Skip to comments.FYI: The French Foreign Legion -- How to Get in
Posted on 10/27/2006 1:11:00 PM PDT by yankeedame
The French Foreign Legion
How to Get in
There are 16 Legion recruiting centers in France, the most popular being Fort de Nogent in Paris. Just ask at the police station for the Legion Etrangere. The more focused head straight for Aubagne, just outside of the dirty Mediterranean port of Marseille. You will be competing with over 8000 other eager Legionnaire wannabe's for the 1500 slots available. East Europeans make up about 50 percent of the eager candidates these days. Candidates are tested for their intelligence and physical fitness, and special skills are a definite plus. If you just murdered your wife's boyfriend the week before, be forewarned that all candidates are run through Interpol's data banks and the Legion cooperates with them to weed out murderers. If you just want to escape the IRS or alimony payments, the Legion could care less. After all, what better inducement is there to staying after your third year in Djibouti than the thought of spending that same time in jail Stateside.
You won't be required to bring an ID or proof of anything; when you sign up, you will be assigned a nom de guerre and a nationality. Being Canadian is popular, and calling yourself Rambo is definitely an old joke.
You must pass the same general standards as the French Army, but then the Legion takes over. You will learn to march like a mule in hell-long forced marches with heavy packs; jungle, mountain and desert training. You can bail out during the first four months of training, but from then on, you will speak the thick, crude French of the Legionnaire and learn to be completely self-sufficient in the world's worst regions.
There is basic training in Castelnaudary (between Carcassone and Toulouse, just off the A61), commando training in St. Louis near Andorra, and mountain training in Corsica. Four weeks into your training, you will be given the Kepi blanc, the white pillbox hat of the Legionnaire. Unlike the Navy SEALs or Western elite forces, the accommodations are simple and the discipline is swift, and other than special prostitutes who service the legion, there is little to look forward to in the mandatory five years of service. Legionnaires can get married after 10 years of service.
Once you pass basic training, you will be trained in a specialized category: mountain warfare, explosives or any number of trades that make you virtually unemployable upon discharge (except in another mercenary army). French citizens cannot serve, except as officers. Those French officers who sign on do so for a taste of adventure. In troubled times, the Legionnaires are always the first to be deployed to protect French citizens in uprisings or civil wars.
With this international makeup, it is not surprising that Legionnaires today find themselves as peacekeepers, stationed in the tattered shreds of the French empire or with the U.N. You may be assigned to protect the European space program in Kourou, in the steamy jungles of French Guiana, or to patrol the desert from Quartier Gaboce, in the hot baked salt pan of Djibouti. When it hits the fan as in Kolwezi or Chad, you can expect some excitement, a quick briefing, an air drop into a confused and bloody scene, followed by years of tedium, training and patrol.
Since the Legion attracts loners and misfits, and because many of them spend their time in godforsaken outposts, it is not hard to understand that the Legion becomes more than a job. In fact, the motto of the Legion is "Legio Patria Nostra," or "The Legion Is Our Homeland," which describes the mindset and purpose. Many men serve out their full 20 years, since they are unable to find equally stimulating work on the outside.
When you get out, you don't get much other than a small pension, and the opportunity to become a Frenchman (Legionnaires are automatically granted French citizenship after five years). After a lifetime of adventure, and divorced from their homeland, the men of the Legion can look forward to retirement at Domaine Danjou, a ch,teau near Puyloubier (12 miles west of St. Maxim, north of the A7) in southern France, where close to 200 Legionnaires spend their last years. This is where the Legion looks after its own, its elderly, wounded and infirm. Here, the men have small jobs, ranging from bookbinding to working in the vineyards. Later, they will join their comrades in the stony ground of the country that never claimed them but for which they gave their lives. Remember, the Legion has always been disposable.
Simple -- Just don't be French. They want REAL men -- Frenchmen need not apply. Everyone else, they can work with.
The members of the Legion are largely not French. This is why the Legion is France's most effective ground combat force.
In that case, your knowledge should be particularly up-to-date, per FReeppost *here*.
AUBAGNE, France -- The Foreign Legion isn't what it used to be. Killers on the lam are no longer welcome, and unhappy recruits have a year to back out without being branded deserters. These days a bigger issue faces the 175-year-old force that made its name fighting France's overseas battles in jungle and desert. Its primary mission -- to be a crack professional force of non-French volunteers available for instant, no-questions-asked deployment in far-flung conflicts -- has all but evaporated.
Legio Patria Nostra. mors ex-coelum
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