to this report.

Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne) step out of a C-130 Hercules on Sunday at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. The battalion, based in Italy, assumed control this week in Zabul, southern Afghanistan.

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