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.
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.
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 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.
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. )
My brother was in a large restaurant in Zaire and said that the Americans were treated well by the staff. Not so for the Legionaries. The staff ignored them. Tired of being snubbed one of them fired his machine gun in the air. The staff came quickly to take their orders.
Here’s a question for you; what if an 18-year-old American citizen, property owner, voter, and registrant with the selective service left the United States and joined the French foreign Legion? Would he, at the end of his enlistment, be only a French citizen an American citizen or both a French and American citizen (dual citizen)?
There is a high desertion rate; violence is used very much in training.
If you are caught trying to desert, the punishment involves barbed wire (I think marching in a circle for a very long time wearing a heavy backpack load secured with barbed wire).
It really says something about a country when its toughest military unit is made up of a bunch of foreigners.