Letters and Posts

le meilleur/the best

May 6-2016 -  deCervens forum member Epsa_May-6-2016 account:Epsa's account of joining, basic training and leaving (asking to go civil).

April 29-2015 -  deCervens forum member EngageVolunteer_AUG52015 account:My Experience at Aubagne.

January 14-2015 -  deCervens forum member Mercator's account: My three weeks.
Made It to Final Selection Commissioning but did Not get accepted

April 29-2014 -  deCervens forum member Chelu's account about his experience during selection and basic training
(Some questions and answers are included)

Early-2014 -  deCervens forum member E.V. volonteered early 2014, but got sent home
(Some questions and answers are included)

February-9-2011 -  ransac's account about his experience during selection

November 11-2010 -  Zanzara's account about his experience during selection


December 29 2004 - post from E.V. (KBF) Who was accepted and subsequently deserted

December 15 2004 - post from E.V. (nick name Tragedy) "An american who was told to come back in 18 month's"

September 27 2004 - post from E.V. who decided the Legion was not for him and got himself released after six months and Follow up as to reason to depart

August 29 2004 - Excellent post about Joining and basic training by Juxtaman

March 15 2004 - Post Info about Fort Nogent (Paris) recruitment center

March 7 2004 - Post from Tony reply to commando question

March 7 2004 - Post from E.V. (volunteer recruit)Mike who just returned from the Legion

March 7 2004 - Post from Tony reply to commando question

Feb.10 2004 - Post from E.V. (volunteer recruit) who just returned from the Legion

February 8 2004 - Post about French Special Forces By Peter Lyderik

January  27 2004 - Letter from brother who joined recently. It is in English and Finnish

January 22 2004 - Latest Information from legionnaire who returned after BSLE interview

2b - Latest Information from a serving legionnaire

November 2003 post about eyesight

1b - Latest Information from legionnaire who returned after going rouge
1 - Letter/post of enlistment requirements
1a - Latest Information from E.V.
2 - letter/post about joining procedures
2a - Letter/post Cooper test info
3 - letter/post about joining and basic training
4 - Letter/post about joining and leaving
5 - Personal view of joining the Legion
6 - Letter/post joining process
7 - letter/post about joining process
8 - Joining criteria of a recruitment officer
9 - Information about Legion commandos
10 - Tips about joining
11 - tips about joining
12 - Pay in the Legion
13 - Letter/post about joining the Legion
14 - Letter/post about joining the Legion
15 - A poem about the Legion
16 - Latest(jul-aug 2001) info about joining the Legion
17 - Various info about the Legion (pay, french citizenship, etc)
18 - Letter/post about what to bring when joining (June-25-2002)
19 - Letter/post from Legionnaire presently in basic training (July-20-2002)
20 - Letter/post apt reply By former warrant officer to insulting remarks(July-21-2002)
21 - Directions to reqruitment station in Paris



Epsa's account of joining, basic training and leaving.

Re: [wannabe] joining somewhere in summer 2010
Update:So, I made it in, I write this day by day like a diary and not from memory (some syntax edited by Voltigeur for easier reading)

Day 00.
I did get selected with a group of 25 out of a group of 39, 5 guys were Europeans.
I did 9 paliers and 8 tractions, climbed the rope with my feet.
In the psychotechnic test, I scored very high showing my six years of university were not in vain.
It took me 2 days to get black, 2 to get green and 13 to become rouge. The group that went before mine had 29 selected out of 50.
As I see it, the selection consists of passing the tests, being approved by your immediate superiors, like the caporals and sergents, and only after that the comission decides.
I saw the selection process as being a transparent and righteous. Every arrogant guy was put in place and I believe that the people meant for the legion were in at the end.
I don't say that because just because I got selected myself.
I spent a total of 9 days working outside the base in legion facilities, that and seeing the just incorporated legionnaries helped me to get to know what would have awaited me had seen it through.
I didn't see corruption or ethnic bands or anything. Contrary to what you have heard all languages you know will help you communicate, especially English.
One given day there where 135 people doing selection, 25 of whom where russian speakers, about 15 rumanians, etc.
Most are here for the money because of the crisis and the romantics and those don't last long, but the legion wouldn't be what it is if it didn't take people with a harsh past.
I had a very realistic idea of what it would be and am highly motivated to go professional and I know there are others that will strive also to achieve the best.

Day 20.
When you get rouge you are initiated to army tasks, like doing guard duty, learning the code of honor, recognize different ranks and, last but not least, cleaning the rooms of your superiors.
So far I haven't ever had a problem with authority.
Many guys need additional guidance as they don't understand orders, more so in an unknown foreign language or are unwilling to work in a group.
Physical fights are strictly prohibited between equals in rank. I am worried about the rumours of homosexuals being attracted to the legion, but have not seen anything compromising by myself, yet.

Day 21.
We were issued the gear we will need at Castel and today we received the money, 170 euros each. It will be deducted from our salary later.
There are people in our group with military experience and for me they, and the francophones are the most valuable.

Day 22.
There is a way of keeping money rotating inside the very legion, it's also a form of enforcing comraderie.
Many times we are almost forced to spend our money.
These are the times I feel proud for not drinking, smoking or using drugs. You can remain a man even if everything around you goes chaotic but in a so patriarchic medium like the army, you must hide it just to not be swept away.
The people in the midst of us who have the military background keep helping me and teaching me new things, they have the highest working ethic, even if they come from the third world.
I'm just more than three weeks here, but it seems like three months as every day is different, not like in civil life.
Physically it seems I'm improving just because of the regime here, for instance I have no more belly fat.

Day 23.
To get extra food or sleep or anything here you have to use wit, social skills and every talent you have to improve your wellbeing little by little.
It is not that obeying every rule will kill you instantaneously, but it will drain your energy.
Today I signed my 5 year contract and all of my group is going to Castel. Most of the army problems arise because of the peacetime syndrome, my believe is that with all the population growth and lack of resources it won't happen to us.

Day 25.
No time for writing. Going to Castel.

Day 26.
Second day at Castelnaudary. Yesterday did all my medical. The doctor said something about my knee, but I think the test results show what I'm capable of.
The food for lunch is very good. Today was my physical, on the Cooper I ran 2850m and fulfilled the standard situp, pushup and pullups. From the initial 31 we are just 29 left. No fights, robbery or other issues yet. Climbed the rope without legs for the first time in my life.

Day 28.
Today seems like a holiday, the ordinaire is closed and we eat rations all day.
Received all our color shoulder strap and are now officially voluntary conscripts of the 4th foreign regiment of the french foreign legion, assigned to our company and section.
The farm that i thought was going to last 4 months ended up to be only of 30 days, after which we return to Castelnaudary and do the rest of basic training.
The superiors give us always time to adapt to our new military life, sometimes i hear that nobody wants the instructor job, but almost everybody does what they ought to do.
The discipline, loyalty, order and fidelity i see here resembles so much my catholic french order school that i'm just enjoying all this experience, but not letting anyone know, as it's not what you should do in the army.

Day 32.
Yesterday I finally got through all the procedures to receive eyedrops for my conjunctivitis issue.
My throat is not a problem, the doctor said.
We are learning a lot, like marching, singing and all the military stuff we will need. As we progress in training, there is more responsibility, more opportunities and everything is more serious and organized.

Day 34.
The new rouges are adapting rather fast. We are already distributed into three groups for the farm and the caporals and sargeants in charge are attached.
I'm in the most anglo-western group. My preparation includes taking all the salt and sugar I can, like in the anti-cholera beverages.
It is said that the food isn't the biggest problem at the farm, but I think the sleep will be the rural version of Aubagne.
When I'm free I try to learn french talking with the caporal, translating porn and military magazines at my room.
The German and Japanese are also in my group that doesn't seem to be random.
Yesterday I did above average on the swimming test. The philosophy of preparing for the unknown, using the knowledge base of your sport does prove to be beneficial.

Day 35.
Parting for the farm, located 15 minutes from the regiment.

Day 37.
Life is not as bad here, hot water, food. I started getting calluses on the palms because of the pushups.
Disarmed, armed and safety checked the FAMAS faster than anybody, and that having lost one detail.
Today we go running for the first time in here.
Everytime a superior acts aggressively physically towards me, I'm reacting like I would in the ring, that shows character but also undiscipline.
I also show too much initiative for a soldier, especially with intellectual tasks.
Not a lot of physical violence here anyway.
We were divided into three groups by running aptitude, got into the second group of those running less than 3000 on the Cooper test.
We continue to learn survivalism, singing and marching.
I ate garbage from the garbage pit. If a man can live 7 days without water, then i wonder how many days can one live with little food and water.

Day 39.
Yesterday was the hardest day in here. Woke up at 0530 for a 2km run from our tent camp to the farm. Lost my teaspoon and fork in the process.
Then formation and marching with songs. Then an hour run in sport uniform. Lots of food at lunch, though. Made myself a wooden spoon.
After we had weapon training and other stuff that I don't remember, and before dinner carried trunks round the stadium.
At night i did guard duty and pomped because no one wanted to replace me.
I was astonished to see at combat class how inexperienced the recruits are.

Day 40.
Today was a rest day. In the morning we did the obstacle race, after which a dozen people needed medical attention.
It is like they want to test how though we are. After that we had plenty of time for cleaning our clothes and ourselves.
The food is still good, and even when we go camping like today, we are allowed to eat before and after.
A soldier must be very balanced, what concerns me most is my relative low stamina while running, though I do better on marches with weight.
Today they announced the table with the sports results and there is just a handful of people who swam only the minimum required.
As I'm sure everything counts in the selection after training, I try to show, if not initiative then at least motivation and intellectual capabilities.
In all areas like gun management, hand to hand combat, language, etc I'm ahead of the group.
Recently I found out that there are really special forces in the legion, called GCP.
The superiors seem to take their job seriously, really focusing on knowing well the recruit.
The people are becoming very edgy and uptight, even I had altercations and I had to stand up for myself five times.
I try to not explode as I don't have the strength even for running, much less for streetfighting.
The atmosphere becomes very electricized and this is not even the end of the first week.
All it takes to make people mad is take away basic necessities like bathroom use, food, communications, sleep, etc and the beast shows it's real face.
Seeing this as a human experiment it is very interesting and valuable for me.
One guy is going civil, interestingly He is the one that always gave lots of advice, good sportsman and all that.

Day 41.
The two rest days are coming to an end. Today we did rugby voluntarily and siesta.
Good soldiers ought to be annoying, to annoy the enemy, that is what i'm starting to think and be more cool about it.
The next week has to be harder, so I will probably have no time for writing as in the abscence of food and sleep it is really hard to think.
Nobody here wants to kill us, just keep us on edge to make the weakest quit.
Already two people are demanding going civil.

Day 51.
Doing guard duty the last five days was killing me, I started falling on the walk.
Today they opened the buffet and I could get chocolates and soda.
They don't want to kill us, but rather give us days with lots of work followed by a good meal.
I'm fine now, going at 2330 doing my guard so I have to finish writing.
The forest and tactical training is very entertaining, marching too.

Day 52.
There is civilian personnel in the legion. Even in the fourth regiment there are at minumum three female cleaners, so it's not that hardcore.
I feel very well after an obstacle course training and having eaten well yesterday. I'm still in medical care mode for the last five days, with sport shoes instead of boots and no running, so i'm full of strength compared to the others.
We study, as I understand it, anti-guerrilla tactics, as we are all infantry.
I started to remember songs from my school and started laughing like back in the day when i did it out loud. This is so a good therapy for the soul and the body.
I'm so much more ripped every day from work and the marches, that I'm amazed.

Day 54. Survived the 25km march with the fit as hell sergeant.
As fatigue starts accumulating I'm becoming less concentrated, more talkative and prone to be picked on as a scapegoat. I should keep to myself and not call attention to my self.
At this point all the officers, sub-officers and military ranked personnel know everything about everybody.
I don't know how good their intelligence and communication is or if the Gestapo is leaking information, but it's better not to pretend what you are not.
Controlling oneself is sometimes difficult, if I wrestle I want to win, if somebody asks, I want to answer, etc and that creates problems. On the other hand you stand out, and it is known there is a ranking system for recruites in the legion and that the superiors objective opinion is important.
I'm feeling worried about my relative low running times, as they keep scaring me on the thoughness of the combat regiment. Today I called to much attention to myself.

Day 59.
Yesterday we should have fulfilled all our pensum, as they don't teach us much more French. The ones that teach us french or tactics don't know the language very well.
Being isolated from mainstream France and surrounded by foreigners is the biggest barrier for me to learn new things. Many words used in the legion are not in the dictionary, even verbs.
The kepi blanc march will be two days long and we should be carrying the FAMAS, which will make it much difficult. I hope there is a chance to hang it on the bag.

Day 65.
Finished the kepi blanc march. I had and still have an issue with my ankle from carrying two bags at the mountain on the way down, nevertheless I finished on time. nevertheless It all seems easy on paper, but in reality the lack of sleep, food, the changes in the pace of the march and the low quality shoes make it way harder. neverthelessThe ceremony was in a little nearby town, the people knew who we were and were very nice.
Tomorrow we should go to Castelnaudary back for another three months of hard training.
I can barely believe I received a kepi blanc and have so many emotions and ideas it will take some time to formalize.
Now the moon is full and I'm already two months in the legion. I hear many bad things about the Rep.
Like high prices on the island, harsh discipline, slavic racism, low recreational possibilities, hate of the locals, etc. But from what I see, the best staff comes from the Rep.
Others are fit too, but I don't want to spend my time with people whose motivation is money and the passport but with the real soldiers.
It is difficult to make a right decision with my lack of military experience. I can only judge what i see.

Day 71.
I started to know how to get food and other stuff in the regiment. Yesterday we had a mass in a catholic shrine, I cried for the first time in a long time.
We are becoming soldiers little by little, capable of doing a job or arranging ourselves in a two-column formation, march and then change formation again, all without a supervisor.
Life has been calm all this week, I can even write my diary sitting on the toilet while awaiting to be called to the infirmery for my ankle to be viewed.
Our guard duties are starting this week, the jobs around the regiment too.
I'm trying to access the internet but haven't been succesfull yet.
While working in the cuisine one can buy oreos I didn't have for 10 years in my country.
There is also female military personnel in the legion, it must be French army personel working inside. Today I saw a female Commander I didn't think it possible.
The doctor gave me 7 days of rest, that means I'm losing guard duties and physical training, which is only running, for the rest of the week, then immediately we part to Formigueres for a week of rest.
Today, at the time of another evening military nonsense group drill in the corridor I got into my first fight, me on the ground and he standing, so there is not much to tell, comrades intervened but it was invigorating anyways.
Two thirds of the pills they gave me at the infirmery are painkillers, so hardcore i don't feel anything in my legs and can run like before.

Day 76.
My guard sucked. At the last time I ****ed all the ironing of my chemisse (shirt), so I had to rendre compte. At the end of the day lost one of my kepi blancs.
Many guys, mostly the younger teenagers, are going civil. This army is one of rough men with a life experience, I understand why they go, as they haven't had a taste for life yet and are afraid of being maimed.
Yesterday the professional biathlonist refused a direct order, that got everyone in trouble.
We are going to be 35 men at the end of the week. The problem is that as the most educated and sensible types leave, only the thirld worlders and the criminals will remain.
We were allowed to go to the local store for the first time oficially, but no drinks, besides mineral carbonated water, (I got two bottles of those), or food allowed. The prices are normal by european standards.
Yesterday evening we changed rooms randomly so we can learn comraderie and our rooms were dearranged for us to understand order and cleanliness.

Day 84.
Spent a week in Formigueres doing mountain training.
I talked to the section leader, He said that people who wanted to be soldiers, go to missions and didn't care for partying on weekends. The Rep was the best option where the corvee there is minimal.
We were allowed to leave for two hours in the city, but there was no internet.
I bought chewing gum and lots of milk.
Fought again with a bigmouth who didn't want to respect me. On the stairs, after he hit me with a useless jab, I took him and his friend down, dropped on him from the side and delivered three punches that left marks on his head.
The caporals all knew about the incident but didn't say anything as we both denied it happened.

Day 87.
The first day of our company's field operation training we slept all night doing guard without shelter and didn't have breakfast.
When I saw the legion has a field cuisine, I understood I love this place.
Little by little we are treated more humanly and given little privileges.

Day 95.
Just returned from our four days in the farm. This was the last time we visit the place who gave us so much pain.
An army has to be rough, in order for the men to give the best of themselves.
The next week will be guard and regimental duties, and then we are going to the firing range.
This army doesn't know how to survive cold weather. My french is improving as I'm studying it old school while, for example, standing in line.
I'm starting to solve problems I have with my fellow soldiers verbally abusing my reputation. Morale is good.
The date of our return to Aubagne is already known. My hands are rougher than ever.

Day 96.
Today I worked at the cuisine, which means access to the store and lots of food that I was lacking on the field.
The food has to be prepared by yourself to be clean and good, I stopped trusting restaurants.
The camelbacks are for one-day missions, not for use at this level.
The women working at the kitchen seem narcotic addict prostitutes.
The caporal said that for each combat legionnaire there are three for support.
The GCP is 60 men strong what roughly equals to 0.9% of the legion force.
When you have only 15 minutes for yourself a day you start to appreciate the beauty of, say, the full moon.
I started to remember times and people past and experienced a little nostalgia.
Today I had to slap-jab another guy who wasn't showing me the respect I think I deserve.
They start with joking, but slowly try to put you down to the point it became instinctive for me to use force.

Day 100.
Today, during the medical test following the sport test I was told by the colonel it could be very difficult for me to get into the Rep with my knee injury.
The first thing that came to my mind was that I'm going civil if not sent where I want to go, as I saw many injured people.
Anyway, I said only one desired regiment, but he said that it would be unprobable or something.
Maybe I can find another regiment with the same action, missions, pride, more freedom, return home or just persevere.
The most difficult thing is to get accurate info, as everybody here lies, is in for the money or is simply scared.
The sport tests i did average, with a 2950 Cooper, 0853 seconds to climb the rope, 15 pullups, etc.
My blood pressure is 127/64 that I don't understand anyways, but my pulse is 50 per minute, as in my teens.
Overall I think I got already healthier in these three months. My weight is the ideal 82kg, though my body hasn't changed that much for me to tell without a camera.
The biathlonist told me he doesn't want the Rep as it's a prison and suggested the 2 Reg as a good alternative.
Whatever the rumors I will keep the Rep my first option.
At last got a nailclipper and noticed I have no more a nail in my little toes, the whole toe is a callous mess and I wonder how many other physical changes will I undergo in the army.

Day 102.
Did the 8km with a 11kg sac-a-dos in 45 minutes and the swimming test in a time they didn't let me know, but far better than the average for what i heard.
I'm not the best runner and start feeling pain in my knee, that's why the infantry wouldn't be the best choice for me.

Day 105.
In the morning we snuck out of the regiment to go a party.
We had two groups going and returning in the morning, so I was very tired.
I'm not doing this again as it's not the way I want to spend my weekends, doing BBC (bitches, beer, cigarettes).
From what I see here it must be like that in a regiment like 2 Rep with a harsh regime.
The thing is, with everybody doing it, it could be very miserable to keep oneself apart.
The internet and phone I can get regularly here, to know if there is someone on civil waiting for me.
The 2 Reg seems like a good option as I'm an engineer and have plenty of skills like swimming that you don't get without technique.
As I'm told they are not only builders, they have also 3 infantry companies, compared to 5 in the REI.

Day 107.
Three more guys are going civil after instruction. I heard that during basic training the first two months in the regiment is possible to go civil.

Day 115.
My morale is low nowadays as I have skyped to the civil world, as many go civil, as punishments continue, freedoms are restricted and I'm scared of a prospect of a second class soldier with my injured knee.
On one hand I'm eager to see the real regiment and missions, on the other hand I don't want to do the things I could do in civil.
I'm closer than ever thinking about civil.
I'm doing the guard 24, which is easier if you know what you want to do.
To get essential things like tea, coffee and clothing from the store is easier but forbidden as a rule.
One guy got injured and when he wanted to jury with the legion, they found out he had police problems and are saying that he will be deported.
I'm getting pain on my knee everytime I run on concrete, and I do it every day for an hour or more and with boots.

Day 117.
Our test of French was fake, though it's true that we four knew French well, but I think it's the same for the others. Ok, there is corruption here, it is the army.
Today they announced the vacancies: 9 Rep, 9 Rei, 4 Regs and Rec, 4 for Guyana.
I lost a little want of going to regiments with so many vacancies.
An army like the Legion is better man for man than the armies of Nato because these men are hungry for food and women, not like a paramilitary, say, Finnish army.
The driving test was real, I passed but they said I'm not so good.
On the parade I saw the wife and child of one of our top cadres and was disappointed.
These last three weeks are passing relatively slow, as I'm getting used to it. At some point I think I'll have to choose between civil family life and the celibate adventure of the army.
As I promised it will be my last adventure before settling down.
Ultimately, i'm a man who needs food, shelter and a woman.

Day 127.
Returned from the field. We made a combat training scenario with the whole regiment.
Deplacement, communications, etc may not seem a lot, but they are the base of any army and the bigger part of the rest is a joke.

Day 131.
Yesterday we returned from the farm and our instruction is over. We did nuclear defense, FAMAS, patrol and other tests. I'm demanding civil the first opportunity I have. In 12 days we are going back to Aubagne.

Day 134.
Today I work at the officers ordinaire, yesterday asked civil and nobody made a problem. In a month i should be out. I'm so tired of no sleeping.

Day 137. I asked the Chef of the company formally to go civil. He said I should wait for 10 days for the paperwork.
It happened that I finished fourth of the 48 initially in the section and was offered all regiments including the accelerated Caporal program by the chef of section.
Shamefully I don't see the sense in being looking forward to go to the ville inside a prison when I can get freedom right now.
This army is more rough and limitative because it is supposed to hold people with no other place to go, and that is true.
It seems everybody in my section got the regiments they wanted and are happy.
I was told to wait on the stage of peinture anti-stress till the administrative job is done.

Day 138.
I'm way more relaxed now. In the morning I was taken to the bureau major to do paperwork, instead of a sudden permission for the group to do sports, the Caporal there said I should wait for 2 or 3 weeks for the paperwork and for me that's fine.
I'm paid so they won't keep me for ever. My group leaves in 5 days, but some will return to do stages or wait their regiments, so I won't be alone here.
I'll be free in 20 days approximately and I wait, read a lot and so.

Day 147.
These last days are passing easy. I can have internet, phone calls and store almost at a cadre level.
I'm sleeping not less than 10 hours a day.
I'm working as a barman, which means I'm getting food, no dirty work and weekends.
I was thinking that my intelligence is what pleased the cadres, mostly my French language skills.
Being outside the initiation system gives a perspective about the shit and lies the soldiers live in.
I have already won the right to phonecall in civil life, so why should I renounce to it?

Day 152.
As I was told by the chef of company, I came to Aubagne on time. I already saw the local Chef, handed in all my military things and I'm waiting another six days to leave definitely.
Only 31 guys out of 48 made it through Castel. The Colonel that said I won't go Rep was a general, so I had no chance.

Day 155.
One thing that caught my attention is the lack of smokers in the guys going civil compared to those of my section, it's like five to one.
Most of the legionnaries of my section had backgrounds linked to drugs.

Day 157.
Yesterday talked to the ex repman, ex para, who received a paradrop trauma and he said the hardest part is knocking the door at Fort de Nogent, getting the kepi and finishing instruction, as the rest is mostly bureaucracy.
Djibouti has already been closed and transferred to the regulars, according to the people who have been there.
We are all twelve leaving tomorrow after midday.



My Experience at Aubagne.


Posted on deCervens forum. Written by EV: Michal Jack/James Martin
My Experience at Aubagne My Experience at Aubagne

First let me say that no two experiences are identical during preselection. The procedures change daily and nothing that you read can actually prepare you for the experience. Also, preparation is not indicative of your success. I will elaborate on my experience and hopefully assist future EV’s in one form or another.

BIO: 35 year old white male (turned 36 while blue, no cake) with no prior military service (Gov’t Contractor) and in peak physical conditioning. Pre-Training: Followed Stoengs 3 month training plan, learned Legion Chants, history and memorized the Code of Honor prior walking through the gates.

The walk through the Gates:

On August 28th 2015 I took a taxi from Marseille to the front gates of Aubange. I exited the vehicle, grabbed my bags and was waved in by a tall dark skinned Corporal who was guarding the gate.
He looked at my passport and smiled while saying “American ha ha, walk in there” as he pointed towards an open door.
I approached the door and stuck my head in as I knocked. The Corporal Chef who was smoking on a cigarette glanced at my passport then waved around the corner and said in broken Anglais “sit next to the other.”
I walked around the corner and saw a few guys sitting on this little red bench.
I sat down next to them. It soon became clear that waiting would be a major part of preselection.
As I sat on the bench clearly overdressed in black jeans a black shirt and combat boots, the sun slowly crept a little higher by the hour.
After about two hours a Corporal Chef exited the door and called me into a little room. My bags were inventoried, my money was counted and my undesirable possessions were tossed out.
Lucky for me I came relatively light and the only thing tossed was a first aid kit.
Contrary to what I thought prior to entering, Cell phones are inventoried and placed with your other belongings.
I happened to send mine back to the US with my Laptop and Driver’s License that very morning (I regretted this later).
Once I signed off on the inventory I sat back outside on the little red bench where I continued to wait with about half a dozen other gentlemen most of whom were speaking Spanish. We waited silently for several hours cooking in the sun as I started to question my clothing choice with sweat pooling in every crevasse possible.
Finally the Corporal Chef walked out with his bag and or files and told us to debout.

My heart started to race as we walked deeper up a hill and into the installation. I was thinking to myself “yes, all of the preparation and planning has paid off, I am finally here.” I was extremely happy and confident with my decision. This was day one, or so I thought.
As we approached a building we were told to wait by the entrance. I was very happy not to be sitting on that little red bench and the adrenaline was pumping. I hardly noticed standing in the sun for 30 min in silence just awaiting our next orders.
We were then waved into the building and told “silence” or Silance as it was pronounced by the Corporal Chef. We were led into a room some of us more fortunate than the others by receiving reasonably comfortable chairs while others were handed little metal stools.
One by one we were briefly interviewed and asked family questions. Each person sat for about 30 minutes with the Corporal Chef as we were given our new identities.
Yet again, some of us were more lucky than the others, it just so happens that I was given the precious name of Michal which might be Mike in Russian but by all other accounts it sounds like Michelle when pronounced by any other of my Corporal Chefs.
(Just so you future EV’s understand you will more than likely be answering to a Corporal / Corporal Chef. My experience during Aubange was almost solely dealing with Corporal Chefs. It is in your best interest to learn how to read the ranks and how to address them before walking through the gates.
Once I was given my name which you will have no control over unless you are a combat veteran who has earned a couple of medals than if they like you they might let you pick your own name. Regardless don’t count on it. You are who they say you are. I was “Michal” and proud of it.
Once you are given a name you are then sent outside into for lack of better words the “prison yard” this is the case if you came straight to Aubange, the “Prison Yard” is not occupied by those who are from Paris or already completed their sport and medical somewhere else.

The “Prision Yard” is perhaps the first test for those who have come directly to Aubange. It is an easy but grueling experience and I believe that it may be designed as such.
Basically you have four things which must be completed before you make the transition from Civil to an actual EV. The name change, the medical, the sport test and the contract signing. You would hope to knock all of these out in a day or two but during my experience it was one per day. How long do these things take?

Day 1 - Name change: 2 hours Day 2 - Medical: 5 hours Day 3 - Sport Test: 15 mins Day 4 - Contract Signing: 2 Mins

Now you ask well what the hell do I do with the rest of my day while I’m waiting to become an EV. The answer is tres simple. YOU WAIT!
Basically your day will go like this. 5:00am wake up then wait, 6:00am eat then wait, 8:00am Test (either medical or sport) then wait. 12:00 Lunch then wait 6:00pm Dinner then wait 10:00pm shower then sleep.
It may sound easy enough but it is truly the first test of the Legion. Are you content with sitting without being able to do any sport and just sit and wait for 18 hours a day in uncomfortable conditions?
Also I deceive you when I say breakfast, lunch and dinner. You may eat but unless you are a squirrel it is not even close to enough especially if you are a larger muscular person. You will starve and grow weaker by the day. It is all part of their process. I came in doing 25 pull-ups and left struggling to do half as many.
Your body starts deteriorating and burning muscle the second you walk through the gates. So you are waiting for 18+ hours a day for 4 days some for more and a few get lucky and get away with 3. You can optimize your chances by coming in on a Monday morning or a Sunday evening.
If you come in late in the week then you will be spending your weekend doing corvee before you even get to do your medical.
The best part of the waiting game is that you immediately begin building strong relationships with your comrades. By the end of day 4 I had developed relationships that will last a lifetime. These unfriendly conditions leave you picking each other up when your mind starts playing tricks on you and believe me everyone there at one point or another asks themselves, what the hell am I doing here. Every day is like a rollercoaster. You have your good moments and then you have your moments of doubt. They usually come when your stomach is in knots and you are sitting there contemplating chewing sticks and rocks.

The Medical: I was a bit terrified of the medical as those who have mentored me on here over the last several months know I had injured my ankle, torn ligaments and the whole nine. I wouldn’t of been able to go through those gates a day earlier than I did I mean I really pushed my luck.
That being said I did successfully pass MEPS (US MILITARY MEDICAL) two years prior but I was very concerned about failing because it’s not like you think. That goes for the entire Legion. It is not necessarily performance based. If someone doesn’t like you, they will fail you. I witnessed this during the medical. The Doctor who is a very hands on type gentleman and also a high ranking officer holds your key to the Legion.
I saw two slightly chunky guys go in and one got sent home because he was too fat. The funny thing is he was skinnier than the other guy who made it in. You have to be respectful and keep your mouth shut “silance” when you are sitting there bored as hell for hours staring at the wall. SHUT THE HELL UP. I can’t stress this enough.
It could cost you everything! The medical is pretty nerve racking. The day after I went 14 guys went to get there medical and only four passed. It’s common that if the doctor hears a pop or crack or just suspects there is a problem then you will get a paper and you are out until you return with that paper and another medical professional’s opinion.
The good news is I saw 6 people leave with papers and come back either the same or the next day. It’s not the end of the world if you get one just get it checked out at the hospital and come back.

The Sport Test: Ok so I must have been reading some old documentation because I over trained like a mofo. I was climbing rope and running 2800 meters in like 12 minutes trying to prepare for the test. What I should have been doing is the beep test and a couple of lousy pull-ups.
As for me though I sort of dropped the ball on the beep test. My sport test was the first time I ever ran a beep test. Let me touch on a couple of things about the Legion Sport Test.
Depending on your Corporal Chef in charge of the test is going to determine how well your group does. For instance, the Corporal Chef in charge of my groups test made us run both feet past the line. My group made levels 8 and 9. However the next day’s group had a different Corporal Chef and they only had to put one foot past the line.
This is about 2 to 3 meters shorter than the way we did it and their group all made 9 to 10 levels. The same thing with the pull-ups, some Corporal Chefs let you kip a bit and others are exceptionally strict.
This I think is a big issue that they should sort out because their controls aren’t the same so their results are flawed IMO. Other than that the test was ridiculously easy. I regret not practicing the beep test prior, I feel that better technique could have resulted in a bump up in levels. Be sure to practice. You do the pull-ups immediately following the beep test so practice as such.

First let me say that no two experiences are identical during preselection. The procedures change daily and nothing that you read can actually prepare you for the experience. Also, preparation is not indicative of your success. I will elaborate on my experience and hopefully assist future EV’s in one form or another.

The Contract: Sometimes you will sign it the evening of the sport test and if you are like me you wait a whole extra day and sign it the following day. They take pictures of your scars and tattoos then you sign a contract and become an official EV. Up until you sign that contract you are nothing. You are Civil. Now you are official and you feel a remarkable pride. You are also issued your blues, your super comfortable and not tight at all underwear and are issued your Blue kit. This is when the fun really starts. I loved every single minute including the 1 minute showers!

Being Blue: The next steps you will take will be the following. Aptitude Tests: 1 ½ hours Psychiatrist: 1 hour Medical #2: 1 hour Gestapo: 1 hour

A day as a Blue: You wake up, make your bed, clean your dorm, hit a quick workout outside, run, formation, run to breakfast, eat your petit dejeuner (piece of bread), run, formation, repose, run, formation, repose, corvee, formation, repose, workout in the yard, formation, repose, corvee, run to lunch, formation, repose, corvee, run, formation, repose. Your shoulders will hurt, your feet will go numb and you will learn to love it.
I chose to always be in the front row as close to my Corporal Chefs as possible. A siren goes off at any given time and you sprint into formation.
My thoughts were first to the front, they will remember my face. The back rows have it much easier especially if you are standing there for hours. They can stretch their arms and cheat quite a bit but if you are in the front you lead by example and remember all eyes are on you.
I did my best to be noticed and stand as still and upright as possible. I was under the impression that the Corporal Chefs had total power of my future and I wanted to set a good example for the younger guys as well.
Back to a day as a blue. Formation, pull-ups, formation, repose, corvee, formation, dinner, formation, pull-ups, wait, maybe if you are lucky the Foyer would open up and when it does the little things in life really turn a shite day into a true treasure.
A Cola and a candy bar really boost morale especially because you are still starving 90% of the time. Finally Formation, Appel, Dorm assignment, Make bed, 1 minute shower, inspection, wash clothes in the sink and last sleep.
You hope that your name is towards the rear of the column so that you can run your ass off and get one of the single beds instead of the bunks. When you are a big guy you will really appreciate this. That about concludes a day as a blue. Now just repeat 7 to 10 times and viola if you are lucky you go rouge. & yes luck has a bit to do with it.

Aptitude tests: That’s what they are. There are more questions that anyone except Einstein can answer in the amount of time allotted. You figure out the rest that’s all I’m saying on that topic. Do some spatial reasoning and math puzzles if you want to practice. That will help.

Corvee is sometimes a test and there is also a great deal of favoritism and discrimination involving some duties.
The discrimination lies mostly within the kitchen. My Russian buddies would get to corvee in the kitchen because they could speak the language. They also would come back bragging on how they ate all day and feel like they are going to pop from being so full.
This is painful to hear when you are starving and they have the same complaints every day. There were a couple of guys who actually put on weight while we were there. I found this hilarious and upsetting in the same sentence.
It isn't just the kitchen though. There are other places where countrymen stick with and lookout for fellow countrymen. However if you are an American you can just suck it up and forget about all of that countrymen shite because you are all alone brother. You will have to out work and out starve many of your comrades.
I didn't mind it that much because it toughens you up quick and doesn't give you the false security blanket that mommy usually packs for you.
The other side of the corvee is when you go and work for other Corporal Chefs.
These are tests and you should always attack the duties vigorously and passionately although don't expect it to mean a damn thing in the end. Just do what you are told and don't expect a cookie or a good job. You might be lucky enough to get a punch in the gut which you should wear like a badge of honor.

The Shrink:
Ok so this is the most important interview that you will have in my opinion. Again everyone’s experiences are different but here’s how mine went.
There are 3-5 different shrinks there at any given time. Some are more likeable than others. It’s just my luck that I was travelling to the other side of the earth to sit down with such a loveable character.
Here is the problem with this interview. This guy or girl if you are lucky sit down with you for 1 hour and their words hold more weight than the Corporal Chefs who are with you all day every day.
Basically your Corporal Chefs can love you and tell the Officer in charge of the commission that you are the model recruit after observing you for weeks, watching how you wake up, take orders, corvee, but none of their words can trump the LT or the ADJ who sit with you for an hour.
It was my luck that I had sat with a shrink right before lunch and the shrink was clearly grumpy and agitated with me before I even opened my mouth. To add insult to injury I come strolling in totally unrehearsed and chipper so excited that I’m here and experiencing all of this beautiful camaraderie. I was under the legions spell.
It all started to go wrong when we were talking about my job and how I make 6,000 bucks a month back in the US (meanwhile the shrink makes like 2,500 a month). I was told that I have it all a car, a job and why would anyone in their right mind come here to the Legion where life is hard and food is scarce.
My explanation was simple. For the discipline and the camaraderie. I explained that I had originally planned on joining the Army in the US but I lost my father and by the time that was all over with I had already reached the age limit.
I had brought with me letters of recommendation from a LT COL and all sorts of documentation and accolades I received as a Gov’t contractor.
I believe that all of these things hindered me more than helped me for it showed them that I was not desperate and that I had someplace to go. Unlike many of my friends who were there as a last resort or for the money.
I was actually there on principal by choice which in hindsight was clearly a mistake. I should of came desperate and in need of the Legion not as I did. The shrink was very snooty and Psst at every answer that I gave. I left actually feeling good like I answered every question to the best of my ability and I was excited to take the next step.

The Gestapo:
Again everyone’s experience is different. Some guys said they got thrown against the wall while I was just asked the same questions that I was asked by the shrink but by a really nice and relaxed guy. I was in and out in an hour and felt great about the way things went.
They all seemed to focus on different questions and when I tried to go into detail many times I was cut off and we moved on. I would do a few things differently if I was able to do the interview again.
When I was rushed onto the next questions I would have him slow down and go back.
If there is lack of clarity or your answers do not match exactly then they consider you untruthful or so I think and I know that when we were talking about my immediate families medical history and focusing on my father I had failed to mention my brothers diabetes and my grandmothers cancer.
These same questions were asked during my medical but in more depth directed towards any of my family members. It’s these discrepancies which haunt me and I wish I would have corrected.
Also, my juvenile record which they don’t have access to was rushed through when I tried to explain it in further detail I was just blown off but it’s what they see on paper that they use as tools to decide whether or not you’ve been honest.
Just remember be thorough and be precise with your answers. Always answer the same. Do not get diarrhea of the mouth is advice that I should of took a bit more seriously.

Medical 2: It was a hearing test. The guy messes with you leaving long breaks in between the beeps. Only push the button when you hear beeps. It’s easy. I get ringing in my ears sometimes from all of the shooting that I do and the harder you try to hear something the more they ring. Just relax and don’t over think it. It’s really easy.

Selection Day:
You say your goodbyes, then get called into formation. Some names get called and others don’t. It’s really luck of the draw.
I watched guys who Corporal Chefs in charge of Corvee wanted to see sent home make it and guys who the Drill Corporal Chefs thought were solid candidates and endorsed go home (like me). I found out after I “went civil” which is what happens if you are not called to go rouge.
I was told as I was driving to the bus station by my Corporal Chef he said “I don’t know who you pissed off but I was endorsing you as an exceptional candidate.”
He told me that I was exactly what they were looking for, although on paper I’m a 36 year old with no military background and apparently a crappy review from the shrink on my motive for being there which is extremely important, but then again who really knows after all it is the Legion and the Legion does things the Legion way.
It may not be the best way, it may not make any sense to you but it is the Legion way and there is a reason it is so.



My three weeks in the Legion by Mercator.

I hope this proves valuable to some. So after 1½ year of dreaming of the Legion, ½ year of preparation, I finally tried. It turned out that “my profile does not correspond to the needs of the Legion.”

Preparation :
My physical condition half a year ago was abysmal : 107kg for 1,78cm, not a single pull-up, barely 3 on the shuttle test (Luc-Léger) !

Nutrition :
I started by getting my nutrition in line, no more junk food, lots of fruits and vegetables (salads became most of my meals) and a very tight calorie budget.
With training added to the mix, I lost 20kg in four months. I also added protein supplements to avoid loosing too much muscle mass.
My typical daily diet started with a cup of milk with a protein scoop (chocolate flavored whey) with a chocolate bar (my little sugar rush for the day) for breakfast; and a big salad (tomatoes, cucumber, salad, carrots, tuna, eggs, cheese...) for dinner. I drank a lot of water, so much that my bladder was always full.

Training :
I joined a gym for three months. I had been procrastinating for so long. Paying the monthly subscription gave me the incentive I needed.
First month :
I did 10 minutes of cross-trainer for warm-up then did weight training. One day for Pecs and Shoulders, one for the Back and one for Quads. Core muscles and calves I trained every day.
I chose heavy weights, so that I would be able to do only 3 to 6 reps per set. Always looking for the point where the muscle fails to deliver what you're asking it to. That's what makes it grow and improve.

Second month :
I started to run on the treadmill 12min at a constant speed. Started at 8km/h then kept slowly increasing, reaching all the way to 14km/h by the end of the third month. I also added an inclination of 1° to simulate air resistance. I kept training with weights all the same. Increasing the weights as I grew stronger.
I started training for pull-ups. I did 4 sets of 8 negative pull-ups, as I couldn't do a regular pull-up. You just jump up and hang for a second, then slowly lower yourself to the ground all the way till your arm extend fully. Then I followed with pull-downs and other back exercises.

Third month :
I started running outdoors. I did 6km in 45min the first day. Then started running 8km a day. At the end I could run it in 42min. Then I started running 20km in 2h, every two or three days, as it takes a toll on your joints, especially at first.
After the run, I'd go to the gym and run on the treadmill. 12min. I'd start at 9,5km/h with a 1°incline and add 0,5km/h every minute. Then I4d do my weight training.
For the pull-ups, I did as many as I could, then followed with negative pull-ups, pull-downs and other back exercises. By the end, I could do 6 pull-ups, and run 2800m in 12min.

Psycho-technical test :
I didn't need to prepare for this one, but I've seen so many people fail this ! Do a lot of IQ test puzzles before you attempt to join. There are tons of them online.

