Central Iraq - As a rule United States marines like their candy, but like any rule there are exceptions and the multi-fruit flavoured assorted Charms is definitely out.
According to frontline troops nearing Baghdad a marine superstition has followed the lemon, lime and raspberry coated lollies longer than anyone cares to remember.
Sergeant Kenneth Wilson said chew on a lemon Charm and you're heading for a vehicle breakdown. Suck on a lime and it rains. Raspberry - for the highly superstitious - means death.
As Wilson points out, the marines have endured all three in recent days as troops encounter fierce resistance from the opposition forces of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, atrocious weather and vehicle accident.
One accident early on Thursday left eight marines injured.
And the deserts across southern Iraq are now strewn with discarded and unopened packets of Charms that are part of the ready-to-eat lunch pack provided marines.
"I always throw mine away," said Wilson. "Everytime I eat the wrong colour something bad happens."
Corporal Cameron Gingras and many others like him agree with Wilson, though they admit the unlucky lollie does taste good.
"Always, always - I throw mine out," said Gingras. "They're bad luck and maybe too many people have been eating them, given what's happened this week."
But then there's Sergeant Andre Guay who hopes the superstitions are true.
Guay is a frontline marine with reconassaince.
"I always eat 'em. I want to get into a firefight," he said with a grin. - Sapa-AFP