JUNGLE BEAN – MEN OF THE 3RD MARINE DIVISION PRIZE THEIR GOOD LUCK CHARMS

By Sgt. Larry McManus

YANK Staff Correspondent

GUAM—No servicemen in the Pacific should be without a “jungle bean,” a fabulous charm described by M-T/Sgt. James E. Clark as “more powerful than asafetida or atabrine, capable of curing rheumatism or yaws and preventing bullet wounds, dengue and the GIs.”

Clark, a member of the 3rd Marine Division ’s motor transport group, is violently vocal concerning the properties of these magic beans but rather hazy as to their origin. At various times he has said they came from a coal mine, deep in the earth’s bowels and sandwiched between two layers of diamond-bearing ore.



“But this here particular jungle bean,” he says, holding up a smooth, brown charm resembling an oversize chocolate-coated mint, “came from Africa. Yes, sir. I got my first bean at the ‘Canal, and it took me through man-made gunfire and nature’s floods. Then I drilled a hole in it and strung it on my dog-tag chain, and that’s where I made my mistake.

“Just after I landed here at Guam I lost my bean, dog tags and all. I told a native right away and then I didn’t stir out of my foxhole for three days until he returned with another jungle bean—this one. He says he got it from a cousin in Africa, and I’m not one to ask questions about these beans.

“Reason I lost the other one was because I drilled that hole in it and all the power dribbled out. Now, the Gunner there—he was smart.”

3rd marine division guam

W/O William J. Tade with Jungle bean and yo-yo

Clark pointed to W/O William J. Tade of San Francisco, Calif., a bearded, tanned marine clad only in shorts, shoes and a cap. Tade, who wore a jungle bean around his neck, was idly toying with a Japanese yo-yo.

“That’s a mighty fine bean the Gunner’s got—a  10-power bean. Mine’s only about 3-power or so, but it’s good enough. Now the Gunner, when he drilled that hole in his bean he put the chain through quick and filled the hole with shellac to keep the power from leaking out. That seems to work, but I’m taking no chances. I’m not going to drill my bean until we get equipment ashore so I can do it under pressure and not lose even a little bit of that power.”

“Does a jungle bean do you any good?” I asked the marine naively.

“Does it do any good?” Clark repeated, registering hurt astonishment. “We’re both here and healthy, ain’t we?”

Tade nodded impassive agreement and continued playing with the yo-yo.

1st Sgt. Adrian Wireman of San Diego, Calif., whispered to S/Sgt. James A. Klessig of San Gabriel, Calif., as they watched Clark and Tade.

“Them two have been bucking for a survey ever since we left the ‘Canal. And,” he declared solemnly, “I think this’ll just about do it.”



For Further Readings on the 3rd Marine Division Check Out:

Battle for the Solomons: Report from the Front Lines




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