Last month I came across the following bits and pieces relating to the French Foreign Legion.
1. Delmar Calvert. I stumbled upon the name Delmar Calvert browsing cervens forum and then found two good articles about him here and here. They provide interesting background on Calvert who has been the top fencing instructor in the United States for decades and was also, in his early years, a legionnaire in the 1st Foreign Legion Cavalry Regiment. He was originally born in California but had lived in France for much of his childhood. In 1939, at the age 16, Delmar, along with his brother joined the Foreign Legion and gets caught up in the war. He fought against Nazi tanks when France was invaded and would later find himself in North Africa spending his time in the military fencing. When the Americans landed in Africa he quickly found a way to surrender to the Americans and volunteer his services to the U.S. Army Military Intelligence and subsequently the OSS. He was sent as a commando behind enemy lines to work with the French resistance. For his service to france hew was awarded the Croix de Guerre, the youngest winner of that medal in history.
2. Heat Stroke. This news article describes an unfortunate situation when common soldierly sense is disregarded. To deny water to any soldier in a desert environment such as Djibouti is unheard of in the U.S. military no matter what the training event but especially during high temperatures. In this case it was training begin conducted in Djibouti by the 2nd REP which is the toughest and hardest training unit the legion has. Nevertheless, it will be a bad reflection of the unit’s quality of first line leadership if it can be proven that this soldier died of heat stroke because he was denied hydration as a punishment.
3. 2REP vs. Para Regiment Thread on Foreign. I really enjoyed reading through this thread found on the Army Rumour Service website (aka, ARRSE, the UK’s largest and busiest UNofficial military website). There is a really long and insightful comparison of the French and British regiments posted by a former British legionnaire who served in 2REP during the early 1980’s on page 6. The same poster continues throughout several more pages to provide really interesting and informative posts on his time in the Legion. Remarkably the thread is still active despite starting back in April 2011. Lots of great pictures and information….for example I found the chart posted below which is an annotated illustration showing where the Foreign Legion units are integrated into the French Army. (There is another thread on this site as well that I have not read through yet entitled D`Artagnans Time in the FFL – 2eme REP and Algeria)
That’s it for now. I’ve still got some more uniform illustrations to post over the month and since it is October I hope to find a good creepy, supernatural Foreign Legion Halloween post.