Pre-selection in Fort de Nogent
I joined in Bordeaux. They sent me the next day to Fort de Nogent in Paris. There I did the following things :
- entry test : a pull-up test (3 minimum) and a mini psycho-technical test (12 questions in 12 minutes, 8/12 good answers minimum)

- incorporation :
they create your file, measure your weight and height, take away your phone, any written phone numbers, any money exceeding 50€ (you get it back later), USB sticks, any cards you have in your wallet...
You keep all your stuff with you for now. You are given a uniform to wear and clean sheets for your bed.
You should bring a watch, sandals, soap/shampoo, towel, shaving tools, cigarettes and lighter if you smoke and a good pair of running shoes. You shouldn't bring SIM cards or credit cards (or hide them well in your bag before joining, cause they destroy them when you go red).

- psycho-technical test:
a test on the computer. Three categories : numerical, spatial and non-verbal. About 20 minutes each, 20 or 30 questions. Failing this one in Paris, doesn't get you thrown out. Consider it training. The real official one takes place later in Aubagne, during selection (the one in Paris however will apparently become official soon, so beware).

- medical test:
you fill a form with your medical history then they test your eyesight, your urine (for drugs, diabetes...), your heart, your blood pressure, your weight, your hearing, then you see a doctor who checks your breathing, your heart, your footprint and your balls (lol !).
If you need glasses bring them. If your teeth are screwed up, fixed them first. If you have had a surgery, bring any documents you have for it. Be prepared for the possibility that they may send you do some tests in a nearby hospital if need be (broken bones, crooked spine, problem with the urine or hearing results...)

- security/motivation interview:
a brief interview about your reasons for joining the Legion, your desired regiment, your history, potential problems with the Justice...

- sports tests:
a shuttle test (Luc-Léger). As already describe before by others, you run between two lines, 20m apart. You have to reach the line before every beep. The beep frequency increase every minute.
You have to reach Level 7 (7 minutes) minimum. Then comes the pull-up test : you have to do 3 at least. I did Level 11 on the shuttle test and 7 pull-ups (I'd say you should do 10 or more to maximize your chances, some did 20+).
If you've made it to this point. You sign a bunch of papers and are sent to Aubagne (groups leave every Tuesday and Thursday). Every day from this point on earn you about 30€ that you receive at the end of the selection period.

Selection in Aubagne

I was sent to Aubagne on December 31st. Arrived there, we became ‘bleus’ (blues). The steps here were as follows:
- incorporation:
this time all our clothes and backpacks were taken and put in storage. You get issued a small backpack with everything from socks, underwear to razors, shaving cream and a roll of toilet paper. You also get a uniform. We wore a camouflage "Parka". It looked cool as hell.

- psycho-technical test:
this time it's the real deal, same as the one in Paris, except this one counts. Three tests (spatial 20 questions, numerical 36 questions, non-verbal 36 questions), 20 minutes each. If you fail this one, you're out.

- personality test:
on the computer, like the previous test. You are given a list of qualities or weaknesses, you are asked to rate them according to how close they apply to you. The psychologist will later use your answers for his interview.

- Medical test:
you get an injection in your forearm. It's a Tuberculosis test (thanks for the info a1b2c3). It gets checked after 48 hours. If you have a swelling/redness bigger than 3cm, you're out. I didn't get any redness at all, some did, but no one failed this one. You also have an interview with a doctor, but it's of no consequence, just going over what you did already in Paris.

- Psychology interview:
you get an interview (30min-1h) with a psychologist about your personality, your past, your reasons for joining.

- ‘Gestapo’ interview:
they take your prints and a urine sample then they ask you about your past, any problems you my have had with the law, your history and your reasons for joining (last 1h-2h)

After you've done all this, your file goes in front of the Selection Commission which will decide your fate (it meets every Thursday).
If you're lucky, you get to have your head shaved, become ‘rouge’ (red) and get to wear a military uniform in which you spend a week while you wait to be sent to Castelnaudary for training.
If you're like me, you get your stuff back and some money for the days you spent in Aubagne. If you've made it all the way to the Commission, you'll get rejected permanently.
If you've failed a test like sports or psycho-technical, you usually get only a temporary rejection (3-18 months).

If you make it to Rouge, you're basically in. You get the money you've earned so far, you start earning a bit more as Rouge (about 45€ a day), start learning the Code d'Honneur, learning to count in French, learning to march...
Twice a week, you go for a run in a nearby forest, 13km or so. You also do some further medical tests (x-rays of your lungs and teeth) and receive some vaccine shots.
I learned that after a month in Castelnaudary, you are indeed allowed to make phone calls and even go out in the city on Wednesday afternoons if you've been a good boy.

From my experience, I learned that - being French - speaking French - having prior military experience improve your chances while - having a criminal history - being oldlower your chances, especially the last one.

Final thoughts:
I think I was rejected because I had an asshole psychologist, he was angry through the whole interview, I don't think he liked me one bit. He asked me the bare minimum questions, with sarcastic remarks here and there.
He didn't give me a hard time about one particular thing, I think it is mainly about his first impression.
I was sent on corvée that afternoon by mistake, instead of being told to wait for the interview.
When he called my name and didn't find me waiting He went mental.
They brought me back from where I was in a rush, but I guess he was already too pissed off by then. I'm not even sure I was rejected because of that, but that's all I could think of.

Still, it was a great experience over all. Met a lot of friends in there. I wish I was able to pursue it further, but it wasn't meant to be.
If you get in, expect to work your ass off every day, all day, either you're doing a test, or you're doing a ‘corvée’ (cleaning floors, setting up tables, helping in the kitchen, gardening, cleaning showers/toilets, washing dishes...). I did not mind working. What I hated was when we had nothing to do.

This forum helped answer a lot of my questions. Sharing my experience is my way of giving back to the community. I hope people find value in this. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. I'll be answering questions for as long as I can. I can't answer questions about whether the Legion is the right thing for you or not, you'll have to find that out for yourselves.
And I wish good luck to all the wannabes !


Post from ransac

By forum member ransac
Posted March 2011 by ransac on de Cervens legion forum.

My Experience in the Selection of the French Foreign Legion.
By Member "ransac" of the forum http://www.cervens.net/legionbbs123/forum.php

9th February 2011 16:25 - I'm in Aubagne

Just arrived at Aubagne this evening (9 Feb) from Paris. Will hit the gate in the morning. I've prepared for this so long. The gate of the Legion is suddenly in front of me.
I haven't posted much at this forum but have been wisely use the search button to get the updated info I need. Thanks everyone who has contributed to this forum. No matter what the result I will have, I will try to post what I have experienced and gone through here in the future for other's reference.

Frankly I am nervous and a bit hesitate now.... I won't possess too much and high expectation tomorrow as I know that the Legion will get what it really wants. I will just frankly expose myself to them for choosing. Nonetheless, I will do my best in every tests and interviews.

Only a wanna-be steps into the gate will know what's going on and the reality of this place. I know that since I enter the gate, my life has changed.
Best wishes to you and other wanna-bes.

At the beginning of Feb I left a message here saying that I would hit the gate of the Foreign Legion in Aubagne.
My selection is over and I didn't make it. I'm now back to my country safely and recollect myself the things happened in Aubagne.
Before I joined, I said I would post my experience of the selection here for others' reference in the future. I honor my words and have started to write. I intent to put down my experience into different sections and post them in various threads. I will edit this post from time to time and update the links to each section.

Your experience in the selection could be different from mine but these are my personal account. Things could be changed there, but at least this post could give you some idea on what is going to happen in the weeks of selection.
Enjoy reading and good luck!

#1 Legion's Gate in Aubagne
There are some good posts in this forum describing in details how to get to France and the different stations of the Legion in France. You can use the search button to find them so I don’t repeat here.
My story started at the Legion’s gate in Aubagne. If you join in other stations in France, ultimately you will be sent in group to Aubagne.
If you can afford the additional travel expense, I advise you to hit the gate at Aubagne directly, since I heard from others that they had to wait in Paris or other recruiting stations for up to a week or two before being sent to Aubagne.

I arrived at the Legion’s gate and told the guard that I want to become a legionnaire (in French). He checked my passport briefly and asked me to wait, as it was lunch time (1200-1400). Couple of guys arrived after. There’s a notice showing what to bring to the selection, including toiletries, slippers, underwears, sport shoes and clothes. It’s good to have a look and make sure that you don’t bring less than the required. But try not to bring too many belongings, including valuable items, as this is not boy-scout camp.

At around 1430 a caporal-chef (1 gold and 2 green chevrons on the shoulder) came and asked if we wanted to join the Legion. He checked and collected our passport. There was a guy from a European country with only driving license and citizen card and he was rejected by the caporal-chef.
We followed the caporal-chef and entered the gate. There were 7 of us at that time and later a few of them became my good friends there.
I was excited as it’s my first time to enter the Legion’s camp where the selection was held. Nothing is more exciting than realizing the dream for long time. We passed the big parade ground in front of the gate, with a statue of 4 soldiers in the middle and the words “Legio Nostra Patria” on the wall in the end. We also passed a place called “Centre de Sélection et d'Incorporation” (Center of selection and incorporation), where you will spend weeks or months there to know if you will become ‘Rouge’.

Always bring a VALID passport, which means it is not expired at the time you present yourself to the Legion, no fallen pages and is intact.
We were brought to an office and were asked to put all our belongings on the table. The caporal-chef came and made a checklist of items one by one. Keep your items tidy and in group, which can ease the work of the caporal-chef. He also searched our body and see if there’s any prohibited items. He retained the valuable items e.g. mp3 players, wallet, cell phone, etc. You can’t bring any papers in too. All these items will be put in a separated envelop with your name in it. If you are lucky enough you will see them after 5 years.

We were asked to fill in some forms in another room. These forms include the personal info, parent, emergency contact, the reason you join the Legion, etc. The caporal-chef then asked us a couple of questions like personal information, how we came to France, previous employment, education, etc. and type into the computer. He also counted the cash I had in the wallet and returned me around 80 euros. The rest were put back into the envelop. Then we had to sign some forms written in French (one of them is the check list of our belongings) and left our bags in a locker.

We were asked to stay in an area outside the office, where there’s a tent and a room with TV and some old movies (I call this the ‘civilian camp’). There were some Képi Blanc magazines in the room too. We met some other guys in the room who had been there earlier. We saw some guys wearing blue sportwear (I call them blues) in another side of the fence. We were not allowed to talk to them. We were still civilian at that time, though our passports were retained by the Legion.

All we had to do was waiting. Try getting used to ‘waiting’ as it is the major part of life in the selection process. There was another Caporal-Chef in charge of our living there. Our area of staying is outside the window of his office. We kept an eye on the window and when the caporal-chef showed up in the window, we lined up quickly in front of him for his order.

We ate in the same mess hall with other Legionnaires and blues. There was not much time to eat. But we always get the food earlier than the rest. You can see so many races of legionnaires and blues in the mess hall! If you are lucky you can find some people from your country there. At night we were assigned in group to get the bag back and take shower. We slept in a room with bunk beds in the ground floor of the office building.

Initial Medical Examination
In the next morning after breakfast, the Carporal Chef called several guys out, me included, and headed for the medical center. We were asked to strip off the clothes until underpants and stayed in a room. We waited for 2 hours until the doctor (I think he’s an adjudant) came and started to do some medical tests, like measuring weight, height, blood pressure, heart rate, eye sight and color blindness.
We also needed to complete a form with more than 50 questions of your medical history, declaration of any illnesses, whether you do regular exercise and the frequency of doing so. The form is printed in several languages and the adjudant will give you one you understand. We also had to sign a consensus of receiving vaccination if we are accepted to the Legion.

Then we had to wait outside of another room again. We saw other legionnaires coming and had medical consultation and the new Rouges for extracting blood samples. We were called one by one into the room to meet another doctor for checking the teeth, joints, movement of arms and legs, and the balls – I don’t know if the size of the balls matters but I passed the medical anyway. The doctor also asks if you smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs.

The whole medical examination took over 3 hours. Again waiting took most of the time. After the examination the doctors found some problems in 2 of the guys. They were given a letter stating the problems and were asked to have medical check-up in the civilian hospitals before coming back again. They were sent away immediately in that afternoon.

Later I learned that the Legion keeps certain number of blues in the selection camp. The day before I did the medical examination some blues were sent away and that’s why they put us to blue the next day.
When we came back to the civilian camp, some more new guys arrived in the morning. Some of them joined in Marseille and other locations and were sent to here. There were over 20 civilians.
After the lunch, I and other guys who passed the medical exam were called out. We knew that we would become blue in the afternoon. We got our bags and were brought to a building in another side of the parade ground. After waiting in the corridor of the building for another hour, we were called one by one to see the Commandant (4 gold stripes). My file had already been presented on the table of the Commandant. He asked again your reason of joining the Legion. He knew I could speak a little French and asked some more questions about my home. Then he asked me seriously if I wanted to become legionnaire, and the contract lasted 5 years. I replied “Oui commandant!”, and signed on the contract.

Then the Carporal brought us to the “Centre de Selection et Incorporation”. We went to the cellar of the center and already there were some blues waiting for us and ready to give us clothes to change. We stripped off all the clothes.
They rationed the following items: 2 underpants, 2 pairs of white socks, a black t-shirt, a blue sport jacket and pants, a bag of toiletries including tooth-paste, tooth-brush, shaving cream, razor and a bar of soap, a pair of slippers, a roll of toilet papers, and a green backpack for putting all the things in.
These are all your possession during the selection and if it’s lost, it’s hard to get re-issuing. We put on the clothes they gave and our own sport shoes. We were allowed to keep only our cash and all our belongings and the civilian clothes were locked up in the store room. When it’s done, we were discharged to the open area next to the center, where it is surrounded by fence, and met other blues there.
The life of blue started.

The Life of Blue
Let me explain these words clearly before going on. Blue: Candidates for the selection to be the legionnaire. The blues wear two types of T-shirt – Black T-shirt and Green T-shirt, depending on the stages of selection they have gone through.
Black T-Shirt: represents new blues (just came from civilian camp) and those who have completed the Psychotechnical test.
Green T-Shirt: those who have completed the Sports tests and awaiting for the remaining parts of the selection process.
Rouge: The guys who have passed the selection and have been selected in the weekly ‘Commission’. Officially they are called ‘Engagé Voluntaire’. They wear combat uniform but without rank slides, or sometimes green track suit and white t-shirt. If you see guys with combat uniform cleaning toilet or floor, guarding in the gate of the center, or walking around and repeating the code of honor, he must be Rouge. Rouges usually stay in the Center for one week before going to the 4th regiment for the basic training. Some francophone Rouges can stay in Aubagne for more than a month to help training other new Rouges or doing other duties in the office.

When you become ‘blue’, you say good bye to the civilian world. You will have punishment from Carporal or other officers in the center if you are dumb enough to make mistakes. You are not technically the legionnaire so the punishment is not quite hard on you. But if you mess up, the Rogue suffers, and you won’t have a good time there as well. So behave yourself or you will be sent away before the Commission.

The common question asked by the blues there is, when will I have my Security Interview (Gestapo)/Commission? While the official recruitment website tells that it takes around 10 days to finish all the tests, interviews and selection, the actual time for each one can be different. I saw a guy who had been blue for over 1 month and still waiting for the Gestapo. Another guy became Rouge within 2 weeks. Some guys who came later than me finished everything and waited for the final result from the Commission, while I still didn’t know the time for the Gestapo.

The bottleneck could be in the Gestapo. There can be over 30 new blues coming in a day, but on each day at most 10 to 12 guys will be lucky enough to be called to have the Gestapo. Once you go through the Gestapo, you know it is a long but important process to the Legion. There’s reason for it to be slow. I will talk about the Gestapo in the later section.

Be sure that you can stay in France for a period of time without trouble in your home country if the selection goes longer.
The sequence of tests and stages of selection are Civilian > Initial Medical Exam -> Blue (Black T-shirt) -> Psychotechnical Test + Personality Test -> Sports Tests -> Blue (Green T-shirt) -> Medical check-up -> First Interview -> Second Interview -> Security Interview (Gestapo) -> Commission (every Thursday) -> Rouge
The following is the schedule from Monday to Friday in the Center.
0445 wake up, get dressed, room cleaning, make bed.
0530 assembly, head count and breakfast
After breakfast, assembly again. The Carporal/Carporal Chef asks “Qui veut partir civil… who wants to go home, papa, mama, playstation…”
0530 – 0800 free time
0800 assembly. Assignment of work (corvee). Call out for tests and interviews.
0800 – 1100/1130 work in different location in the camp
1130 assembly and lunch
1200 – 1400 free time
1400 assembly. Assignment of work (corvee). Call out for tests and interviews. Announcement of the blues who fail in the test of the day and go civil in the afternoon.
1400 – 1700/1730 work in different location in the camp
1730 assembly and dinner
1800 – 2000/2030 free time, the foyer (cantina) will be opened for selling cigarette, chocolates and soda.
2030 assembly and head count. Room assignment for new blues and other blues who spend the night outside the camp for work.
2030 – 2130/2200 shower, room cleaning, make bed, room inspection by Carporal or Carporal Chef
2200 Light out and sleep
For Saturday, Sunday and public holiday in France, you can sleep until 0530 or 0600 and have breakfast slightly later. The schedule for the rest of the day does not change.

Psychotechnical Test, Sports Tests and Medical Test
You need to pass three tests in the following sequence: Psychotechnical, Physical and Medical. No test is done during public holiday, Saturday and Sunday.
Psychotechnical Test
The test is usually done in the morning and occasionally afternoon. It has 3 parts, each of which lasts for 20 min with different types of question. The test is done in front of the computer. Before entering the test room, the Carporal in-charge will give you some sample questions of the 3 parts with explanation written in your own language. (And DO NOT fold the sample questions…) Before the start of each part the Carporal will demonstrate how to use the computer to do the tests, and give you chance for questions.
DON’T ask me what the questions are. You will know it from other blues there or you will find it out yourself in the test room.

You never know the passing mark of the test. But you must know whether you pass it or not. If you can’t make it you will be called out in the assembly after lunch and will be sent away in the afternoon on the same day. If you do the test in the afternoon but is not called for the Sports Tests in the next morning, you probably fail and will go home in the next afternoon. You can come back 18 months after if you fail this test.

I don’t think there’s way to prepare for the test but if you are afraid of failing, get some education (I mean schooling) before you come. Most people passed. But I did see some blues who failed the test in the first time and came back. Some of them passed the second time, and some failed again…

Sports Tests
The test has only pull-up and luc leger. I haven’t seen any rope climbing and sit-up. The test is done every morning except Saturday, Sunday and public holiday. An Adjudant conducts the test. The size of the group doing the test can vary, from 4 or 5 blues to a large group of 12 or 13, depending on how many blues (black t-shirt) passing the psychotechnical test the day before.

1. Luc Leger There’s a speaker playing the tape of the beep test. The ‘beep’ sound is very clear but the announcement of the number of level (palier) is a bit hard to catch. I can’t remember how many ‘shuttles’ were there in each level. You have to run faster and faster between the beeps when the level goes up. Many people consider level 7 to be the passing line. But there’s no guarantee for that. Run as many levels as you can.

Tip of the test
Get a pair of running shoes with good grip to the ground. When I was in Aubagne it was spring and it rained sometimes in the early morning. The test was still carried on even the ground was wet. I saw many guys wearing the running shoes provided by the Legion. It’s the same as the one rationed to the Rouge. I have no idea on its quality.

Be sure to step on the yellow line at each end before the beep sound. You could be stopped by the Adjundant if he thinks you cannot make it. Find the old post and download the sample beep sound track and get some practice before you go.

You will be called for the test in the assembly after the breakfast and wait in the foyer. The test normally begins at 0800 so you have plenty of time for digestion, hydration and toilet. So do have breakfast before the test.

2. Pull Up
Soon after you finish the luc leger, the pull up test begins. There are three pull-up bars with different heights. If the group is large two blues will do the test at the same time.
Tip of the test
Make sure your hands are straight when you are in the low position; otherwise the Adjundant will press on your shoulder to lower down. The pull-up starts immediately after running. Your arms could be numb as your heart is still pumping fast and the blood circulates to the lower body. You may do less pull-up than normal. Again, practice before going.

If you fail the Sports tests, you can come back 3 months after. Please train yourself before coming. I never heard about the passing mark of each test there. But the Carporal will tell you whether you pass or fail. Some said it’s comparative of your performance with others in the same group. I can’t comment.

Once you finish the test, you will be given time to take (quick) shower and change your black t-shirt to green. This does not mean you pass the test. If you fail you will be called out in the assembly in the afternoon and go home.

Medical Test
Soon after you finish the physical test in the morning, and if you are not called out to go home, you will be sent to the medical center for the test in the afternoon. The doctor will inject something to your left forearm and draw a big red circle around the injection area. There will be a red spot coming up in the area 1 or 2 days after. You are told not to scratch or rub it.

You will be back to the medical center after 1 day for re-examination of the area (if you did the test on Friday, it will be the next Monday). The doctor will measure the size of the spot. If the size exceeds the standard, you will be failed and given a list of civilian hospitals in France to conduct the test again at your own expense, and come back anytime with the certification issued by the hospitals.

Upon completion of the tests above, what lies ahead are the 3 interviews. You won’t fail in the interviews as your file will be presented to the Commission for consideration. The decision of the Commission is final and permanent so if you fail to become Rouge in the Commission, you can never come back.

That’s why some blues (black t-shirt) decide to fail the sports test intentionally once they find that they are not up to the standard. They can prepare again and come back after 3 months. This is not a bad move.



Volunteered Early 2014 • Made It to Final Selection Commissioning but Not Accepted
Hey guys.
I volunteered earlier this year (2014) and made it all the way to the final commissioning, but was not selected. I spent about a week in Marseille, and about 2 weeks in Aubagne.

If anyone is thinking about volunteering, and has any questions about what you might experience during selection, go ahead and ask me. I can only share what I personally experienced, anything else is either just my opinion or second hand information.

Please don't ask me about what they are and aren't looking for, as I have no idea, and most currently serving Legionnaires I know have no idea either. Also PLEASE do not speculate on why you think I may not have been selected I AM NOT asking this question, I am merely providing insights based on my own personal experience of the FFL selection as it was February/March 2014

Thanks for accepting me on your forum.

Originally Posted by D
Bravo sir! Any guys with glasses make it in?
Yes, there were guys with glasses who made it in.

Originally Posted by T
The only page on the official recruiting page that won't translate to English for me is the medical one. Are the doctors weary about you having any scars, or just surgical ones? Thanks for taking the time to fill us in.
They seem to be weary of all scars. Everyone that went through the medical in my group that had a scar, including me, got ‘inapte temporaire’ and had to go get them checked out at their own expense.

Originally Posted by P
Thank you for sharing your expirience, good luck in the future! Were there any guys over 30 with you?
Out of the 300 or so guys I met while I was going through selection, there was only 10 that I knew for certain were over 30. EVs don't really walk around asking each other how old they are, and a good amount of the time no one knows what the hell anyone else is saying anyway. Extraordinary experience.
In an attempt to preempt what your next question might be. I only saw one guy, that I knew was over 30, get selected.

For all those private messaging me about what the ‘Tests’ involve, check out the official French Foreign Legion recruitment page.
If you are having trouble navigating the site then:
Check out these links:
For more information on the 'physical' requirements, check out this link:
For more info on the medical requirements check out this link:
They don't check your teeth out until you have made rouge (red), that is if you make rouge.
For more info on the what the ‘psycho-technical’ test covers check out this link:
It is just a test like you would do at school when you are about 15 (in a first world school).
For the ‘motivation’ interviews, just check out this link:
It is just like a job interview.
This links is for the fitness requirements:
Please don't complain to me that it is in French. Use Google Translate or something.
It is the French Foreign Legion, they will only speak to you in French for the most part, so best get used to it.
The most intensive test, if you can even call it that, is the DSPLE (security screening). It's not really a test, it a security screening, but it is more intense than the motivation interview.
You get asked some really strange questions, and you get asked them over and over and over again.
You get asked the same questions multiple different ways too. In a lot of ways it is a bit of a test, one of nerves. The interviewer just sat there eyeballing me a lot of the time. You are asked to do all sorts of things.

Take off all your clothes in under 45 seconds, put them back on in 45 seconds. Stand on one leg. At one point the interviewer walked behind be while I was standing in my underwear on one leg and aggressively kicked over a rubbish bin. To be honest it is hard not to laugh sometimes. I bet this sort of stuff cracks some guys, I know one kid came out and burst into tears, it looked like he had already being crying for a while.
The interviewer also threw his beret at me out of nowhere. He was a very peculiar German guy which made the nickname the ‘Gestapo’ quite fitting. He sat there making funny noises at one point, constantly staring at me, while wearing this surgical type mask. I think the mask was to stop him from getting sick, all the EVs were really sick while I was there.

Originally Posted by k
Thanks for sharing.
When purchasing a round trip ticket, what time frame would you recommend putting between your arrival and departure from France? I've heard 3 weeks, 5 weeks, buy a one way ticket and bring money so you can buy a return ticket whenever. What time frame did they gave you to potentially come back and try again? Thanks.
In my humble opinion, because that is all this is, there is no hard and fast answer to this. It depends on where you are planning on volunteering, and when. Personally I bought a return ticket so I would not have any problems getting into the country (or out) in the first place.
I considered the whole one way ticket scenario, but the complications that could have arisen going through customs regarding this did not appeal to me i.e. questions I did not want to answer.
It may have taken some jibber jabber just to get out of my own country on a one way ticket to France. So again in my opinion, unless you are from the EU, I suggest pre-purchasing an ‘exit’ ticket of some form.

If buying an exit ticket I suggest booking it out 3 weeks and paying extra to make it ‘flexible’. However this would only be if you are going to volunteer in Aubagne. If you are going to volunteer in Paris I would book it out 4 weeks. If you are going to volunteer around some ‘significant’ French, or international holiday time, one where the Legion is likely to be ‘preoccupied’ with other things I would add another week. So 4 or 5 weeks respectively.

This is just my my opinion based on what I read on this forum before leaving, and my own observations while I was there. I was there for almost three weeks and I volunteered in Aubagne. Some of the guys arriving from other locations, like Paris, that had volunteered around about the same time as me, still had a week to wait for selection commission (if they got past the DSPLE). So this meant some of those guys (the ones that weren't turfed by the DSPLE) would have been going through the selection process for over three weeks. However some of them went up for the selection commission at the same time. I get the impression the FFL doesn't always run like clockwork. They try their level best, but every EVs situation is unique to him, so some blast through the process, whereas others linger for some time.

The official FFL recruitment page says up to three weeks, so that seems fairly accurate from what I saw. As for the time frame they gave me to ‘potentially come back and try again’, there was none given. I was given ‘inapte définitif’. So that is it for me.

Originally Posted by M
At least you went. Fair Play. Now move on in life young man.
Thanks M. I've already moved on. It turns out not being accepted by the FFL was the best thing that could have happened to me, every cloud has a silver lining I suppose.
I was very unsure of what to do next when I was not accepted into the ranks of the Legion, I had put a lot of time and effort into preparing, and was definitely ready for the challenge. However I only malingered over what to do next after I was not accepted for about two weeks, and then got right the **** on with it. As I said not being accepted seemed to trigger a ‘butterfly effect’ of good things. I was able to turn my life around somewhat in the last few months, and things are going great for me now.

Originally Posted by D
You mention you only “have to do 3 pull-ups” and that some guys even get in with 1. Just about every tale I've heard of people who go to Aubagne has mentioned that right at the front gate they make you do a certain number of push ups (4-6 seems normal) before letting you in. Was that not a thing when you showed up?
No, I was not made to do any push ups at the ‘gate’ (it's a window at Aubagne), or anything like that. I also never heard or saw anyone else having to do this. I did see a big fat guy (and I mean obese) and his skinny mate get turned away when they turned up with just their passports and no kit. I couldn't hear what was being said, but they walked away laughing. If I was turned away like that, without being given a chance, I would have punched the Caporal in the nose, so I think he could just tell they were not serious.

Originally Posted by cu
Does this include burns? I got a burn on my hand about 1 and half CM big from a hot glue gun.
They seem to be weary of all scars. Everyone that went through the medical in my group that had a scar, including me, got ‘inapte temporaire’ and had to go get them checked out at their own expense.

Originally Posted by E-P
They have no basic fitness requirements? Really, or am I reading this wrong?
Being able to do 3 tractions (pull ups) is definitely considered a ‘basic’ fitness requirement. So yes, if you are referring to anything I have written, you are reading it wrong . The basic fitness requirement in order to be ‘eligible’ to pass the ‘fitness’ test during FFL selection, is now set at being able to do trois (three) tractions, and ‘perform’ the Luc-Léger V02 Max test. There is no minimum set to ‘pass’ the Luc-Léger.
You can check this out on the official FFL recruitment page.
While I was there I saw a few guys who were passed only running palier six (level six) on the Luc-Léger, and squeezing out 3 ‘shitty’ tractions. One guy even passed running a palier cinq (5) and squeezing out one shitty traction. That guy even went on to become a ‘rouge’ candidate.
Of the other guys that only managed palier six on the Luc-Léger I only saw one make it. Most guys who couldn't manage palier sept (7) were failed ‘inapte temporaire’ on the fitness test, regardless of how many tractions they could do.

From my observations they were only really passing people who could run at least parle sept on the Luc-Leger, any less, more often than not, got an inapt temporaire fail. The amount of tractions you can do seems to be meaningless.

Please don't ask me why they let some people through for achieving a much lower fitness 'score' than others, I have my 'theories' but I really don't know the answer. When being administered the fitness tests the Caporal Chef didn't even seem to be paying much attention to us at all, he certainly didn't scrutinise the 'quality' of the tractions, even after taking the time to being very specific about how they should be performed.

Originally Posted by B
... was wondering about if they do any extensive colour-blindness tests and if any colour-blind volontaires made it through? Also, do you know why you weren't let through?
Yes they do extensive color blindness tests. I have no idea if any color blind volunteers made it through. But why would they? Why administer a color blindness test and then pass anyone who fails it anyway? Makes **** all sense to me, but then again a lot of things don't make sense there. So in short, I don't know the answer to the second part of your question. I don't know of anyone who failed the color blindness test, so I don't know if anyone who failed the test made it through. Logic tells me they wouldn't have.

No I don't know why I was not selected, they don't tell you. I did ask and was told by the Caporal-chef that he did not know and that it was not up to him. What I do know is that roughly 50% of the guys who go up for the final selection commission each week don't make it. I have a hunch that it is largely a numbers thing though because a Caporal-chef gave all the EVs going up for commission in my group (about 40 of us) a big speech about how they would only be taking 20 of us, and that if anyone wanted to quit they should quit now or they would potentially be taking someone else's place.

So that says to me that a lot of it comes down to numbers. They have about 40 guys going up for selection commission each week and only need about 20. So they cut 20 from the mix just because they can't take everyone.

Look at it like this. If you **** up in the DSPLE interview and have ‘serious’ criminal problems you get sent home. I saw this happen. If you have lied about your criminal past, they make you yell out “Oui Caporal-chef!” the next morning, when all the EVs are asked if anyone wants to leave. I think this is to embarrass you in front of your peers. Not sure. One kid came back from the DSPLE in tears. He was quietly escorted out some time later.
My point?
All of the guys who make it to the final selection commission are potentially of ‘legionnaire quality’. If they weren't they would have been sent home after the DSPLE interviews, or the ‘motivation’ interview (I saw this happen too). From how it appears to me they just have too many people by the end of the process. ****ed if I know how they choose who they choose, again I have a ‘theory’ but I am not prepared to spell that out publicly on this forum. For the most part, if you make it this far, I believe it comes down to what you say in the motivation interview.

Essentially they need guys who are going to ‘stick around’. So they make their best guess based on the intel they have gathered about you since you volunteered. They definitely don't (can't) get this right all the time though. It takes longer than 2 to 3 weeks to really know someone. There was an EV there who told me he was going to desert right after basic training, and that he was only there to get “ripped” ; he got selected, I did not...

Originally Posted by A
I think that you know for what you are not in, but that's my opinion. Just to mention that from my brother's group in the end of the farm was left only 5 boys. So they really need to pick from these 40 the best ones. On the other side I know few guys , in which was given even possibility to go out and bringing medical notice, which confirms that no have any healthy problems. So they really giving you the chance, other is the question - are you really for the Legion?
I have already mentioned that I have a ‘theory’ why I may not have been selected, not to mention I spelled out that they had 20 guys too many, I'm fairly certain that was a contributing factor. ‘The best’ is subjective, and obviously they are getting it wrong if they only have 5 men left at the end of basic training. I know for a fact that they selected a guy who planned on deserting right after he finished basic training (if he actually completed it at all), because he told me this is what he was going to do.

In regards to your last question. No, not now, but at the time yes, absolutely. I have far too much going for me now (too many positives in my life) and the Legion would think me a fool to be volunteering, I would agree with them.

Part of answer to useless questions:
I actually wrote this thread to answer any questions other guys who are planning on volunteering might have about the selection process, as I experienced it as of February/March 2014. Nothing more, nothing less. In regards to the guy who told me that he was going to desert right after basic training. Yes I believed him, why the **** else would someone tell you something like that if they weren't going to do it? Whether he was or not, that is a fairly strange ****en thing to go around telling people if you aren't going to do it.

My point is that had that got back to the 'selection committee' I doubt he would have got in. He got in because they didn't know he was planning on doing that, or at least telling some people that this was his intention. I don't think it that odd to believe someone who says they are going to do something like that. Look what Asia_Y wrote above about her brothers 'group'. Only 5 men left after basic out of 40. That is a terrible turn out.

I wouldn't know a good candidate from a bad one as I am not, and will never be, a part of the Legion 'selection committee'. I simply pointed out that some EVs who passed the 'fitness' tests were 'unfit' by international standards, and compared with other military 'minimum requirements'.

The international standards set out for the Luc Legar test, (which the Legion uses as part of their fitness test), for 18 - 35 year olds says that a parle cinq is considered very poor. There was an EV who was selected who only just managed a parle cinq. He was also only able to manage one poor form pull up and was visually overweight.
Another couple of EVs only managed parle six. Again by international standards this is considered 'poor'. Parle six is the equivalent of a 'fairly' fit 40 year old, and parle cinq is the equivalent of a 'fairly' fit 50 year old. You can look it up yourself.
Again most guys were not being passed without at least a parle sept, which is considered 'fair/average'. To give you an even more alarming comparison, FEMALE volunteers of the British Army are required to run at least parle huit virgule un, and the men parle dix virgule deux to pass the fitness test. And that is just the running.

I met some EVs that I would have been very happy to bump shoulders with as a Legionnaire who were selected, conversely I met some that were not selected either. The same goes for 'the others'. I met some guys I was cringing that I might have to bump shoulders with as a Legionnaire who were selected, however a bunch of these guys did not make it in also.

Admittedly the guys who were selected that were 'very unfit', for the most part, were great blokes. There was only one guy who I am certain would have committed suicide one week into basic training, but that is just my opinion.
I believe he was selected because he claimed he was on his sixth try. He claimed he initially failed the medical for being anemic. He returned and failed again for being too anemic. Third time he passed the medical but was failed on the fitness test for parle quatre. Fourth time he was failed for parle cinq. Fifth time he passed the fitness test with parle sept but was failed on the intelligence test. Sixth time, the time I was there he 'passed' the fitness test with parle six, and supposedly passed the intelligence test (he wasn't the brightest spark).
This is why I think he was selected. He just wouldn't ****en give up. However I personally could smell weakness in him and frequently saw him being 'bullied' and 'stood over' by other EVs. While he was rouge I saw him being told by other rouges to stand at attention (gardez vous) and recite the Legion Code of Honour while they sniggered and jeered at him. Like I said, suicide on legs.

Anyway I hope this post brings my other posts back into context. You can read them however you want and draw your own conclusions, however wrong they may be.

Originally Posted by R
So, if I sum it up, you were first declared inapte temporaire during the medical test, because of this scar, and later received an inapte définitif discharge, following the final selection commission. Have I got it right ? If yes, could you detail how you handled the additional medical tests you had to go through?
Which type of tests did you have, in which hospital did you go, how much did it cost, how long did it take, did the Legion suggest some hospitals where to go or were you left on your own, etc. ? I think this would be valuable information for the wannabes here.
Yes. I handled the additional medical tests by going to a medical clinic in Aubagne and having them carried out. I had to have an x-ray of my foot performed where I had a scar from a previous operation (probably a big red cross against my name that may have been a contributing factor in me not being selected).
I can't remember the clinic name, but as you are the second person to ask about this now I will be sure to include the name of it in my blog. (I am going to have to dig out all my paper work for this). I can't remember the exact amount it cost either, but again I will include this in my blog once I have dug out the receipt. It was about 40€. The x-ray procedure in itself only took about 5 to 10 minutes, however I was waiting around for a few hours to have it done.
The Legion suggested nothing, although had I asked I think they would have been obliging, I just chose to head of and get it sorted on my own. So 'technically' yes I was left on my own, don't ask don't get I suppose. I hope this helps any other aspiring Legionnaires who plan on volunteering some time soon, that is the only reason I am here

Originally Posted by ds
Can you go into more detail on this please? Do they give you the address of the clinic (or whatever) where they want you to get checked? Do you get some kind of paper detailing what they want you to get checked? How do you pay for whatever tests you need to do?

The money part is what worries me the most. From what I understand they cut your debit/credit cards in half when you come in and you're not allowed to come in with a lot of cash. So how do you pay for lodging while you're out and about in Marseille?

I'm asking all this because I have a scar from an appendectomy I had when I was 12 years old (with no issues at all), and so I'm sure they're going to send me to get tested. edit: wow, R had already asked everything I just asked. Sorry for not reading through the thread thoroughly No, but I did not ask. Yes I was given paper work detailing what they wanted to get checked. I paid for the tests with money.
I would recommend taking at least 200€ with you. The official FFL recruitment page suggests you only take 50€, but if you do and you end up needing to get medical testing done at your own expense you could end up stuffed.
Yes I chose the more expensive option for my testing by going to a private clinic, but that is because I was going to have to potentially wait days going to a 'hospital'. This is what la capitaine (female) who had medically inspected me, (and given me inapte temporaire), told me.
That potentially meant having to pay for a couple of days accommodation somewhere and still having to pay for the test anyway. That just didn't compute with me. It could have ended up costing me the same amount and just delayed my selection process by a few days. So I just got it sorted and went back within a few hours. I was hoping this might help show them that I was serious about joining.

Your understanding of what they do to your debit/credit cards when you arrive is wrong. They do not cut them up when you first arrive, they just confiscate them. They only cut them up if you are selected. Not until then. I only know this as I was explicitly told this by my DSPLE 'interviewer' (a Seargent Chef). So you can cross that off your list of things to worry about.

As for your appendectomy scar, I have one too and they did not ask me to get this tested in any way shape or form, however I did take extensive medical documents with me, although this counted for nothing when it came to my foot.
I would say be prepared. As I mentioned above, I suggest taking at least 200€. I know for a fact that there was an EV who spent 180€ on his medical tests all up. He did not have the money and spent days on the streets contacting home trying to rustle up the funds. In the end he returned only to be failed on the 'fitness' test, and again was returned 'penny less' to the streets of Aubagne.
Moral of the story is be prepared for the unexpected, if you aren't you might end up broke and without shelter on the streets of Aubagne

Originally Posted by tw
Could you elaborate on how your interview processes generally went? I'm guessing in there lies the key as to why they turned you away, not knocking you at all, but I'm assuming you made it sound like the legion was something you were interested in doing rather than something you had to do because you've no alternatives.
That's just my guess, if your perception of selection was accurate, it seems to me that they primarily take people who are likely to serve the full 5 years because of circumstance.
The interview consisted of them asking me questions and me answering them. Your assumptions are largely correct. First and foremost I volunteered to the Legion to be a legionnaire. Not for the money, not for the French passport (this is what most guys were there for, money and a French passport).
So in my opinion your ‘guess’ is probably spot on. Yes again, as I have already clearly stipulated in this thread many times, they make an ‘educated’ guess at who is most likely to stick it out, and from what I read on this forum from currently serving, and Anciens legionnaires, they get this wrong more often than they get it right.

As A_Y posted earlier, in her brother's group there were only 5 of 40 men left at the end of basic training. That is a horrible turn out. Also, as I have already written, they selected an EV who told me himself that he had every intention of deserting after basic training, and that he was just there to get “ripped for Summer’.
He already had a job and everything lined up for him back home once he had deserted. The Legion selected this guy. So I rest my case.

Originally Posted by ds
Thank you. Just one last question: were the medical documents you took translated to French?
Answer: No.

Originally Posted by th
What would be the proper required paper work denoting the scars\burns are not self inflicting or cause from surgery ? I have a few burn marks and what not from few various accidents but none required any doc attention would I need. Doc saying there not intentional and \none from surgery.
From my experience they don't give any weight to any medical records you take. Unless of course it is negative, i.e. a note from your Doctor saying your foot is good and healed after a surgery does not mean squat to them, but if it says your foot is stilled ****ed -> inapte définitif.

Originally Posted by D
Just noticed, there is no mention of the famed Cooper Test in your post. Did you not have to run around the track for your physical qualifier?
It is not mentioned because they don't use it, and from my understanding, including from the official FFL recruitment website, they have not used it in selection for years. So no we did not have to run around a track, I thought I had been very specific already about what they did and didn't make us do already.

Originally Posted by Le G
Thanks for taking the time to write up your experiences. Useful and interesting stuff. The instances in which such out-of-shape people pass selection are pretty surprising, or counter-intuitive to say the least. But perhaps this is because they are the exception; so what about the rule? Specifically, what about the candidates on the other side of the spectrum? Do you feel that the men who were in the best physical shape had an advantage over other candidates when it came to final selection?

