The French Foreign Legion - Mon Dieu, Does That Thing Still Exist?

Discussion in 'Other Reminiscences' started by Joe Riley, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Supreme Member
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    BY WILLIAM LANGEWIESCHE
    DECEMBER 2012

    The Expendables
    It’s the dark romance of the French Foreign Legion: haunted men from everywhere, fighting anywhere, dying for causes not their own. Legionnaires need war, certainly, and Afghanistan is winding down. But there’s always the hopeless battle against rogue gold miners in French Guiana . . .
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    "The word “foreign” in the name French Foreign Legion does not refer to faraway battlegrounds. It refers to the Legion itself, which is a branch of the French Army commanded by French officers but built of volunteers from around the world."

    "Last summer I came upon 20 of them on a grassy knoll on a farm in France near the Pyrenees. They were new recruits sitting back-to-back on two rows of steel chairs. They wore camouflage fatigues and face paint, and held French assault rifles. The chairs were meant to represent the benches in a helicopter flying into action—say, somewhere in Africa in the next few years to come. Two recruits who had been injured while running sat facing forward holding crutches. They were the pilots. Their job was to sit there and endure. The job of the others was to wait for the imaginary touchdown, then disembark from the imaginary helicopter and pretend to secure the imaginary landing zone. Those who charged into the imaginary tail rotor or committed some other blunder would have push-ups to do immediately, counting them off in phonetic French—uh, du, tra, katra, sank. If they ran out of vocabulary, they would have to start again."

    "Eventually the recruits would stage a phased retreat back to their chairs, then take off, fly around for a while, and come in for another dangerous landing. The real lesson here was not about combat tactics. It was about do not ask questions, do not make suggestions, do not even think of that. Forget your civilian reflexes. War has its own logic. Be smart. For you the fighting does not require a purpose. It does not require your allegiance to France. The motto of the Legion is Legio Patria Nostra. The Legion is our fatherland. This means we will accept you. We will shelter you. We may send you out to die. Women are not admitted. Service to the Legion is about simplifying men’s lives."
     
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  2. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Supreme Member
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    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    When I was a kid, people would often joke about running away and joining the French Foreign Legion, not that any of them actually did it.
     
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  4. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Supreme Member
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    It was either that, or the circus.....not sure which was the more dangerous!:rolleyes:
     
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  5. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Supreme Member
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    WOMEN IN THE FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION

    "The French Foreign Legion or La Legion Etrangere is one of the world’s elite military forces; it currently has roughly 1,800 members, and all of them are men. Since its foundation in 1831 by King Louise-Philippe, only one woman has ever been allowed in".

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    "Her name was Susan Mary Gillian Travers, who had left London, her birthplace, and joined the French Expeditionary Forces in 1939, just before the Second World War. Her career in the Legion started as an ambulance driver for the 13th Demi-Brigade in 1940, but her remarkable skill in avoiding landmines, rockets, and bullets earned respect among the men, who called her ‘La Miss’. She was named as a General in May 1945 and by the end of the 1990s she had been given the Medaille Militaire, the Croix de Guerre, and the Legion d’Honneur, some of France’s highest military awards".
     
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  6. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Veteran Member
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  7. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Veteran Member
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  8. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Veteran Member
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    French Foreign Legion sappers (1939)

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  9. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Supreme Member
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    Sapper

    "A sapper, also called pioneer or combat engineer, is a combatant or soldier who performs a variety of military engineering duties such as breaching fortifications, demolitions, bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, preparing field defenses, as well as working on road and airfield construction and repair. They are also trained to serve as infantry personnel in defensive and offensive operations. A sapper's duties are devoted to tasks involving facilitating movement, defence and survival of allied forces and impeding those of enemies. The term "sapper" is used in the British Army and Commonwealth nations, Polish Army and the U.S. military. The phrase "sapper" comes from the French saper (to undermine, to dig under a wall or building to cause its collapse)."
     
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  10. Nancy Hart

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    Seven Heroes of the French Foreign Legion

    Alex Rowe

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    "Alex Rowe was a British child when an injury — a detached retina — prevented him from achieving his lifelong dream of joining the British Forces. He tried anyway, but was turned away. He later joined the Foreign Legion with his mother's blessing. Funnily enough, he was made a sniper.

    Rowe was awarded his fifth medal for bravery in 2010, France's highest military honor, the Légion d'honneur. He has been awarded for shielding a Bosnian mother and child with his body during a gunfight, and was involved in a 360-degree ambush in Afghanistan where U.S. troops and French legionnaires had to fight their way out."
     
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  11. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Supreme Member
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    Legion etrangere-Fremdenlegion-French Foreign Legion
     
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  12. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Supreme Member
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  13. William DeFox

    William DeFox Very Well-Known Member
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    As Brendan Fraser showed us, time spent in the French Foreign Legion can make you an effective and ferocious fighter against re-animated mummies and other supernatural things... image.jpeg
     
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  14. Beatrice Taylor

    Beatrice Taylor Veteran Member
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