Skip to comments.American troops through a French infantryman's eyes
Posted on 11/21/2008 11:13:02 AM PST by DogBarkTree
hockingly positive views of our forces in Afghanistan are revealed in this translation of a post by a French OMLT (Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams) infantryman working with our toops there. A couple of brief excerpts:
Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins and creatine - they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them - we are wimps, even the strongest of us - and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans. [....]
Each man knows he can count on the support of a whole people who provides them through the mail all that an American could miss in such a remote front-line location : books, chewing gums, razorblades, Gatorade, toothpaste etc. in such way that every man is aware of how much the American people backs him in his difficult mission. And that is a first shock to our preconceptions : the American soldier is no individualist. The team, the group, the combat team are the focus of all his attention.
And they are impressive warriors ! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark - only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered - everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.
The superb Jules Crittenden brought this to our attention. Read the whole thing here or here.
It is still popular, among conservatives in particular, to depict the French as implacable foes of everything American. Certainly the French left can be despicable, and nobody does snobbery better than the French. But I have been urging American conservatives to understand that we have many friends in France, that President Sarkozy is a worthy ally, and that we must remember the mutual aid that has characterized our relations from the American Revolution through two World Wars. The French are a highly accomplished nation, with some faults (who lacks them?) and many virtues.
Interesting read. Thanks for posting. Most of us know that not all the French think the same. Only American Democrats do that.
as the French Ambassador once quipped "even the French dislike the French"
Was the speaker Legion or French Regular Army?
You know the world is screwed up when France turns Conservative and the US turns Socialist.
Somebody give us a good link to the original article. It’s realy nice to read something good about our heroes. Where do we get such men?
This is gorgeous.
Read the fully translated one and it very nice to read, almost mythical in the way it is written. Sort of the Spartan and the chicken type of tale. Kudos to that French soldier, and to all of them in Afghanistan.
That's right. We support our troops.
We take PRIDE in supporting our troops, not only with what they need, but also with what they WANT sometimes.
Exactly-I would vote for Sarkozy over Obama 100 times out of 100. Other than the US and Spain, almost every country has lurched right.
Spend some time in France and you will learn to love the average real French citizen.
They are polite, hospitable, and if you make a modicum of effort to speak their language most will insist on speaking English to you so that they can practice it.
My wife and I found nothing but friendly people there.
What a wonderful and well deserved complement!
But, it saddens me a bit that it takes an outside observer to point this out, while so much of our own press is busy buggering themselves and spitting out untruths about Haditha, Gitmo, Sarah Palin's apparel, etc.
I enjoyed that. Thanks!
France was redeemed when they rejected the EU Constitution. It’s unfortunate that the people are not being allowed to vote on the latest attempts to usurp their power.
Excellent! Thanks for posting. Read the whole thing Quix. Very short, very powerful.
Chances are what the French are seeing now will be gone in 4 short years.
One prays not.
( Allegra Ping)
And combat ? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all - always coming to the rescue when one of our teams gets in trouble, and always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks : they switch from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three minutes. Arriving in contact with the enemy, the way they fight is simple and disconcerting : they just charge ! They disembark and assault in stride, they bomb first and ask questions later - which cuts any pussyfooting short.Gen. Patton would be proud.
Lafayette, we are still here.
Ooh la la!
I agree.. it was a wonderful translation to read. Our troops fully deserve such grand recognition!
I’ve heard wonderful things about the French people outside of Paris. My wife and I hope visit the French countryside someday.
To hear the Brits tell it (at least one's I've heard), American soldiers are best at accidentally shooting & bombing themselves and their allies.
Clearly you were off the beaten path.
In the tourist towns there are either obsessively polite (because they want your money) or obnoxiously critical (because they think they’re superior).
Sarkozy might be President but they are still French.
Question: how do know a French rifle?
Answer: never been fired and only dropped once.
Wonder if the author met my son who is a Specialist serving with the First Infantry Division, 2-2 Infantry Regiment, in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
If you would like to say Thank You to Garrett I have posted his mailing address in Kandahar.
SPC Garrett D. Harriman
Charlie Co 2-2 Infantry
APO AE 09355
According to the ones I've met, once I was able to cut through the automatic bias they were as warm a people as I've met anywhere else.
Thank you both. I truly enjoyed reading this. We hear so much negative from our own press, it’s surreal sometimes to hear praise.
A French Soldiers Tribute To The American Soldiers He Served Beside In Afghanistan at http://patdollard.com/2008/11/a-french-soldiers-tribute-to-the-american-soldiers-he-served-beside-in-afghanistan/
This really needs to go out to somebody’s ping list....
No compliment is so moving as that which arrives from an unexpected quarter....
Doesn’t say, might be the L’OMLT de la Legion Etrangère - but they (the French) alsouse Para and Mountain troops (Troupes de Montagne or one of the three numbered Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins )
I doubt the person quoted was Legion Etrangère - they tend to trash talk anybody NOT in the Legion.
Actually he liked the food a lot, even the MRE's.
I agree. In that cause I am pinging the greatest Pingster I know, LucyT
Maybe she will know of someone who operates a military Ping List.
That’s not called biscuits and gravy, it’s proper military name is $hit on a shingle, or just plain SOS!
All, this is a must read! It is amazing that the French Soldier is more appreciative of our Troops than about 50% of the country. You will truly enjoy this read. : )
God Bless each and everyone of our Troopers and their families.
Thanks for the ping.
The key is "left". They aren't any nicer when they are home-grown american left.
Thanks Chgogal for pinging me, so I went and followed the links and read the whole article and was humbled. Then I remember that I saved a brief French video of a unit in Aghanistan serving with an American unit. They too were very complimentary and developed a close camaraderie and also remarked how quick the US troops were to come to their aid if needed.
Then I recalled that there was a French unit that lost I believe 18 soldiers recently, a terrible loss. They fought like tigers too and God bless them all. We must honor our allies who stand by us.
For the French OMLT website you can go here:
To read an American Soldier's thoughts of his French Comrades you can find it here (interesting comment about French Int vs. our Int):
To refresh one's high school French you can read the French Soldier's original’s comments as he posted them here:
THAT IS A WONDERFUL READ.
I’ve met a number of wonderful French folks.
I’ve also met quite a number of French folks who seemed to think that God had to consult THEM to keep the universe running. LOL.
Yes. I read this article earlier on, as I have visited FR on and off this evening. Our men and women serve with honor.
> Was the speaker Legion or French Regular Army?
Interesting — I had the same question pop thru my mind. The French Foreign Legion is a very impressive elite force not to be trifled with and not to be dismissed lightly.
Really good. I sent this to my students in my “Technology & Culture of War” class.
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