I'm curious to find out if the 2 or 3 best runners in the Luc-Léger test from your group got selected. I'm getting the impression from some people on here that it doesn't matter at all how fit you are (in terms of getting selected, I know it will make life easier at the farm), so long as you can meet the basic physical requirements.
Out of the top 5 most physically fit men I encountered while I was there, only two were selected. You do the math. Yet they took 3 of the most physically unfit men that were there, including one that was clearly overweight. Being fitter than other EVs seemed to have no impact whatsoever.

My 2 cents: if you can reach level 7 on the Luc-Léger, and manage 3 ‘good form’ tractions. Just ****en go. There is no point malingering. If you have the time to get fitter because your flight is 3 months out, or whatever, then get as fit as you can. Yes I agree that the fitter you are, the less ‘physically’ demanding basic training will be (if you are selected of course). However you still can't prepare ‘mentally’.

Originally Posted by th
Yes none of my scars or burns required medical attention but I do have a rather big burn on u bak from being hit by a car and trapped under it but it was in ya burn so I might just go get a "doctor's note" just to be sure.
If you tell them that, and when they notice it, I would bet a lot of money you will get inapte temporaire (possibly inapte définitif). I would bet even more money that you will be at least asked to go and get x-rays etc. Be prepared for that. That could cost you a couple of hundred €.
My suggestion would be to take your medical records, if you can afford it get them translated into French, but be prepared to have to get these checks mate. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, they don't appear to be too interested in anything you take with you, they almost appear to be insulted by it.

Not many people passed the medical in my group. Only about 20 (40%) from what I witnessed, and that is including the people who were given inapte temporaire (go away, get tested and come back). About 80%, so 16 out of about 20 of us, were rejected initially.
About 8 of us were inaptes temporaires, the rest inaptes définitifs. Of the 8 that were given inapte temporaire, all of us returned (eventually), however out of these 8 only 2 of us made it to blue. 4 of these guys I did the ‘fitness’ test with.
We were merged with another group of 4 to do this (so 8 in total). Only two of us passed that. Numbers get whittled down real fast. I'm not sure what happened to the other 4 guys that I saw return over the next few days, but they did not go blue. It is possible they failed the medical ‘retest’, or failed the fitness test, I didn't see. They may have got inapte definitif in the medical retest, or the may have got inapte temporaire.

If you have had anything ‘serious’ medically ever happen to you, you will be expected to go and get tests to prove that you are no longer ailed by this.
If you have anything remotely wrong with you, you will go under the microscope, if it is something that cannot be easily corrected you will get inapte définitif. For example I got a PM from a guy asking me if they will reject him for having asthma. I had to reply with: “does a bear shit in the woods?” I mean come on... Is is just me that thinks the answer to that should be obvious?

Originally Posted by Ac
Can one bring some form of medical document say from one's own home country stating the scar isn't anything serious, or does the checkup have to happen there after being told to leave and get it checked out in France? Sorry, I'm asking because I'm planning on making the trip from the USA to Aubagne in the near future, maybe in a year. Thank you in advance!
Like I mentioned earlier. You can take all your previous medical information, or even the results of tests you had specifically carried out prior to volunteering to the Legion, in 'preparation' to 'prove' you are medically fit and healthy. I did. However from what it appeared to me, this means nothing to them as I was still made to go have these tests again in France once I arrived.

Voltigeur mentions getting them translated into French. I was not able to afford to do that, so I didn't. I can't confirm or deny this would make any difference.
The Capitaine the inspected me spoke very good and fluent English, I assume she could read it too, however she still sent me off for tests after reading all my medical information.
Well I assume she read it as she was flicking through it on her desk while 'interviewing' me before inspecting me.

Originally Posted by C
The most intensive test, if you can even call it that, is the DSPLE (security screening). It's not really a test, it a security screening, but it is more intense than the motivation interview. You get asked some really strange questions, and you get asked them over and over and over again. You get asked the same questions multiple different ways too. In a lot of ways it is a bit of a test, one of nerves. The interviewer just sat there eyeballing me a lot of the time. You are asked to do all sorts of things.'

Answer by EE
...remember the interview: a 'walk in the parK' as I told Gestapo the truth from the moment of my conception.........the worst part of it was this little shit NCO walked into the room asked if I'd been to university and struck on top of my melon as I sat down....don't know if the guy was frustrated as he hadn't been to college or whether he was testing my reaction...wanted to thump the LITTLE FOCKER but refrained myself in order not to spoil my chances.....brawling at Gestapo HQ would not have gone down too well: WANNABES SHOW RESTRAINT+PATIENCE AT ALL TIMES AS A PRE-SET MODUS OPERANDI

As I promised R earlier in this thread, here is the specifics of my private visit to a medicale in order to get the checks the Legion requested.

Centre d'Imagerie Médicale Lafond
Dr Cayret - Dr Fields - Dr Fouque
Avenue Lafond
B.P. 133 13674 Aubagne Cedex
Tel: +33 (0)4 42 03 13 88

I had an X-Ray carried out on my foot and the cost was precisely 24.30 €. I think that about covers that question now. If I have missed something please let me know. As for the PMs I am getting regarding how fit you should be. This thread more or less spells it out. However I will add this. I mentioned earlier that if you can run a palier sept (level seven) on the Luc-Léger and perform trois ‘good form’ tractions (pull-ups), you should just go. I would like to retract this and say in my opinion I think you should make sure you can run at least palier neuf (level nine), and perform huit ‘good form’ tractions.

This is my rationale.
When I left New Zealand I was able to perform parlier X on the Luc-Léger, and X amount of tractions. However when I performed the test I was only able to do X minus 2 on the Luc-Léger, and X minus 50% on the tractions.
Call it performance anxiety, call it lack of exercise once arriving in France, call it what you will. However most EVs noted that they were able to run at least two levels more on the Luc-Léger, and perform 100%+ pull-ups when they tested prior to arriving in France. I experienced this also.
Hope this helps somebody. In short, have a buffer.

No problem mate. I suggest taking about 200€ with you too. Either in cash, or on a ‘Debit Visa’ etc., more if you can. Last thing you need is to be stuck in Aubagne with a huge medical inspection cost requirement and no accommodation.
Also they let you keep change (coins) on you during selection, which is great for buying hot chocolates and coffee etc from the vending machine if you go blue.
Yes, la Légion étrangère has a vending machine the bleus and rouges can use to buy all sorts of hot drinks including mocha lattes (or whatever that fancy coffee shit is called), you are actually spoilt for choice, there is about 50 different options to choose from. You can also buy chocolate bars and cans of fizzy drink in the canteen area around midday and in the evenings .
The ole grey mare ain't what she used to be Anciens
Just make sure you don't try and buy shit via the bleus and rouges through the fence before you get to that point. A lot of guys got caught and got told off, not sure whether this counts against you or not, but why risk it.
This I do know, DSPLE is on the top floor and I often saw them watching this sort of stuff taking place. Best not to get involved I think .
Also on the weekend the EVs (blue and red) tend to take a nap. I SHIT YOU NOT! There is nothing more amusing than seeing 20 odd blues, and 20 odd rouge sleeping all over the ‘yard’, including in the canteen (foyer) or whatever it's called. Again this didn't seem to stop a lot of guys from getting in, but be warned DSPLE sees all of this from the top floor. I saw them watching.

One other thing that happened while I was there that you might see is people stealing food. EVERYONE does this. I did not. Don't even put any food you have left over after meals in your pockets if you can't eat it all.
YES, they feed you A LOT of food (except breakfast). I saw guys get sent home for getting caught with stolen food. They spot check people. It's just not worth it, but as I say, EVERYONE steals food. You are only supposed to take ONE piece of bread in the morning, but you will gradually see everyone start to take two. I did not.
Eventually the shit hits the fan and culprits are stared at intently (boo hoo), LOL! I was hoping to see some skulls get cracked... didn't happen.
Just for the record, it may appear as though they don't notice this, but they do, eventually. I suppose we all kind of paid for it in the end too as the shitty handed EVs that had taken extra and had been coffing and blowing snot into their hands and rubbing it onto their tracksuits only moments earlier then had to return the extra bread to the sack... on the floor. LOL! We all ate this bread later. Oh good times.

Also keep your spare undies, socks, and bog roll in your pockets (just spread it all out so you don't look like a mong or a fat ****).
EVs steal EVERYTHING, at least they did while I was there. You are only issued 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of undies, and ONE tracksuit. This is to last ALL of selection, and you NEVER wash your clothes.
So be prepared to stink. If you leave your second pair of socks, undies, or your toilet paper in your sac a do someone WILL steal it. So keep them on you at all times.
Also you are only issued ONE roll of toilet paper to last all of selection. I spent the last few days hording paper towels from the kitchen, and trading food for toilet paper (my own food at dinner time). On the very last day I had to scrape my arsehole clean with my fingers.
You might also want to air your soap out at night time because it reeks and you wont want to put it on your body LOL! Be sure to shave first thing in the morning too, and not at night. A lot of EVs had there faces molested by caporaux-chefs (*) in the morning and had to dry shave on the spot while everyone watched. Nice.
Enjoy . (*) ndlr : in French “caporaux” is the plural form of “caporal”, like chevaux is the plural of cheval (horse), etc.

Originally Posted by S
Thanks for the advice, I'll be bringing around 800 €. And I saved this as a document just to remember in the future hahaha.
S. mate, like Don says, don't go telling people you are carrying around that much cash with you. Don't worry about the Legion doing anything 'dodgy' with it, they aren't like that. In fact they seem nervously pedantic in noting exactly how much you bring and making sure you are certain about how much you are giving them.
When I was there they don't even seem to want to touch it. They make you count it, and confirm how much there is multiple times. They also make you sign a form saying how much you give them. You will get this all back at some point.
If you are sent off to get additional medical tests done you are declared inapte temporaire. This means you have effectively been returned to civil and therefore you are given everything back, and ‘signed out’. So don't worry about the official site saying to only bring 50€. You could turn up with 50,000€ and they will deal with it.
There was one EV who turned up from Japan with 6,000€. The caporal-chef was bemused, but he dealt with it. Don't go stuffing money in socks or anything, they will just think you are a dork, besides they check everything, empty all pockets, no stone is unturned.
After all, you could be a terrorist, LOL! 50% serious, 50% joking. Anyway if you go to get tests you will have your money returned to you, including any credit cards, debit cards, etc (if you take any). The FFL is modern these days, and the administration is effective.

For me I had prepared to be yelled at and treated like shit. It didn't happen. The administration were top notch guys. There was one big fat Mongolian caporal-chef who walked around on a war path most of the time, but you could tell he had a few ‘confidence’ issues. He had ****en Star Wars and Lord of the Rings figurines on his desk for ****s sake. Generally a bully is being bullied themselves, catch my drift.

As for the guy waffling on about the socks and shit the official FFL page says to take with you. **** all that. I was there. They take ALL this shit off you. You could turn up with a fresh pair of undies and socks for everyday you are envisioning being in selection for, but they take ALL of this from you, so just take the ‘minimum’ suggested, but don't expect to keep any of it.
Also don't worry about anything being stolen from your sac-à-dos PRE stage bleu. Your bags are locked up securely at all times and anything ‘valuable’ is stored someone where else safe. There were guys turning up with iPhones, iPads, PSPs and all sorts of shit. Everyone who was returned civil with me got all this stuff back, and they are really careful with it.

I think a lot of people have the wrong idea of the FFL administration during selection. You are still kind of civil, and they treat you as such, including your possessions, they are very careful. It is not 1831 anymore, or 1991 for that matter. Respect was noticeable and paramount. I personally received nothing but the utmost respect from most legionnaires, yeah there was the occasional arsehole, but there is a lot of people in this world that meet that description (just take this forum for example, lol ).

So yeah. Personally I suggest just taking one bag of the stuff they recommend on the official page and nothing they suggest you don't bring, aside from the money thing.
I don't think it is a stupid idea to take 800 € with you, in fact I think that is very sensible. However if you have a laptop or a phone etc. that you want to take with you (even though the official site says not to) take it anyway (if you really want to). A lot of guys did, a lot who got in too.
You see a lot of legionnaires walking around texting on the latest iPhones etc (much later gen then the iPhone 3 I took with me that was worth no more than about 30 €, lol). Sometimes you would see them sitting down using Laptops and iPads with swanky separate little keyboards etc.

The Legion I saw is a lot different to the Legion you are often painted by Anciens. They are not trying to ‘trip you up’ things have just changed. I would say they suggest not taking that sort of stuff with you because it creates unnecessary administration work for them, and the potential to provoke theft, but they deal with it.
However be prepared to have the DSPLE go through your laptop and phone etc. if you take that sort of stuff. Make sure you have deleted any photos of you in your snuggie with your favorite teddy bear, otherwise you might have a tough time convincing the DSPLE that you are not a soft cock.

Think that about covers it.
NB: Pour les Anciens. The ole grey mare ain't what she used to be. One of the guys who I met in selection who finished at the top of his section, and was held back to do the accelerated caporal's course before being sent to the 2rep, well he has just posted a whole lot of ‘model’ type pictures of himself on his Facebook page.
Most of them are not of him in uniform, but they are the sort of stuff a budding ‘movie star’ would forward onto their agent , or you might sell to a womens ‘PlayGirl’ magazine.
Times have a changed... drastically. This guy scored 20/20 on the ‘assessment grade’ before being sent to la ferme (don't ask me how I know that ).

Post by L.
As far as laptop and iPhones are concerned, either you don't take any with you and after instruction, when you can use one, you have to ask the permission to buy one (this was my case) and if the request is not written on the proper form, and with all the requested information, it will be denied.
In my case, the Cne in charge decided that my bad form represented a lack of respect for an officer and I was good for 7 days en ‘taule’ and one month consigné au camp, that was already in 2 REP. The other possibility is that you have taken your laptop and/or iPhone with you : it is provisionally confiscated but you get it back AFTER instruction, before you leave for your regiment.
You can then use it without special permission.

Post by C.
Yes. There are pull-up bars, dip stations, push-up things etc. But there is jack shit room to go for a run.
You can do interval training on the concrete slab, but I wouldn't bother. Every time the siren goes off you will be doing a 50 metre sprint (with NO warm up), and that can happen a couple of dozen times a day, sometimes multiple times within 10 minutes.
Everyone races, there is no need to get there first, but you don't really want to just slow poke round. I tried to just stick to the middle of the bunch. That way when you line up you can stand in the middle of the group, not at the front, not at the back. Makes it easier not to get noticed. If you go rouge you will be doing this in BRAND NEW boots, best to rest up while you have the chance.

Be careful not to walk on or through the FFL emblem that is made of painted stones in the yard.
A few people made this mistake and got a stern talking to. Also make sure to never walk over ANY FFL emblems on the ground. They take it VERY seriously and so should you.
For example in the ‘barracks’ where the bleus, rouges, and some Legion staff sleep there is like a main foyer area with a big Legion emblem on the floor. NEVER walk over this. Walk AROUND it.
Oh yeah, try and stay of the grass around the area where you do the Luc-Léger test and tractions. You will know what I mean. You will only have the opportunity to walk on this grass if you go bleu. DON'T. They don't like it. Stick to the concrete.
Also when being taken somewhere by a legionnaire, whether with others or alone, walk behind him, never directly to the side of him or remotely in front of him. Don't walk on the roads within the compound, stick to the footpath. This all might sound like fairly straight forward stuff, but many EVs got told off for this sort of thing. Some of them over and over and over again.

reply by C.
L. mate, don't be mad. It was I who was not selected, not you I agree with your advice in regards to showing respect, humility, and modesty, and that is exactly what I did.
However your advice about ‘standing out’ goes against the advice of EVERY SINGLE MAN I have EVER met that has served and currently served in ANY military EVER, including any advice EVER given on this forum, and even advice given to me by a few Legionnaires while I was going through selection.
I gave it my all where absolutely necessary, I volunteered for everything, but for the most part I tried to BLEND IN. I didn't feel the need to be the first man to arrive by way of sprinting when the siren went off, to look like some hero.
The Legion was perfectly aware of my running attributes. I also didn't feel the need to max out my pushups in front of everybody in the yard like a hero. The Legion has seen how many tractions I could do.
You are the FIRST man to have served that has ever told me to try and ‘stand out’ in a military environment. Very odd comment from you I must say.
Two of the guys that became ‘barman’ while I was there, and stood out to EVERYONE a lot, for what appeared to be the ‘right’ reasons i.e. they seemed to be well respected and ‘stood out’, were both sent home.
Then there were guys who stood out for the ‘wrong’ reasons i.e. never volunteering, being lazy when asked to do tasks, not shaving in the morning etc. etc. A couple of these guys were selected.
There was also more than a few guys who got selected that more or less never spoke, guys that did not stand out to anyone, ever. Conversely there were guys like this who were not selected too.

I think also this trying to guess what the Legion is looking for (or not), is fruitless. You have said so yourself. I also asked for people to stop giving their 2 cents about why I was not selected. That is not what this thread is about, it is NEVER what this thread was about. So why do you persist? You told me yourself to move on and not think about it, which I did some months ago after not getting selected. So why have you brought this up again? I am just trying to help out other 'hopefuls' by volunteering information about what they might experience in selection, and what I experienced. Nothing more nothing less.

You are right about me being transparent though. The Legion knew exactly the competence of my fitness level and intelligence. Because they tested for it. And I gave all the tests, and every task I volunteered for, and was asked to do, 100%. I also performed well in the fitness tests, which I already clearly outlined in the OP. Definitely exceeded the minimum requirements where others struggled to even meet them.



Hello. Brief introduction and huge post about my basic instruction experience.

Hi there and big thanks for the moderators for accepting my registration.
I am Chelu from Romania. This is my first post, but
I have been an avid lurker on this forum for some years before actually going for the real thing.
This is a brief presentation of my Legion instruction experience. I wrote this as a thank you for all the information I got from here before joining. I will not say names. I will try not to judge people or the Legion (but there are a few exceptions). I do not intend to publish this or get money from this story. I wrote it for Cervens BBS only.

I arrived in Paris mid August last year. Spent a week with a friend, an ex-2REI Legionnaire, who insisted on feeding me amazing amounts of food. I gained 5 kgs during that week.
Next Monday around 16.45, I am in front of the main entrance at Fort de Nogent. The guy on guard duty has a Serbian name. He asks me in French why I am there. I say in English that I want to join the Legion.
He keeps speaking French and I keep replying in English. He takes me in and I end up sitting for about half an hour inside one of the offices nearby.
I used to speak very fluent French, like 12 years ago, but now I can only understand what is being said, so I decide to declare myself as non-French speaker.

A Chinese looking CCH comes and asks me to follow him after briefly checking my passport. We go to a different building, I pass the pull-ups test. I do 11, but another CCH, an Australian, counts only 5 of them. He also tells me that I am too old for the Legion (me being 30 at that time) and says that I will only be there for one night.
Some French civilian guy, fills out my forms and checks the contents of my bag.
I came with 3 t-shirts, a pair of jeans, 3 boxers and 3 pairs of socks, an old Nokia phone and my passport.
He gives me a uniform for my stay in Fort de Nogent, a black stinky t-shirt and shorts. He shows me to my bed in one of the rooms, after that I get dinner.
Later I find out that the French guys is a former Armée de Terre soldier who want to join the Legion.
He was one of those that most of us disliked, He was bullying us and when someone slapped him, he would report him to the cadre and the guy got immediately kicked out for violence.
This French guy had also failed his initial medical tests, but later on he went home and came back with some medical papers from a civilian doctor saying that he is fit for army life and he got re-accepted.

He made it all the way to Rouge in Aubagne. There was also another French guy who acted out, but the MPs went after him. It turned out he was a deserter from the French Navy.

My stay at Fort de Nogent lasted about 12 days. I befriended a few Romanians, two Americans, a Finnish guy, a Libyan, a Dutch, a Japanese, a Nepalese, a few French guys, some Brazilians and some other South Americans.

Because we didn’t do shit the entire day, besides sitting in the Foyer and eating, I decided to volunteer for every single thing that came up.
So I did corvée toilets every morning with one of the Brazilians and the Finnish guy.

I also got to wash dishes in the officer’s popote (mess-hall) a few times
Help set the tables for a private party of Parisians, who were celebrating the liberation of Paris, by dressing up as American soldiers and driving American second WW2 vehicles.
That was a funny sight, We, foreigners trying to get in the French Army and them, French, dressing up as Americans.
Anyway, got a few glasses of wine out of it.

We did all kinds of medical tests, the Luc-Léger and the pull-up test. Lots of guys come and lots of guys go.
Some have hearing problems, some have bad teeth, some decide that the army is not for them.
Waking up at 5.30 does help some of them to take the big decision of going home.
Oh, and an amazing amount of guys that can’t do pull-ups, not even one! After passing the tests – I just remember another funny thing – we had a retired army general doing the medical test on us.
He was very meticulous, he ordered each one of us to strip and touched our balls to see with we have the desired amount of two.

The ones that pass all the tests get to go to Aubagne each Tuesday and Thursday. The Finnish and the Libyan leave with the group before mine.
My group leaves on a Tuesday, we have some Brazilians, 6 ******* Arabs who everybody wants to beat the shit out of, obnoxious little ****s that steal from everyone, talk bad to everyone and act like they own the place.
One of the Americans from whom I found that has served in Irak, a few French guys and lots of blacks.

We get to Aubagne around lunch time. Stripping and registration routine again plus photo session. I get my tattoos photoed.
The one in charge is a big Brazilian corporal.
I rejoin my Finnish and Libyan friends and befriend some more Romanians, a Japanese-French guy who is in great shape and a few other guys.
There are also lots of blacks and lots of Arabs.
This is the first page, the entire document has 8 pages. I am going to make separate posts in order to make them easier to follow.

Next day, psycho-technical tests, out of the 30 guys in my group only 12 remain: the initial 6 whites, 5 blacks and one Arab.
During our stay in Fort de Nogent we had enough time to check out a few issues of the Képi Blanc magazine and couldn’t help notice the whites to blacks/Asians ratio. The latter are in minority. Now we found out why... the psycho-technicals.
Before getting to Aubagne I was a bit nervous about my physical aptitudes.
All the Africans and some of the Asians could run like crazy and do amazing amounts of pull-ups. Guys going over 25 pull-ups were the norm and not the exception.

The following days in Aubagne pass very quickly, we do corvée in various places where the Legion needs us and we redo all the medical tests.
I even get sent to the Legion’s leisure hotel in Marseille, La Malmousque. I stay there for 4 days together with a Hungarian, the Arab from my group-a Kabilian who made quite some money out of cigarette traficking and 3 French guys: a French gipsy from Marseille, a juvenile delinquent from Paris and big guy from Haute-Savoie (a department in the French Alps).

We spent 2 hours in the morning cleaning the place, I mean really cleaning the place, than we get to watch the sea until lunch, after lunch we get 2 hours to sleep then corvée again and 2 more hours of looking at the sea like idiots, that was an actual order from the CCH in charge, then dinner, corvée again and sleep.
I ate a lot and managed to become a bit of a super star because
I spent 7 years in Indonesia training silat before coming to the Legion. The guy from Haute-Savoie did a few years of kick-boxing and him, being the bully type, was trying to impress himself on me and the Hungarian. We were the only ones not speaking French. I managed to put him on his ass two times without actually injuring him or his pride and the group gets more homogenous.

After our arrival in Aubagne, most of the French speaking guys find out about my silat experience and come to know me.
I forgot to say that during the three days before Malmousque we went to Marseille for chest and teeth x-rays and we also spent two days sitting like idiots in front of the psychologist’s office waiting for an interview.
At that moment my impression was that this was some kind of test. Now I know that the guys there are a small Mafia within the Legion and don’t really give a **** about the volunteers. Oh, and there is the Foyer, where you can buy, snickers, mars and coke or fanta.
It is actually recommended to buy as you won’t be able to change money to get some coffee from the coffee machine downstairs.
Another thing I forgot to mention was that during one of my corvée I got to be paired with a little French prick. He was 18, came from a rich family, his father was an Ambassador and he really believed that he was the only one that was good for the Legion.
So, he took advantage of being French and got three guys sent home by lying to some of the CCHs and CPLs and saying that the guys either stole something or bullied him.
He tried his luck with me and I managed to got out of it as I understood French. This c*nt eventually made it to Rouge with me, along with the American, the Finnish, the Libian, 3 other Romanians, the Japanese from Nogent, 2 Nepalese, some French and few other guys.

While we were Rouge, we did guard duty and were also on charge of the rest of the bunch, we had to make them clean the dorms, take showers etc.
From our first night as a Rouge group we got into conflict with the Russians, a pretty big and homogenous group including some ex-Russia military: Ukrainians, Bielorussians, Moldovans (these wankers are Romanians, but due to historical circumstances they ended up being part of the former USSR and now they speak both Russian and Romanian but hang with the Romanians only when they need something).

We do get to learn a little bit more about each other, the Finnish guy was a Ltn in his country, the American a staff sergent, one of the Nepalese can’t keep his mouth shut and seems to fall asleep everywhere, even during guard duty.
Our group get also joined by a Chinese raised in Paris and a Malagasy that didn’t go with the previous group.
We all want to beat the French c*nt. We almost do it a few times, but he gets lucky and we postpone it for the farm.

After 6 days of Rouge I know that I am going to get ripped off by various people. We pay 15 euros for sandwiches with cheese and tomatoes-like 3 times more than in other places. We pay 80 euros for 40 euros shoes and can’t even choose the model we want and every time the Brazilian CPL in charge with the Foyer opens it we have to buy cans of juice and Snicker bars. "Bye bye money".

During my stay in Aubagne, I spent around 100 euros just on juice (that I gave away anyway", coffee and snickers.
Then an Italian CPL and a very tall French sergeant came to pick us up to go to Castel.
We are a group of 18 and they call us the first fraction.
3 guys, me included have problems with the rangers(boots) they mercilessly chafe on our feet, tendons and nervs and we are already limping.
The sergeant expertly takes the soles off with the army knife and we get to change the rangers. GOD BLESS YOU!

Twitch, forum join Date: Aug. 2010

When the guy tried to tell you that you were too old at 30, was he really trying to discourage you or just kinda ribbing you? I'll be trying out at age 30 myself.


For each guy they try to find how motivated he is. They always use something that they think is your weak spot. For me it was the age in the beginning and the fact that I could earn a lot more money with my diploma outside the Legion. Also about the age factor, my section average age was 25 and the oldest 3 were the American, a French-speaking African who was the first to ask civil and me.

Member Sasa92.

Mate gotta ask, anyone get rejected due to scars or lack of medical documentation?


Sasa92. you don't need to bring any medical documentation. Just bring a valid id: passport or id card (EU citizens) and if you want to make it easier for you bring a 6 month new and valid birth certificate-it will help later with RSM (Régularisation de Situation Militaire) procedure. As about scars, the guys that got rejected and had scars, either had medical problems (there was a guy with screws in his bones and the scars were from the operations) or he had scars from self-inflicted wounds.


Part 2:

We get to Castel and get in our quarters. There we meet two CPL's for our Section: a 19 year old ‘Fut-Fut’ from Croatia and another ‘Fut-Fut’ from South Africa. We get assigned to our rooms.
I am in the same room as the American, another Romanian, a small Nepalese, the Libyan, a tall French, a black from a former French colony and a Malagasy.
The young CPL is our Caporal de chambre. We spend the next 3 hours running outside to pick up the stuff the South African was throwing out of the window.
It is night and the Libyan loses his beret. We are in shit, the entire Section. Nights become very long as we all get punished for that beret.
I later find clues that the CPLs hated arabs and threw the beret away to make him a victim and get him to desert. Training started and it will not end until mid January.
We found out that the Section is incomplete and that we have to wait for 2 other fractions. That’s two weeks. In this time we take a Cooper test and most of us do at least 3000 M, another Luc-Léger, but around a football field and with different intervals, pull-up test where I score 10 (minimum was 7 and maximum was 25 by an Ukrainian), and rope climbing test where I score 5.18 sec. Best was 5 sec in my Fraction.
We start doing OS (Ordre serré) marching and singing and also montage-démontage (putting together and taking apart) of the FAMAS.
I am grateful to the Italian CPL that gave us so much useful advice and taught us how to handle the FAMAS.
The other 2 Fractions in my Section would finish instruction without the minimal knowledge on montage and démontage. We are now complete, we realized that we were joined by the exact group of Russians we hate . We were supposed to be 60, but an Ukrainian got postponed, we later saw him in a different Cie, and a Russian got transferred because he told a little French **** that he will sodomise him at the farm . The French complained that he was afraid of being raped by the comorades and he went civil.

Before going to the farm we meet the rest of the CPLs and the NCOs. Bad news, lots of highly decorated former 2REP, 2 REI and 2REG. Our SCH had more medals than the Chef de Corps and we saw him a few times in the Képi Blanc magazine.
Truly amazing person, I learned a lot from his experience.
I don’t want to ruin other guys' farm experience as it is something extraordinary but I will give a few hints: sleep deprivation, food deprivation, a bit of brutality, cold showers.
The farm was from 30 September to 25 October, lots of running, marching and bivouac on top of the hills surrounding the Raisac farm (told you I won’t give names of Cie, section or cadres, but this is for the guys that passed instruction). I ate from the garbage bins, I was praying to get the guard duty to sneak out and steal some apples an figs.
I lost so much weight that it was the first time in my life that I had no fat on my body. I almost feinted a few times, and on top of all, the Képi Blanc march was filmed by TV channel France 3. So we did the whole Cpt Danjou speech in front of his house and we had to pass check points where we were filmed.
First night was at the farm of another CIE. It looked in very good shape compared to the shit where we had spent 4 weeks.
Then march again to the last farm who was a ******* demo version used for parades and shit. The Defense Minister was visiting the Legion and we were chosen to do the whole Képi Blanc ceremony in front of him.
We arrived there around 13.00 having marched since 4 in the morning, almost non stop. We were very happy to have finished and were congratulating each other (8 guys had already quit during the farm). Then came the order, change rangers with rangers for parade and demi-tour droite back 1.5 km.
The assholes from France 3 forgot to film our arrival. We were so demoralised and in pain, I swear, tears would have come out of our eyes if it weren’t for the dehydration.
We did the shit, did the oath, became legionnaires and were waiting behind the building, near the tents with food for a few photos with the minister. Interviews, photos, lots of blabla, but **** we were hungry. And... the food was not for us, it was for the journalists and the Legion vets who had helped with the ceremony.
Some of the guys cracked and stole food. The entire Section was ordered to hit the floor and we spent half an hour in push up position with the cadres lecturing us.
From then on, this was the norm. During our instruction period the only outcome of any action we took, whether we did great or failed was punishment: down to the floor, pompes Coréennes, Santa Rinas to name but a few.
One time, I did pompes Coréennes for 5 continuous minutes until all my fingers were bleeding, when a Brazilian ex 3REI CPL caught me eating some food given to me by other CPL. I had to lie that it was sugar I stole.

The following week after the képi blanc march would see some of our guys ask to go civil: a short Salvadorian (he actually had a broken knee and did the march with it), a Russian whose feet were one big piece of raw meat pie and his breathing was failing him (me and the American had to carry him through the second day of the képi blanc march while the others in our group had to carry his backpack), an Italian, former mountain ranger or something- who got special attention from the Italian CPL who told him every day that he would desert and a few others I don’t seem to remember.

One night, 3 weeks after the farm, 3 French guys and the Libyan hit the road. Military Police interrogatories followed. The Libyan and one of the French were in my room. 2 weeks later they were back in the Cie, but in a different section. The idiots went straight to Aubagne and complained about brutality and racism.
Another batch of MP interrogatories followed, but this time the CIE SOA was involved. An Adjudand-chef from 2REI made it his personal task to get some of our Sergeants kicked out of the Legion and make a name for himself.
I was the only one in my combat group that didn’t see anything and didn’t hear anything. I wrote it down in an official report and had to suffer the consequences for the next 2 months.

We were between the SOA and our cadres, both sides wanting to use us against each other. I chose our cadres. I am old school and, although I don’t like violence, I understand the Legion methods. Plus, if you are a small **** that throws a grenade, be-it and exercise grenade, and the grenade falls at your feet and 14 Leg plus 2 Cpls plus a Sgt have to jump over the protection wall in full gear, you more than deserve the beating that comes.

We were already into two months of instruction when we were told we have to go to Formiguères,(an ski area in SW France) during the official holiday week.
By this time we already knew that we were special. We were not allowed to talk with anyone outside our Section and everybody got punished if someone was caught doing it, even at the mess hall.
We ran 4 times a week and were the only Section to run on week-ends.
After the farm we had a whopping 12 guys in the infirmary. The number was pretty constant for a while. Some of the guys had severe ligament problems. There were also, a broken ankle, a broken elbow, a broken leg and some pulled muscles.
I did hear the Ltn, a young and very fit French, fresh from the ranks of Saint-Cyr military academy, and the SGTs talking that we are one of the fittest Section they ever had, and that was why we were getting special treatment, it was harder for them to break us with physical training.


Thank you for posting Chelu. I enjoy reading it. You mentioned that the Italian EV got “special treatment” from an Italian Cpl. What do you think? Would it be kind of rule or of a way that Cpls behave if an EV is from their country (sort of prevention on coruption and nepotism) or I'm on the wrong track here? Anyone else from Croatia, beside that fut-fut? Thanks, Cheers!


One of the Sergeants was from Croatia. Very good soldier, one of the best shooters I've seen. He also had a very fast technique of dismantling the FAMAS which I tried to emulate. A no bullshit guy.
During the farm and the first part of the basic training most of us got some special treatment.
This Croatian Sergeant for example continuously teased a guy from Slovenia, telling him that he should desert as fast as possible or else. The guy did ask civil after 2 weeks of farm.
Later on, the Brazilians got special treatment from the Brazilian Corporal. But the French, well everybody ****s with the French, even the French in the FFL. It is because if you are French you get promoted faster, that's why they try to make sure the only French that make it are, I quote “boule de feu” .
The Russians though, they get helped. We were all tired an shit after the first two months, but it seemed the Ruskies had no problems. We found out why, some Russian CPL and SGT in our company were giving them extra rations at night.
It did make a huge difference during the temporary tests where the Russians were the only ones that didn't drop that much in fitness level.
As for the Romanians, the SCH who was a Romanian would always request the 6 Romanians, the Moldavian, the American, the Finnish and the small Nepalese to work with him, when there was serious work to do, but he always spoke French and only cuss in Romanian.


I feel sorry for the Slovenian guy (the word Janez was used a lot I bet ). You said a lot of injuries occurred. Any advice on how to avoid them, or keep them to minimum during farm?


Originally Posted by Don Pedro It happens when the body is reaching the limit of extreme tiredness, in the same time you become an easier victim to infections.**** Exactly. After the farm most of us had infected wounds on our fingers. Frostbite, push-ups on pebbles, polishing rangers and cleaning the FAMAS all add to this condition.
Bring Fastum gel, voltaren or something similar, you will be able to keep it. Do mild stretching every now and then-normally you have stretching session after each running/parcours d'obstacles session, tie your shoe laces properly, brake in your rangers, use two pair of socks during marches (sports and military ones) or/and if they provide you with band aids (our SCH did), use them on your heel and toes.
Always have a full bidon (canteen) of water and drink as much as you can, even if the bidon is a pain in the ass to carry when you are tired. The cadres will make sure you guys drink a lot of water.

Originally Posted by Perun. Is it possible to receive an injury so severe that it may take months to heal? And if so, would you continue roughly where you left off or would you have to start over again?

Don Pedro:

Yes and once up and back on feet, back to where it stopped, thus to finish.

Member PercyWildcat.

Weird, i knew a guy who said he was told he would start over again. Then again, he was full of shit on many subjects.


Chelu, I'm going to Aubagne in a few weeks and I saw that you wrote that you had to buy shoes? How much money should I bring with me? I really doubt that I'm going to have 100 euros.

Don Pedro:

Originally Posted by denmla Chelu, I'm going to Aubagne in a few weeks and I saw that you wrote that you had to buy shoes? How much money should I bring with me? I really doubt that I'm going to have 100 euros***** Running shoes, if I were you, I buy those that you can do road and off road with... there's a name for them... all country I think. Or if you already have a pair of running shoes, that solves the problem. Cross country they are called, mixed running, roads and off the roads in mother nature.


Originally Posted by MuayThaiGuy

Chelu, would you say the younger you are the better your chances? Ive just turned 18, would they see that as being too young and no experience or an advantage?***** It is more about the attitude and motivation. From day one, whether you go to Aubagne or Fort de Nogent, it should be just Oui Caporal, Non Caporal and just execute the order as best as you can, even if it seems dumb.
Don't think too much about it. As about the shoes you are supposed to buy, you will only have to buy them if you make it to Rouge and they will use the money you receive for working there before you become Rouge-roughly one week to 10 days, so in reality you don't touch the money, it's all on paper.

For MuayThayGuy

Originally Posted by Loustic.

Remember the three pillars : RESPECT, HUMILITY and MODESTY. Start from day one, first minute first second ! Add to it a doses of "VOLUNTEER" for "corvées" like Chelu did. And don't forget DISCRETION when discussing with non legionnaires or on a forum, what Chelu is also trying to do by hiding all names of places and people.

Originally Posted by Chelu

Sasa92. you don't need to bring any medical documentation. Just bring a valid id: passport or id card (EU citizens) and if you want to make it easier for you bring a 6 month new and valid birth certificate-it will help later with RSM (Régularisation de Situation Militaire) procedure.
As for scars, the guys that got rejected and had scars, either had medical problems (there was a guy with screws in his bones and the scars were from the operations) or he had scars from self-inflicted wounds.


For those asking if I am still in or out, please bear with me after a few more posts.
About Voltaren and band aids, the truth is, in the Legion you have the randomness effect- as I would call it, or luck as others do. If you are lucky good things might happen, like having a tranquil basic training without much going around. Again if you are a different kind of lucky, you will have a good story.
Same with the Voltaren, I had no idea I could bring it in and didn't bother, but others, that had relatives in the Legion brought Voltaren, Ben Gay and more. Again some were lucky and the Brazilian corporal allowed them to keep the stuff, some weren't that lucky.

Here goes part 3:

When we went to Formigueres most of us were in a lousy shape. We had to take some tests before going there and my results were: 2700 in Cooper, down 300 meters, 4 pull-ups, down 6 pull-ups, 7.6 sec climbing the cord and under 20 push-ups. Oh and barely manage to swim 100m.( We swam every week for one hour without resting.
The Cpls would wait at the end of the couloir and step on our fingers if we were resting.)
We got lots of food during our so called week off, but no holiday and we still had the rations for lunch, without bread as the Cpls couldn’t be bothered to send one of us to the kitchen and ask for it.
They also refused it when the chef sent bread the third day.
We worked our assess off, we cleaned 8km of mountain road by joining with a local team from the Mayor House, who cut some of the pine trees on the sides. We were carrying the wood and stashing it on the side.
We also went skiing, that is..we marched all the way to the peak of the mountain so that the Ltn could start skiing downhill, the rest of us, Sgts, Cpls and Legs had to march back-it took us one full day.
We did fun things too, we went caving, it was -6 outside and +12 inside. We wore only the uniform pants and vest and rangers. After 1 km caving through water belly deep we had but 5 minutes to get in the GBC. 20 minutes riding in the back of the truck, wet at -6 is an experience we won’t forget soon.
Another day we went to an amusement park, the one with trees and ropes and difficult obstacles courses. Our cadres made us sing our unofficial anthem S2 S2 boule de feu and decreed that if it isn’t max difficulty it ain’t for us.
Few hours later 4 of our guys were stuck 5 m above the ground. We waited in push up position until the cadres got them down.
Saturday night we went to a restaurant, next morning the entire Section had the shits, Cpls included. It didn’t make any difference, so we ran the 8 km, up the mountain this time at -6 in our black gay french Army approved tights.
I got a severe nose bleed and some of the guys almost shat their pants. A French CCH decided that was insubordination if you had to stop for a dump during running, so we all had to write compt rendues in green and red.
7 days passed like this and when we got back to Castel, we were better fed but more tired than before. I also had a cracked rib. The French CCh hates Romanians and keeps calling all 6 of us gipsies, beggars, scum, vermin and other synonyms.
One day in Fourmigueres we are all lined up to the all waiting to reintegrate some materials.
He runs towards us and slams some of us into the wall. He weighs around 120 kgs. He becomes angry at me and all of a sudden he sandwiches me into the wall. The following 3 weeks I suffer chest pain in the right side, have difficulties breathing while running and swimming and a calcified bump develops above one of the ribs.
After watching so many times the treatment guys get after coming back from Infirmary I decide not to ask to go there.
And then the guard duty started. We had spent few nights at the farm ironing the TDF and shit, but that was nothing compared with guard duty. At this moment in time, i could iron a shirt better than my mom or any of my previous girlfriends. We also noticed that our Section was the only Section of the CIE that was doing 24 and EIT. The others were doing mess and cuisine. The SOA was taking good care of us, all of us.

Mid November came and we went to Caylus. Normally each Section does 1 week of it, but we did two as there was an exercise regimentaire.
First week was awesome : shooting all day long, throwing real grenades all day long, exploding stuff all day long-I later found out that we were the only Section that did this.
I have no ******* clue from where did our cadres picked up 200kg of old French explosives, but we had an amazing day.
This and the seminars we had with the Sergent from 2REG made me want to join genie. Initially I opted for 3REI, as I had previous jungle experience having lived for 3 months in Borneo with the Ibans, but that is off-limits for legionnaires nowadays.
We did day shooting, night shooting, even 300m shooting. The Finnish guy used to be in the officer sniper club or something and he taught me how to control the breathing while shooting. Thanks to him I had 100% accuracy on all the shooting tests-even with the crappy lunettes de tir.

