Skip to comments.So you’ve decided to run away and join the French Foreign Legion? Here’s how.
Posted on 12/08/2012 1:18:07 PM PST by DogByte6RER
So youve decided to run away and join the French Foreign Legion? Heres how.
It's Earth's version of taking the Black and heading for the Wall, the way Jon Snow does in Game of Thrones. Joining the French Foreign Legion granted men a safe haven for many for decades. But what does it actually take to join the French Foreign Legion?
Joining the Legion
The Foreign Legion, unfortunately, is portrayed in pop culture as packed mercenaries and vagrants even Jean-Claude Van Damme takes up the cause in one film.
A safe haven for men looking for a new start in life for two centuries, the French Foreign Legion continues to take in soldiers with a variety of backgrounds from all across the world. A little over 7,000 soldiers strong, the organization is currently dispatched in multinational military engagements as well as patrols in French-controlled territories.
You begin the process of joining the French Foreign Legion by stopping in at a recruiting center and passing a series of psychological and physical examinations. These centers, however, are only in mainland France, making for an expensive proposition for those overseas and looking to join.
Historically, the French Foreign Legion required new recruits to take on a new name for the first year of service. At the end of the first year, the member can take back their birth name or continue on under the pseudonym. Members sign an initial five-year contract, with the intention of earning French citizenship along the way.
Along with a their new name, the legionnaires receive a single item a rifle which is not to be left on the battlefield under any circumstance. To many within the Legion, this is a symbol of a primary tenet of their culture. Death in battle is far better than surrender.
Contrary to popular belief, the French Foreign Legion doesn't open its arms to murderers and escaped felons. It actually requires an extensive background check before a recruit is allowed to join. Members can begin the course to obtaining French citizenship after three years of service, but citizenship can be gained quicker in a grisly manner, by shedding blood in battle.
At then end of their initial five-year contract, legionnaires often continue on as a career soldier, with the armies of Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain often taking on off-contract legionnaires, or rising in the ranks of the Legion.
Who joins the French Foreign Legion?
The numbers of the French Foreign Legion have historically swollen in response to population disruptions. A large number of individuals with Polish and Jewish heritage joined in the early days of World War II, while former members of the German army found the French Foreign Legion at the conclusion of the war.
Today, the Legion is primarily made of men (no women are allowed to join) who are looking to change the trajectory of their lives drastically. Members are currently dispatched in Afghanistan and South America.
Modern legionnaires earn a stipend of roughly $1400 a month, in addition to food and lodging compensation on par with low-level members of the U.S. Military. All Legionnaires must communicate in French, which can pose a problem for some new recruits.
If you are looking for a major change (tired of being tied to a keyboard?), you can read a number of dedicated message boards on the subject of life in the Legion. Or check out the French Foreign Legion's site itself at Legion-recrute.com. It's "une nouvelle chance pour une nouvelle vie."
The most exposure I ever had to the French Foreign Legion was when I watched the classic film "Beau Geste" many years ago. Any FReepers with military experience ever serve around these legionnaires? Do they live up to their reputation? Thanks for the feedback.
Until Uncle Barack deploys you to Texas to wipe out the rabid secessionists.
I backed down a Legionnaire when I was spending time with the 13th RDP in France, when I felt that he was taking advantage of a much smaller NCO of the 13th, I have always regretted that it didn’t turn into an more interesting story, but it did go a long way to endear me with the 13th though, and it paid for my drinks that night.
I still have my application for the Legion, but what changed my mind was the 5 year enlistment, that was just too much of a commitment.
I actually seriously considered this after leaving the Army in the mid 70’s. I read a publication back then called Soldier Of Fortune, published by a guy named Robert K Brown (I think), it ran a few articles on the Legion. My wife did not like the idea. End of story
Huh? A large number of the posters to this thread will probably be veterans of the US Armed Forces who considered the Legion after they were already American vets. Their interest was in the uniqueness of the Legion, not what you think would be basically duplicating their American military service.
We should have responded with similar force when our consulate personnel came under fire.
General Schwarzkopf was made an honorary PFC in the Foreign Legion in 1991. During the presentation he was told if he ever runs into any trouble anywhere in the world, to give them a call.
I used to work with a lady whose Son was in the 101st Airborne.
I was talking to him about the invasion of Iraq. His outfit along with the French Foreign Legion operated together in a sweep way to the left of the main attack.
One of the amusing stories he told was they were all eating supper and the Americans noticed the French were about to have a regular feast. Their officer went over to the French and after talking a bit, they swapped meals.
The FFL had MRE’s and the Americans, the feast. He said the French actually liked the MRE’s.
Fighting for France is certainly "unique".But then so is trying to remove your own liver with a pair of pliers.I'd never give either activity a second's worth of consideration.
I ran away when I was a kid and joined the circus. I started out cleaning the animal cages and helping set up the tents and rings and so forth. After a couple of years, they let me sell popcorn and soft drinks. It was a pretty hard life. I usually slept in the straw in the horse trailer. I decided that I wasn’t going anywhere selling popcorn, so I started developing my own act. After a few years, I asked the circus owner if I could show him the act and he said OK. I had taken to picking up the stray cats that would hang around the circus. I had taught them some tricks and formed them into what I called STEVE AND THE ROYAL CATS OF RANGOON. Cats are natural circus performers. Well, the act consisted of the cats doing various gymnastic routines and we finished with a reenactment of Napoleon’s retreat from Russia. The owner was wowed. We did three years on tour with the circus and I saved every dime I made. After those three years, I had really become attached to the cats. They had provided entertainment to millions of people and given me a comfortable living. Some of the kitties were getting on in years and I could see that it was time to leave the big top. Well, the circus was in Louisiana, and I decided to retire the act there. I bought a small place and redid the house so every kitty had their own room. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I came to own a cat house in New Orleans.
They kicked some serious butt in Korea also.
Their commander was Raoul Magrin-Venerey better known by
his nom de guerre “Ralph Monclar”
He took the name to avoid German reprisals against his family during WWII
Supoosedly wounded 17 times
Check out list of decorations
That is two, really stupid posts in a row, that you have made
You are so clueless and uninterested in the legion, I don’t know why you are on this thread.
Rather than troll, why not just read other people’s posts.
A good and long history of the FFL:
Great movie...”I promise you”
Also a book on Dien Bien Phu which has a lot of FFL history (some still volunteering to parachute in after the battle was lost, but fighting still going on. )