Second week was the regimental exercise. We were stationed in the same building with another CIE, actually the guys that left for Castel the week before us. Almost 3 months with my Section have already shaped us. Nobody figured why the food and boiled water of the other Section was never enough. We stole everything, mainly because we were hungry, the CIE was a disorganized shithole and nobody gave a **** about us. Heck, nobody gave a **** about the CPLs and they were more demotivated than us.
Imagine, CPL in a combat regiment is a small king, and in our Section they were a little better than us due to the fight between the SOA and our cadres and because of our Ltn being a freshman.
This week on the exercise with the entire regiment is my best memory so far. The action, live rounds, grenades, anti char rockets, helicopter runs, patrolling duty, assaults, city combat, night combat-tous la totale. And the French 24h rations we were getting. Some of us put on 12 kgs during these two weeks mainly because of the rations.

Back at Castel, a Russian deserted. Cpls didn’t like him and made him desert. It took them a while, the guy had 2 years experience in the Russian army in Tajikistan and other stans, was a tough and violent dude that would occasionally beat up some of the colored guys.
Did I tell you we became racist and homophobic ?. He was a very good camarade, but only to the Russians. He got caught with 24 loaves of bread, 2 for each Russian in our Section. 30 minutes of pompes Coréennes plus few sleepless nights, lots of corvee toilet, ironing and guard duty got him.
Last we heard he was caught at the Spanish border. I have no clue how he got there as he had no money and spoke only 3-4 words in French.
Remember the little French cunt we wanted to beat up? Well, cadres liked him as he was such a good asslicker and he made it through farm untouched and without losing weight-he did corvee cuisine every day.
Later on, when he demanded civil he got transferred to Aubagne and now is part of the Legion Music Section or whatever it is called. He posts Legion pictures and youtube movies on facebook. He is the epitome of French Foreign Legion looking so smart in his TDF.
He didn’t do the raid march with us but he will represent the Legion wherever he goes. We hated him and later on the CPLs regretted not letting us get him.
The only bad memory from Caylus was the trip to and from. Our Section never used busses, only trucks, even for cartier libre. The trip back was the worst, trucks on troop carrying mode.
When we stopped to pee, we didn’t obey the order to get off and pee. We couldn’t move, we were completely frozen. They had to climb in the trucks and start slapping us to get us off the bus. I lost three nails due to frost byte.

After 3 days we got to on rapport with the capitaine and to see the chef de corps on the place d’armes, we are all dressed neatly in our TDF. Again no breakfast, and no sleep the previous night.
At 10 o clock, after 1 hour waiting for the chef de corps, in the rain 2 guys faint. The colonel came dressed half in tenue de sport and half in tenue de combat, with his goretex on. He didn’t even look at us when we did the reglementary maneuvers in front of him and the cadres.

Back at the CIE quarters we waited for the rapport capitaine. I went in first. Major de stage and the captain and lieutenant wanted me to be fut fut, but I had to say no.
These two became bloody furious. It seems no one says no to a FFL captain. The sergeants and CPLs were jubilant and they congratulate me.
There was little respect for the officers in my CIE. I am not going to elaborate on this as it is not my problem, no one knew the true reason of my choice.
One night between Christmas and New Year’s I did manage to call home, I had to be sneaky and call at 3 in the morning.
For 4 months it was forbidden for us to call, use internet at the foyer, buy phones etc.
Even during the few cartier libres we had we couldn’t call as we went to a shoping mall area with no public phones.
I found out that my father had another heart attack and has a pace maker. I never had a good father and son relationship with the old man, and when I heard it, it didn’t bother me that much. But , somehow, I couldn’t sleep anymore.
You see, during all this time, I knew I belonged in the Legion. I went through all the instruction without having a watch. By the way, guys, bring a good watch, with alarm and light as it will be usefull during bivouac nights and guards.
So, with all the mental stress, fatigue and the rest, I had no problems with my sleep. Heck, I slept like a baby. But not anymore. After the Raid I made up my mind to ask civil. The hardest decision of my life.

And the day came when we had to go to Aubagne. 15th january. 4 of our guys are still in infirmary with torn ligaments. 2 more are using crutches, one with a broken ankle and another guy has a hearing problem from firing the FAMAS without the BABs. He didn’t go with us.

We went with the French CCH,the Ltn and 3 CPLs, one from our section and two from another. We get quartered at the CAPLE. The building looked like an Easter European jail.
The CCH forbade us to talk to anyone as they were, I quote merde de la Legion. He went drinking with the Ltn and left us with the CPLs.
We managed speak with some of the guys on our floor, they were either legionnaires with injures that made them inapt or guys that have asked civil during basic training.
They told us that our CIE called and said we were the worst bunch and asked the CPL de jour at CAPLE to put guards in every room without a key so we wouldn’t steal. We also had to have guards in our rooms so these guys wouldn’t steal from us Divide et impera mother****ers.

Early the next morning we passed rapport capitaine again.I went in the first and I asked to go civil, everybody wass taken by surprise. Standing outside the door I did get to hear my captain and the other captain agreeing on me becoming fut fut, even if I was major de stage and theoretical could choose the regiment.
After that, the CCH tried to look angry but he was happy as ****. I told you he hated Romanians and the fact that the first two in the final classification were 2 Romanians really pissed him off. He ordered a CPL to take me away and lock me in a room under guard until the rapport capitaine was finished.
In the end, it was me and another guy, a Czech that had asked civil, both with the same reason, family problems. I knew at least 5 other guys that were talking of going civil but didn’t have the guts.

We said our last good byes, all my friends went to their regiments except the 2REP guys. They have a great night with pizza and beers and slept until lunch, they left after that
. The Czech and memoved to another room with the so called civilians.
After spending 2 weeks with these guys I got to see a different picture of what basic training means. I met guys from the other 2 CIE and from the other section in my CIE.
Some of them had past the farm, some hadn’t. Some were in my situation, having finished instruction and asked to go home. From them I found out that my Section was pitied and also given as an example by the cadres in the other CIEs.
Guys in one of the other CIE didn’t do the Kepi Blanc march, they just took the oath at the end of the farm and went straight to the Caylus regimental exercise.
The exercise was considered to be equivalent with the march. Another company did only 25 kms of raid march out of the standard 120. We did 75 only because orders came from up above to finish instruction 2 weeks earlier and when we did the march there were very few cadres in the CIE.
The Section before mine did 120, but they had good rangers and a lot better food than us, standard 24h French combat rations. We were always picked up for piquet d’honneur for various officials visiting the regiment as it seemed we had the best ironed tenue and discipline.
We were the piquet d’honneur for general de Saint Chamas when he had visited the regiment in december. And also the piquet d’honneur 2 times before for the chef de corps and his guests.
I only spent 2 weeks before becoming civil thanks to a degraded CCH that managed to find out that the capitaine with whom I had passed rapport forgot to write that I have already passed rapport with him and put me and my Czech mate in a loop.
For 2 weeks, we cleaned and repaired the CAPLE building. Although in the beginning nobody was differentiating between EVs and Legionnaires, after seeing us work, the Czech and me ended up not doing corvees and other physical work anymore.
Us two and two more Legionnaires that had finnished basic instruction before us were the only ones that didn’t consider themselves civil and kept the discipline and obeyed the orders. The others just wanted to get the money and get the hell out of there, run as far away as possible from the Legion.
Most of them were the Rambo type that complained about not doing commando like training and having to do stuff like the farm that didn’t make sense.
Imagine a team of French EVs, all arrogant and whining bitches trying to change the neon lights. One of them was a certified electrician. In two hours, they managed to change one and broke a second one.
The other team, me, the Czech, an American EV, a British EV and a Polish EV changed all the couloir neon lights on 3 different floors and in 6 rooms. Similar stories took place every time we had to do something.

My personal conclusions from my experience and what I heard from other Legionnaires/EVs: -motivation is key -do take time and prepare yourself for the worst.
Personally, after coming from Indonesia I took 6 months only preparing push ups, pull ups and running-of course after reading this forum. When I got in, I was still taken by surprise.
There is a huge random factor you must anticipate, so always prepare for the worst.
There are 3 basic training Cies: blue first, red second and yellow third, each with 3 different sections. The cadres at these CIEs change periodically, so you might talk to one guy and he will tell you that his CIE was the wors/best experience as in tranquil and when you get in, you might experience the opposite.
Another e.g. in the same CIE, my section starved to death and was literally pushed to the limit during the farm and the next Section with an Ukrainian chef de Section had a totally different experience: they were throwing away food as it was too much and they actually built the body, we destroyed the body and built the mental factor.

After the farm we were a wrecks who could do less than 20 push ups, they could climb the rope 3 consecutive times and told us how cool physical training was and how they got 6 pack and huge biceps.
They never ran more than 5 km and always on the street, we never ran less than 8 and never on the street. We always showered with cold water, them with hot water. And all this took place in the same farm but under different Section.
The other Section, thanks to their chef de section never did corvee toilet or clean the CIE's FAMAS, we did. They also did very little guard time. They were allowed to buy phones and contact families right after the farm. We had to wait 4 months.

-There is always a positive side. With all the shit I've been through, I can tell you that I am grateful to my cadres and what they tried to teach us. We learned things, not from the books but from their experience: basic explosives, both theoretical and practical, basic climbing, city combat, night combat, how to secure and take hostages, how to check hostages for hidden weapons, how to board/get off a helicopter, how to efficiently pack you musette/sack a dos-totally different than the text book etc. All these things are not part of basic training, but we benefit from our Sgts and Cpls experience.

-it is all in the head-up to some point - it ain't over till it's over, and you ar enot the one to decide when it's over -FAMAS is never clean. Never ever tell the SGT that you have cleaned your FAMAS-he will always find some dirty place.
-although you pass through the same crossroad a third consecutive time, keep going, no need to bother with the details. Even if you think the SGT/LTN can't read a map and he can't read a map, it is his job to lead not yours. The soldier's life is a very simple life: Oui/ NO.
-this should be first: the order is like this:civilians, legionnaires, engages volontaires, merde=you. The faster you get this the better.

My experience was reminiscent of the old Legion, almost every week I had some anciens telling me that they=the French killed the Legion and I should have come earlier, 5-6 years earlier.
Hearing about my experience I could see a gleam of hope in their eyes. It used to be like this. The norm is different, very PC nowadays.
When some wanker got the Section in trouble over and over again, the Section would physically teach him a lesson and nobody would bat an eye. Now you can't do this and all the violent guys get expelled real quick. Of course pas vu pas pris pas puni still works.
A sad but true thing in my Section: if you give the young generation the choice between a beer and a snickers, they will take the snickers. Even East Europeans. Must be globalization or something.
Real advice from my friends that had served 5-7 years in the Legion before I joined: if you feel that you can't take it for whatever reason, or if you realise it is not what you want, just ask to go civil, but ask civil after the farm or after the raid march, not in between.
Practical reason: if you ask between the farm and the raid march, your papers would be in progress, meaning you will not receive any money, you get your carte bleu aka debit card after minimum 2 months and it might not even work, you might not access the money.
If you leave after farm, at least you could say you have experienced the worst and have done the Kepi Blanc march.
As my Brazilian nut case CPL would say: Never look for comfort, if you want that, just find a job with Renault, Peugeot or any multinational company. This guy is a ******* lunatic, but he had some very valid points. He was king everywhere he went, he was king in my room as well as in the prison. ******* Selva to the bones.
Always listen to the CPLs. I have to thank the Italian CPL for all the advice he has given us, from breaking in the boots to cleaning the kepi with shaving foam, well the Croatian CPL also taught us that.

In the end I can only say I should have went 8 years ago when I finished university. Fear was what kept me from not going.
Then again, I learnt my lessons in Indonesia. Picking grass at 3 o clock in the morning using only your head lamp it's called a Chinese work day. You will do plenty of those. Going uphill to bring the Sgt a leaf, any leaf and being sent back cause you got the wrong leaf is normal. Sleeping and carrying all over the place a huge rock or a sand sack and calling it your girlfriend is also normal . If you think it is stupid, don't waste your time and money, stay at home!


Post from Rifleman who just returned from Aubagne after being turned away.


From a French Foreign Legion Forum : cervens.net
Post from Zanzara

By forum member Zanzara
Posted Nov. 11 2010 by Zanzara on de Cervens legion forum.

Inapte temporaire - going back in 2 weeks
Here's my contribution, tips for EVs and my experience during selection.

I passed all the tests but got inapte temp. (no time frame given) for a medical thing I'll explain later.
I'll go into the details for the wannabes, because I hope this one long post would decrease the number of stupid questions on the board.

Arrived last Tuesday around 10am in Aubagne, found the base but was told they were full and to come back the day after.
In the evening I met a guy at the train station heading to the base, a Morrocan from Italy, so I talked with him.
He said he was told in Nice the post was full and to come to Aubagne. Anyway the night passed quicker but still pretty cold.

The next morning there were around 10 of us, showed our passports to an NCO and were told to wait.
A cch (caporal-chef) came, and told the last four in the line to come to the office and to us others to come back tommorrow.
Thursday we got in, and joined some others on benches below a tent. There's also a heated container with chairs, tables, samples of psycho-test and kepi blanc magazines.

Here as a civilian you wait for an initial interview with a cch. Basic stuff, then you write some of your info and in short why you want to join the Legion.
Then you sign some papers and go back to the tent to wait for your medical. As long as you're here you just sit and eat - btw the food in Aubagne is excellent! I was really pleasantly surprised!

The medical test.
You fill in some papers in the language you ask. If you ever smoked weed don't lie. I ****ed up with one question "do you do any sports", if you train something with a club say so, I misunderstood the question as "do you do any exerscise" so I put in running, which basically I did a bit in the army at the beginning of this year and a bit by myself before coming to Aubagne, but never intensively/with a club. Nothing special.
If you put in running or football and do only 7 and 8 on beep test the "gestapo" will ask you (I'm told) how come you train running and didn't do level 10?

Your height and weight is measured, your heart is checked on some machine.
Now this part is important. The urine test. Use this information. If I knew this back then I'd still be in Aubagne right now doing my motivational and "gestapo" interviews.
You pee, some piece of "paper" is put in it and the paper into a little machine, after a few seconds a little piece of paper with numbers comes out. Sugar, protein level and what not (I didn't know then). Some guys including myself will get strange numbers which make you inapte.

When you do these tests civil YOU DON'T EAT before the tests. In Aubagne you do them after breakfast and lunch. Here you don't drink a lot of water so there's always someone who gets inapte.
I did the test, then did it again. The second time I drank a lot of water and my urine was almost white. I failed the first the second was good, but I didn't know that untill that point.
I thought they were checking THC levels, I got a little freaked since I had marked that I haven't even smoked (which is the truth) but feared I had absorbed some from the smoke of my roomate, eventhough I always close myself in my room when he does his thing.
Anyway, the second test result was ok so I was apte, but both test strips were attached to my file.

So like the cch and adj doctors told me later, watch what you eat (I say don't eat at all) and drink liters of water!

The eye test. I have -0.75 and -0.5 and I could see the smallest letters clearly. Even the smallest letters are quite big, and you look at them from about 5m distance, one eye, then the other eye, and that's it.

You then wait for the colonel (doctor), he checks your body, your breathing, if you can touch your toes and asks some questions like why you want to join the Legion.

If you pass that, you go to a lieutenant and sign a contract, so practically you're not a civilian anymore. They take photos of your face, your scars and your tattoos for the "gestapo".

You move to another building, get into blue sweats, black t-shirt and in this colder period a goretex vest. You'll have this t-shirt untill you pass the psycho-test and the physical.

The psycho-test.
I call it the panic test, because anyone with normal IQ and above can do it if HE DOESN'T PANIC. My tips...
Always be calm, there's enough time, for the first part more than enough. Don't go jumping out of planes and swimming with crocodiles during the test. The time you see counting towards zero is just to help you manage time and like this calm you down, it's not a death timer.

You'll be shown how to do the test before you start, don't worry. You're doing it on a computer. Remember this - in the first part (20min, 20 questions), if you can't solve figure out a question in 10 seconds, skip it.
I skipped nearly a half and reached the end with 12min left. Then I came back, did all with 7min left. Those I spent on checking everything again. Remember - if you're not 100% that you're right with a question, deselect, otherwise if you're wrong you lose points. I did all questions at in the first part.

Second part is numbers (36q,20min). I think more than a half is relatively easy, just some sequences of adding and multiplying. Unless you really sucked at math, you'll manage it. Spend about up to 15-20sec on each, if it seems too complicated in the first 5sec, skip it. I had enough time to do about 30 if I remember correctly. I had the time to check them and some I just looked at and couldn't figure out. My head hurt heh.

Third part some symbols, simetry, very fun. 36q,20min. Do the same as with the second part.
Remember - remain calm, do not worry.
If you get called for the personality test, it means you've passed the psycho-test. On this last test you can't fail, there are no right and wrong answers. However the caporal's instructions in English had double meaning so I later figured out I did it the wrong way. Basically, with plus you select an adjective that applies to you, and minus that doesn't.

The physical.
Ehhhh....The minimum is 7 paliers for the beep test and 4 pull-ups. No rope, no abdominals. Easy.
However don't be like me and overestimate your fitness, I was unpleasantly surprised to see I could do only 7 paliers. I passed, because we were 5 in the group with pretty much equal fitness.
In the other full group a guy had 7 and 7 pullups and got inapte 3 months. And watch this, in that same group a guy did 6 paliers and 3 pullups and passed. A guy who did the test the day before me did 5 paliers and passed. It all depends. Do at least 8,9 to be sure.

If you passed the physical you get a green t-shirt. Go back to the infirmerie and do the ear test. You get in a closed space with a window, put on a pair of headphones and raise your hand when you hear beeps. As soon as you hear the beeps start raising hands, I though it was the cch was just turning on the machine and testing it so I missed the first few beeps.

Then you get a little tuberculosis shot and the adj draws a wide circle around the spot. In 2,3 days you will get checked and if the spot grows beyond the borders of the circle you fail. It basically tests your resistance. I hear Africans fail this in drows, since they don't get the appropriate vaccines when they're young like we from more developed countries do.

Now the called me to do the urine test again. I failed twice, since I drank no water that day and had a big lunch. The colonel then finally told me what's the problem and told me to come back with a medical certificate (translated into french) that I have no diabetes and no kidney problems.
If I had known this before, I would've skipped breakfast and lunch and drank water like crazy, and passed it like i did it a few days before that.
The other Dutch guy had the some problem and we both were given inapte temp (no time frame given). It's silly, I did a urine and blood test last NOV for the army and passed.
A Serbian the week before had the same problem, but when then called him to go out he argued with a couple of cch for a while and then they called him tommorrow to do the test. He ate nothing, drank water and passed. He's been selected rouge yesterday. Good guy!

The Dutch guy went to Marseilles to do the test in the military hospital next week. I decided to go back to Italy and do two weeks of fartlek and some intensive training to add a palier or two to my beep test capabilities. After that I'll go to France and meet a French guy I met in selection (he's the one that did 7paliers and 7 pullups and got inapte). I'll do the diabetes test in Marseilles, have a few beers, sober up, grab the results (sure hope I won't be unpleasantly surprised!) and head for Aubagne.

I won't have to do the psycho-test again because the results remain for 18 months according to a cch. I heard I don't have to do the whole medical either, but I'm not so sure about that.

There's so much I could write about but it's already so long, I only talked about the tests, if you have any questions about this or abour other aspects of selection, shoot. Just don't ask me about the interviews, I haven't done any.

Perdi molte opportunità per stare zitto.


From a French Foreign Legion Forum : cervens.net
Post from Chval

By forum member Chval
The Ultimate EYESIGHT / EYEGLASSES Thread. (once and for all).

Okay: I wear glasses, all the time. I just finished basic training at Castel. I understand how much anxiety people with glasses would have before they go to join la Legion and I also understand how annoying it is seeing stupid threads asking the same question about eyesight over and over again.

So here it is: the frigging ultimate thread about eyeglasses/eyesight and joining+basic training. I will try to tell what I know and experienced and answer the questions if anyone got any (not much freetime during the weekday though).

1.People with glasses can still join. Usually in one rouge section at Aubagne there will be one or two guys wearing glasses, its not unusual. The only disadventage for people with glasses in selection process is probalbly just the "sport aptitude" score (how 'athletic' you look, not how much you can run or pull-up), which is not a big deal. If you can still do running and pull-up, be reasonably intelligent, then its fine.

2.But if your eyesight is horribly bad like more than -8.0 and you need to wear the lens of 2 cm thick then you will fail the medical test in the preselection in the fist time. Other than that its fine. Im -3.5 and could get pass the selection, like lots of other eyeglasses wearing people.

3.Mild color blindness is Okay. as long as you can manage to get pass the color test. A buddy of mine is mildly color blinded, he just got a crappy markmanship score in basic because he couldn't see the orange triangle at the target and thats all.

4.If you wear contacts, bring them to Aubagne, but dont wear them there. Wear your glasses instead. Because in Aubagne you will not have time to wear and take care of them. But later when you're leaving for Castel you can access your civil stuff and take your contacts (along with dictionary and shit) with you to castel. There you will need them.

5.Dont wear fancy glasses. In Aubagne its probalbly fine but in castel you will have to tape you pink-colored glittering playboy eyeglasses with black duct tape for se camouflage. So go find a low-profile dorky glasses one before you leave for Aubagne.

6.If you want high markmanship score, get yourself a prescription glasses with ballistic clip-on (like mine). Because its obligatory to wear protection glasses in the shooting range and the ones they provided in Castel is foggy and shitty, not to mention emcumbering with your prescription ones. So I got my own ballistic clip on in and scored higher than most people with normal eyesight (cuz they got foggy glasses and couldnt see the target). This is very important if you want to choose specific regiment, because shooting score is highly weighted and if youre good at shooting you will get very high placement, hence the first to select the regiment.

7.Forget 2REP and 1REC People with glasses will got "inapte TAP" and "inapte AMX pilote/tireur" branded on there forehead after medical exam in castel. No problem with other regiments.

8.Bring a pair of back up glasses with you. Lots of harsh activity in basic training. Also make sure you have a hard-shell case for your main glasses.

9.You can take your glasses maintenence kit or contacts with you in Aubagne and Castel. Just tell the CPL/CCH that's they are for your glasses/contact.

10.You will get a pair of dorky heavy shitty army-issued glasses at nearly the end of basic training in Castel, along with a pair of insertion for gas mask. I tried them one day and never use them again. (the one for gas mask is neato though)

11.If you have a prescription swimming goggles, bring them along for using later in castel (not in Aubagne). There are some swimming/diving test and some weekend if youre lucky you can go to the swimming pool.

12.A sunglasses clip-on would be nice for your holidays in Pyranee. Not necessary though.

Oh and if you have done eye surgery before you have to wait for at least 1 year. And even then I dont know if you will have problem with REP/DINOP or not. (high/low pressure)

Thats all I can think of now. Post any question if you have and I will answer them when I have a chance.


Post from Phantom 309 on forum of http://cervens.net/smf/index.php

From a French Foreign Legion Forum : cervens.net
Post from Phantom 309 known as Big Al

My selection and basic.
Ok guys, first off I need to apologize for how long it has taken me to write this.
It's eleven months since I joined up and five since I got back. To be honest it took me a little while to formulate my thoughts and get my annual beer consumption quota up.
More recently I work some crazy hours on a farm.
This account of my time in the Legion is not exhaustive, even as I read it back I think about stuff I've missed out, but at well over 11,000 words it's already groaning under it's own weight, so I'm just going to have to draw a line somewhere and let you judge for yourselves.

Second thing that needs saying is a big thanks to Cpl K. Apart from all the work on the forum, he put himself out to run me to Aubagne, buy me a McDonald's and take me round the museum before I joined (worth a look as you may not get the chance otherwise). Really solid bloke (and got me to thinking about keeping a gas mask in my car).

So here it is, crude yet revealing, of myself as much as the Legion. Don't take the piss.
C'est parti...
It's a bit of a moment walking up to the gate in Aubagne to join, scary, exciting and enough to make you question your own sanity.
The guard in full TDF pointed me towards the office where an eastern European caporal-chef met me and asked all the stuff you would expect, like – was this the first time I tried to join the Legion? Any trouble with the police back home? Etc.
He went through my things and changed my name to Stafford (decent English name I thought, thanks God, given some of the stories I've heard) and had me sign the contract before taking me up the hill to the pre-selection building, something you bypass I think if you join in another city.
There is a definite smell on the base in Aubagne. I think it must be the vegetation or something, a sort of sharp almost acrid scent that is the first thing you notice when you wake up in the morning.

The first CCH handed me over to a huge German CCH (who was quite mad) with 15+ years service that looked like a 'roided-up Popeye gone to seed. He took one look at my nice new name and started taking the piss out the first CCH for choosing it. “We can no call you Stafford, that name of dangerous dog. We call you S***, good English name!” Erm, no it's not, I thought. Ok, S*** what? Seeing my acceptable name for the next few years going out the window, “We call you A***** S***.” Oh. Ok Mr Huge German CCH. I mean, what you gonna do?

The mad German showed me to a room where I could dump my stuff and put me in another room with desks and a TV. There was another recruit there, a Brazilian that struck me as a good guy despite our language barrier. We had to hang around in this room watching Legion videos (every language but English it would seem) and after a while a couple of Arabs and a very shifty Frenchman showed up. At about six the CCH took us down to the mess for dinner.

To this day I honestly do not know if what we were served that day was animal or vegetable. If it was meat it was rotten, if it was vegetable it was probably rotten. Oh dear God, what have I just signed up for? I survived the ordeal however and it was back to the selection building where I did my first bit of corvée and dossed about 'till bedtime when the CCH fixed us each with a stern gaze and solemnly issued the order - “No wanking.”

The next day was corvée, breakfast and a quick medical. The Brazilian and the shifty Frog were sent packing and me and the two Arabs were taken down to the recruit selection building where we had everything taken off us (except a watch if you had one and whatever money you had been allowed to keep at the gate, in my case non) and were given a black T-shirt, shorts, socks, some horrendous trainers and a basic wash kit. I also got hit for the first time in the Legion by the big black Brazilian CCH (who was quite mad) that ran the stores. You would think that doing what the French speaking Arabs were doing would be a good idea eh? No.

We were bunged into what I came to think of as general population, all the blues and greens in the yard with the Rouge section loitering on the benches by the entrance like a bunch of White Lightning drinking teenagers on a street corner. You basically hang out in the yard, sticking to the shade and shooting the shit with the other recruits, it's too hot to use the chin up bars or other equipment so you just try and chill out until the siren goes that summons you to the front of the building, where names are read out to go to tests or corvée. The corvée will take up huge chunks of your day, the most common one being working in the kitchen after meals. This can last for a couple of hours to all day long and makes a surprising number of people jack it in and ask to go home when the CCH asks each morning. I remember bursting into laughter mid way through a six hour solo pot scrubbing session, neck swollen in a reaction to the apron I was wearing and sweat dripping into the basin, when “It's a wonderful world” by Louis Armstrong came on the radio in the other room. Yeah Louis, fucking wonderful.

Some of the recruits that show up will blow you mind for one reason or another. I met a crazy German neo-nazi covered with knife scars, middle aged professionals with all sorts of reasons for joining, a Czech guy that seemed amazed by the amount of paperwork he'd had to do in Paris when he showed up with a Browning 9mm. Most if not all of these nutters get dropped one way or another. You have to be careful who you speak to and who might overhear you. One incident that I found very strange involved a 40ish year old black guy that spoke French and some English. I chatted with him a bit but got a bit of a weird vibe off him. Afterwards I was foolishly discussing my undeclared drug using past with a Dutch guy without realising this guy was sitting nearby. No drama. The next day I was at the mansion helping prepare for some wedding reception for the colonel's daughter or something while a CCH (who was quite mad) tried to orchestrate twenty recruits with the sole command of “la-bas!”. Guess who walks by in a full colonel's uniform, yup, our fellow recruit. Weird.

To be honest I can't remember the exact order of the tests that we did but it's not really that important. We did a computer test for numeracy and visio-spacial ability as well as a sort of “are you a psycho” test. It's not the sort of thing you can or need to prepare for, if you managed to make it to France on your own then it should be a breeze. Nevertheless, some people still got binned afterwards, go figure. Bits of it were like the British armies BARB test (or the “What colour is the red bus?” test, as I call it) but overall it was a bit lame I thought. Rigorous psychological testing my arse.

There were a few separate medicals, some just to give you jabs, and others for eyes, hearing etc. A shaven headed CCH (who was quite mad) in the infirmary did our eye test. When it came to my go I walked in, presented and was greeted by a torrent of screamed abuse. Out came the colour-blindness booklet, with numbers in made up of dots. I got to the last one, “Quatre-vingts-huit.” Wrong answer. “Quoi? Est-ce que tu es un putain de mongol?! C'est quel putain de numero, putain mongol debille?!” Erm, well, I thought that to some it could be seen as 86 “Quatre-vingts-six?” Wrong again, this shit continued for the whole test. A few days later when we went back he sat there nice as pie and chatted to us all, me included. I later found out that he has a rep for picking one or two guys a day to just tear the shit out of in order to make his life a bit more interesting, just not my day I suppose. You also get a hearing test and a colonel has an enthusiastically thorough examination of you bollocks. I forget the details, they're not important, there is enough already written on this site about the ins and outs of selection testing and I'm not going to go into it all over again.

The infamous “Gestapo” interview is nothing to worry about. In fact I didn't even realise I was having it until it was over, I just thought I was filling in forms for them to quiz me over. A big Spanish Chef who spoke appalling English had me fill in forms about family history, criminal background, countries I'd visited, all sorts like that. I even had to write about “what I want make in the Legion” - You'd think they could put a bit more effort into this stuff, like getting an English speaker to write the questionnaires. I lied a bit, how the hell were they going to find out? We then went through it and the chef put the info on a computer and fingerprinted me. That was it, no lamp shone in my eyes, no slaps in the face with leather gloves or “Vays of making me talk!” Bit of a let down really.

The tests lasted about two weeks before the rouge commission. Once you have finished all the tests and are just waiting for the commission you will probably be sent for corvée off-base. The day before the commission (my birthday as it happens) I was sent to work at the Maison des Légionnaires, a sort of retirement home for the old boys, others got sent to the vineyard at Puyloubier. It was very strange and to be honest a bit depressing to see the state some of these old boys were in. There were veterans from Algeria and Indochina who had lost the plot or had physically had it and were looked after by their more able bodied comrades. The guys in the kitchen were cool and fed me and this Romanian guy I went with pretty well, including caviar (?!) while the local radio station played Robbie Williams songs with the chorus in English but verses in French. Bit surreal I thought. I made the decision then that if I ever got to that condition in life, Legion vet or not, I'd put a twelve bore in my mouth and meet my maker. Even so it was nice to see that camaraderie can survive the years, without each other these guys would have nothing.

The fact is that all the selection could be done in a much shorter time period if they cracked on with it. I think it drags I order to give people plenty of reflection time on what it is they may be in for. Each day the bearded CCH (who was quite mad) would do the role call and then pause, survey the crowd, and almost whisper “Qui partir civil?” Most days there would be one or two guys that decided to jack it all in who would be made to wait, facing the wall, until the admin guys could be bothered to start the paperwork. I was ecstatic when two or three of the little French shits that were in my room as greens asked for civil the day before the commission, I didn't fancy training with those twats getting us punished all the time. I'd be lying if I said I never had my doubts, the shitty daily grind gives you plenty of time to think “what the **** am I doing here?”. It's difficult to say why you don't just chuck it and say “bollocks, at least I had the guts to come here, now I'm off home”, I suppose my only answer at the time was that I couldn't face the humiliation of showing up at home a week after my grand departure with the explanation that I didn't like the pot washing, that and I knew that in the long term “At least I had to guts to come here....” wouldn't cut the mustard. What changed it all for me was one night when I was still green, we had all just got to bed when the siren went off to call us to assembly. Wtf?! So off we went in our posing pouch Legion issue pants (I believe the Americans would call them banana hammocks, we looked like some very low-rent chip 'n' dales when shower time came round) and flip-flops to the front of the building where the CCH explained some infraction we had committed to do with lights being on after extinction des feux, next thing we were doing knuckle press-ups on the concrete. This is more like it! I thought, This is a bit more Legion! I went to bed with bleeding knuckles and grinning like a spanked chimp. No more doubts, I was there to be a bad ass.

The Polish CCH (who was quite mad) that was in charge of the Rouge section when I was there is probably the hardest looking, hardest acting man I have ever seen. I think he is literally the poster boy for the Legion, I've seen him on a banner or something somewhere. I can't remember his name but he had a face that must have been chiselled out of granite and spoke in three volumes, loud, very loud and a you've-really-fucking-done-it-now loud. My first introduction to him was when I was a green waiting to do an interview with an adjutant, sat in the corridor and I heard apoplectic screaming coming from the direction of the rouge section. Next thing the rouge guys were doing the marche canard up and down the selection building while the CCH gave them shit for something or another. Just stare straight ahead, I thought, Don't make eye contact.

For the commission we were all lined up with our kit in musettes under the glare of the Polish CCH. If our names were called we shouted “Present, mon Adjudant!” as loud as we could and left the rank to join the others that had been selected. Then ensued my first Legion beasting, lots of sprinting up and down, press-ups, sit-ups, marche canard etc until everyone was about to or already had puked up. “Qui partir civil?” the Chef would demand as we did laps of the exercise yard, “Pas moi Chef!” would come the reply as we passed him. When it was all over and no one had quit we were taken to the magazine where we were given our combats and sports gear that defined us as rouge.

The week you spend as rouge is spent learning the code of honour, le Boudin and how to present. One or two guys asked for civil in that time. You also have to sort out the greens and blues at night and pull two hour guard shifts standing in a box or doing laps or the building with an iron spike. Oh, and corvée of course. The CCH was a real hard case but I got the impression that he was like that because he actually gave a shit about how we turned out. The second group that joined us to complete our section at Castel had a different CCH and didn't know the code of honour or anything when they showed up, much to our annoyance. Towards the end of the week we went for a very pleasant run with the CCH and received our green berets and went to the museum to receive our contract from an Adjutant in the hall outside the tomb of Capitaine Danjou. We then sorted out our kit and, very early in the morning, got the train to Castelnaudery.

There was a very different vibe when we reached Castel. No poncing around in Kepis Blanc, everyone wore berets like a combat regiment. We piled off the bus and grabbed our sac-a-dos and other bags before being herded up to the corridor that would be out home for the next few months (the top bloody floor). The eastern euro CPL that had met us in Aubagne started screaming his instructions at us, I'm pretty sure in a calculated “Let's 'shit' them up” kind of way. One of the French guys actually tried to explain what he had been up to and was dropped by a sternum kick by the CPL. Lots of orders were given re getting bags in rooms and before long we were installed in our new gaffs, six per room.

We spent a week in Castel, waiting for the second “fraction” that would make up our section. The time was spent learning the Chant de compagnie and, when we had got that, the chant de section. There was also a ridiculous amount of time devoted to ironing the fourteen razor sharp creases into the chemisette dress uniform before the new Capitaine took over command of the company and we all had a bit of a piss up in his honour. Wake up was at 5:30 am each day, make the bed, corvée chambre, breakfast and then a day of singing or learning basic presentation etc. After a week we were sick of it and couldn't wait for the “new” guys to arrive so we could get on with the whole basic training thing. Having said that, it wasn't without a certain amount of trepidation that we looked forward to the farm. Lets face it, we've all seen the documentaries, read the books, and Legion basic training is never portrayed as a complete cake walk, is it? I spent a fair time sat on the balcony overlooking the parade square talking with my freakishly tall American friend about what was in the pipeline, what might happen to us and what could be in store for us afterwards. Probably the coolest thing that happened in that time was my first real introduction to the Legion marching when, sat on the balcony with my mate, the low bass of a hundred plus men singing began to grow. Within a minute about a hundred and twenty men from the CIC, complete with képi blanc and FAMAS, marched in step across the place d'armes, singing about death and honour in low and serious tones. It was quite a spectacle

After ten days in Castel the other fraction had arrived and we were ready to go. We were all issued with our FAMAS and packed up the kit we needed for one month on the infamous farm (hot tip: even if you a going in the middle of Summer, take your olive green fleece, it gets fucking cold at night on guard duty. I didn't take mine and my god did I regret it).

We loaded up on the bus for the thirty minute drive to the farm of 3eme Compagnie with FAMAS and musette (I triumph of French design, I can't comprehend how much thought must of gone into the design and manufacture of such an inefficient backpack that could cause so much pain and discomfort). We were dropped off in what seemed to be the middle of rural France, at the end of a long drive. We formed up and double timed it the kilometre from the road to the actual farm building, sweating like paedophiles in a playground due to the Summer heat. We checked our rifles into the armoury and were lined up on the small field next to the orchard while the caporaux assessed our ability for perform demi-tour, droite and à droite, droite! etc. We then had to get all the equipment and food we needed for the next month off the lorries and stored away correctly. Food, camp beds, ammunition, targets, tents (for the cadre) etc all of which must of taken at least a couple of hours. It gave me a bit of a chance to look around and get my bearings, I couldn't help but think Fucking hell, I'm actually here. I've seen the documentaries, read the stories but now I'm actually at the fucking farm, **** you lot who didn't believe I'd do it! The farm for the 3eme Compagnie, called Raissec, is in its own little valley surrounded by pitons, most of which had well worn dust tracks running up their steep sides and I thought Yup, we'll be getting to know them pretty well.

Next thing we were assigned our binome and put into groups with our SGT and CPX and set up our beds in one of the three Spartan (ie empty except for the shelves) rooms that made up the EV accommodation. One of the caporaux had an iPod dock that he used to blast out The Prodigy while we got our kit laid out just as the powers that be required it. I don't know if it was because it was the first English music I'd heard in a while or what, but I remember feeling pretty excited at the prospect of what was to come.

When we were finished we were taken outside and guess what? We were introduced to the pitons by the Spanish sgt (who was sous-officier adjunct), who spoke such heavily accented French that I honestly thought he was speaking Spanish for the first week. First off it was Anne-Marie, the steepest and closest to the main building which had a big flaming grenade emblem on the side made of stones and broken glass. This was of course not done fast enough and because we failed to actually say hello to Anne-Marie, we were off again. Next it was Eliane...

The day to day routine of the farm doesn't really change throughout the whole month. Your watches are taken off you on day one so you have no real idea what time it is. You get up early and shave in cold water, blearily staring at yourself in the mirror and wondering what the **** you are doing there. Breakfast (a small bread roll and coffee). Corvée. Rassemblement. Singing or some shit, lessons of some sort. Corvée. Lunch. Corvée. More shit. Dinner. Corvée. More shit. If you're really unlucky it might be your turn to wait on the table for the sous-officiers, running in to take them the next course whenever the belligerent bastards ring the bell. You do this in whatever kit you were wearing when you get called, I was fingered for the job and had to serve lunch in full camo paint with gilet and and assault rifle slung on my back. Once again, weird.

I heard a few different versions of what the farm was like from other recruits in the week we spent in Castel. Some said the biggest problem was the lack of food, others it was daily punishing runs or the freezing cold if they had been there in winter.
Our Chef obviously had a penchant for sleep deprivation. Don't get me wrong, the food was low protein crap in short supply and we all lost a shit load of weight, but the lack of sleep was, in the long term, absolutely crippling.
Not having watches we never knew when we went to bed or got up but there were nights when the moon barely moved between sleep and waking. One night we were woken after what I reckon must have been no more than thirty minutes of sleep to grab our sacs-a-dos and go charging off on a night march. Before a week was through we were like the walking dead. Whenever we had a lesson in the salle de cours there was a bucket of cold water brought in for us to dunk our heads in to wake ourselves up. It took barely an instant after sitting before we all had to stand up to stop us falling asleep in the lesson, and even then I'd catch myself slipping off, knees buckling beneath me. Due to the lack of sleep and the constant standing our legs were knackered through the constant effort. It's not worth getting caught having a cheeky sit down or it'd be tours of the farm with a backpack full of rocks. There is an expression used about crap street fighters in the UK - “He couldn't fight sleep” Anyone that says that has never been as tired as I was at the farm, I even fell asleep while marching along singing and one night on guard was convinced that a Mitsubishi evo 8 with a massive spoiler was parked near the armoury. It turned out to be a bridge. Not hallucinated like that since I was a student.

I remember one night very early one where they kept us going late into the night with a surreal mind-f***. We made camp down in the orchard and they drove in a lorry with a load of lights on to illuminate the scene, it was all a bit clockwork orange. We were running about and doing press-ups for ages, unable to perform any task fast enough or well enough, then we were lined up and shown how to use a fire extinguisher (no explanation given), up to the gare, “demontage FAMAS”, “remontage FAMAS”, sing, back to the FAMAS, break camp, up the piton, make camp, break camp, down the piton, make camp, at least eighteen seconds sleep and then off we go again. A real mind f***.

On the physical side I found it a bit disappointing. Apart from the constant beastings and apperatifs (en position, tout le monde!) we didn't work on our fitness at all. Proper runs were only done once a week, as were marches. The marches were horrible. Whatever farm you might go to pray that you don't get a lunatic 2eme REP man as your SGT. The pace he set was more than a little punishing, I don't think there was a march were my group didn't finish at least twenty minutes before the next one despite never leaving first. Apart from the pace he set he obviously didn't believe we needed water or rest throughout the course of the night and drinking on the march was forbidden. While another group got a SGT from 2eme REI with a bit of pace on him (but were allowed to drink, however) I definitely think we had it the hardest. The marches themselves were all done at night except the first one. Some of them were hellish. When you start you're already tired, you don't know what time it is, how long you've been going, how far there is to go or where you are. Some nights it was so dark you couldn't see more than a few yards in front of you. The disorientation along with the flaming agony in my legs (more on that in a second) sent my mind into some very dark and introspective thoughts. I did however gain a real respect for my sergeant, he struck me as a proper hard case soldier. I'm under no impression he liked any of us, and if he did he'd never show it, but I couldn't help but think that if I could clone him and create an army I'd take over the world no problem. I later found out he'd just got out of prison for hospitalising a recruit from the previous section.

A word on Rangers: The issue boot for the Legion is, in my opinion, absolute complete and utter shit with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. There were times on the farm that my feet looked like they had a flesh eating virus, I got blisters that covered half my foot and after a couple of weeks part of my right heel started to come off. I developed a shin splint and lost most of my toenails, I also had a very weird sort of blood blister on one foot that was invisible until you crinkled the skin up so I was able to hide it from the SGT (probably very stupidly) and avoid going to the infirmary back in Castel, like some guys did. By the end of training I found that by mummifying my feet in elastoplast, wearing two pairs of socks, doing my laces up so tight that it crushed my calves and buying some new insoles from the foyer, I could survive relatively blister free (at the cost of other problems) if still sore. I developed tendinitis up both my Achilles heels which made it painful just to put my boots on, let alone march anywhere. Some guys had no problems (bastards), others had equal or even worse than me. Some of it was probably due to the crap socks we had, some a lack of conditioning, but either way they were fucking shite as far as I was concerned. The training staff all wore boots they'd bought themselves for the march, lucky buggers.

It was about a week before the first guy deserted, a Lithuanian guy that spoke good English. I admit I didn't see it coming. He was hunted down by the staff and we never saw him again. As a result we were made to sleep in the gare, a sort of outdoor hanger that housed the gym equipment. Each night we would carry out our camp beds and sleeping bags (another crap piece of issue kit) and line up by group so the caporal de jour could see and count us in the night. Considering how hot it was in the day it was freezing by night. We weren't allowed to wear anything in bed other than our pants and the Summer sleeping bags were totally useless, as a result there wasn't a night where I didn't wake up shivering at least once with my legs cramping. You had to be careful in the morning as you leapt out of bed because your legs would be so stiff you could easily find yourself crawling on the flaw unable to walk. It was only a few days later that the second guy deserted, a French kid that looked like he was about twelve and I had been expecting to jack it in from the beginning. After that the staff locked our boots and trainers away each night, harder to desert barefoot.

It wasn't just the Ev's that deserted. In an incident I'm not going to elaborate on for various reasons (you never know who might read this) a caporal (who had been drinking, which was common) lost the plot completely, put a carving knife through a Ukrainian recruits arm and deserted. 'Nuff said.
It wasn't all shit though. I have never seen stars as clear or as numerous as one night on guard duty, I remember thinking it must be like that in the desert or out at sea where there is no light pollution. The commando raids we launched at night targeting the sweetest plums I've ever tasted that grew in the orchards. Good memories.

The actual training was basic. Weapons handling, assault course, navigation and some woefully inadequate French lessons. We did some orienteering exercises, learned how to use obsolete radios and got the basics of NBC and laying explosives (a lot of these lessons were done by a large group of guys on their cadre instruction course that were with us for a week or so), we also played in some zodiacs. We got to fire grenades, which resulted in us setting fire to the dry grass by the assault course and having to run around in the choking smoke with beaters trying to put it out. We did night exercises and bivouacked a lot. Tip: For gods sake put your FAMAS in your sleeping bag when you sleep, it's so obvious a thing to do I couldn't believe it when the morning after our first night camping about six guys had had their weapons stolen in the night by the SGT. You don't want to be one of those guys. Never leave your weapon unguarded! I had a little smile the first time I squatted down in the toilet with a rifle propped up against the door.

You also do a shit load of singing on the farm, learning various traditional songs as well as singing le Boudin before each meal. At time you'd think you'd joined a very brutal choir, not an army. Tip: get le Boudin right early or it will cost you a lot of food. We also had nights around the camp fire where we were made to sing songs in our own language, so go equipped with some dirty rugby songs or something. I had non, but still got a resounding round of applause for my rendition of “I am the highway” by Audioslave.

A month to the day after we got to the farm we left on the infamous marche Kepi Blanc. We set off early in the morning with about 20kg of kit on out backs and marched all day, while we were waiting to set off our caporal made us all name our rifles, I called mine Rachel, she was hard and dark and broke my heart...
To start with I quite enjoyed the walk, we climbed up a ridge line and the SGT let us pause to turn around and admire the view of snow capped mountains in the distance while the burning orange of the dawn sun rose over the horizon. In true Legion march fashion though it soon became an exercise in head-down-and-ignore-the-pain.
When we made it to the camp site that evening the huge Finnish guy in my group turned round and high-fived me with a big grin. There was beer, a bit of wine and plenty of terrible food. The next day we set off early and trudged on for about half a day, by which time I was really flagging. Let's face it, the march itself is hardly a feat of super-human endurance but, after a month of the farm and having lost about 10kg in bodyweight it wasn't exactly a walk in the park.
We finished our march at 2eme Compagnie's farm (a holiday resort in comparison to Raissec) in the early afternoon, I couldn't believe it was actually finished, I had been steeling myself mentally for at least another 10 kilometres. I think that enough people were knackered that the Chef thought we'd better stop before they started collapsing.
We showered , ate and got into our tenue parade before hanging around (no sleeping though) waiting for the ceremony.
During this time a load of coaches showed up full of sixteen year old kids that were from a military lycee – a sort of college, that were doing a tour of all things Legion as some sort of field trip I think. When it came time for the ceremony they assembled off to one side of the field to watch us swear the code of honour and don our Kepis.

I'd like to say that receiving the Kepi Blanc was the proudest moment of my life but, to be honest, it wasn't (though now I come to think about it, I'm not sure what is). Once again I had an attack of the Holy fucking shit, I'm here, I'm actually doing this! feeling I had when first at the farm, but I couldn't help but feel it should have been harder to earn in some way, that the mythical bonds of brotherhood forged with your comrades over the course of training should have been a lot stronger than they were. It just wasn't, like so many things in the Legion, as I'd imagined it would be, and as a result it felt somehow cheapened.

The captain gave his speech, ending with “Coiffez vos kepi blanc!” and as one we lifted our kepis in front of us, placed them on our heads and returned our arms to our sides with a perfectly synchronised slap. The eastern euro guy in the middle of the front rank (who was a real twat) strode solemnly towards the captain, saluted, and promised that we would serve “...avec honneur et fidélité!” He returned to the rank and started us off for the code of honour “Legionnaire....!”

As we filed off the field towards the waiting BBQ and beer that we'd set up, the Chinese guy in front of me (who was a real nancy boy) was limping and moaning. A combination of wrecked feet and brand new stiff parade rangers meant that more than a few of us were walking like John Wayne with a bum full of cocks. I growled at him to march properly, he was a legionnaire now after all. Pride at my new found status as a legionnaire? Maybe. Or it could have been because about a hundred sixteen year old French schoolgirls were watching.

I rode back to Castel in the back of a lorry with all our kit in and the CPL telling me stories of his instruction. It was cool, whipping along at night, my new kepi on my head, looking at the lights of the car following us thinking That's right mate, I'm a legionnaire, who the **** are you? Unfortunately, these feelings never last very long.

Life back in Castel is shit. After a week I was wishing we were back at the farm again. We did get a trip to the foyer once and so could phone home and write letters, I found myself writing some very garbled and honest letters to my family begging forgiveness for my life's previous f***-ups. We later got to go into Castel town, not exactly a metropolis but we could see and talk to the first civilians in over two months.

You will spend a couple of days a week performing regimental corvée. These things vary from kitchen and mess duties, corvée generale, corvée matériel, garde 24, EIT etc. The best one is EIT, you basically get to sleep and watch TV all day with the odd patrol thrown in. Or you would if you didn't have my sergeant, who kept shouting “Alarme!” and timing us to get the rifles out, helmet on and gas mask attached. Under forty seconds for me and two of the other guys. When the Slovakian retard that was the bane of our groupes existence took in the region of four minutes for the third time in the day, the sergeant decided he'd had enough and smashed a whole in the wall with the guys helmeted head. I just stared ahead trying not to smile at the fact he was finally getting a taste of what he deserved. Does that make me a bad person?

You will finally go shooting at Castel, though not a lot. When you do it involves the morning down the range where you will fire about twelve rounds and an entire afternoon cleaning your rifle. The instruction is virtually non-existent as well, bad shots result in a “Qu'est-ce que c’est cette merde?!” and a smack in the head. It's generally the same for most areas of instruction.

I grew to hate the routine. Rassemblement umpteen times a day. Singing the chant compagnie on the way to meals, the endless boot polishing and press-ups in the corridor. Oh yeah, and corvée.
We did a few marches back to the farm for training in the field, throwing in night ambushes and raids. We spent a day at the farm doing some cool stuff like learning to take and search prisoners. The mad Russian sergeant from the REP showed us some restraining techniques (do not volunteer for these, they hurt!). He looked at us while standing on another guys ankle and nearly breaking his fingers and said in a thick Russian accent - “Si ca fait mal c'est pas grave. Il est l'ennemi, il est communist.” Brilliant. These exercises normally finished with a bit of a bbq and some beer. Coincidentally I had my first Kronenbourg since the Legion a week or so ago, that taste is always going to be the taste of the Legion for me.

After a month or so of this you go to the Pyrenées to a ski resort town call Formigeur (not too sure on the spelling). This is meant to be a sort of holiday with adventure training, though the word 'holiday' is a bit strong, it is the Legion after all. We got to rock climb, go caving and canyoning.
There is still corvée and shit but there is plenty of food each night and you get a bit more sleep. And some beer. Towards the end of the week we went out on the piss in tenue parade to a bar where we had dinner and got absolutely shit faced. Karaoke was involved and I seem to remember a drunken rendition of “Welcome to the jungle” by Guns 'n' Roses followed by “Highway to Hell” while being propped up by a 6'8'' American. Then “the boy” (as I called a stupid French kid in my groupe) and the Slovakian retard had a punch up and it looked like the night was over.
Not yet. In the lorries and off to a surprisingly good nightclub in the middle of nowhere where I got to see the Chef in the middle of the dance floor doing 'big fish, little fish, cardboard box' dance moves. We crawled out at about 4:30 am, just as I was making progress with a pretty blond girl. When we got back to the chalet the mad Russian dropped the guys who had been fighting with a couple of good slugs in the gut. The next day we slept and nursed hang overs. A night to remember, that one.

The only other major event in training is the weeks combat localité training done at another base not far from Castel. I unfortunately missed it due to a knee injury. I hurt my knee running down a mountain with a backpack on and hadn't had long to recover before the annual regimental half marathon. Mon Lieutenant (who had assumed command of the section after the farm and was a complete twat) had declared that everyone was running and everyone would finish. I did run, and I did finish, though in complete agony and with knackered ligaments in my knee. So how's that for logic? Miss the most intense combat training you get at Castel in order to run a half marathon and make the LT look good. Twat.

A word on French officers: a lot of them are complete dicks. Madame Guillotine obviously wasn't quite efficient enough back in the day as a few too many toffy nosed supercilious arse wipes survived to have descendants that could join the Legion as officers. A German CCH (who was quite mad) in the CP kept referring to the “dirty French pig” officer that was obviously his pet hate. I even saw a young lieutenant salute with his left hand. Dear God. I blame the Scarlet Pimpernel.

By the time the Raid march came about I was totally pissed off with everything. I hated the routine, I hated the caporaux, I hated the way they dangled trips to the foyer in front of us only to take them away and I really hated the fact that I'd begun to be effected by their little games. The first day when we set off I was actually excused from all sport, running and marching due to my knee injury. No-one was aware so I didn't mention it, I felt okay and wasn't going to chicken out when it came to “the big one”.

We carried the same kit as for the Kepi Blanc march and then some. More clothes, camo, ammo, radios and spades, machetes, food, more ammo, helmet, more ammo. I estimate it was about 30+ kg plus FAMAS. It was a hard slog. We'd not had a lot of sleep the night before and off went the sgt at his usual pace. Being a tactical march we all had our areas of observation to adhere to and the sgt and cpl were always watching. Even so we had a good first day, being ambushed and running around firing blanks.
My suspicions about the caporaux were confirmed when, being the last group in the march, we had to move up the column and join the group that had countered an ambush, picking up their sacs-a-dos which they had dropped on the way. I ran up to one which turned out to belong to a caporal and braced myself to lift at least another 20kg onto my chest and trot the half a kilometre to its owner. The thing must have been full of toilet paper it weighed so little. No wonder they never seemed tired. Later in the march a caporal (who was a really nasty piece of work and had a habit of hitting people, myself included, with the butt of his rifle) stole my burner so he could heat his rations up. Way to gain respect there mate.

The second day was much harder. I'd had maybe two hours sleep thanks to guard duty and a late night attack and bug-out mission and was utterly knackered. It was burning hot and by late afternoon my body was on the verge of giving up. I was dehydrated, my knee, shins and feet were killing me and as we approached a long climb up a ridge line my calves and quads just started cramping viciously with every step, so bad that I had to be encouraged to the top by my friend the FAMAS-happy caporal.
It was without doubt the worst few hours of the worst day of my entire life, something I hope to never come even close to again. But as the often misquoted Friedrich Nietszche said “What does not destroy me makes me stronger.” Even with this thought in mind that night I sat alone in my basha with a bottle of Kronenbourg, full of self doubt and fear, thinking Well dad, if only you could see me now. There was one cool moment that day though. We had found the enemy (a few guys in a truck) on the green of some small village and swooped in firing and throwing grenades, much to the bemusement of the locals. I was lying next to a tree, keeping watch up a road when a very English guy with a camera to my left called out “I say, would it be possible for a photo? I'm sorry, I don't speak French.” I turned to him and grinned through two days of camo paint, sweat and mud and said “Sorry mate, no pics, we're the foreign Legion.” before getting up and running to join the rest of the section. The look on his face was priceless.

Fortunately the third day was not so long, though everyone was pretty used up by this stage. The packs weren't any lighter but with the end in sight I managed to find it in myself to keep going. **** watching my sector, it was gritted teeth and head down trying to ignore the pain, redoubling my efforts with every pace. At one stage another caporal lifted up my rucksack and grimaced at the weight, it was obvious that he didn't fancy carrying it. There were just a few ambushes left to get through before the end and a bit of combat simulation, which I think was fairly realistic as it was all running and shouting and I had almost no idea what was going on.

We finished at the farm for the CIC and camped for another three days, doing our final tests on weapons knowledge, NBC etc, all the stuff we'd been doing throughout instruction. It was a bit of an amateur affair to be honest. When it came to the NBC we were asked questions that not only did we not know the answer to but nobody had ever even mentioned in training.

Three weeks were spent at Castel giving back kit, cleaning stuff and, yes you guessed it, corvée. We also did the final assault course, Cooper, shooting, swimming and TAP tests. We passed report with the captain and were told our regiments. It was at this point I told a caporal I was going civil at the end of training as I had plein les couilles. He obviously told a SGT who I presumed told the LT, but nothing was ever said so I thought Okay, it's like that is it? I'll just keep my trap shut and ask in Aubagne.
The CPL in my room said it made no difference so I decided to just tow the line for the time being. Not to say I didn't give it a lot of thought, I admit to allowing romantic notions of Legion life back into my head again, but then such things are easy when the hard parts are over and you're stood around with you mates thinking of the future. To be honest I think I knew deep down not long after the farm that this life was not for me, I think it just took a while for the truth to overcome my pride.

And so we cleared out our armoires, cleaned the section like you wouldn't believe and with what I thought to be some very misplaced nostalgia, bid farewell to the 4ème Régiment Étranger at Castelnaudery to head back to Aubagne and on to whatever awaited us.
We did a detour in Marseille on the way back to go to Malmousque, the Legion's hotel (sort of) for an afternoon of beers and gazing out over the ocean. I felt quite emotional as I talked to my friends and got slowly pissed on Kronenbourg. Despite the disappointment I had made some true friends, unfortunately some of whom I've already lost touch with due to a building in Surrey being demolished and poor internet service in Chad (just don't ask). After a few hours it was back on to Aubagne (the smell was still there) and the C.A.P.L.E building where we were to spend the night. More beer was involved that night and the next morning it was report time in front of a Commandant.

When it came to my turn I entered the office, presented and started chit chat with the officer while my LT sat to my right, grinning at my very English pronunciation of “...a vos ordres, mon Commandant!” We chit chatted for a few minutes, how was instruction? Oh, very hard sir (they don't want to hear that with the odd exception you thought it was shite). I think I was pegged as one of the best French speaking non-francophones. He seemed pleased. And then came the moment. “Donc, tu vas au 1er Régiment Étranger de Cavalerie. C'est un bon régiment avec beaucoup de missions et je pense tu vas faire tres bien la bas. Peut-etre dans trois ans tu peux faire l’ instruction pour cadre. C'est bon?” Erm..... “Malheureusement, mon Commandant j'ai changé ma decision. Je sais la vie de la Légion n'est pas la vie pour moi et je veux partir civil.” The commandant was totally cool, mon lieutenant, not so much. It went down like a fart in a space suit.

So that was me in the dog house and guarding the equipment outside the C.A.P.L.E building while the others went to the museum for a bit. I got talking to an English CPL that was picking up the guys going to the 2eme REG. “So what are you doing?” he asked. Oh shit, time to confess. “I'm going civil mate, just asked the Commandant.” He laughed “Fucking hell, you've got some balls! Good lad, it's fucking shit here, I'm getting out as soon as I can, it's not what it used to be.” We were then joined by another Brit that knew the CPL from Djibouti and was going civil due to injury. He was of the same opinion. They then formulated a plan to steal the hand of Capitaine Danjou and sell it on e-bay with the description “One not-so-careful owner”.

When the others had gone to regiment I was told to load the car that was taking the SGT, CPL and LT back to Aubagne that night. Shit, no week in Aubagne and a quick release. The LT had given me a real ear bashing telling me I'd fucked him and made him look like a twat, which was only fair, 'cos he was. The mad Mexican CPL, who had a real small-man-hard-case complex but who I later got to know and decided was a good bloke, reassured me, explaining that whatever the officer might say it was the caporaux that really dished out the punishments and they weren't going to bother me if I was going civil. We stopped at a service station on the way back and stood at a table eating sandwiches. The LT turned to me, obviously still pissed off and said, in English “Enjoy this last moment of peace.” Erm, okay. Then, in French “Quand tu arrives à Castel, pour toi, c'est enfeu, compris enfeu?” No. “ou habit le diablo.” Ah, gotcha. Did I mention he was a complete twat?

Well, in the end he was all mouth and no trousers. I spent the night back in the old corridor, spookily bereft of the section before a day at the disposal of the bureau de semaine doing corvée. Not sure what to do with me, it was arranged that I would join SIA (Section d'Instruction Adaptée). Prison never happened, despite what the LT said. I was kind of disappointed by this as I wanted to be able to refer to “when I was doing bird in the foreign Legion....”. Thus ensued the best month I spent in the Legion.

SIA was basically formed when the new SCH arrived and saw what happened to all the long term injured guys that had had to leave their sections to recover. Rather than just doing menial corvées like the other companies he formed a section that would actually try and teach you something, despite your injuries, and combat the “instruction de merde” as the chef called it, that we received in training. The Chef himself was a big shaven headed guy who had broken his back in the REP and looked like a rugby league player. He was another proper soldier that had no time for bullshit. One day I had just nodded off on the table by the window when the door burst open and there was the chef, Oh god, I've been caught napping, literally. Prepare for punishment. He then made a series of chopping motions in the air accompanied by Bruce Lee noises before stopping abruptly and fixing us with a stern gaze. “J'ai ai plein les couilles.” He declared before slamming the door behind him. Complete nutter.

Life in SIA was, comparatively, awesome. We still got up at 5:30 am for appel, but, because we were big boys, were sent to breakfast on our own and didn't bother shaving 'till we got back. We did some form of sport every morning, either running, swimming or weights (way more than in section), we had a radio (why is all French music except hip hop utter shite?), could keep food in our lockers and didn't have to strip the bed each morning. The lessons we did were cool as well.
The whole section had clubbed together to buy some airsoft M16's and G36's and we'd go into the woods to practice contact drills or do a parcours de combat. We also did rope work for river crossings, pistol shooting down the ranges (I missed that one, grrrr) and, if there was a lull, pistol disarming. Sometimes we'd set a load of targets up in the building and practice room clearing, much to the jealousy of the regular training sections.
The Chef also showed us videos of him doing commando training in Guyane, complete with interrogation techniques you don't see on the discovery channel or youtube. A combination of us swanning around with M16's and the appearance of being able to do whatever we wanted led to new EV's calling me caporal a couple of times, I guess I had the shouting and swearing in crude French thing down pretty well. Due to the lack of bullshit I had more downtime and learned more actual soldiering skills in one month in SIA than I did in five of official instruction. Despite this the section had a reputation as a bunch of wasters. Not wasters, just taking a sensible approach to everything.

It was also viewed that I was a legionnaire that had finished instruction and so was afforded liberties unheard of in the regular section. The foyer (ie beer, internet and phone) were allowed all weekend and most week nights (hence my previous, now six month old posts). There was another Brit in SIA that had a major injury and had a full years service despite not having finished training. He was ex British army and really knew his shit after tours of Afghan, Bosnia and **** knows where else. He was also, due to the fact he was basically an alcoholic psychopath, a very bad influence, but a very good friend and kept me sane.
Every weekend was spent getting hammered in the bar on crap lager with the CCHs (all quite mad) and SGTs of the English mafia, wearing our sports kit and glaring at the premier class' who assumed we were CCH or something due to our drunken belligerence and lack of visible rank. One night the CPL of SIA, a Latin American (who had broken his back in the REP and was a real solid dude) that preferred to speak English rather than French just looked at me disapprovingly one night as we waited, swaying in the wind of drunkenness, for the sergeant to show up for appel de soir and told me to “stand over there, so the sergeant doesn't smell you.” I spent that night shouting Huweee!! into the big white telephone (that means throwing up in the toilet for you're non English).

I did have one potentially deadly encounter in SIA though. We were all in our room, shooting the shit, when I heard my name being shouted. Opening the door to see who it was I was confronted by my lunatic 2eme REP sergeant. “C'est bon pour les tendors?” Wtf? He obviously wanted me to give him a haircut. Oh, so this is it, this is how it ends for me. I'm going to f*** up the Sgt's hair and he's going to tear my skull apart with his bare hands. I got some clippers and went into a disused room where the Sgt sat down with a towel over his shoulders and started, with what I thought was a slightly over the top air of nonchalance, to read the paper.
No easy skin head, he wanted the classic USMC style fade. I considered making a bit of a joke by taking a swipe with the clippers and then saying “oh merde” under my breath, but decided against it. I also refrained from asking if he would like “quelque-chose pour le weekend”.
In the end I did quite a good job and the Sgt seemed pleased as he got a dustpan and brush to clean up. I stood there utterly confused as he refused to let me clean up and got down on his knees saying “C'est bon, c'est bon merci,” It took a while for my brain to process and accept the image of a sous-officier doing the cleaning. Hard case but good guy. I'd buy that man a beer.

Another thing we did in SIA that I was pleased about was go back to Raissec to do a bit of cleaning while a CCH (who was quite mad) did some redecorating. The place was very different in the winter. Freezing cold with a howling wind constantly blowing. We mooched about and I got some photos on the crappy disposable I'd bought at the foyer though unfortunately they didn't come out well. Bit of nostalgia there. We then defied death again by riding back to base in the back of a lorry driven by the CCH, who had been at the bottle a bit and drove the truck like he'd stolen it. Full on white knuckle.

I was glad of my time in SIA, I got to see a different side to the Legion. We could go to the company club and chat with some CCHs (who were all quite mad) and were generally treated with a bit more respect and friendliness than when we were the lowest of the low trainees. I even got to see a different side to some of my old training caporaux and realised some of them weren't so bad. There are still some nasty bastards there though, if I saw the FAMAS-happy caporal walking down the street of my home town, I'd feed him his teeth.

And then it was over. I was sat in my sports gear waiting for the day to begin when a Sgt of the 2eme Compagnie opened the door and shouted my name. Five minutes later I was on a bus in tenue de sortie with my bags in the hold and heading for the train and Aubagne. A week of make-work jobs in Aubagne ensued (the smell was still there, faint, but still noticeable) and that was it. Me and an itinerant Frenchman found we could buy beer from the CCH bar in another building without anyone batting an eyelid (they obviously didn't care as they were all quite mad). Rock on. I bought a Zippo in the foyer with the code of honour on for my dad and a hip flask for my mate.
I saw the Polish CCH was back, terrorising a new rouge section. We passed report again with the captain of the C.A.P.L.E and the next day were given back our true identities. We packed our bags, gave what was left of our kit back (I managed to keep the black leather gloves, I call them my murdering gloves) and walked down the same steep hill I had walked up six months previously, following the eastern euro CCH up to pre-selection.

We (“we” being the other civils, going for various reasons) got the train to Marseille, walked to La Poste to get our pay and went our separate ways. By eight that evening I was sat in a bar in Nottingham with my mate, drinking a Jack Daniel's and coke and feeling utterly bemused by the English civilians all around me.
So that's it re the Legion. Years of planning for me, months in the execution. So now we have the largely irrelevant (to the reader anyway) and possibly poignant self analysis stage of my story. I've taken the time to write this, you can take the time to indulge me in some “Disney philosophy”.
So what is the moral? What have I learnt? Well, to be honest I'm not sure. Not a day goes by that I don't think of the Legion. What I did well, where I failed myself, how things may of changed me. The biggest question I ask myself is “Did I just bottle it in the end? Am I basically a coward?” I'll let the reader judge, but to be honest I don't give a shit what you think. I've realised that what others think is, in many cases, not important.

There are some strange hangovers from it all - I have found myself saying c'est partir, swearing in French and constantly singing bloody Legion songs! (something I've now largely cured thanks to constantly listening to my iPod at work). I also had what I can only equate to a panic attack not long after getting back. I was sat on a bus and was suddenly consumed by a complete hate and contempt for everyone around me, I wanted to smash everything and everyone to dust. I was so tense across my shoulders and in my arms that my biceps started to cramp up. It passed, thanks God, but I had a window into why people get guns and go on killing sprees. Was it Legion hangover or am I just a fruit loop? I don't know, I mean it's not like a did five years or saw combat or anything. Maybe I'm just a drama queen.

Before I joined I didn't tell many people what I was doing. I suppose I was worried about what they would think. It turns out it doesn't matter, most people know dick shit about the Legion anyway. I had been back for a while before I got messages from family friends and relatives saying “Glad you're back, didn't realise what it was you were doing.” I don't know if they'd just seen a documentary or what. To be honest I've not really talked in depth about it to anyone, not even my best friends or family. I've told them some of what happened but not how it effected me. How do you put soul searching into words?

I certainly don't go around saying I was a legionnaire and to be honest I cringe a bit if friends mention it to strangers. Not because I'm ashamed or embarrassed in any way but because it opens up a whole conversation I just don't want to have with strangers (he said, posting this on a website for all and sundry to read), it just takes some explaining and opens up uneasily answered questions like “Why?”.

I don't think it's changed me much on the outside, but then you'd have to ask those that know me. I know I'm different, for the better I think, on the inside. I have a bit more determination for sure, and focus. I can't go walking with my friends now as I just storm off into the distance. I don't want to come across as melodramatic but as a result of my experiences I've looked deeper into myself than most people ever have cause to. I can't say I liked what I saw but I wasn't completely discouraged either. Of course not everyone will see it like this or have the same experiences, it all depends on where you come from and how you view something like joining the Legion.

Life now ain't perfect. There's still a few things missing, but at least I now know what they are now, or think I do anyway. I'm off to university in September for a shit hot course that I'm looking forward to and who knows where it might lead. I do feel a measure of pride when I look at my Kepi Blanc photos as well.
So why did I leave? Well, the best way I can explain it is that I realised the Legion was not what I was looking for. What am I looking for? I don't know, but I'll know it when I find it, and it wasn't to be found in the Legion.
So to finish, a little practical advice. Wear sunscreen. Okay, seriously. If you want to join the Legion, then you should examine your reasons carefully, figure out what is wrong with your life that makes you want to do it and try and fix them. If you live in the West you do not need to join, you just might think you do. Always bear in mind that, in my experience at least, it's not all it's cracked up to be. The Legion is a highly operational military outfit and it's not there for you to waste its time with your own voyage of self discovery, even if that's what I basically did.

On an even more practical note: learn French! It will help more than I can say and help keep you from feeling as isolated as many who join without it feel. Also, forget your running times, just learn to march long distances with heavy weights and do five hundred press-ups a day. Some chin-ups and running won't go astray though. One last thing, guard your bog roll, it tends to get stolen.
Maybe the Legion is for you, maybe it's not. I've no regrets about joining and no regrets about leaving. If anything I regret not getting it out of my system years ago. The fact is you won't find out by reading this so get off your arse, turn of your computer and **** off to Aubagne.
There you go, I've nothing more to say. I don't hang around this site anymore but if you have Q's post them or PM me, I'll check in over the next few weeks.
Bonne chance
__________________ The member formerly known as Big Al


Post from rickyhimalayan on forum of http://cervens.net/smf/index.php

Topic: Calculate your chances to join FFL (Read 1036 times)
rickyhimalayan Current or ex-legionnaire Regular Member

Calculate your chances to join FFL Hi wannabe's

First of all, forget about quota thing. At this time per my knowledge the Legion needs many volunteers. If they want you, you'll be in, no matter how many other legionnaires or candidates of the same nationality are already there.

Try to focus on plus points. Here is a kind of system which can help you assess your chances of getting in (this is just according to me, what I have noticed)

Every quality you have gives you a plus, for example :
1. You have driving licence.
2. You have a licence for heavy vehicles (big trucks).
3. How good can you swim ?
4. Skying, mountaineering, experience.
5. Previous army experience.
6. French language knowledge.
7. How many other languages can you speak ?
8. Specialisations like :
- computing - cooking - mechanics - music (can you play some instrument)
9. How good you are in sports ?
10. How motivated you are ?
11. Important item : what are the risks that you desert and why do you want to join the Legion ? Don't mention anything negative like "I hate civil life" or anything superficial like "because of the glory attached to the Legion", stay practical.
12. If you desert, what are the chances that you will get a good career in civilian life, and before the Legion how did you perform ? Surprisingly, if you had some sort of failure you have better chances.

13. Your family : if you've stayed in touch with them, how strongly are you attached to your parents ? Does someone else depend on you outside the Legion ? The more positive the answers are, the lesser are you chances to get in.

14. Main thing you can learn from marketing or sales guys is how to "sell" yourself in an interview. This accounts for about 50% of your success or failure to be accepted. Keep in mind that you need to keep your story the same in all the interviews. If you are not a good liar stay honest and tell the truth.

From above criteria one can calculate his chances and improve them before coming to the Legion. One thing i would like to mention: it's easier to get accepted into the Legion than staying for a full 5 year contract and becoming a successful legionnaire, so try to focus on what you want after entering into the Legion.

Like someone in this forum said, you can fail anytime here but you can pass this exam only after five years, correct me if I'm wrong.
What I wrote above is only my own opinion, formed after what I've observed. I could be wrong.
Regards « Last Edit: June 02, 2007, 02:29:49 AM by Patrick Hervier »
Report to moderator Logged HOPE 4 D BEST PREPARE 4 D WORST


Post from Mad Jock who just returned from Aubagne after being turned away.

Post: My brief but fun stay in Aubagne by Mad Jock
24-04-08 12:52 PM -
[Note, I have placed the posts fro M.J.and the replies to his posts in the order received.
His main post are between the break lines]
DECLARATION-DECHARGE (pour l'interessé)
Je soussigné, Engage Volontaire Mad Jock Déclare n'avoir aucune réclamation à formuler lors de mon départ
Mes objets de VALEUR
Mes PAPIERS personnels
Mes VETEMENTS civils
que j'avais placés en depot lors de mon arrivée. Ils m'ont ete restitués intégralement.
Le motif de mon depart m'a ete egalement notifie :

INAPTE DEFINITIF: Son profil ne correspond pas aux besoins de la Légion étrangère. SIGNATURE conforme a l'acte d'engagement

As you can see I'm back in UK. Did’t get a chance to get this translated could anyone help?

voltigeur Super Joe Re: inapt definitif 24-04-08 01:30 PM - In response to mad jock

It basically states that you the undersigned declares that he's got his money, personal papers and clothes back..
Turned back to civil status for the following reason: his profile did not meet the needs of the Legion.

mad jock Advanced Member 24-04-08 02:53 PM - In response to voltigeur

What pisses me off is the fact there where people here who wanted to go civil and I wanted to stay

Cpl K... Moderator Inapte définitif 24-04-08 03:01 PM In response to mad jock

The Legion is a weird place. They take who they want!
Now you know why people get pissed off with people who manage to get in and then desert.
PS: Hope the council give you the house back and you get your car.

william Newbie 24-04-08 03:08 PM - In response to Cpl K...

Hard lines jock. What goes around comes around

mad jock Advanced Member 24-04-08 03:29 PM - In response to Cpl K...

now I understand why you guys get so f****d off with time wasters.

flash010 Newbie 24-04-08 03:29 PM - In response to william jock its no reflection on you just some twat in a office who put a mark at your name it means nothing against you mate.

mad jock Advanced Member 24-04-08 03:31 PM - In response to flash010

don’t stop me being pissed about it though

mad jock Advanced Member Inapte définitif 24-04-08 03:34 PM - In response to mad jock

Any you guys remember we had girl on forum about a week ago who said her man had buggered off to the Legion?
Well I met him and as it turns out he was a time waster as well.
He anted to go civil after 18 hours in Aubagne. In total, we had 6 Brits at Aubagne.
We all wanted REP. Damn, that would have been fun.

Prospekt5 Member inapt definitif 24-04-08 03:50 PM - In response to mad jock

LOL, I wonder if he’s back with busy bunny right now.
Sorry this happened to you mate.

Phantom309 Member 24-04-08 04:17 PM - In response to Prospekt5

I'm really sorry for you mate, I have an idea of how you must feel and I know its not a great place to be.
The member formerly known as Big Al

ApldeAp Newbie 24-04-08 04:23 PM - In response to Phantom309

That sucks Mad Jock! but, like flash010 said, it means nothing against you mate...
Guess it's time for plan B?

Nickfury Newbie inapt definitif 24-04-08 08:19 PM - In response to ApldeAp

Hey Mad Jock how long were you there and when/why did you get sent home? (after the medical, or run or interviews or what?).
They never do really tell you why you get sent home. I made it to Rouge Selection then didn't make the final selection and got sent home inapte définitif.
It sucks, especially when idiots who were sent home earlier for this and that got to come back in 3-6-12 months...
ah well, good luck. Nick

PS: love to hear more about your time. When I was in Aubagne there were only one Brit and one American (me), then 1 South African and a couple Dutch guys.
Those were the Anglophones, except for a few guys from various countries who preferred to hang with us and spoke perfect English (a German, Hungarian, a Greek guy, couple of French guys who liked to speak English, and a guy from Sierra Leone).

Prospekt5 Member Re: inapt definitif 24-04-08 09:15 PM - In response to Nickfury

Makes me paranoid of my chances.

Brad Member 24-04-08 10:31 PM - In response to Prospekt5

Mad jock... you did more then most people do and actually went instead of hanging around and saying you 'will do it one day'.
Be proud that you went out and actually tried. Although i'm disappointed for you YOU STILL TRIED!!!

I second NickFury and would love to hear in depth of what happened the minute you turned up to the gates. Spare nothing, every detail helps others.
Take care and go to the next challenge.

mad jock Advanced Member My brief but fun stay in Aubagne 25-04-08 01:28 AM - In response to mad jock

Well as asked, I will put my experience on the board.
ok so I arrive in Marseille airport and go straight to the taxi rank where I informed the driver "Aubagne, Légion étrangère s'il vous plaît".
The driver looked at me with a rather shocked look in his eye and started to drive. For info taxi is 80-100 euros depending on traffic or route that the driver wishes to take you on.
I arrived at the gate and made my way to the sentry who immediately pointed to the Poste de Securité.
I presented myself to the sergeant who asked for my passport then told me to wait outside on the bench.
After about 20 minutes a CCH appeared and I was again asked for my passport and told "AVEC MOI". So I followed him. We walked through the gate and up the hill going to the left of the parade ground and continued until we come to what I assume was an accommodation block where we embarked a vehicle.
The CCH at this point turned on the radio and started blasting out ramstien "fire frie" and proceeded to drive round corners like a psychopath on drugs all the while sniggering as I struggled to stay upright.

I was then presented to the cpl who asked for my passport and said "first time to join the Legion?" I answered and he ushered me into a room, told me to put my bag on the table and emptied it in preparation for an inventory.

I did as instructed and waited for him to come back into the room. The cpl came back, took an inventory of my belongings and instructed me to place back in bag and sit.
He looked at my army discharge papers that I had brought and asked me "why you fired from army?" I informed him I was chucked for fighting and drinking, at which point he laughed and informed me that about 2-3 months ago 20-30 legionnaires from 3em REI got pissed up found they were bored and proceeded down to the local town with baseball bats and set about every adult male they came across.

My name was changed and I was shown to my room where there were 5 others waiting.
The cpl pointed to bed and told me to follow him. I was then shown the shower and toilets and told to take shower and toilet and go to bed.
05:30 lights went on and we all got up, I went straight to the toilets do the usual morning stuff as well as have a shave then made down my bed and went outside taking my bag which was left in the entrance hall.

We went to breakfast which is a crusty rol and some jam (nutella if you are quick enough) and a bowl of coffee, chocolate or milk. You don't get the choice so anyone that is gastronomically fussy you're f****d.

On the way back I noticed that we were following a path that snakes its way through the grass. This is something I just could not get my head around, being in Brit army for 5 years had taken its toll, as grass was not for walking on it.
It was there to look pretty for the queen.

We were taken inside the recruitment building and shown videos in our native tongue of what you can expect from the Legion and more importantly what the Legion expects from you.
At about 08:00 we were called outside and taken to the medical centre, where we underwent our initial medical. I saw the doc who is a colonel and he noticed that I have psoriasis.
He told me that the Legion does not need this and my journey ended here. The next thing he asked was "do you play rugby?" I answered yes he then asked "what number?" I replied n°3 and at this point he threw his hands in the air and said "ah good you stay now we need a good number 3".
I was told to leave the room and did so, one of the lads gets an inapte temporaire for 1 year for drug taking.

We went back to the block and waited outside at the rear of the building. I started speaking to a Romanian who could speak Italian, French, Spanish and English as well as Romanian.
We were called and went to lunch : pasta and what I assume was chicken and some sort of fish pastry which was foul.
At this point my stay in the recruitment centre ended and we were transferred over to the "centre de pré-sélection Légion étrangère".

andy bannerman Advanced Member 25-04-08 02:40 AM - In response to mad jock

Thanks for posting you tried mate thats the most anyone can ask shame they won`t let you back in and good luck for the future Andy

Moltix Newbie 25-04-08 04:23 AM - In response to andy bannerman

Thank you for you're post if you don't mind me asking, what is exactly psoriasis?

mad jock Advanced Member 25-04-08 05:03 AM - In response to Moltix

it is a skin condition where on certain parts of youre body usually elbows knees the skin thickens through overproduction of skin cells and causes flaking it is painless

Phantom309 Member 25-04-08 06:42 AM - In response to Brad

Do you think it was psoriasis that got you rejected? I remember reading that it and similar conditions were not a problem within reason.
I ask because I have a small patch of eczema that got me rejected from the British a few years ago and am concerned about it re the legion. The member formerly known as Big Al

mad jock Advanced Member My brief but fun stay in Aubagne 25-04-08 06:49 AM - In response to Phantom309

No, I think it was my motivation. All the other Brits that were there had real problems back home.
I joined for the adventure, I think that maybe two more Brits had gone over with the same motivation, then went and legged it when it got too tough.
As a result they don't want to take the gamble spending all that money training you just on the off chance you may leg it.

mad jock Advanced Member My brief but fun stay in Aubagne 25-04-08 06:50 AM - In response to Brad Damn bitches even the Legion couldn't keep me from you guys. lol

Phantom309 Member 25-04-08 06:58 AM - In response to mad jock

*******, adventure is my main motivation.... The member formerly known as Big Al

Mad Monk Member 25-04-08 07:16 AM - In response to Phantom309

So you figure that adventure as a reason to join might get you canned?

Marlow Newbie 25-04-08 07:21 AM - In response to mad jock Sorry to hear they gave u inapt definitive, but you gave it a shot. Now you won't be asking yourself in the future about a lost opportunity...

Just curious what kind of serious problems at home the other Brits had?
You said you had met some time wasters in Aubagne. I wonder what could happen to them during a few days of selection that they changed their mind and decided to go civil?
How do they explain their about-face?

mad jock Advanced Member My brief but fun stay in Aubagne 25-04-08 08:05 AM - In response to mad jock

Now for part 2 We were taken from the recruitment centre and over to the selection centre where we were told "SILENCE".
Now I don't speak much French and I certainly do not have a degree in some science but I know that means SHUT THE F**K UP.

Why francophones cannot understand their own language is quite beyond me anyhow. The result was a loud bollocking by a CCH and the immortal words "POSITION POMPES"
(for the Brits that means press up position down as quick as you can). Again, me the only non francophone in the group managed to get my tits on the ground while others stood with a blank expression on their faces.
This blank expression suddenly turned to pain when a Brazilian CCH walked round the corner.

We finish pompes and were taken round the side of the building to a basement which is where you're possessions are taken off you.

You are issued 2x socks 2x underpants, (very fetching), 2x face rippers (disposable Bic razors), 1x towel 1x wire rifle cleaning brush (toothbrush that rip yer gums to pieces), 1x toothpaste (this was top notch theramed, bit of a waste with the toothbrush if you ask me), 1x bar of pig fat (soap), 1x very cheap tin of shaving foam (just as well as giving out Gillette would have been a total insult), 1x blue tracksuit (I was making that s**t look good), 1x black t-shirt (smelled real bad) 1x pair of cheap trainers (insoles removed so feet stink after 3 hours), 2x cumfy bum (that's bog paper to all you non educated out there lol), and 2x bed sheets (there is a story about the bed sheets soon coming up).

We were shown to our room told to put the bags on top of a locker and told something in French with the CCH pointing out the window I figured that meant get outside and guess what?
Yep you all guessed right : the francophones stand about with thumb up a**e and mind in neutral so more pompes was had.

We eventually went outside after having a lactic acid burnout (arms stretched in front do 1 sgt then 1 press up ,2 squats then 2 press ups all the way up to 10).
This is where I meet DELTA FORCE. This was the nickname given to a certain mong that was in the selection centre.
I overheared him talking to some in English and as you can imagine walked over and introduced myself, asking where the lad came from.
He went into some surreal story about how he had a German id card but was American and didn't want to give his American passport over.
I enquired whether or not his dual citizenship was a result of his father being in the military stationed in Germany.
His reply "you do not need to know how this was managed but know this, none is smart enough to know how I done this and those that are smart enough just don't get it".

He then went on about being in Delta Force in Baghdad, Kabul etc. At this point I told him he is full of s**t and walked away promising myself not to talk to this idiot again at any cost.

We were called by way of siren and whistle. If a whistle sounds then the cch wants rouge section and if the siren goes they want anyone wearing blue tracksuits.
We were called for evening meal and go round to the cookhouse dinner. This evening was a whole plate of spinach and 2 boiled eggs (felt like Popeye).
As I was eating all I heard was "hey fuckin Hungary why they give us fuckin grass to eat?".
It was another Anglophone. I lean over and say "yea we'll get in a McDonalds just for you cokbag." We introduced each other and he also introduced me to 3 other Brits, 2 of which were rouge and the other blue.
We left the cookhouse and went back to the block where we are assigned to work details around the camp.

After work detail we were taken back to the block and told to get round into the courtyard after an hour or so.
We were then brought into the foyer where you can buy juice and chocolate. Here I got a proper chance to talk to the other Brits.
As it turned out, one of them had walked from Le Havre to Paris in 4 days wearing a pair of hi-tech magnums that were 2 sizes too big for him.
They all told me their stories of why they were there (sorry folks but their stories are theirs and i am not prepared to divulge what I was told).
At around 10pm we were sent upstairs to our rooms and given 60 seconds in the shower to get cleaned then shown how to make our beds the way they wanted them made.

We were shown a basic locker layout and replicated this ,the CCH inspected then left the room switching off the light as he left shouting "BONNE NUIT"

Pagoda_Warrior Member my brief but fun stay in aubagne 25-04-08 08:15 AM - In response to mad jock

Delta to Legion Selection.... Very amusing! You were right to walk away and avoid him, as you would have probably been tempted to drop him. Hopefully the selection Process would weed that dick-head out in quick time....

mad jock Advanced Member My brief but fun stay in Aubagne 25-04-08 08:20 AM - In response to Marlow

The problem that the other Brits had, without sounding harsh, are no one else's business. Please do not ask any questions in regard to their identity or reasons.
You will just get stonewalled. All everyone needs to know is that they were a great bunch of guys and I think serving alongside them would have been eventful to say the least.

mad jock Advanced Member Re: my brief but fun stay in aubagne 25-04-08 08:24 AM - In response to Pagoda_Warrior

we used to call them Walter Mitties in the British army i sussed him out quick and blanked him the rest of my time there.

mad jock Advanced Member My brief but fun stay in Aubagne 25-04-08 08:55 AM - In response to mad jock

There I was dreaming sweet nothings and bang on the lights go. I got up and made my way to the sinks . I got washed and shaved and back to my bed space, where I was met by one of the English lads who was ex Brit army too.
"Right jock I'll show you how you fold your sheets here, you are gonna f*****g love this". He then showed me how to fold my sheets into a roll which is then placed with the other one to form a cross on your blankets.
I was well impressed with this as I would have never thought that you could do this with a sheet.

We went outside and off to breakfast where we all sat and discussed how absolutely awesome the way of folding sheets was (we were all ex Brit army and it impressed the s**t out of all of us).
We went back to the block and do the inevitable corvee round the compound. The 4 others and myself were called inside and this is where we undertook the psycho technique element in front of the computer.
We finished this and were sent outside to the courtyard where we waited until called for lunch. During the waiting a little Chinese lad got caught sleeping and 2 mins later was running round the compound with a backpack full of rocks above his head.

NOTE TO ALL : do not get caught sleeping in the yard, it looks painful.

We were called to lunch of which I cannot remember what we had. After this I was put on kitchen duty.
I was relieved at this, as it meant I was not waiting in the courtyard. We did this until 2, then taken back to the block, we were sent round to the courtyard where I met the last jock who had just come from Paris.
Just a quick note on Paris : they transport you down on a Tuesday or a Thursday. You need to be there 3 days before they transport you, 2 of the lads timed it wrong and ended up in Paris for 10 days before going to Aubagne.

After a while we were called again, as it turned out this for afternoon work detail. My name is called along with 1 other and we were taken to the infirmary for our medical (sight, hearing, p**s test etc.).
We were sent back to the compound after waiting in the med centre for 2 hours. The other 3 guys that came over on day one, have been sent civil. We never found out why.
I met back up with the Brit contingent again and we carried on our usual nonsense of ripping the p**s out of everyone and everything including each other.
After a couple of hours we were called for dinner which turns out to be le boudin (black pudding) and mashed potato. We finished and formed outside the cookhouse where we were detailed off again for cleaning duties.
We were taken back to the block do some more corvee have time in foyer then go upstairs for shower and bed.
I forgot to mention that the previous night we had a hot shower as the cch had forgot to close the hot water valve.
As punishment for not informing him, we were to shower in the dark with cold water then make our beds and wait for inspection.
As you can imagine much bed tipping and shouting was had because some people couldn't make a bed in the dark. Eventually the immortal words "BONNE NUIT" "BONNE NUIT CAPORAL-CHEF" were spoken and off we went to bed.

mad jock Advanced Member My brief but fun stay in Aubagne 25-04-08 10:14 AM - In response to mad jock

04:30 the following morning we were woken. Again, I was up shaved and made down my bed before some had even sat upright.
These lazy few were starting to do my head in as it was always them that were getting everyone else punished.
We went outside into the courtyard on what can only be described as a beautiful crisp cool morning albeit still dark.
The jock that had come down from Paris started moaning and couldn't see sense of why we were up so early when breakfast was at 6.
Once I explained that they just didn't want you getting used to a sleep pattern he was fine. Again the Brits all congregated and proceeded to make light of a bad situation and rip the p**s out of everything.
We were called for breakfast after which we did the corvee round the compound and then were detailed for work party.
I was assigned to the officers mess to help clean the kitchen and also the dining areas . This was actually more boring than standing about in the courtyard, at least in the courtyard you can interact with people or do some phys.
In the mess once I had cleaned everything all I could do was stand in total silence. Again once finished we were transported back to the compound where everyone was already formed to go to lunch.
After lunch we were again sent back to the courtyard until 2pm when we were called. The CCH started to read out the names and mine was one of them.
I assumed that we were being assigned to a work party, but this was not to be.
however, when we were dispatched the guys all ran into the block, I grabbed a Senegalese chap who spoke a little English and asked him what was going on.
He informed me that we had finished and we were civil.
We were taken round the side of the building and instructed to hand back all that had been given to us. In return we received all that we had given upon arrival, our discharge papers were handed to us and we were escorted onto a bus and driven to the centre of Marseille and dropped off there.

This is where my encounter with the Legion ended and I am extremely sad that it did so but it is an experience that I will never forget. If any wannabee want to ask questions do not hesitate to ask or pm me. I will answer any questions that I can.
That is what the forum is here for. Thank you for your messages of support from all corners and bonne chance to anyone who wishes to undertake this road in life. As they say in the compound many try few succeed.

Phantom309 Member 25-04-08 12:48 PM - In response to mad jock

Hey Jock, thanks for going over your experiences for us.
Could you give us more details on your interviews with the gestapo?
All most people say is that they ask you about 'everything' which isn't very helpful. (i fail to believe they want to know the name of your first pet or your fav colour)
Thanks in advance mate. The member formerly known as Big Al

Rapace Forum Admin 25-04-08 12:55 PM - In response to Phantom309

Good question by Phantom. Did you go through the interviews with the 'gestapo' or did you get dismissed before getting to that stage.
How many days did you stay in Aubagne in total ?

Aurelie3 Advanced Member 25-04-08 02:29 PM - In response to Rapace

What did the medical consist of? There are always many questions involving eyes/teeth .
what sort of checks did they run? Make you eat a toffee-apple and see if you introduce yourself to the hat stand?

Mad Jock Advanced Member 25-04-08 03:33 PM - In response to Aurelie3 did not get to the gestapo or even the physical test but from what i gathered from the other brits they do not know a thing about you but they will put questions to you or say something that you did not so be prepared to correct them

Bushi Newbie My brief but fun stay in Aubagne 25-04-08 04:04 PM - In response to mad jock

Thanks for letting us know about your experience.
Did you get a note that proves that you've been there even though you only were there for a few days...?
Don’t they tell you why you didn’t get accepted? as i read you didn’t do anything that they will fail you on. Other than that, you were there for only adventure; do you think it was something else they failed you for? Thanks

Sam Member 25-04-08 04:33 PM - In response to Bushi

Thanks for memories, Jock. Sorry you were denied more of your own. It sounds like the psorriasis got you.
It also sounds to me like the taxi driver got you too! 80 - 100 Euros? A Euro is worth more than a buck isnt it? Jock, I was there in April of 1977. The experience (except fot the inapt definitif) was still VERY similar, even the menu.
The dreaded hardboiled eggs and spinach dinner PLUS the delicacy of boudin and mashed potatoes? I will BET the potatoes were REAL at least.
The foul fish pastry? We were served that as well and it was a TREAT! Maybe they changed the fish sauce recipe? You can walk on the grass in Aubagne but you better not set foot on the Voie Sacre!
Its true, you tried.


Post from Rifleman who just returned from Aubagne after being turned away.

News flash from Aubagne Jan-20-2007
Well I just walked through my front door after returning from Aubagne.
First the good news, Devil D and Taric are both at Castel. I met Taric at Aubagne and he was already rouge. No sign of Steve though.
As for myself, I went green so passed the tests but didn't get selected at the commission.
This has just made me more determined to try again and I will. Because I lucked out at the last hurdle, I got an inapte definitif however, I am writing a letter to try and overturn this so could do with some pointers from any anciens.
If this fails, I think I may sit outside Aubagne's gate until they let me in.
Even though I only had a glimpse of legion life, I know I must succeed at any cost now.

Here goes, first I must thank Eagle Eye because his observations of the French recruits were spot on.

Well I left for Paris on 20 Dec and intended to enlist immediately. However, I stopped off in Paris and after a few beers decided to spend Christmas and New Year there.
Paris is truly an amazing city. I enlisted at Fort Nogent on Jan. 4, I turned up at the gates in a taxi, but before ringing the bell decided to have one last shot of coffee at a bar down the road.

Ringing that bell when i returned was the most profound experience I have ever had. It seemed like hours before a Caporal let me in. I managed to mutter in French that I would like to join the legion.
He took my passport and ushered me into a room opposite the gatehouse. The room had a lot of books and assorted legion memorabilia.
There was musty old smell in the room and I must have sat there for half hour or so when three other lads turned up within this time.
v The Caporal returned and led myself and the other lads to the back of the camp and into a block. We went up to the top floor and entered an office.
We were issued an exam paper and shown some example questions. The Caporal Chef said something in French that I did not understand and I followed the other lads lead and began the paper.
I cannot remember how many questions there were but they were quite difficult and I did not come close to finishing the paper. The Caporal Chef said finish and I thought F@@k me I must of failed that. I will hold the record for the shortest ever time spent as an EV, In and out in an hour!
They took the papers away and a few minutes later my name was called and I was taken to a room next door.

I was told to empty the contents of my bag on a table and item by item was listed. My passport and other valuables put into a brown envelope.
I was then told to strip and put on a blue tracksuit that was two sizes to small. I was then shown to a room and a bed space.
In Paris you wear your civil underwear and socks and use your own wash kit. You also keep your bag with you.

The first night in Fort Nogent was somewhat surreal. When scoff time came around about 17:30, we had to form up in four ranks outside the block and march across to the ordinaire. My first impression of the food was very good; there was plenty of food and more than enough time to eat it. We could take what we wanted and as much bread and FANTA as you could manage.

On returning to the housing block we lined up in the corridor and the bitch, (seems everywhere in the selection process is an arse licker present and in return for wiping the Caporal Chefs backside he gets a tiny percentage of privileges ) issued the corvee to our group.
Because I was one of the latest arrivals, I expected the worst job of the lot. However he told me to take shower and then go sit in the salle de TV.
Even when I asked if he had something to do for me, he insisted shower and TV.

As people finished corvee and came into the salle de TV I could feel everybody’s eyes burning on me. Do not know if it was curious, looks or they were eying up the new competition. Being 30 and a stocky fellow it was not intimidating for me, but I could see how it could be for a young lad.
I sat in the salle de TV for what seemed days when word got around that I was English.
Eventually two friends from Belgium started speaking to me as they spoke good English. They had arrived in Fort Nogent the day before after joining in Lille.
Over the next 8 or 9 days, they would become good friends. They explained the structure of a typical day and we managed to crack a few jokes before the order came to go to bed at about 21:00.
I had no problems sleeping that first night surprisingly maybe because of the several coup de champagne’s the previous night.

The following morning after washing and brushing my teeth, I had time for a quick cigarette. IMPORTANT if u are a smoker take in plenty because in Fort Nogent they can be extremely hard to get hold of.
Breakfast was good and then time for a little corvee in the block. This was very easy and it consisted of several Frenchmen (fellow recruits) supervising the work.
i.e. standing, watching you doing nothing. Still I managed to keep my mouth shut and just get on with it.
Because it was now a Saturday (I enlisted on a Friday afternoon) I learnt it would be Tuesday before I would be able to do the medical. This meant plenty of salle de TV and petty corvee but hey I was warned on this site beforehand lol.

In the next couple of days, I met most of the guys in Nogent and found the majority to be likeable. There were less east Europeans than I expected.
A few Chinese, Columbian, Bolivian but the most came from France and Germany.

Tuesday eventually arrived albeit very slowly because apart from a little corvee it was mainly hanging around in the salle de TV.
When it was time for the medical, there were 28 of us to take it. I was about number 20 in the line. I was apprehensive because I knew my teeth were good, but I was not sure of the rest.
The first fellow that went in was a likeable Chinese fellow who spoke a little English. All the Chinese people were very nice people always polite and courteous. We westerners could learn a lot from these guys.
He was in the room for approx 5 minutes when he reappeared. He failed on teeth and they asked him how long it would take him to rectify it. If I were in his shoes, I would have said 2 days see you soon, but for some reason he agreed to 2 months.
For the first in to the medical to fail was quite unnerving for the rest of us.

Now a couple of years ago I decided to have a couple of piercings done, one in the nipple and also a pa. I will not go into details on the pa because I would not want to corrupt Joette's mind lol.
Before leaving to enlist, I took the nipple piercing out but was somewhat apprehensive about messing with my little soldier so decided to leave it in because it was hidden.
I have never lost anything because of religion if you get my meaning.
As more people went through the medical we lost a few more fellows for varying reasons but I can only remember two more reasons for rejections, which were overweight and underweight.
As my time neared I suddenly panicked about the piercing I left in. When another Chinese reappeared from the medical I decided to ask him in sign language just how much the undercarriage was inspected.
Judging by his hand signals in reply, it looked as though I had no choice but to take the piercing out. Luckily, I knew that down the corridor were toilets (I had cleaned them before lol). I went into the toilets and the next 10 minutes yes 10 minutes were the most painful and worrying of my life.
Eventually after a lot of messing around I was successful and headed back to my place in the queue.

The 2 Belgians went into the room just before me one after another. When the first went in the other was outside the door waiting to go in. Suddenly there was a shout from inside the room, so loud that everyone heard. The Caporal Chef assisting the Colonel in the medical shouted, "We hate Belgian’s". Well that was it, I thought he must of failed here if not for medical reasons then for sure because of his country of origin. The other Belgian who was next in was bricking it at this point, but he shouldn't have been worried. His mate came out with his thumb up because he had passed. Well the second Belgian passed no trouble as did I. I worried about the piercing for nothing because the doctor had a quick feel of your balls and after you coughed twice, the medical was done. After returning upstairs, I spent a good 30 minutes returning the piercing to its rightful position.
Well after the doctors examination I thought that was it, medical wise for the day. However, boy was I wrong. After the midi scoff it as once again downstairs for the eyesight and hearing test.
This took all afternoon for those of us that were left.
One guy was rejected for his hearing and guess who it was. The French BITCH. There is a God!!. I guess the Caporal Chef was thirsty for the rest of that day with no bitch to make his coffee lol.

Out of 28 who took the medical with me, five were rejected at this stage. Good odds really, because I thought more would go.
Later that day (Tuesday) there was a whisper that people who passed the medical would travel to Aubagne on Thursday. I knew at this point it was only a matter of time before I was headed for Aubagne.

The next day or so was hilarious. Apart from manger, corvee and salle de TV the only official thing done was the signing of the first contract in an office for administration. Other than this, it was more laughs with some of the boys.
The 2 Belgian’s were extremely funny, but not well liked by the staff at Nogent. The French seem to detest the Belgian’s, as for why, the only explanation I can think of is they are so close to France but not French.

On Wednesday evening, all recruits who passed the medical were told; we would be leaving for Aubagne first thing the next morning after breakfast. We handed the tracksuits in, and dressed in civvies ready for the journey the next morning. So that was it I was off to Aubagne

Before I continue I must add one more detail about a good friend I met in Nogent. I never expected to see any fellow Englishmen but in one week in Paris I met 3.
The first was in Nogent when I arrived. He must have been 18 or 19 from London like me. The day I arrived, he went civil voluntarily lasting a whole 24hrs in Nogent. I think he had no business being there in the first place.
The second lasted about 2 days. He was from Birmingham and a little overweight. He also chose to go civil.
This is all bad news for new British recruits because it hardly sets a good impression. The third English chap arrived a couple of days after me and came to Aubagne and went green with me but was also rejected at the commission. His legion name was Nelson. A was good chap with an amazing story. He had been serving as a signaler in the British army for 5+ years. He had been based in Germany, but got disillusioned with life there.
After repeated attempts to change regiments without success, he had finally made the decision to travel to Paris.
In normal circumstances, I would not have given the fellow the time of day for going awol, but these were not normal circumstances.
I found over the next couple of weeks that he was a quite likeable chap.

Well Thursday morning soon arrived and we were woken up at 04:00. After rushing around washing and stuff, we had a quick breakfast and then straight onto a coach.
We drove to Gare de Lyon and boarded a train for Marseille. Now I have read many times from different sources that the legion takes you down to Marseille on a slow train but for us this was not the case.
It was straight on a TGV and in around 3hrs we were in St Charles station stopping only once. For the life of me, I cannot remember the name of the station we stopped at, but it might come back to me and some of you guys probably know anyway.

Marching through St Charles station was pretty freaky. I could feel 10s of eyes looking at us although I doubt with respect, probably sorrow lol.
Marseille like Paris is quite a beautiful city in its own right but nothing could prepare me for how very special Aubagne is.
I know now why Cpl. K has settled there. The surrounding views of the mountains are truly amazing. On the way 2 1RE we passed the Red Lion, but I thought it bad discipline to ask for a brief refreshment stop lol. We arrived at 1RE between 11:00 and 12:00.

The camps location is kind of set on a hill so you are looking over Aubagne. When we arrived as an ex soldier there were three main things i wanted to know. 1) Where do i sleep 2) Where to eat 3) Where to sh**
None of this info was forthcoming and I was marched off with 9 others into a room full of pc’s. It was time for the psycho technique test.
The psycho technique test, well it is actually not one test but three separate tests. In each, you are given 20 mins.
From what I remember there are approx 38 questions to each of the three parts. All three tests are quite similar in that they all require you to recognize patterns whether it is with numbers or shapes.
I am no brain of Britain but after the first two tests, I felt confident I had done well. When it was time for the third test, it blew me away. It is definitely the most difficult.
With 2 min of the 20 allowed I had only answered 28 of the 38 questions. These questions really needed to be thought out.
Instead of answering maybe two more by thinking them through, I hedged my bets and guessed the last 10.
My reason of thinking was that with six possible answers I was bound to guess a couple correctly.
There is no way to study for this test, you can do it, or not do it, simple as that.
Overall I left the test room feeling quite confident I had performed well enough. About 30 mins later my name was called again but this time with only 7 others.
Again we were led to the pc room. I noticed I was in the same group as before only 2 recruits were missing. One of the Belgian recruits and a Bolivian.
I later found out that if you are not called for the 4th test then you failed the niveau general. The fourth test was to determine your personality. I will quote a similar example question below.
How would you describe yourself?
1) Impatient 2) Disciplined 3) Lazy 4) Organized 5) Self Motivated
a) Firstly the computer asks you which answer most describes you. You must choose only one answer.
b) Then out of the 4 options left you must choose 1 that least describes yourself.
c) Then you must repeat a and b again leaving 1 answer that hasn't been used.
To fail this test u would have to be a complete lunatic so nothing to worry about here. It has only 11 questions of a similar nature to the example above and I was not aware, if there was a time limit.
After finishing this test we were led outside to join the rest of the rouge and blues at the rear of the building in the exercise yard.
When reaching the exercise yard i was surprised to see the Belgian fellow that was missing from the test. I thought he might have disappeared as so many people do in Aubagne. Sent civil when nobody is looking.
I greeted him and he introduced me to an American and guess who? Yep, Taric. Both were already rouge. Taric was leaving for Castel the following Friday, so I was unable to talk with him much apart from 5 mins on our first meeting.
However I must thank him for the full bottle of shower gel he got me because it saved washing with the soap that you have to use for washing both yourself and your clothes.
In Aubagne little things make the world of difference.
The American had only just gone rouge so he had to spend another week at Aubagne babysitting us blues.
I will not give even his legion name on this site but I can tell you he hails from Arizona. He was only 19 years of age but aced the psycho techno test with 100%.
Now that is some feat in itself, he must be for sure a very clever fellow. I hold out much hope for him in his career in the legion.
I know his physical test was just on the minimum but I’m sure it will improve rapidly.

The rest of the day was taken up with corvee and before I knew it time for dinner. The word “dinner” I must use very loosely. How different from Fort Nogent can you get?
Of course, we all ate every last mouthful, but compared to Fort Nogent the food is diabolical for want of a better word.
In addition, the portion sizes were strictly rationed, no second helpings of anything here. Time for eating is also limited.
When entering the ordinaire the recruits do so in order. Rouge first then Green and finally Blue.
Because it was a Thursday, there weren't any green recruits because of an earlier commission. If you are unlucky enough to be at the back of the queue as I was for my first meal you will make sure you never are again.
After dinner we were issued a mini Bergen with another blue tracksuit, black t-shirt, 2 socks, 2 underwear, towel, parker, flip-flops, trainers and wash kit.
At this point, everything personal was taken from us and put into storage. All I kept was French dictionary, cigarettes and wristwatch.
The first night was hectic. I soon discovered that not only was food rationed but showers too, ten seconds of cold water equals a shower legion selection style.
In the evening, the rouge helps the blues with their bed and locker layout as to be ready for the Caporal Chef's inspection before lights out.
For this first night, the American showed me how to do it and made the first night pass without incident.
Before it was lights out, I managed to wish Taric luck at Castel and early next morning he was gone.
This left the two Belgians, the American, Nelson the AWOL signaler and I as the only native English speakers.
The lights were turned on at 05:00 am and we were given 30 minutes to shave and prepare our beds and lockers.
In just over a week in Aubagne I never slept through an entire night.
I am not sure why, maybe because of the excitement or the not knowing what will happen next. I cannot really put my finger on it.

During the day from maybe 05:30 till 20:00 nobody is permitted to enter the block. If you have no test or corvee you must wait in the yard.
Friday passed quite slowly and the only test done, was the psycho technic for those that had not completed it already.
Nelson was called and passed with no problem. However, a few guys did fail and went civil in the afternoon before the weekend including a very funny chap from Haiti.
Although the day passed slowly the evening was a completely different matter. After a few hours of corvee during the day I expected dinner and then the usual nightly routine.
No, not tonight. I was not chosen for cuisine corvee after dinner, so was marched back to the yard. It was not long before the siren went for the blues to parade at the front of the building.
I was chosen along with a few others to work in the officers mess and boy did we work.
When we arrived at the mess it was teeming with officers because some kind of banquet was being held.
Over the next 7 hours it was non-stop washing up. No dishwasher here like in the ordinaire it all had to be done manually.
The number of plates and glasses must have run into the thousands.
At a little past 23:00 a Caporal Chef asked if we were finished. We all agreed that we were but the Caporal Chef made a Hungarian chap lift every glass up to the light to check for smears. Bon, pas bon, etc etc etc

I knew from the start these kind of games would be played so I played them. Unfortunately many other recruits hadn't thought this could be part of the game. Many decided to leave on the following Monday morning.
In this post I have mentioned 2 other recruits specifically the Haitian and Hungarian fellows. This account cannot continue without my next post involving these 2 recruits but many others 2. I think this part should have a title and I must call it Lunatics in the Legion.

Lunatics in the Legion
Out of all the people I met in Paris and Aubagne the Haitian and Hungarian were the strangest. They were for sure in Eagle Eyes words the gods gift to the legion boys, but these two were something else.
I first noticed the Hungarian chap on my first night in Nogent. The first evening everyone was looking at me curiously but this guy kept staring and staring.
When I stared back he shifted his eyes elsewhere. I thought nothing too much of it at first, apart from that he was probably a homosexual.
As the days continued so did the stares.
About the third night in Paris I had a little run in with him. As my luck would have it, he was on the bunk above me.
I was chatting to a Chinese fellow before getting some sleep. Definitely not shouting and laughing, but keeping things at a quiet level.
As we're chatting I hear "SILENCE" shouted from this Hungarians mouth. Although his stares had been winding me up, I managed to keep myself from giving him the good news.
No sooner as I decided the best course of action was to stay out of fights, he again said "silence". That was it I was out of my bed like a rat up a drainpipe.
I looked down on him laying on his bed and gave him what for verbally. Not touching him knowing if I did, it would be curtains for my wish to join the legion.
He never spoke to me again but all through Paris and Aubagne He continued with the staring.
When talking to the Belgians and Nelson the next morning I was explaining what happened with the Hungarian and discovered he was always staring at them also. We nicknamed him the WATCHER. I never did find out if he was homosexual, eyeing up the competition or just plain f**king crazy.

Now as for the Haitian a completely different kettle of fish. The few times I spoke with him left me sure he was a nutcase.
He would sit in a corner of the salle de TV firing pretend machine guns and shouting that you shouldn't join the legion unless you were already dead.
At times, he was hilarious but I wouldn't want to be on a live firing exercise with him for sure.
As for their fates, the Watcher made it rouge and the Haitian failed the psycho technic test. Surprise

Well time flies when your having fun and before I knew it the second weekend had arrived. Not much happens in Aubagne on a weekend. No tests but the corvee will continue. After a couple of days in Aubagne corvee becomes a blessing, in the form of a chance to forget your situation.

Late Saturday afternoon we hear of another rumor, so ridiculous it just might be true. The group of rouge that left for Castel the day before with Taric in it apparently received a welcoming party in Castel.
I am not sure what this consisted of, but the result being three rouge went AWOL after less than 24 hours in Castel.
This was confirmed the following day when they reappeared at Aubagne. We were not told what their punishment was, but I hope it was severe. At the time, I found this vaguely amusing but now sitting at home after rejection at the last moment, I am not laughing. It only angers me.

Well on Sunday the boys from Castel reappeared in Aubagne another casualty this time a rouge waiting to start Castel the following Friday. The American tells me he has elected to go civil because of missing his family.

What the hell is wrong with these people and how did they manage to get so far? I suppose in their defense if there is such a thing is that being rouge has no real perks. As you, progress life only gets harder. The rouge wake up at 04:30, so they are able to wake the blue at 05:00. They also have guard duty to perform nightly. Two men at a time for two hours. The above rouge will depart civil tomorrow morning (Monday)

Well the rest of Sunday did pass without incident, except for one terrible blow for me. After Friday night corvee in the officer’s mess, I was sure lightning could not strike twice in the same place. Maybe it does not in civilian life but it most certainly does in Aubagne.
Back to the mess and another few thousand glasses. This time mind I made sure I received some perks. Three in fact taking the form of 330ml cans of Krony. To quote a famous catchphrase from another splendid brand of lager. It was probably the best lager in the world.

After finishing corvee at the mess we were marched back to the block. It is around 23:30. Now usually when coming back at this late hour there will be a guard in a little box at the entrance to the sleeping block.
He was nowhere to be seen. Then one of the funniest things I have ever seen happened. The Caporal Chef pushed open the gate and the large wooden baton the rouge guard should have been holding clanged on the concrete floor. He had obviously placed it there so he would be alerted, if anyone were to come.
Then there was a rustle from the bushes next to the guard hut and a rouge appeared half asleep stretching and yawning. Everybody was rolling over in hysterics. The punishment was quick and discreet just a hard kick from the Caporal Chef to the rouge's upper leg. I am sure this punishment was the best choice in the circumstances. One thing I do know, the rouge won't sleep on stag again.

Well it was a quick douche/shower and then straight to sleep. I had the feeling that the following day (Monday) was going to be a busy one, and let me tell you the Legion didn't disappoint me.

Before I continue with the last 5 days I spent in Aubagne. A little post on sickness is suitable at about this time.
If your journey takes you through Aubagne expect to get sick. Possibly twice before the jab you will receive and after. Living in close proximity with so many others makes it evitable that you will catch something.
For me I started to get a cold and cough after only a few days, but don't worry because everybody ends up suffering so you will not be alone. I remember one morning especially. We paraded outside at 05:30 and we were given a little aperitif before breakfast consisting of a little run and press-ups. After we were finished, the Caporal told us to close in around him. Suddenly it hit me, I got hot and cold sweats and dizziness. I remember thinking S**T, I am going to drop here. There was no way I was going to make it known I was that sick incase they waved me goodbye because of it.
As we gathered around the Caporal, I was clinging onto anybody and everybody just to stay on my feet. Eventually it subsided and I felt a little bit better. I cannot say whether any training staff noticed because my vision was all blurred, but I would guess not. I had not a clue what the Caporal was on about though.

One lad ended up in the infirmary because of this illness. In short, I think sickness is part of traveling and being in a large group during selection Well Monday morning soon arrived after a night of 2-hour blocks of sleep. After our morning bout of exercise and breakfast, we had our usual parade. This took place every morning and the reason was to ask all recruits who if anyone wanted to go civil. Of course, the rouge I mentioned earlier who missed his family was going, but looking around me another 5 blues raised their hands. I noticed that a couple of them had been working in the officers’ mess with me and I think that must have been breaking point for them.

After an hour or so the siren went off for the blues to parade. By this time that siren was beginning to get right on my t*ts. I was called along with the Belgian who had passed the niveau general.
In total 10 of us were marched to the medical centre for the second test. I would not describe this as a test more of a mini Gestapo. After stripping one by one, we were called into a room with a Caporal. When it was my turn I entered the room and he asked me "is this the first time you have applied to join the Legion". I replied, that yes it was indeed and he told me to leave and wait outside.
After endless waiting we were again called into an adjoining room to see a sergent chef. He checked my arms and asked if I was self-harming or had tried to commit suicide. He asked about family history and illness associated with it, the same questions as in the medical at Fort Nogent. I think the reason for these repeated questions was to try to catch us in a lie. I had not lied in the first place so there was no way my story could differ from previously.

More waiting and then we got called into a captains office. When I entered, I was told to drop my pants and turn slowly in a full circle. In case you are wondering, I left the piercing in this time and everything was fine. He did not spot it. He asked me about drug use which was one of the most frequent questions we were asked. As before, I mentioned cannabis use in school days but he wasn't overly concerned. Heroin or Cocaine is a different story. If you have used these before I would lie.

Lastly we were called back into the first room and had what looked like a chest x-ray taken. After this, we dressed and returned to the exercise area. The morning had flown by and it was 11:30 time for lunch.
Well after the medical and eating and no cuisine corvee for me I knew something else was on the agenda for the afternoon. They gave us an hour or so, hanging around before they called my name along with nine others. They issued us with a numbered blue vest and told us to wait in the foyer. This could mean only one thing it was time for the physical test.

I couldn't see the Belgian who had so far, been in all the same test groups as myself. At the time I did not think too much of it. Out of all the tests this was the one I was dreading.
Before commencing the test, we were given two mins to take in some water and use the toilet. As I left the toilets, the missing Belgian approached me with his kit over his shoulder. He told me that the Legion was not giving him a shot at the physical test and he had to go civil. I had to hurry outside so did not get to say "all the best". I never saw him again. His friend the other Belgium left with him. I do not understand why the Legion kept him over the weekend when he failed the psycho test on the Friday.

We arrived outside of the block and were met by an American Adjudant Chef and a Caporal. They showed us each to a running lane marked on the pavement. I remember looking at the boys around me, and feeling very old at 30. I was worried for nothing because the beep test is easy for anyone with moderate fitness. Four boys dropped out before me so I done ok. I am not sure of the level I reached because the recording was in French but at a guess, I would say level nine. The strongest runner reached level 12.

After the beep test and a 2 min breather came the pull-ups. The average in our group must have been about six however, I only managed five. Again, the strongest / fittest member in my group managed only 10.
The last physical test was the rope climb. It is not hands only and even if you do not need to use feet make sure you use them. There are two reasons I say this. Firstly, when you have to climb the rope with a 65 lb Bergen on your back in Castel or at a regiment you def will need to use your feet. Secondly the training staff have a strong dislike for show offs. So strong in fact that they rejected the two fittest members of my group of 40 greens, during the commission

I managed the rope climb no problem. I must have been in the middle bracket of recruits in the physical test results. They sent three of the four boys who dropped out of the beep test before me, civil.

If you intend to enlist in the future, I would take it easy on the physical side of things. All anyone on this site and all through Fort Nogent and Aubagne were talking about was what they are capable of and showing off. In Aubagne there is only one competition and that is with yourself. After all its no good having 2 supermen in a section that just f**k off into the distance on a 40 kilometer tab. Being too fit can work both ways.

S**t, I knew I would forget something, going back to the Belgian contingent. I have explained the reason for the first ones departure (failing the psycho test) but have not explained the reason for the second chap. I can only speculate on this, but these are my thoughts.
The drug questions are the most frequently asked questions you will receive starting from the minute you walk into the legions fold. I remember in Fort Nogent the Belgian telling me that they asked about previous cocaine use.
He replied that he had never partaken in this drug, but after he reappeared from the second medical in Aubagne just before the physical test he mentioned to me, the Sergent Chef had asked him about any previous usage. He told me he had replied, "I have used it only about 5 times in my life" I think lying about this cost him his chance. That is the reason why in a previous post I mentioned that you should lie on cocaine issues if you have been that way inclined in your past.

(Next part is a reply to a post) Nick, nowadays you are nominated green after passing the medicals, psycho and physical tests. They give you a green armband that must be worn on your left bicep. The tracksuit stays blue the same. The armbands are useless and keep slipping down to your forearm. The only privilege for being green is a step closer to the front of the eating queue.

Usually you are given the armband before the interviews with the Gestapo however I completed the 2nd medical, physic test and 1st Gestapo interview on the same day ( Monday ) and was given the armband a few minutes before turning in for the night on this Monday.
By the time another physical test was completed after my own, it was nearing 16:00 and I was counting down the minutes to scoff time. We all seemed to time watch and countdown to eating time. Sometimes keeping a wristwatch was a curse. The siren went off at around 16:30 for everyone to parade. It was far too early for our trip to the ordinaire so I was curious as to what was going on. I knew I would not be leaving for civil because there is a set time for this. Anyone returning home on a weekday only, because no one departs on a weekend, is sent at 14:00.

My name was called for the third time that day and I was off for the first Gestapo interview. The Gestapo is housed on the top floor of an adjacent block. I'm not sure why everything in the Legion is located on the top floor of buildings but I'm sure there is a reason.
I sat only outside the locked door for a few minutes when an adjudant opened it and invited me in. The interview progressed quite smoothly maybe too much so. I had already decided that honesty was the best policy when dealing with these fellows.
The adjudant spoke good English and was making noted as we spoke. In the first interview, you also have to make notes on sheets of paper given to you. On the sheets of paper are headings to the questions you will be asked. As you verbally answer the questions, you write down your answers also.

I can't remember all the questions asked of me but I will list a couple below for examples..... 1) Have you ever visited any foreign countries in your life 2) Family details eg. Names, occupations, are they aware you are here 3) Your work history Many more also but I won't bore you. The most important questions have to be your motivations for joining.
This first interview lasted about an hour. I don't think I hit it off with this chap very well. When I explained, I had a mortgage on a flat and a good managerial position in a worldwide company he seemed to go cold.
There are more important things in life than money like honor, enjoyment of your occupation, and pride coupled with loyalty. I don't think he was impressed. It takes a lot more b*lls to be willing to give up many things to achieve your dreams rather than knock on the gate with sweet f… all. Or maybe I should of failed the personality test lol
(Another reply to post) Nick, the showers downstairs are now reserved for the rouge only, as are the rooms. At times, there must have been between 60 to 80 blues upstairs. As you know with 8 or 10 (didn’t count) showers for that many men time was cut to the bare minimum. The fanta supply was hooked up in Aubagne all the time mate it was just getting the time to drink it that was a problem. My second to last day was spent in Puyloubier and yeah compared to Aubagne the food was much better. I will write more on this as I come to the end of the thread.

After the first interview with the Gestapo it was time for dinner and a little cuisine corvee. Most unusual was, that I got to spend an hour or so in the foyer that evening. No krony but you can buy cigarettes, chocolate and soft drinks. Before the inspection, that evening I was called downstairs and given a green armband and told if lost it, a donation of 5 euros is required. Each band is numbered whether to prevent theft I really don't know.
Next thing I know its Tuesday morning and the English Mafia now only consisted of Nelson, the American and myself. Nelson was about 24 hrs behind me in the testing schedule so we guessed he had a busy day ahead of him.
It was early this morning that the American informed us he would not be traveling to Castel with the rest of his group of rouge. The reason being when you make rouge, a blood test is required and his results showed a minor abnormality. He had been told it was nothing serious and could be related to his sudden surge of physical activity. He wasn't due the final verdict till yesterday (Monday) so was unable to leave for Castel last Friday.

For me Tuesday was quite relaxed. In the morning, I had another Gestapo interview with the same fellow going over my life and the information I had given him the day before. In the afternoon another interview with a different Adjudant whose office was in our housing block. I think he was American judging by the accent.

As for Nelson he went through the 2nd medical, physical test and 1st Gestapo interview in the one day, as had I the previous day. That evening he also made green.

It was also on Tuesday that we learnt officially that the rouge commission would take place on the Friday not the Thursday like it normally was. I think the reason being, they wanted to rush through more Greens because daily more people were turning up. In fact by this time I only recognized a handful of faces from Paris.

The following morning (Wednesday) it was up at 05:00 and paraded for a little exercise. As usual, we were told to set off running around the front parade ground. Usually this might last only 10 minutes before the Caporal would reappear and shout "en position". However, this time we must of been running for 20 minutes or so before this happened.

I must at this point mention that the training team deserves much respect, as for every push-up completed by us recruits the caporal issuing these instructions would do the same. This is for sure the sign of a good leader.

After a couple of sets the Caporal pulled one of the two fittest recruits to one side and got him to lead the push-ups in front of us. On closer inspection the Caporal looked like s**t. He was sneezing and coughing obviously with the same sickness that we, us recruits had.

Now the recruit he pulled out to lead the exercise was a proper ignorant arrogant little Frenchman, always picking on some of the smaller lads in his chambre. I know Nelson had already come close to knocking him out, but fear not he was about to get what he deserved.
The Caporal asked him to lead a set of twenty push-ups and all eyes were on this arrogant f**k to begin. Well before he got into the position, he indicated without the Caporals blessing to do this set of twenty with our fists clenched.

Now a couple of days earlier we were made to perform this exercise as punishment and for some of us our knuckles were still grazed and sometimes bleeding. The Caporal looked at the Frenchman and I could see the distaste in his eyes. The Caporal indicated to us that no the exercise should be performed with the regular outstretched hands. As we were doing the twenty, I looked up to see this Frenchman performing them with clenched fists. From that moment, I knew he would be history.
There is surely no room in Aubagne for the individual.

(reply to post) Nick, in response to your enquiry on other nationalities and ages of recruits they differ so wildly that I can't really give an in depth account on this issue.
I do know that age is not really a factor in joining as long as your in the 17-40 bracket. Kids of 18 and men of 35 both went rouge. One of the chaps at 35 wasn't really in the best of shape either. Looking back their were a few recruits on their second attempt. My personal view is this could work in your favor. Never giving up is a good asset to have. The average age of the recruits in Fort Nogent and Aubagne I would guess at maybe 24.

As for nationalities it was a real mix. There were a few French speaking Africans and more Chinese than I expected. Out of the four Chinese I spoke with two made it rouge. Germans and Hungarians were the second largest group other than the Frenchmen.

Hope that answers your question(end of reply)
After our morning exercise with the arrogant Frenchman, I spent most of the day sitting in the corridor of our block waiting for my second and last interview with another Adjudant. I must have sat for approx three hours before finally being called in.

This time the Adjudant was a French chap. There was also another NCO present to translate. Many of the same questions were repeated but I don't feel I was given a good enough opportunity to get my points across.
One question I do remember was "How long did I intend to serve in the Legion". I replied truthfully that I was willing to serve for as long as I was physically able and at thirty, I had at least another ten to fifteen years in me.

Out of the four interviews I had this was the one that seemed to not go very well. When I was asked, "Why do you want to join the legion" I had three reasons but after telling them firstly a career I was not given the opportunity to expand on this.
Other than this interview and a small amount of corvee the rest of the day was spent thinking about the commission which was only two days away. Every time we paraded at the front for corvee to be dished out I was praying I would be chosen, to escape my own thoughts for a bit. Alas, it wasn't to be and I was left thinking about what might or might not be.

Thursday morning was the single weirdest morning for me. They paraded us in front of the block just after breakfast. Three more boys elected to go civil when they asked our group. As this was happening, I remember standing guarde vous and looking up at the two Legion insignias plastered on the front of the building. I thought to myself at this moment there is nowhere in the world I would rather be than stood right here and given a chance I would prove my loyalty to this organization.

Then a bombshell hits. I hear my name called along with one other and we are asked to follow the boys going civil inside. I thought, S**t, why me what have I done wrong? I thought for sure that I had screwed up and was on the next train to Gare de Lyon. Ten long minutes were spent standing with this German considering what had gone wrong.

Eventually a Caporal Chef approached and instructed us to follow him. He led us to a minibus outside and we climbed in the rear. A Caporal as well as the Caporal Chef was in the front. It was still dark at this time so I was unable to appreciate the views on our journey.
After approx thirty minutes driving I caught a glimpse of a road sign. Labeled on this was a place called Puyloubier and from what I'd learnt before traveling to France I knew this is where we were headed.

It must of been around a 45 minute journey but could possibly of been closer to an hour. By the time we arrived, it was light anyway. The Legions retirement home (please correct me if this is not a suitable description) seemed to me to be stuck in the middle of nowhere. It was like a little town in itself. Again, the views were out of this world. We stopped in the guardroom so the NCO's could say hello to their mates.

The first bit of work was to replenish the wine stocks in the little shop they have there. Although the warehouse and shop are close together, an old truck was used to transport the wine. I found this quite strange, as before leaving for the Legion I would have imagined carrying these cases by hand.
I seemed to hit it off well with the Caporal who was with us, maybe because I was communicating with him in French. Ok it was bad French but hey, I tried. After replenishing the stocks in the shop, the Caporal kept me with him and sent the German to the cookhouse for corvee. I chatted with this Caporal for a little bit and then he informed me it was time for breakfast.

Bloody hell, two breakfasts in one day I was starting to like this place. We drove to the cookhouse and the German was hard at work. The Caporal and I sat down and tucked into the food. It consisted of the same as in anywhere in the Legion I guess. Coffee and bread but enjoyable all the same. I ate as fast as I could because to be truthful I kind of felt guilty that the poor German was still hard at work with the sapier. After finishing eating, I asked the Caporal if there was something for me to do. He just smiled glancing at the German and said no.

For the rest of the morning I definitely had the better deal. With the two NCO's we took some fold down chairs to a church in a little town nearby and threw out some old TVs and videos as well as assorted rubbish to a local tip.

Lunchtime soon arrived and it was back to the cookhouse. It was the recruits’ job to serve the Anciens lunch. Even though these guys were fairly old they had the look of men that couldn't be surprised by anything. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to talk very much with any of them but even if I had time language might have been an issue. The majority were German I think.

In the afternoon the German was left in the cookhouse and I again had an easy time of it. I washed a Legion van and a couple of pushbikes. About 17:00 it was back to the cookhouse for something to eat before leaving. While waiting for the food an Ancien called me over and started speaking in French to me.
He seemed lonely to me so I didn't have the heart to tell him I hadn't a clue what he was saying. I sat and smoked a cigarette with him trying to make conversation in French, which was difficult for me. I just tried to nod and shake my head in the right places.

The one thing I took away from Puyloubier with me was that under no circumstances would I ever become a patron. However you must appreciate the efforts made by the Legion to accommodate its ex members.

On returning to Aubagne a few friends were surprised to see me again. They thought, as did I that morning it was all over and I must be off, “partir pour mon maison”. Looking back, I am glad that I was afforded the opportunity to visit Puyloubier. The daytrip also managed to stop me thinking about the commission the following day.

And so judgment day was upon me. Every minute seemed like an eternity. I had been informed by the American who was Rouge, that the verdict of the commission was always given at 14:00. Never thirty minutes before or after. So imagine my surprise when I heard the siren at 13:30. By now I was nervous as hell, but no, it wasn't an early decision just a wander around the block picking up any stray cigarette butts and litter. At 14:00, exactly the siren went off again. Waiting there in the sunshine, I couldn't think of anything, pass or fail, nothing at all. As the names were called, I could feel my heart sinking. My name wasn't called. I was herded into a separate group and we were informed "going civil". I think I managed to hide my disappointment quite well. Nelson was also rejected.

We were taken to the clothing store and received our clothes and bags back as well as passports and other valuables. We each received a train ticket to Gare de Lyon except for a German called Kruger (nicknamed Freddy) who had volunteered to go civil in the morning. He was bitching because although he got paid he had no ticket. I got a glimse of his discharge paper, which said three months inapte temporaire and thought to myself you can have all my money and ticket if I can have that piece of paper. My discharge paper read inapte definitif.

I was paid a handsome sum of 297E and led to a waiting coach. We were not taken to St Charles station but to a metro station closer to the camp. Before departing on the TGV Nelson and I decided a beer was the order of the day. After a couple we decided to extend our drinking session in Paris. After a few beers on the TGV we arrived at Gare de Lyon.

Here we ran into two Chinese fellows who had been turned down also. The session continued late into the night and the early morning. We ended up staying the night in some hotel. At midday, I boarded a train headed for Calais as I'm not a big fan of Eurostar and prefer the ferry. Nelson headed for Germany.

The journey home was quite uneventful until I reached the port of Dover England. Passport control was ok but the walk past customs something else. I had only one sports bag slung over my shoulder and was shuffling along past about ten customs officers.

Now I'm not the most mummy’s boy looking fellow and with next to no hair a good bet as a criminal of some kind. Just as I was walking past the last official I heard "excuse me sir may I look in your bag". With nothing to hide I agreed and was led behind a screen.
The customs chap asked did I know it is an offence to bring drugs or guns into the UK. "Yes mate I know" I replied. He asked where I had been and for how long. I told him a vacation in Paris and Marseille for a month.
He went well overboard with the inspection and started to open the pieces of paper. Guess what he found. Yep the discharge paper. He asked me what it was and I just told him the truth. Considering I had just lied to him over and over again he was ok and sent me on my way.

What happened to the rest of the boys? Well Nelson probably arrived in Germany back at base on Saturday afternoon. Very shortly, I think he will be staying at her majesty's pleasure in Colchester for going AWOL.

One of the Belgians probably doing some time as well for civilian offences. The American is waiting to leave for Castel on Friday pending his blood test results yesterday. That is about it from me. I have a few conclusions to this experience, but will post these shortly in this thread.

So after all, what’s done is done and the conclusions I can draw from this brief encounter. Well I am surely disappointed, but as for my attitude towards the Legion I respect it more now than before I arrived in France. If any of my posts indicate otherwise than they have been understood wrong.

The selection process is fairly easy to handle if you have any military experience. In truth, I was expecting it to be much worse. I served in the British Army a while ago and I don't know if this old saying is true "Yes it was much harder in my day". I suppose any military force has to change its ways as each new generation enlists.

Does the selection process work?. I will not use myself as an example because I maybe a little biased, but no it most definitely does not. This opinion is formed because of the three rouge that went AWOL within twenty-four hours of life at Castel and the rouge in Aubagne who left civil because he missed his family.
Did these people really need the Legion? Of course, they didn't in fact I would surmise they didn't even want the Legion. The Legion is like any other large organization military or not. Believe it or not, but they make mistakes. These mistakes will never be owned up to, but they still exist.

For anyone that wants to enlist I would say, there is no time like the present. The selection process can't be prepared for it just has to be done. As long as you have no major medical issues, a reasonable education, basic physical fitness and are able to tell the Gestapo what they want to hear. Then you have a good as chance as anybody.


Posted Nov. 4 2005 for Milan BB SK
Latest information about the selection procedures in Aubagne.
(sorry for spelling mistakes)

1- After coming to Aubagne directly or from any recruit center you do an easy IQ test. You have only 10 min. and 30 questions to do.
There are pictograms, geometrical objects etc. you have to find right objects, corresponding with others or to compare object.
I saw few wannabees sent home after this test due to poor results. Minimum requirement is 10 right answers. This info is based on discussion with one legionnaire.
At this stage wannabees coming from the recruiting post have already gotten a change of identity. You are asked to sign the contract, of course with your new name. Signing contract does not mean that you will become legionnaire.

2-After this you go to the doctor for a minor medical check. They ask you to undress to your underwear and a doctor with the of rank captain is making a basic check, like if your teeth are fixed, if your sexual organ does not shows any sign of sexual transmitted disease or abnormality, your spine and looking for the major scars .

3. Then you go to Gestapo and the legion makes pictures of you with your real name on a small card holding in front of you. If you have any tattoos you are asked to report it and they will picture also your tattoos.

4. Next action is that they move you into the selection camp. It is a separated fenced building, where you stay from one day till three weeks, depending on your performance during the tests.
Here again, you take the first part of an psycho technical test. First part consist of 5 or 6 tests, first 3 are very similar to the very first test described above. Again, you have to compare objects, find right object or objects from various answers, tasks and questions are quite easy, but some of them are more sophisticated.
You have limited time because you have to complete about 30 tasks in every test in 20 minutes or less, it can be 10 or even 5 minutes, depending on specific test. Time passes very fast.
Then you do two classical psycho tests about your personality with about 50 questions where you answer is either yes, no, or I don’t know.
There is also a test to memorize the map of the center of the city. They will give you map and in 5 minutes you have to memorize as much of this map as possible. Attention, after that they give you blank map of that city with no objects like schools, gas stations, shops on it and you are asked to edit those objects into the map.
Please do not focus on memorizing streets, squares, avenues directions or shapes of the squares. Be focused only on memorizing the objects, because you will receive map with all avenues, streets and squares but with no objects in it.
Stay very focused at all the times. Tests in some languages might have a very literal translation and therefore the syntax could make it confusing. The tests last for about 2 hours.

5- Next day you do the second part of psycho technical test. It is a computer test. It is very similar to those from the previous day but you do it on a computer, clicking correct answers using the mouse.
These tests are focused on your spatial orientation, you have different 3D objects placed in 2D and have to find which of the object is the right one, you also have a few similar comparisons in this test and etc.
There is also easy math/logical test where you have to demonstrate basic counting and logic. Then again there is another psycho test. You have a very limited time, so do not think too long, try to finish as many questions as possible and listen to the instructions and demonstrations of the caporal chefs.

6-My advice to is: - go and buy an IQ tests book and study it before you go. You will be not surprised and you will get better score. This is a very good way to prepare your self for tests.
Then put yourself into a time stress and you will have a huge advantage. So do not train only your body but also your mind. Legion needs smart and flexible men.
By the way after those tests I was called to go civil. They gave me a declaration of inaptive temporaire for 18 months, because of failing computer tests.
I was really very surprised but I had to accept it. I got only 8 points from 20. I think that the reason was that I was over thinking the answers, and I was trying to give quality answers rather than quantity output, but this doesn’t work here. You have to do it quick.
My mental and intellectual status is ok; I own two master degrees and have many years of managerial experience. This was maybe one of the factors why I failed; I was trying to double over think the answers and etc.
So guys, be fast and train for the tests before you go and forget your civic habits.

7- Luc-leger “navette” test is quite ease to complete. It’s a shuttle run. The distance is 25 meters and you have to run it again and again and after 1 minute you have to slightly accelerate you speed. Just listen the instructions of legionnaires and you will be ok.
You start at very low speed of maybe 8 km/h. The limit is 7 and more levels. If you can run 9 or 10 levels than you are ok, but everything above 7 is fine. For the training just keep running your 12 min Cooper test and if you make over 3,000 m, then you will be ok even during Luc-leger “navette” test.

8- Latest test is the medical exam, nothing special.

9- Then you wait till Thursday, because every Thursday they create a new group of approx. 35 - 40 Rouge candidates, which is to be decimates in few days down to 20 –25 Rouge. Those guys will go to Castel for the basic training.

10- There is quite big tension in the camp. Most of the wannabees are ok, but you can find some really strange freaks, criminals, or war veterans. Basically most of freaks will be gone in few days. Tests and their behavior will send them out of legion.
During each week you can see one or two fights. Do not take part on it, because it can end you stay in the camp and you will be send out.

11- The average age of the candidates was from 21 to 24 years. I personally saw 30 year old guy in Rouge. For + 30 years old men it is harder to get in but not impossible. Well, that’s it guys. Now I’m back home. I had a very interesting time there and maybe that after 18 months I will try again.
The atmosphere there was really very unique. I saw guys trying for the second, even for the third time (one guy there was trying for the third time in period of 2 years and 7 months and he made Rouge).
I will go back in business and soon I will write more about people I met there.


"a Canadian Deserter" about his regrets and advise to wannabees

Today, 12:44 canadadeserter New Member Join Date: Aug 2005 Posts: 2 Putting things into context

I understand the point of "one should keep its word". In fact, despite my words about idealism, I remain an idealist at heart, up to this day, and I lead my civilian life the way I probably would have lead my Legion life.
I raise a family, I work full-time and study part-time, I cherish relationships with childhood friends and having me as a friend is having a friend for life.
I don't drink and smoke, I still run regularly, I do not suck up to anyone and I owe my results to my abilities and my hard work..

I've come posting in this forum because the memory of my desertion has resurfaced recently, out of some sort of nostalgia, and I wanted to share my experience with those 20 year olds wannabees who are out of touch with reality, or don't quite realize what they're getting into. In fact, I will not hide: I wish them to succeed where I have failed.

My point is: part of me, even to this day, regrets this "deed", and as I'm writing, my mind is trying to figure out how things could have been better, how I could have avoided what I did.

First thing: my biggest "mistake" was not to get over the shitty basic training I had. Because all of it was not shitty: I had the deepest respect for the REP corporals and sergeants who trained us at the beginning.
The fact that they did not approve of the way the adjudant was running the section should have given me a hint and encouraged me to become like them, not discourage me from the Legion as a whole.

At the end of basic training, my confidence was low, and on purpose I chose a regiment (6 REG at the time) that I considered average (and average it was indeed).
I will also go so far as to say that this choice was motivated by some desire of self-punishment or self-destruction: my young, 19 year old mind was in a very bad state, I felt like shit and did not think I deserved better.

Second, Joe (Voltigeur), your criticism towards deserters is somewhat harsh: I've seen you're site. You're a real one, an Ancien, an Algeria veteran.
That explains a lot, but I didn't leave in the midst of a war, and the Legion you served in is not the Legion of today (or, at least, the basic training I had, and the regiment I was serving in, did not fit the idea I had of the Legion at the time).
Furthermore, do not think that my desertion is something I took (and still take) lightly, on the contrary. I am not onto writing a book, or being cocky and telling to whomever that the Legion was not worth of me.

Therefore, my words to those of you who are reading these lines and might one day consider deserting: if you do it, it will haunt you, do not doubt it a second. In fact, I will tell you bluntly, and although it is difficult to admit: the more I think of it, the more I regret not having stuck through..
After basic training I could have gone 2REI, start anew in an infantry regiment which was known to be touring a lot.
I could have redeemed myself, rebuilt, I could have given myself a chance to see things under another light, and work with the type of guys I respected and admired.
Believe me Joe, there is no need chasing me: I am being chased by my own conscience, I am not writing these lines close to 15 years after the fact for nothing...

In the end, I want to make this a little bit constructive for the young (and less young) lads that dream about being legionnaires.

1) Be Realistic
- Stop looking at the pictures of the Legion. What you see there is only 10% (if not less) of the whole. The 90% is cleaning ("corvées"), life in the barracks, military routine, hurry-up-and-wait.
A lot of guys join the Legion for a lot of different reasons. Human nature is very strong, and very present in the Legion also.
- If at the gate of the recruiting center, you don't feel that you're 100% going, then go back. You must feel DEEPLY, without doubts, without potential regrets about what you're leaving being, that this is what you want.
- You have too see yourself potentially long term in the Legion, or at least in the military afterwards. Believe me, I work in the civilian world, and it is changing fast nowadays.
You do not know what it'll be in 5 years. I remember, at Aubagne, after Castel, prior to going to our regiment, an adjudant over there told us at rassemblement that if we wanted to kill ourselves, we'd better not do it in a public place an dirty the Legion's image: a guy out of the Legion had blown is head up in a hotel room the prior night.

Take for granted that you might have difficulty readapting to civilian life afterwards, especially if you have no degree or no relevant work experience in the civilian world, and thus remove from your mind that you are getting into 5 years of adventure and coming out afterwards. Seriously consider a military career by staying in the Legion, or joining the military in your own land afterwards.

2) Be Prepared
- Train before you go, do not count on basic training to bring you up to par physically: you have to be able to run 10km, do 50 push-ups, 10 pull-ups, a lot of sit-ups.
Don’t forget your legs: do squats, You don't need complicated equipment: use you're own body as your weight; get down on one leg, then on the other.
Do a couple of reps like that. In addition, prepare your body for "resistance outbursts": obstacle courses require more resistance (both cardio and muscular) than endurance. Insert intervals in your running to prepare yourself for that.

- Get familiar with marching: all the cardio training, all the push-ups will not prepare you completely for long marches (although good abs will help, they support the spine).
Do some marches if you can, do some that span a couple of days, let's say a week-end.

- Use your gear smartly: your backpack has a belt, it is meant to be used. Tighten it around your hips. Although it's called a backpack, the hips should support the pack, not the back. The back is an auxiliary.
Keep that in mind, when the kilometers add up, this detail counts. Also make sure that you pick boots with the proper size: better a bit larger that too tight. Toes must have place to move. Use your judgment, I'm saying this because I wear 9.5 North American and should have picked 43 European, not 42...

3) Have the right attitude
- Once you're in, do not let doubt invade you. The minute you open the door to doubt, it will flood in.
- Never ask "why?" - Shut the **** up at all times. I did, and I never had to suffer beatings or anything of that sort. If you ever do, keep on shutting up, take it as an accident, as you hitting your head in a lamp.

Most corporals and sergeants aren't sadistic. They're rude, but fair. I've never seen anyone being whacked undeservingly. And be aware you're better off with tight discipline: otherwise, the worst in human nature will perspire all around you, and you'll end up in a "section ratée" (scrapped platoon) as I did.
- Stick to your own case: do no expect to finish first and become a 2REP superstar. Do your best without any pre conceived ideas, work on yourself without comparison with others.

- If shit hits the fan, if you see behavior among your peers that does not fit what you had in mind about the Legion, all the more turn to yourself and what you have to do.
Try to spot those ones with whom you might relate, while at the same time not counting to much on them (as you would maybe in other military corps).
Basic training in the Legion is a jungle. I remember giving some water to another guy on the march (believe me, that was a pretty rare gesture, there's no sharing at Castel), he was a good guy, somewhat I got along well with. Well he almost didn't leave any for me, and he didn't say thank you.

4) Your age
Being "young" is no advantage. Now I know. Not mature enough. If I had to do it again, I'd have joined at 24-25. I'd have finished my university first, in order to not be scared of not having anything when I got out, and also not to feel any regrets.
I would d also have been more mature physically. Believe me, I am 33 now, and with some training I would be way better now than at the time. Consider 25-35 the ideal age range.
My two cents.
Anyway, good luck.


account of KBF's reason for desertion
My Legion Experience: By an E.V. who made it to Castle and decided to leave. Dec. 2004
Selection: -Lille 15-16 Nov -Paris 17 Nov -Aubagne 18 Nov -25 Nov "Rouge"

Training: - Castel 2-3 Dec
- Fitness Tests (12 min run, 20 pressups, 50 situps, 40 squats, 5 pullups, 6m rope climb using hands only, 100m swim) Lots didn't pass, didn't seem to matter.
- The Farm 4-15 December
- PT every morning, 10-16km runs, for the runs the Section was split into 3 groups according to Cooper Test score, those of us in the top group had a better go as we didn't have to literally carry any slow people like the other groups did. PT also consisted of the same exercises as above.

- French classes and/or FAMAS or field craft training all morning and afternoon as well as Lunch (sometimes) - After Dinner, the singing of Legion songs in the classroom until 2300-0100 - Lots of Corvee throughout the day, and night - One march of approximately 20 km, one night in a non-tactical bivouac (learn how to make a hooch, make a brew/cook etc.)

Desertion: - One Polish guy tried deserting after saying "F*** you, I go Civile" in English to a Caporal-Chef. He ran down the road away from the Farm. He was the fastest in the Section too, so we were taking bets as to whether he would make it or not. 30 minutes later he was looking in VERY rough shape, he was walked past the entire Section and taken away by the PM's back to Castelnaudary and jail until the end of the Probationary Period. Sounds like fun eh?
- That night me and a Scotsman decided 100% that we were going to do a runner. (desert) Someone stole a loaf of bread and some sugar from the kitchen at dinner. This food was noticed missing by a Cpl at approximately 2030. The Section was formed up and given one chance to own up to the theft.
Nothing was said. We were given until 2130 (it was now 2100) to have all of our stuff out on the parade square ready for inspection and to sleep outside (cots, shelf layout etc.).
The Scotsman and I took our already packed rucks outside on our cots to the far end of the parade square, and when nobody was looking ran into the shadows, satisfied nobody saw us.
We ran beside the obstacle course and began to head due South (away from Castelnaudary). By this time we heard shouts, which was clearly from them noticing us missing.
We carried on all night and made it to the town of Mirepoix by about 5 am. After a few hours kip we headed into town to buy a tin of beans and some eggs, ate and then hit the road to Pamiers, we were in Pamiers late that evening.
At Pamiers we snuck on a train and ended up in Toulouse. Once in Toulouse we ended up spending about 3 days with no food/money and lived on the streets while waiting for our respective "emergency" passports to materialize as well as my credit cards from home.
We sold all of our Legion kit to some sleazy surplus guy for 80 Euros and a new wardrobe for us. Train ticket to Paris, and from Paris to Amiens, and Amiens to Calais, Calais to Dover.

Advice: - I'm not going to go into the daily routine of Selection as Tragedy has covered that one with more detail than I could.
- My tips are as follows: - Consistency - "Why the Legion?" is a question you will hear a lot, make sure your answer is ALWAYS the same - Confidence - Is huge, act with maximum confidence at all times, not cocky but be sure of all your answers to the Gestapo and the Medical Staff. You will be standing naked for about 20 mins with your hands by your sides in the final medical so self confidence is key.

- Learn the rank structure before you go, and address the Legionnaires accordingly. This is essential. - It's not essential, but learn the Code d'Honneur before joining, it'll only take a few days, and if you learn slower it will benefit you greatly.
- Read Eagle Eye's post on "Proposed Military Path..." I had 2.5 years in the Canadian Infantry Reserves before joining and I know it helped me.
- Look for Beau Sheep's post on PT before joining. I think it had to do with the heart rate monitor, he is right, the Legion is far more into LONG and steady paced runs (except for the Cooper Test)
- My score on the Cooper was 2900 m in Aubagne and 3000 in Castel. I could get 3200 before I left, but I was sick after one week of living with a large group of men, and almost no opportunity to drink water. So train to get at least 3200 m, so even sick you can meet 2800 m.
- Don't F*** about at all in Aubagne. Act like a soldier, no lounging about, no hands in pockets, no fidgeting while on parade. Be the grey man, don't volunteer for work, but don't shy away from it if told by the Cpl/Cpl Chef.
While working however, work hard, and the Legionnaires actually treat you quite kindly. - DO NOT SUCK UP TO THE STAFF OR YOU WILL BE GONE, don't give the Caporal Chefs a nod, or any acknowledgement other than going into Garde Vous (position of attention, feet together at 30 degrees, hands by your sides).
You aren't anything to them as they see literally hundreds of people each week.
- The selection process makes no sense, a former Spanish Marine with 5 years service, who was a great guy and who ran 3600 m was sent civil, and a f….ng little rat of a Frenchman (Swiss) who ran 2400 m and was an absolute cunt who didn't shave on two separate days at the Farm and had no military experience got in.
- Don't get into any fights, if you do, you're gone. - Don't say anything racist, I heard one guy say "Nigger" around a Cpl, sure enough, the next day he was gone.
- If you don't get in the first time you try, I wouldn't bother going back as a Cpl Chef told people NEVER get in their second time.
- Food for thought, I left Lille with 10 others, I was the only one to go Rouge - You will get punched, kicked, hit with FAMAS at Castel and the Farm, made to run on rocks barefoot, carry logs in the middle of the night, smoked out of your room at the farm by men in balaclavas firing FAMAS' with blanks in the middle of the night (no bullshit here lads) and made to do some phys in your skivvies.
There is no way to prepare for this stuff, just stay out of the way when they start hitting, the people who don't shut up usually bear the brunt, although everyone gets a little.

- Aubagne isn't hard, its just annoying because you never know where you stand and you could be going home for the smallest of reasons. - If you smoked pot a little bit when you were 14 like me, the Legion doesn't need to know about that. It will just hurt your chances, same with sports injuries, at 16 I got shin splints from running in rugby boots with no insoles. The Legion didn't need to know about that as that would have definitely hurt my chances.

Preparation: - PREPARE for the run, some twit came all the way from India and got 1600 m - LEARN as much French as possible
- Get a medical and dental checkup at home first, I knew about 4 guys who got sent Civile because of tooth problems. One poor bugger was made Rouge, but during the dental X Rays in Marseille the day before Castel they saw he had a rotten tooth. Back to the Ukraine for him.

- Learn Rank Structure - Learn a bit about whatever unit you want to join, where they're based, recent ops, length of Promo training for example etc. I was asked by the Gestapo about the above when I answered I was interested in the REP.
Some guy even said he wanted to be part of the "Sniper Regiment", obviously he was Civile the next day. - The above stuff is simple to do and takes minimal effort (aside from the French, very basic grammar will suffice).
The Legion Selection process seems almost random, so prepare for the very few things you can as your chances of getting in will be greatly increased.

Why I deserted: I hate to say it, one of the main reasons was the fact that there were 2 Brits, myself, 3 Frenchmen, and the other 36 people in my section were refugees.
About 13 Romanians, a few Slavs, a Moldovian, 2 Poles, 3 Slovaks, 1 Hungarian, 1 Tunisian, 1 Moroccan, and the rest were Russian/Ukrainian. I'm not prejudiced at all, but these people were all there for the same reason, MONEY.
They simply couldn't care less that they were joining an elite military force. I couldn't see myself spending 5 years amongst people who had that motivation for joining.

I was told by an English speaking Legionnaire in Aubagne that the Legion is a good army, with some elite units within it. But he told me I may as well attempt to join the Brit Paras or Marines, which are just as/if not more elite than the Legion, and with more of a life as far as leave, weekends etc.

This is all 100% truth, I was E.V. Foster, Oliver 196 797 of 3eme Compagnie E.V. I saw Tragedy in Aubagne so he can concur I was there and Rouge.
I fully respect all legionnaires/Anciens for serving in the Legion. Listen to the Anciens on this board as their advice is still valid today (Joe, Jai, BeauSheep, Eagle eye, Danny etc.).

If you decide in Aubagne that you know you should go civil, have the balls to put up your hand in the morning when they ask. I kept on staying for foolish pride when I was given the opportunity to leave. I was very wrong and I ended up deserting because of this stupidity.

Good luck to all. And think long and hard about joining, then think long and hard again. But don't worry too much about, "what should I take", "how many laps should I get on the Cooper", "what is the Psycho test like", and "how do I make it into the GCP", just go there, and do your best. If anyone has any sensible questions feel free to ask and I will answer them.


martin Scott

13 Martin Scott Active Member
Join Date: Jan 2005 Location: London Posts: 140
Replys to QUESTIONS !!!!!!
AS far as the Legion is concerned the type of Recruit they are looking for is one in good general health.
Is is not dependant on any medication or has any physical problems or mental problems.
A general secondary education as we live in a world of modern technology, if you do not have a decent education you will not get in.
Secondly the medical is extremely strict, if you are not in your height to weight ratio you will not get in and pass the medical.
Furthermore if you wear glasses your chances are slimmed down some what as the Legion has a load of recruits who have perfect eyesight.

As for testing that is confidential information, as is the ratio of recruits to fill the Legions recruitment needs.
Reading between the lines , the best time to join is in January/February that is to say early in the year.
Do not join or try to join later in the year as you will be told in no uncertain terms that you are to late. (Quota is then filled)
In general the modis operandi of the Legion remains the same as it did when it was first formed, it is a force made up of foreigners who go where the French Government tells it to go or where there are French interests.
In today’s modern world that means it has its own commitment to N.AT.O. as well as the interests of France.
The numbers show that the average E.V. who makes it are 21/25 years of age, of sound physical and mental health, has a good understanding of the French language and has some military experience.
That’s not to say there are E,V,S who do not have any of the above and still pass recruit training and go to a combat regiment.
The hardest regiment to get into is at present and there are no surprises here it is the 2ND R.E.P.. There needs are very specific for the type of man they are looking for.
A piece of very useful advice is when you come to a recruitment centre. You should be in good physical shape.
Have a basic understanding French.( how difficult is Bonjour, Merci, Pardon). Have not a criminal record.( In France) what you don’t tell the Gestapo if you get that far is up to you.
The rest is up to you and the Legion if you have the motivation to join.
Make sure that you have taken the necessary steps before you even try to join and have return ticket home. As the ratio of guys wanting to join and those getting in is extremely high on the rejection side.
Last but no means least do not on any account have a attitude when you get there as you wont see either Aubagne or Castel Ever.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!
1 IN 15 MAKE IT THAT IS THE FACT AS IT STANDS TODAY, I wish you well if you try to join a very elite and exclusive club.
Bonsoir Scottie and Chris.
__________________ You can take the man out of the Legion, You’ll never take the Legion out of the Man.


Account of rejected E.V.
Dec 14 2004 by Tragedy
Okay guys, I know you want to know the whole REAL story and not just a rumor, so here it is. So I get to Paris on the 28th NOV and I went directly to the station, Fort De Nogent. Not right away, it was difficult to find.
I did ask several natives for directions, and ended up about 5 clicks AWAY from where I needed to be. Finally by dumb luck, HOURS later... I ran into an old man at about 9 pm, yes ...9pm.
He was walking his dog...and I ask him in my shitty French if he knew where Fort de Nogent was, HE DID. He gave me no directions in English, but made a great effort in hand gestures...and I could not get it...So finally he go PISSED...I take it, and he just took me there.
YES he led me and I walked behind him I would say for about 10 minutes and BOOM!...the Sign .Legion Etrangere...the old man said, Bonne Chance...he watched me walk away.

So I walk down a long driveway...by the way guys...it is like 55 yards long. I get to the gates, take a deep breath...push the button. The answer "what"...um?....I have come to join the foreign legion (pause).......
Nationality? came from the box, American I reply, another Long Pause......then the little flap like door opened...tiny little peep hole deal. A caporal chef looked through it, looked at me...and .ask for my passport...looked at it, and said come back tomorrow.
I said ok. So seeing how I had no more then 5 euros left...I went with hardly any money. I camped outside the legion gates until 8 am the next morning...and it was cold rainy, shit all around.
So I get in the gates...they ask if I have drugs, a Pistol and if I had knives, I said NO to all. So the made me empty my backpack and show them.
I sat on a bench on the Left side of this Little tunnel from the gate, sat for not even 5 minutes when the buzzer went off, and a Portuguese guy who ended up being 17 yrs old ....well he was let in and told to sit on the bench.
No ...they did not ask him if he had anything "foreign" in his bag.

They were busy doing something with my passport. So the Guy (kid) sat next to me, and not even 2 minutes later...he started opening his bag and fucking with shit in it....
.The the caporal chef's saw this, then all of a sudden the Little Box like office they were in, opened up...they were screaming and running to the guy (kid)...I sat still didn’t move, minding my own business.
They beat His ass!...yes...you think I am Kidding?..NO they fucked him up! My only take on it was because they thought he Might of had a "pistol"...or a "Knife" ...Like they had ask me...and they didn’t ask him yet...So I think they were more worried about there OWN safety.
So the guy got it good....and I was taken away to get my name changed...didn’t see the guy again till 5 hours later.....and he had a lumpy head.
So I was taken to a smaller, NICE, ELEGANT room with NEW copies of kepi blanc. I looked at them for maybe 30 minutes. There were Pics of Legionnaires on the Walls, one that stuck out was this Huge one that should a Sniper behind a wall crouching....with this look like....."Where is he" on his face.

Finally door opened. I stood up fast, was taken to a few doors down. Asked all kinds of stuff, Have I had bad teeth, am I am Homo, Have I ever done drugs, what does my mom think about me being there, do I have problems with the LAW(oh yes).things of that nature.
So with that....the Named was changed Not telling My "legion" name....I was told to memorize it. So I did...even the B day...the Birthplace, My "new" Parents. I was then told to get naked...they looked at me good and hard...for problems found none.
I was put into this SKIN tight Blue track suit; Man that Little thing took the Life out of your balls.
Now I am going to shorten this bit...we CLEANED!!!! LOTS if you don’t like cleaning, all fucking day.....and when not cleaning sitting in a room with complete **** ups, waiting to clean more DONT GO!
SO we cleaned moved chairs back and forth for the Legionnaires fun of it....Washed every last thing you can see with the Human Eye....Yes...Every Last thing...so girls....you better Love being a Maid...cause you will Love Cleaning Fort De Nogent.

We would eat three times a day...then clean more, then douche/shower late in the evening...then Lights out. Oh,20 minutes a day in the Foyer Du Legionnaire....and If you don’t drink....Let me tell you...I didn’t drink, but that all changed when at the fort....
For some reason unknown to me even all you want if a "K" and let me tell you...I didn’t drink a bit....when at De Nogent....I drank like I had been drinking my whole Life...
Mostly the Crazy Russians bought it for me...and once this Like 6'5 English guy with a limp very nice, funny guy...bought like ...it seemed..20 bottles of "k" and only Him and I drank them...and talked bad about the U.S.
He only bought that beer for me be cause he set me to work in the dark hours of the morning till like noon, I did eat in between, he had me running (yes I ran!)..to get exercise...because they don’t let you do it, I ran up this zig zag hill with wooden Pallets all day.
Putting them into some storage unit by the Legion Buses...for all you who know where that is...LONG way away...RUNNING with the wooden pallets all morning and day....you know that was hard.
Okay...So the days went on like this for 4/5 days....by the way We the group was a bad bunch of dudes, 30 or so i would guess...mostly Russian...they fucked up a lot because they just toyed around (no offense to the guys reading this who might be Russian) all I am saying is this: that group fucked about, didn’t take it serious!
ANYWAY. So I don’t want no (your racist shit, So **** you if you are offended) Anyway...the 15 or so Russian, a few French guys, me the only American THE WHOLE TIME...even at Aubagne.2 Polish guys...the fat Portuguese guy I mentioned, 1 Swiss...2 Chinese...and some African dudes...who one I will tell you about, got it good for failing the U.A. in front of the legion doc and 2 caporal chefs.

So...blah blah....We took the medical...and Let me tell you...the Guys I thought were "normal" or without" problems" was proven wrong! Only five of us passed the med test Serious, we were the only 5 that went to Aubagne, Tell you about that. So Most the Russians had foot problems...the Swiss wore glasses, we knew he was going home...Not cause he Wore glasses...but because he had HUGE glasses, cause He REALLY couldn’t see...so if you were glasses you are FINE...unless you really cant See.
Both Africans went home. One had a surgery or something on his left leg...the other failed the U.A.
they do that in the hall before your real exam...and he failed it right there with the little test kit they have that instantly knows if there’s drugs. So he failed, Lied before hand pissed off the Doc...and 2 caporal chefs....they threw his own cup of Piss in his Face and kicked his ass out! SERIOUS his own piss in his face.
1 Polish guy got sent home for a fucked up trigger finger, oh yes forgot there was a TURK who fucked everything up, but somehow passed med test...he was like 5'2 and pretty fat.
Anyway.....So shorten this again the five who passed went to Aubagne the next day. I think it was Wednesday, Maybe Thursday...all i know I was in Aubagne on my 23 birthday...that was Thursday so it must have been Wed. I am tired of typing...this is the days 4-5 at Paris.
I will continue chapter 2 later...and believe me guys it gets CRAZY, there is VIOLENCE, lack of sleep in the extreme...lack of food...and so much work it would drive a healthy ox to death.
So I will continue the Story and tell you why I didn’t get in this time....but HAVE to go back...and yes I will be going back....to let you know I was 1 of 2 guys from our group, We later hooked up with 30 or so recruits from "Lille" to make a entire going to Aubagne...but out of the group everyone was told NEVER come back, except me and a guy from WALES....I will continue the story later....hope you like the READ So far. Luc

More to the Story,

Okay guys, now that you know the first bit of what went on at Paris...there is so much more I didn’t include, because if I added every bit I would be writing a fucking book. I just put in the more important things, and some funnies that I have seen there.
So the 5 of us guys who passed the med exam left the next day to the train station in Paris at about 5 am or so. We ate a FAST breakfast of bread roll's and Cafe' out of bowl's....yes.
Then after that it was roll call to see if all are present, it was short...Present caporal chef said 5 times...then out the gates to the station...we were a small number of guys.
When we got to the train station there was about 30 more guys that were from the Lille recruit station, for all those who don’t know were it is...about 40 clicks from Belgium.
.Anyway, The guys from Lille where there waiting for the 5 of use to go on a 3 hour train ride to Aubagne.We were all counted again then off, me and everyone on the train slept the entire ride.
We were woken up by screaming caporal-chefs at the train station in Marseille. at about 10:30 am. We were all then loaded onto a bus and went for a Very Peaceful ride threw the city to Aubagne.
Let me tell you...its beautiful. And peaceful...Then the peace was swiftly gone once we got to the gates. Once there we were off the bus running to a building to process the new Scumbags of the planet...and yes there was some major **** ups there...and many.
The first thing they did before changing into our "new" blue track suit with Parka was pics. We where Lined up in a hall way for several hours.
Then a caporal chef came and made a gesture for all who wore glasses to step to the Left, they did...2 guys. After that they went into line again.
Then he asks for all who had tattoos step to the Left, All this was in French by the way. ONLY FRENCH nothing else. So three guys stepped to the Left, Including myself, a Russian, and a guy from Romania.
The guys with the glasses went first, but before that they handed us a small chalk board with our "original" Last names on it. So you all know the guys with glasses got their pics...then us, tattoo guys went...they made us get Naked and (not entirely) boxers (underwear on) and they took pics of "us" then Pics of tats.
I ended up being in the room for 10/15 minutes because they had to take Pics of every angle of my tattoos. Finally Done with that....We waited for the rest to be circulated.
When the rest of the guy's where done, 45 minutes later...I assume. We where then taken to this Basement looking place...Stripped of EVERYTHING and giving the track suit ,Parka...2 bed sheet's...shave kit, with the Shittiest razor's, Sac a Dos, a Lock for our locker, and one extra pair of LITTLE balls crushing underwear,1 pair socks. Then we were told to line up yet again. RIGHT after that...all the new guys, 5 from Paris (me in that 5) and the 30 or so From Lille Were taken to do the Mental test.
Some guys fucked up bad in that little room. We were instructed to only use the Pencil and not the eraser or the "black" marker. It was in French, but even I understood it.
The caporal chef held up the pencil and said, oui(yes)...then the black marker and said NO really loud, but for some reason the goddamn Russian **** offs didn’t get it.

We took many test...I wont even get into it...some were simple, but some were hard (for me anyway). No shame in me admitting that some tests were hard to understand.
during the test some of the Russians were using the black marker...the caporal chef seen this and was PISSEDF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he walked up to them and I shit you not, Punched them right off the Little chair they sat on.
They were kicked out the very next thing, being there for only hours, then gone...just like that.
We had a LATE 3 pm lunch cause of the test and the process shit we went through. So the Test were done...we ate a FAST pace SMALL lunch and were put to work.
I assure you the work was hard. I had the Misfortune of cleaning the entry way to the recruit station, this consisted of sweeping the leaves off the ground....Now to all you **** offs reading this thinking...Aw...Nah...Sweeping leafs...piece of cake.**** YOU.
That was one of the hardest things I did, I did the entire parking lot by myself for 4 hours, I don’t know if it really was 4 hours, but we got lunch (late ) at 3 pm, then I got that job....and I didn’t finish it until AFTER dark.
I got a timely dinner in between though. Then I had to finish the job.
Soon After that I found myself in ..I think it was the Gestapo...Mopping, sweeping cleaning, EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!.
The Gestapo is located right behind the Workout area which has some logs you can run on..."dip" bars, a Pull-up bar....and a ton of cigarette butts on the ground that we had to pick up every fucking other hour it pissed me off because I didn’t smoke and almost everyone else did.
You would have thought that the fucking idiot smokers would have got the clue that they would have to pick there own shit up...but they didn’t, fuckers!.
Anyway. so we cleaned Gestapo...I cleaned it with this little dude from India and 2 Russians...THEY WHERE FUCKERS!, Lazy, always fucking off,

Okay...I will type more in a while...need a strong coffee...and a shower....There’s So much more tricks, tips, and crazy run in with caporal chefs, recruits...and guys getting beat to shit and strangled with there own socks for not having the bed made right, and for not washing then socks EVERY NIGHT.
I will tell you more in a while...some time today I assume.

to Luc :
Happy to see that you finally get back to the US, without getting stuck for 3 days in Charles de Gaulle airport.
In your group who traveled from Paris to Marseille (those from Lille and those from Fort de Nogent) do you know if some made it ? While there, did you see groups of recruits who had been accepted and waiting to go to Castel ?
Thanks for the info.

Okay there was one guy from the Lille station that got accepted right then and there.
I Seen about 20 guys who went rouge, BUT half were sent home even when they made rouge..I don’t know why.
I can confirm this...FOR ALL THE OLDER GUYS...A guy from Fiji who was 39 made rouge...and went to castle’s if you are older...it don’t matter.

Okay guys chapter 3, I know you want to read.
So Day number 2 in Aubagne was bloody fucking unreal. Now the night before we went to bed...we had to arrange PERFECTLY everything in order for the next day.
This consisted of getting a 1 minute or less shower, with mild if not that cold water to "douche" in.
Now the shower was about the only time you could think to yourself...but the only thinking I ever got was how to do better.
After this shower, you ran back to your room, shared with I would say 16 other guys. The first order of business was that we made our bunks.
Now this all sounds easy...but when you got a bunch of idiots and mostly guys who don’t care about the presentation...It becomes difficult.
The Stress in this was in the most extreme, uncertain as to what would happen if it was not done right. So it was done in a set of I would say...LEGION WAY!.
The bunks were made, very difficult to say the least, because once yours was made there was the rest of the guys who had SOME made right, but most were made SHITTY. So the guys who made it right, TRIAL AND ERROR before getting it right.
I must have made mine 20 times in 15 minutes before I thought it was safe to pass. So we would then help other recruits get their bunks right.
That was Just the beginning of the Insane Cpl chef's temper. We also had to wash our T shirts (black) socks, and underwear by hand in the sink in our room.
Keep in mind we have about ten minutes before the Cpl chef inspects our room. So the 16 of us are SERIOUSLY almost killing each other to get our cloths washed, between 2 sinks...Imagine that!.
In the end all but half got it done, Me being fast about it when getting bunks done...I was the first to get it done, LUCK I TELL YOU.
So when this is done, they must be hung PERFECTLY at the end of your bunk. Tip for the Wanna bees.


Fail to do this right, well read on...you will know. So we, half the group managed this, then our little shave kit has to be place inside the Sac a dos.
Now when it is done correctly...the sac a dos looks exactly Like a fucking square box....I shit you not.
So wannabees if yours don’t look like a SQUARE BOX.. Its wrong! And keep in mind put all straps and buckles inside as well...or.....keep reading!. DING!.. time is up.
Cpl chef is in the bunk room we are all standing at attention, some guys NOT done with anything, bad for them.
My bunk was second from the door, and Complete...same with my bunk guy above me, PERFECT order. but they look hard and long for any kind of **** up...found none.
The first bunk was empty, somehow one of the Leg was broken so don’t sleep there, if you make it there.
Now across from me and the Chinese guy, by the way...Chinese guys were the best to work with, If you ask me.
Two Russians were so out of order, bunk not done...1 guy was doing push ups for a while...the other standing in terror, Locker opens...PRITA however you spell it (prita, means ****) cpl chef screams PRITA!!...= ****.
The sac a dos don’t look like a box, and the shave kit sitting on the side of it. Oops!...The sac a dos comes flying out the locker and ends up on the head of the Russian...just standing there.
Next bunk down. yet again...NOTHING DONE on these bunks. I think it was a Russian and a guy from Brazil. The Russian, FUCKING RETARD, still had his socks on...big no no wanna bees.
The bunks were fucked, the sacs not square, Laundry NOT done and fucker was still wearing his socks. Well Off come the socks, taken off by the cpl chef...and then they were instantly around the neck of the Russian...then he was peacefully sleeping on the floor. No bunk...the FLOOR...He was made to sleep on the floor. Believe me he didn’t do that again. The rest of the room, some punched...some were perfect...By the way the time was like almost 2 am. We would be up in 2 and a half hours...wake up in the legion 4:30 am ....learn to love no sleep...Or stay home. So with all that finally done the cpl chef was about to leave...but we say Bonne Nuit Caporal chef...And lights out for a few then the Real fucking hellish fun started at 4:30 am.I will include day 2 in the Next chapter. So this was just getting ready for bed in the Legion...More to come. Stay tuned!. TRAGEDY!

Okay bros, and sissies.
Here is chapter 4 in this epic mind blowing plan to join the Legion.
So the Night before, we (our group of 16, half f**** ups) are up and staggering at 4:30 am...cpl chef screaming at the top of his lungs.
Now the night before we had to make our bunks PERFECT to sleep in and be approved, we did.
So when the early morning came, time to REMAKE the bunks, PERFECTLY as well. The trick to this was very simple to say the least; our two blankets were to be folded at the exact same measurement. Then to be laid at the end of the bunks...the two sheets.
I remember Fish Sauce version (his were shit), but they were to be rolled PERFCETLY like a burrito and placed as a "X" on TOP of the two folded blankets. The pillow which looks like a miniature bomb, but less deadly is placed straight across parallel from the "x" sheets.
Now that’s out the way...It wasn’t hard for me, but yet another shock was the CLOTHES.
Now remember the night before we washed them, they were still WET, not soaked, but wet and them only hanging for two or so hours...you guessed it!...NOT DRY the least bit.
So we had to put on those tiny wet little underwear, wet sock's...but the worst...if you ask me was the WET BLACK TEE SHIRT.
Let me tell you, first off there is NO heat in the room, clothes were Still very wet. So that makes for a very uncomfortable first morning in the Legion. I am telling you, it was freezing.
So before hand with all that, one moron thought the beds were not going to be checked for inspection, AFTER we were gone.
His bright idea was that he would make his bunk the RIGHT way....The Night before, the idiot had it that if he slept on top of his bed, freezes all night, then he wouldn’t mess it up.
So he was right about that...He was a very cold idiot, bed was still ALMOST perfect in the morning, and he thought they wouldn’t check rooms his idea FAILED, as we all knew. He disappeared from the Legion soon after.
So we are shepherded to the "workout" area" for I would say maybe 30 minutes. Now I recommended doing pushups and pull-ups did...I stayed in shape and had more energy.
Now you wont want to cause the work there alone will(let me repeat this 1,000 times for you)THE WORK THERE ALONE WILL HURT EVERY INCH OF YOUR BODY,NO MATTER HOW IN SHAPE YOU ARE.....I AM A FIT BASTARD AND I WAS SORE FROM HEAD TO TOE.
So don’t go in there thinking you are hard...because the Legion is Harder.
Now after we are waiting for 30 min or so...The Alarm goes off. Yes it’s a loud "siren" that goes off every 3 hours or so...Everyone run to present themselves...or get work, or go home.
So run frantically. I repeat that!!!!!...you don’t want to be in the Last bunch of guys getting there late.
I will tell you this, if you are late you will Go home, MAYBE....
Get PUNCHED=POSSITIVE or will be very cold for bed..(Grin).
So when everyone is accounted for, you are escorted to eat your breakfast. Let me tell you, SERIOUSLY it is one piece of bread and bowl of coffee.
Now if you are GREEDY, just try and get two pieces of bread...I really dare you.
If you succeed, which you wont, but if you do...I will fork out 500.00 U.S. Dollars to you. There is one HUGE fucking IRISH caporal chef who guards the "bread”, and I assure you. He doesn’t care if you’re hungry...or anything else.
I seen this Pompous bastard from, from Morocco who thought he could talk his way to an extra Piece of Bread, The Irish man Replied alright.......and Bye bye greedy recruit.
So We all get our timed 5/10 minute piece of bread, then the Nightmare really begins...Work, Like you have never worked before.
I assure you for all the Bastards who think you are a tough guy...oh no...Think about your STRENGTH for on minute...The Legion will pull every ounce of muscle out of you...and then some.
I promise you this...If you Don’t Like little to NO sleep, Hardly no Food, wearing wet clothes, getting punched, doing jobs that seem impossible, but get done anyway, explaining why four people are supposed to be cleaning, but two are missing and one is taken a shit without toilet paper, living with little or NO water, I could go on and on...but if you cant manage this. STAY HOME...
Stay tuned for chapter 5 to this...it gets crazier....this was just before we started to clean...what till the next read...
.Sweet dreams wanna bees...because when I get back...I cant wait to explain why two are missing and one is shitting without toilet paper..


Return home after six months
WM@forces. wrote:
I joined the FFL in June of 2004 here is some info for potential new recruits:

When I joined I flew directly to Marseille and took a taxi to Aubagne from the Airport. I was a little surprised when I arrived at the recruitment office at 0830h to find it closed.
The young legionnaire on gate guard duty informed me that he didn't know where the recruitment officer was and that I could wait around or I could go into town and come back later. I decided to wait at the office until his return.
Finally around 1400h he returned and the 5 other EV's who showed up around noon all took priority over me initial interview. Not a good way to start off my experience.

I'm not going to recount all the different stages of recruitment, you can read that at the other posts, it's all well documented at this site.

At least 75% of the recruits are all young (17-18yo) kids from France who are perfectly eligible to join the French Arme de Terre but want to be "cool" and join the legion.
Unfortunately this brings down the level of professionalism in it's recruits, because in my experience nearly every one of these kids are a waste of rations with no discipline.
The rest of the recruits are from either war torn countries or from countries so poor that the legion pay would make them rich.
If you live a good enough life to be able to read this on the internet then I'd strongly reconsider your reasons for joining.
The french kids are there to impress their girlfriends and the others are there to get a French citenship and money. Where you most likely fit in is as a "soldier of fortune" which isn't looked highly upon by the recruiters.

I was a Canadian there for "Adventure". I was told by every single legionnaire that could speak english that I was crazy to be here and that it wasn't the legion of years ago.
Adventure was nowhere to be found in the modern legion, I was told to be prepared to be operating a mop more than I'll ever use a FAMAS.
I even heard similar stories from a soldier I hade spoken to upon his return from 2 years at Calvi in the 2REP who was staying at the Malmousque.
Also the professionalism of the soldier in the legion has gone severely down hill. I personally witnessed legionnaires walking around chatting on cell phones to their girlfriends, driving cars straight out of "fast and the furious", etc.

A few pointers to remember in the Legion if you're serious about staying: -Keep your mouth shut.
Never speak unless asked a question by a Legionnaire (you and your new EV buddies have nothing to talk about, you all do the same crap everyday no sense chatting about it like little girls).

-When any legionnaire asks you a question answer and quickly and firmly as possible (YES, NO... not maybes).
-Always answer ANY command with "Oui Caporal Chef" or appropriate rank.
-Unless instructed otherwise, stand at attention whenever the Caporal Chef enters the room.
If you know how to speak french, don't let others know, use it to your advantage.
-If you don't know how to speak french, learn before you go it will make your life in the legion so much easier.
-The best duties to get on are at the kitchen with the bearded CplC (not the small drunk asian) or at the Malmousque.
-Whenever asked to do something do it as fast and best as possible. -Steal toilet paper/napkins whenever you get the chance
-Smuggle in the following items in your shoes. A small gatorade package(for the day of the cooper test), lip chap(trust me), ear plugs (to sleep when all the little french kids are gossiping), some important phone#'s and some money and Identification.

-Don't take anything you plan to get back. Even if you aren't successful you may find that a lot of your items and loose cash will go missing before it's returned to you.

-NOBODY is your friend. Be very careful of what you say and to whom.
-Use your time in the exercise yard wisely. DON'T SLEEP OR PISS IN THE YARD, they are watching.
-Drink water every chance that you get (which won't be often)
-Develop a strong bladder and bowels before joining.. opportunities to relieve yourself will be few and far between.
-Always remember that success in the legion depends on your state of mind, dont' let them get to you because believe me, they will try.

E.V.- D. S.

Follow up as to reason to depart


Well I have a good view of the Canadian Army as I've been working for them for the last 8 years.
The legion is still more professional than the Canadian Army, but it's not what I had expected.
I had read many books and talked to anciens about the "old legion" and was very impressed with the dedication, discipline and professionalism of the legion and it's troops from what i'd read.
Every person who I've met that could speak english has warned me that since the legion became part of the French Army about 5 years ago that it has gone downhill.
Obviously I wouldn't know a difference, but people who've had 10-15years of service could see how it has drastically changed over the last couple of years.
It was definitely not what I had been expecting when I arrived at Aubagne.

To get released from my contract was simple. I just spoke with the BSLE and simply told them that it wasn't what I had expected and I couldn't/wouldn't trust these little jerkoffs with my life.
Honestly I could have dealt with the degraded "professionalism" and slacked ways of the legion of today (although I thrive on strict discipline) but it was the people that I'd we working and living with 24h/365d that I couldn't stand.
Maybe it was my age or my background but to me it was like looking at a bunch of kids hanging out and goofing off in a mall.

One good tip that was offered to me by a Irish Caporal that I'd had met was that if I was looking for a fighting force similar to the "old" legion then I should join the British Royal Marines.
Being Canadian and part of the commonwealth means I would be eligible... an option that I'm keeping in my back pocket.

sent by Juxtaman
Joining the French Foreign Legion is a relatively simple task. In simple terms all that is required is to present yourself in front of the gates of the French Foreign Legion and inform the guard that you wish to enlist.
When you arrive at the gates of one of the recruiting centres ,most people, wherever they come from, manage to mumble a few words to express a wish to join - some of which include Legion Etrangere.

The Legionnaire on duty knows exactly what you've come for - particularly if you've got a bag over your shoulder. For the most hassle free route into the Legion you should make your way down to Aubagne near Marseille in the south.
This approach will cut out 2-3 days administration at one of the other "sub recruiting centres".
It is illegal for France to advertise a career in the Foreign Legion in any other country than its own, but you will see posters all over France saying "Regarde la Vie Autrement" promoting you to "Have a look at the alternative life" - images of hardened Legionnaires stood in their Tenue De Garde gazing across the desert sands.

When you first arrive they will take your details and kit you out with a track suit. Apart from an initial medical and the signing of a provisional five year contract there is little to do here.
Your time will be spent working on the Quartier (Camp) doing any jobs that are in need of being done until a reasonable number of engages volontaires have turned up. Once you have been at the sub-recruiting centre for a few days and there are enough recruits ready, a Caporal Chef or a Sergent will accompany you down to Aubagne itself to start the three week selection procedure.

This journey is nearly always taken by train. The age limits are officially 18-40. Candidates over seventeen and one day are accepted but must have a written consent from either parent, made out in front of an official witness. All expenses to get to France must be paid for by yourself.

Although the recruiting ages will extend to forty years of age - they will expect you to be in good shape if you are of that vintage. If the Legion does not think that you look like you're going to be up to it - they can turn you away without even giving you a crack at the first test.
Once you have walked through the Legion gates you are allowed no further contact with the outside world - neither by phone or by mail, for at least three to four months.

The sooner you're speaking fluent French and are classed as a "Francophone" (French speaking person) the sooner life becomes easier - You don't have to rely on the French members of your Section or Groupe to translate after every assembly.
It will also mean less press-ups and running around because of misunderstood orders. Remember that the top dogs during basic training are given a choice of which Regiment they are sent to on completion of "L 'Instruction" (Basic training).
If you are deemed to be a good enough recruit they will probably offer you a place as a Caporal (Corporal) at Castelnaudary. This assessment will depend very much on the standard of your conversational French as well as your soldiering skills.
The written part of the French language is not so important at this stage and will not become really important until much later on in your career.

Aubugne and the Selection Procedure:

Aubagne is situated about an hour's train journey north of Marseille and it is here that you will begin and end your service with the French Foreign Legion. It is also the home of the ler REI and the Legion Band.

The guartier (Camp) is sometimes known as the Mother regiment of the Legion. The Legion must now decide for sure whether or not to take you into the fold.
It is here that they will find out about your past,they will test you mentally, physically and psychologically. You will be assessed and watched very closely. Any misconduct (Particularly fighting and ill-discipline) will leave you standing on the outside of the Quartier gates.

The Legion is not looking for nutters, psychopaths or macho men. They will also attempt to find out any details about any crimes that you have committed in the past. They work very closely with Interpol and if you happen to be on their wanted list you can expect little refuge in the Legion.

You will be handed straight over to the Gendarmes. Similarly, anybody found to be still serving with a foreign army will be denied entry to the Foreign Legion. It is therefore advisable to carry your discharge papers if you have recently left the forces and have the appearance of having had a military background.

In days gone by the Legion used to accept almost anyone into their fold. Today however, the story is a little different and they are much more choosy as to who they accept. About two thirds of those who arrive at Aubagne will go on to commence basic training at Castelnaudary .
Although the Legion is choosy, they are still keen to recruit. There is so much miss-information about the Foreign Legion, that there are sometimes men who resemble little more than beggars who turn up at the Legion's gates to join.
People whose teeth are rotting, are grossly overweight or have vile infections - they are all turned away.

On arrival at Aubagne your belongings will be removed and deposited in a plastic bag with a record of all its contents put on file. If during the first three weeks you decide to leave, which you are allowed to do at any time prior to "La Declaration"- a solemn declaration of fidelity to serve the French Foreign Legion, or are deemed to be unsuitable for service with the French Foreign Legion they will all be returned to you.

The only items of kit that may be retained by you are toiletries, a watch, underwear and socks and a French dictionary/phrase book. If however you are accepted into the Legion the clothing is lost forever - do not therefore wear expensive clothing when you come to enlist.
Your passport will also be taken until you either opt to leave within the three weeks selection, or at the end of your contract.

For these first three weeks you will assigned to duties around the Quartier. They may be cleaning, gardening, administration, loading or unloading of vehicles or just helping in the stores.
In fact you can be assigned to just about anything. Even here you are being watched and if a bad attitude is shown it will be noted.
There will probably be up to about fifty or sixty engages volontaires at Aubagne at any one time, all at various stages of their three weeks selection. A coach load of new recruits arrives every couple of days and likewise, every day, some are rejected.

Once every couple of weeks a coach load of the successful E.V's (Engages volontaires) are taken down to the train station to make their way to Castelnaudary to begin their basic training.
During your first few days you will be amazed at the diversity of nationalities that have managed to get themselves all the way to France - people from China, Japan, America, Africa, Iceland.
In fact from any country in the world. There are approximately ninety to a hundred different nationalities serving in the French Foreign Legion at any one time.
Officially however, there are no Frenchmen in the Foreign Legion (Apart from the Officers). Any French people who join have their identity changed along with their nationality to one of French Canadian or French Swiss for the purpose of their records. They have no choice in this matter.

There are some people amongst you though, who have had a very colorful life - some have been terrorists, drug traffickers, mercenaries - you name it they've done it. But for all these people the same rule apply, that if they are wanted by Interpol -it's no go.

Normally if any journalists are known to be in the area, the Legionnaires present are asked it they have a problem with journalists - if they do - they are taken out of that area and kept well out of the way until the media have left.
If, during your stay at Aubagne any relatives come looking for you they will be kept at the main gates. You will be asked if you wish to see them and if you do not they will be told politely you are not in the Legion and asked to leave.

After a minimum of three years service in the Legion a legionnaire is allowed to rectify his name - meaning to revert back to his original name or to confirm that the name being used is correct.
Once this is done a Legionnaire is allowed to wear any foreign medals earned in a previous army, he may also leave the country during permission.

For the first week you will be in a track suit and thereby identifiable as having just arrived.
During the second week you will be issued a set of combats and will wear a green flash on the shoulders.
In the third week you will wear the same combats but wearing a red flash on the epaulettes. When you depart for Castelnaudary you will be wearing the uniform that has officially been issued, which includes the Legion beret.

There are five main areas that you will be tested/assessed on during the three weeks. They are as follows:
Physical health-Psycho technical Test-Security clearance-Physical fitness-Two interviews. You will pass before the doctors at Aubagne and given a full medical.
Tests will include good all round general health, bone structure, flexibility of limbs and all bodily movements, heart and lungs, eyesight, hearing, ear, nose throat inspection, drug tests, blood tests, urine tests.
Every area that is imaginable will be inspected. If there are any areas that require further investigation, you will be taken to the Hospital in Toulon. You will be asked various questions on your medical history with someone of your own language.
If your eyesight is only slightly defective then you will probably still be allowed in and glasses will be provided for you at Castelnaudary. The glasses are specifically designed for use with the NBC (Nucleaire, Biologique, et chimique) respirator.

Pschotechnical Test. (Groupe D'Evaluation Psychotechnique)

This is broken down into two parts. The two parts will examine the aptitude of the candidate, the level of intelligence and the psychological stability.
Niveau General et Niveau Culturel. These written tests will be taken in a classroom with other engages volontaires. They are done to try and find out what you trade or skill you might be suited to in the Foreign Legion.
You might be technically minded or have a mechanical way of thinking. The test will show diagrams of pulleys or levers and you may be asked to work out which one would be the most effective at carrying out the task illustrated in the diagram.
Another part of the test takes the standard form of mathematical questions. This test of intelligence test is not particularly hard and most pass without any real problem.
Some of the questions may be using shapes and asking which one fits into the other or working out the next number in a sequence.
A final written test done in the classroom are in your own language and will pose questions of an opinionated nature - perhaps requiring some form of self assessment.

Your answers will be assessed by a specialist afterwards. Questions may seem bizarre to you - they could be something like: Do you like nature? Are you considered to be a hard man in your home town? Do you prefer male company to female?
This test will take about twenty minutes. Depending on your score - you will be allowed entry into the French Foreign Legion. The scores achieved will also determine whether or not you will be able to progress higher up the rank structure at a later date.

Security Clearance. (Beaureau Des Statistiques de la Legion Etrangere - BSLE)

Here, it is up to the Legion to decide whether or not to accept you into their fold from the security point of view. They will make every effort to find out every detail about you starting from the year dot.
The information will be gathered by means of a personal interview between yourself and someone of your own language. This is part of the French Foreign Legion Intelligence service and they are very good at their job.
They are referred to as "Le Gestapo" by the Legionnaires. Although the Legion will accept people of various backgrounds they will not accept murderers or those they consider to be of a dangerous nature.
They have in the past accepted former terrorists and people caught up in the troubles of their country. For these people it is a chance to to escape any danger they might be in and to start life again.
The interview will take about two hours and they will delve into every minute detail of your life; your family, your schooling - your previous jobs - why you want to join.
They will ask you about your friends, where you have been in the world. If they feel they are not happy with your story they will invite you back again for further interviews until they are happy.
Your fingerprints will also be taken during this stage and held on record.

Physical Fitness. (La Forme Physique)

These tests are done to ensure that you are in a reasonable condition to take on the tasks that lie ahead at Castelnaudary. As well as various upper body tests in the form of pull-ups and sit ups there is a 2800 meter run to be completed in twelve minutes.
If you take longer than the time allowed then you will have failed selection. (this equates to just over a 1 ¾ mile in 12 minutes). Failures are allowed to re-apply in three months time.

Interviews. (Les entrevues)

There will be a brief interview, probably with a Caporal Chef and a second interview with the Major. Both interviews will take on a similar line of questioning - Why do you want to join? What have you done in your previous life? Have you done much physical training in your life?
Do you know and understand what the contract means? Soon after you have had your second interview you will be informed of whether or not you have been accepted into the French Foreign Legion.

At Aubagne the days will start early, probably at about 5.00am, firstly with Le petit dejeuner (breakfast) - a bowl of hot coffee or chocolate with some bread, butter and jam.
The coffee will be served in a bowl which you drink from. This is France now and you will learn to do everything the French way.
As you become known to more and more Legionnaires you will quickly learn that it is also customary to shake hands first thing in the morning or for the first time you meet them during the day. This happens every day.
There is much to do during the three weeks at Aubagne, so you will quickly be marched back to the block to start cleaning.
After this the days' activities will begin. It could be any one of the tests previously mentioned or it could be something more mundane like cleaning or helping out in the kitchens.

Throughout each day you will be working in one place or another, getting called away to carry out another test or interview and then returning to your present job.
If you're not doing either of these things then you will be getting to know the other engages volontaires in a sort of a recreational area at the back of the building.
Here there is a pull up bar and trees to sit under and relax. The days are long and they can be tiring but it is also an interesting time for you.
You are on the edge of an unknown quantity - about to embark on a great adventure - with some fairly bizarre and adventurous members of your planet. You will probably come across those that like to pull up a sandbag and tell tall stories - take the things you hear with a pinch of salt.
Especially when it comes to what lies ahead. You are essentially now in the French Foreign Legion and it is a tough army with a tough lifestyle.
You must stand up for yourself and don't get walked over, but be warned that if you are caught fighting and causing trouble - then you will be turned away.
At Castelnaudary they will be more lenient - and it is sometimes required in life, to earn some respect, not least of all in the French Foreign Legion.
Here, however - if they see you as a trouble maker then you will soon find yourself packing your bags. There will probably be two days out of the three weeks that will be spent at one of two Legion camps helping out:

Malmousce and Puyoublier.

Malmousce is a small Legion complex situated on the seafront close to Marseille. It is an idyllic setting and it's purpose is to provide for Legionnaires who have no family or friends,a place for them to spend their Permission(Holiday).
They will go here or alternatively to "Fort De Nogent" in Paris. As an engage volontaire you will more than likely be taken here to Malmousce to carry out any jobs that are necessary - such as odd jobbing or helping out in the kitchens.
There will probably be about ten to fifteen Legionnaires there at any one time, all at various stages of their contract. For them, during the weeks they spend there, life is easy and they will probably be more than happy to tell you about life in the Legion and what's in store for you.

The food is normally of a high standard as it is on most Legion camps. The other place that you, as an engage volontaire will be likely to visit is Puyoublier.
This is the home for the former Legionnaires who have completed more than three contracts in the Legion. In the Legion such men are known as "Les Anciens ".
Most of them have seen action on more than one occasion during their careers.Some have seen a lot of action in some of the Legion's most memorable battles.
They are friendly people and only too happy to talk to "Les Jeunes "(The in-experienced or latest to arrive).
At Puyoublier the men make their own wine and work the land. There is livestock to look after and even a crafts centre where they make souvenirs to sell to tourists.
It is their home - they eat well - have company they can relate to - and they of course drink well
. Puyoublier continues to give them a purpose in life. Your job whilst there will again be to help out wherever needed.
By this stage you will be beginning to learn what hard work is all about. During your time at Aubagne you will be getting paid a small amount of money. With this money you will be allowed, probably once a week, to go to the Foyer (A bar with small shop attached - There is one on every guartier) - you will be allowed an hour or so to have a beer or two and buy anything you need such as razors, cigarettes etc.

At some time during the three weeks you will also be interviewed (albeit it in a very casual manner) on the subject of music. That is whether or not you play an instrument or have any inclination to become a musician and any desire to play in the Legion band.
The Legion band is always keen to recruit - any hint of interest and you will be encouraged all the way in this direction. However no- one is ever forced to join the band.
All bandsmen go through French Foreign Legion basic training just the same as any other Legionnaire.

After a long three weeks of cleaning, tests and interviews you will finally be told whether you have passed the selection procedure or not.
The successful ones will be issued with the Legion haircut and be taken down to the stores to be kitted out with Le Paquetage. This is the equipment that you will take with you to Castelnaudary and last you through your contract.
It will be contained within a large green sausage/duffel bag called a Sac Moraine. When you have been issued your paquetage you will know that very soon you will commence basic training with the French Foreign Legion.
At this stage there is only one more thing left to do - that is the solemn declaration of honour and fidelity to serve the French Foreign Legion. For this you will be assembled in a large room which oozes tradition.
Thirty to forty of you will be assembled to form three sides of a square. There will be a short speech by the Major declaring that you have been officially accepted into the ranks of the Foreign Legion, with whom you will serve for five years with honor and faithfulness.
The Major will then go up to each engage volontaire, call his name out and hand him his contract. The Legionnaire will acknowledge receipt of the contract by coming to the gardez-vous position (attention position) and calling out "Present Major".
At approx 5.00 am the next morning you will be assembled ready for pick up by coach to be taken to the Aubagne train station. There you will board a train to take you to Castelnaudary.
The Sergeant and the Caporal who escort you in the morning will be part of your training team during the four months that lie ahead.
Castelnaudary - L 'Instruction - Basic Training. "Quite singly the best way to get on during instruction is not to get noticed, keep your head down, work hard, don't moan, do mix with the French and start learning the language. It will come amazingly quickly and if you can speak French, you'll get less hassle"

. This is the real beginning of your time in the French Foreign Legion.
Everything so far has been merely selection. It is now that the real work begins. You are brand spanking new to the system and are about to embark on a very steep learning curve....
Basic training is not aimed at producing elite soldiers out of you. It is aimed at bringing you all into a military way of thinking and to start instilling some form of military discipline.
Coupled with this, they must start getting you to grips with learning the French language and conditioning you physically to the rigors that lie ahead.
There is therefore a lot of work to be done by both the training team and the recruits during the four months basic training. It is after basic training that soldiering skills are taught in depth at the Regiment that you are posted to.
That is not to say that you are not taught military skills during basic training - only that the skills may not be so in depth and so well honed at this stage.
This four months basic training will also be teaching you one more thing - and certainly the hardest element of all to an engage volontaire - and that is the"Legion way of doing things".
It may not be the most logical way or the simplest way, it may seem like the most stupid, ridiculous method in the world - but it is done that way and you are going to do it that way - even if it takes all night and all the next day.

They may send one man to do the job of ten or ten men to do the job of one. It will drive you to insanity at the time but what it is doing is re-affirming military discipline into your very new way of life.
If you can prepare yourself for this and accept their way of getting the job done, then you're well on your way to becoming a "Bon Legionnaire". This is the part of Foreign Legion life that is most difficult to adapt to.

Physically the Foreign Legion is not that hard - mentally it can crack you down the middle - especially those from the Western world.
It may take you the whole of your five year contract to become fully at home home with this mentality and the Legion way of doing things.
You may find that there is a Caporal or Sergent of the same nationality as your own. Often they will be more friendly to their own nationality and keep you slightly more informed as to what is on the agenda during the coming days.
Tread carefully in this area however and assume nothing.

On arrival at Castelnaudary railway station you will be picked up by a Legion coach and taken to the Quartier (guartier Capitaine Danjou).
You will at all times be accompanied by the Caporaux or Sergents.Having unloaded all the Sacs Moraines (Long sausage shaped green bags) into the corridor, there will be a briefing by one of the Caporaux telling you what is next on the agenda.

The first day will be spent unpacking bags and getting you into the routines that will very quickly become a way of life. Depending on the training team - and they all have their own way of doing things - your first day will probably be even more stressful than usual.

In most armies around the world there is a routine of traumatizing the recruits during their first days - creating as big a shock for them as possible.
There will be silence in the corridors when lined up. Feet will be exactly in line with the second row of floor tiles. Anybody talking, whispering or behaving like a civilian will be reprimanded in the most extreme manner probably in the form of a good dig to the body.
Head and eyes to the front and best you keep it that way. For those that come from Eastern block countries this is not at all easy. They have come from backgrounds far removed from the culture of the West.
They are inherently less disciplined and prone to being the target of the enthusiasm of the Caporaux. You may well find yourself doing press- ups on account of them.
Throughout the day they will run you through what is known as the "Appel". This is a routine of lining up in the corridor and calling out from left to right a number. The number starts at one and continues up to however many there are of you.
You may all be lined up in a different order every time you come out into the corridor, so it is important that you learn very quickly how to count in French.
Whatever you are doing in the room - it is dropped immediately and you must get out into the corridor and line up against the wall before the Caporal has reached the count of four.
The Appel is always done first thing in the morning and last thing at night, but initially you will do it perhaps twenty or thirty times in a day.
This is purely to teach you how to count and as a method of asserting discipline and authority upon you.
It will not obviously stop everybody else making mistakes and you will still be going in and out of the room like a yo-yo, but at least you will get it right and it's one less thing for you to have to learn.

When you later have to line up for a Company parade you will have to learn the rest of the numbers in French, but this is not worth worrying about at the moment.
There are two other reasons for needing to learn the numbers as soon as possible. Firstly; you will have been issued a service number and there will also be a number for your FAMAS. Your service number is known as your "Matricule" and is a six figure number.
You must learn how to say it in French and learn it by heart. The Caporaux will teach it to you and you will be expected to know it by heart after a week or two.
It will not be very long before you are introduced to your FAMAS assault rifle - This number must also be committed to memory. If you can learn these numbers quickly then you will not be the one that feels the might of a size ten boot when the Sergeant has been calling out the weapon number six times at the armory doors (Le Magasine).
Apart from learning your numbers there will be the allocation of beds and lockers and a demonstration by one of the Caporaux on how to arrange your Paquetage into the armoire (locker) in the correct way.
There is a right way and a wrong way to do everything in the Legion - if the kit is not placed in the correct place it will soon end up on the floor.
There is no food to be kept in the locker at any time and there is a very small shelf which is allocated for personal belongings. (Of which you will have very few).
As an engage volontaire you will be assigned to another - he will be referred to as your "Binome". It is up to you to help each other.
If he's French - he can help you a lot, and he will be expected to. "It goes without saying that as a recruit you must always carry a pen and notepad. Carry three pens - One for yourself, one for when it stops working and one for the binhome next to you who has forgotten his"
For the first two weeks there are only a few items of kit that you have to worry about. The first is the boots. These must be well polished and there is plenty of opportunity to do that.
If nothing is happening - i.e. between lectures, then the Legionnaires will gather downstairs and polish their boots. You may well find yourself polishing the boots five, six or even seven times a day.
The green combat uniform that is worn on a daily basis is not ironed in the Legion ( I still have my Jacket). Neither is the Tenue de Sport (PT kit), but it must be clean at all times.
There are no washing machines in basic training so all the kit is cleaned by hand with a block of Savon Marseille (Soap) in the wash basins.
Then hung out to dry on the clothes lines of the balconies attached to each room. (The clothes lines are below balcony level and therefore not visible from the outside of the building).
The beret that has been issued to you will last only two weeks before being replaced with a smaller neater one which sits much more neatly on the head.
The tassle at the back of the beret should lie directly down the centre of the back of the head. The Legion badge will then sit slightly to the right of the right eye.

Unlike some armies where a blue beret is issued until training has been completed - in the Legion it is the Kepi that you earn.
The beret issued in the Legion is green in colour from day one. The flap being folded down to the left. If you wish to shape the beret to your head, you can make it wet and then squeeze it until damp, then put it on your head for shaping to the exact shape and position required.

You will be paid approximately F1500 per month during L 'Instruction.This will be paid into your CNE account which is held by the L 'Adjudant de Section.
When you are allowed to go to the Foyer - you will be given some money. This is not likely to happen very often during the four months of Instruction.
Everything will be provided for you during basic training, even down to your toothbrush,toothpaste, razors etc. At some time during your Instruction you will be allowed to go into the town for a few hours.
Here again you will be paid about F200-F300 to have a beer and buy anything you need.
Once you have been posted to your regiment, the foyer will become a regular watering hole - chosen in preference to going through all the hassle of preparing your tenue to exit the Quartier.
No formal dress need be worn in the Foyer - even Tenue de sport is permitted.

Les Chants

It will not take long for the instructors to introduce you to the singing which forms an integral part of the French Foreign Legion's tradition.
The Legion sings on the march, at the Gardez-vous (attention position),sometimes on the run as a section, and around camp fires when on non-tactical exercises at the end of a long day.
You will probably first be taught Le Boudin along with Le Chant (de la) Companie plus Le Chant Du Regiment.
There may be as many as fifteen or twenty songs learned during the four months basic training.
How many you learn depends very much on you all as a Section. The more French speaking people there are in the Section, the easier it is to learn, and so the more songs you will learn.
If there are only a few Francophones (French speaking people) in the section the songs may well be taught to you phonetically.
What this means is that a German will read out the words as they should sound in German and you will write them down as they sound to you in your tongue. Le Boudin is probably the most famous of all the Legion Songs.
It is also the only song that must be sung at the Gardez vous position. The first verse of Le Boudin is often all that is sung, for example prior to eating a meal. It goes like this:

Le Boudin:

Tiens. Voila du Boudin, voila du boudin, voila du boudin, Pour les Alsaciens, les Suisses et les Lorrains, Pour les Belges y en a plus, pour les Belges y en a plus, Ce sont des tireurs au coup, Tireurs au coup.
The first few weeks singing will undoubtedly result in some very sore arms. This will be through all the press-ups that you will be doing in a bid to get you to sing in tune.


Each room is responsible for its cleanliness. There is not an excessive emphasis on the rooms but they are inspected on a daily basis.
They are also walked around at the end of the day by the Caporal Chef/Sergeant who is taking the evening Appel.

There is no smoking allowed in the building but engages will often try to sneak one on the balcony.
Smoking is however allowed, but downstairs and outside.
Everyday, first thing in the morning and after lunch before being fell in there is the daily Corvet Quartier.
This comprises of the Company forming a line and walking very slowly around the building. At each corner of the building the line is stopped and reformed to face a new direction.
Since the buildings at Castelnaudary are in an "L-shape" there are six straight lines to form before progressing in each new direction.
All the time you are looking for cigarette ends, litter or rose petals that have fallen in the wind.
There are constant yells of “Silence” by the Caporal du Jour which often fall on deaf ears and inevitably ends up in everybody doing press-ups.
This ritual of Corvette Quartier will continue until you have reached Caporal status or above. (About two years normally).
In each building there are two Sections of Legionnaires undergoing basic training. The older Section will be able to socialize with you almost everyday when downstairs polishing boots or smoking cigarettes.
As you might expect they will try to fill you full of horror stories about what lies ahead. They will more than likely exaggerate to the extreme.
So take anything you hear with a pinch of salt. Most of it will be rubbish.

Bel Air, La ferme - Bel Air, the fame.

The big horror story you will undoubtedly hear about from day one is Bel Air. This is a large farm building situated in the countryside about ten miles from Castelnaudary.
All the Sections go to Bel Air aAer about four weeks for a period of three weeks. Whilst there you will undergo training in weapons handling, (Particularly stripping and assembly of the FAMAS), weapon cleaning, physical fitness, navigation (By compass and by the stars), French language, an introduction to fieldcraft (setting up bivouacs, camouflage and concealment, target indication, first aid, fire control orders, patrolling, ambushes), drill and arms drill, marching and of course lots of singing.

As mentioned previously - they are not out to make you into elite soldiers at this stage - more to get you into a military way of thinking, improve your physical fitness and to try to get you talking in French.
The soldiering skills are honed later on in your career. There will be pressures placed upon you and these will take the form of sleep deprivation, keeping you as stressed and traumatized as possible by shouting and requiring everything to be done in double quick time. Coupled with that there will be very little to eat.
The days will be long and you will become very, very tired. Still the pressure will be on you. Here there will be many inspections of your equipment, your boots (Polish the whole of the boot whilst at Bel Air - the underside as well).
Also mark them well, as they may be thrown out of the window with everyone else's (even if yours are clean).
Ideally, you will want the same pair back when you go to retrieve them at the end of the night.
Each day at Bel Air will start early, at around 5.00 am and by six o'clock you will be doing the morning Sport or Le Petit-footing. This will take about an hour and because there are varying degrees of fitness amongst you, the Section will normally be divided up into three groups of varying ability.
You will all do the same training - just that you will all be pushed to the maximum.
There will be four to five mile runs,un-armed combat, sit-ups, press ups, pull ups, rope climbing (No legs allowed), fireman’s carry and any other games the training team can devise to get the blood flowing faster.
Although the running will tend to get faster over the three weeks the upper body strengthening exercises may not achieve as much since the food intake is limited and the pull ups, press ups and rope climbing excercises are carried out as much as two or three times a day.
Before each meal the Caporaux will gather you round and there will be what is referred to as the L 'Aperitif - a series of three or four of the above exercises which are carried out.

The three weeks at Bel Air culminates in a fifty kilometer non tactical march with Sac a Dos (Rucksac) and FAMAS.
You have three days to complete the march but it is normally done in two. This is the only test before you receive your Kepi Blanc.
It is often argued by Legionnaires that the Kepi Blanc should only be received after the Le Raid at the end of basic training when a much longer march is carried out. This thirty miler is not hard and by this stage you will already have marched many times from Bel Air back to the Quartier.
If you have been a soldier in any army prior to joining the Legion, you will have heard of many methods of how to harden your feet. Examples may be rubbing white spirit into your feet, urinating on them, switching them from the hottest water you can bear to the coldest water you can bear. Most people find that the best way to wear in your feet is to march a lot - and that you will.
Preferably in boots that are well worn in. Legion boots generally are not a bad fit anyway, even when new.
There may be some truth in the notion that submersing bad fitting boots in water when new and going for a couple of miles on a run will help wear them in quicker, but you are unlikely to be in a position to put this method into practice in the Legion.
Feet do heal very quickly and there is always a foot and body inspection after every march.
Do not, if you have the chance however rip the skin off a blister to expose open flesh. Any insertion into a fluid filled blister should be made with a sterilized needle merely to drain the fluid inside the blister out. </