A day late on this post but here are some of the random items I’ve found related to the French Foreign Legion.
1. Podcast: What We Learned About the French Foreign Legion. This is an interesting, almost hour long, podcast by the guys at We Are The Mighty (a weekly show featuring awesome military stories, weird history, and entertaining guest appearances). They discuss Camerone, the formation of the Legion, the Legion’s relationship with the Nazi’s during WWII, famous Legionnaires, and other interesting (and totally random) tidbits of the Legion. The narrators wander a bit but seem to have done enough research to pull it off pretty well without ever coming across as complete uninformed-know-it-alls you often find on other podcast shows. They are also former military members who bring a certain degree of expert insight to their military themed podcasts.
2. Former Chinese Legionnaire Seeks Wife Online. Fu Chen, from Tianjin, joined the Foreign Legion after the death of his girlfriend. He got out of the Legion as a corporal and now runs a security company. This small page indicates that Mr. Chen is seeking, via the internet, a woman to marry. I wish him luck but to use caution when meeting chicks on the web–as the comments below the article hint, the ChiComs might want to watch him more closely or gather more information on him.
3. News from Mayotte. It’s not often you hear about the Foreign Legion detachment in Mayott (Détachement de Légion étrangère de Mayotte, or DLEM). This article sheds some light on the situation in the Indian Ocean.
4. Soldier of Fortune Magazine: The Road to the French Foreign Legion. Here is a twofer; an official Foreign Legion recruiting video and what appears to be an ancient article from the archives of Soldier of Fortune magazine describing one Brit’s journey into the Legion. I subscribed to this magazine for many, many years when I was in the Army. I loved it then and even nowadays I occasionally pick up a hard copy at the local PX. SOF published many articles on the Foreign Legion over the years. I have a near complete run of this magazine (issue #4 to the end of 2009) sitting in storage. I might see about reprinting some of the Legion articles if SOF is feeling generous.
5. “Never Be Afraid” by Danilo Pagliaro. Here is an interview with the (still serving) Italian Legionnaire who recently published a memoir entitled “Never Be Afraid” or Mai Avere Paura in Italian. Danilo Pagliaro has served over 23 years in the Legion and will soon be retired. From reading this short article he sounds like a really solid NCO and hopefully someday his book gets translated into English.
6. An American Foreign Legion. The Washington Post had this article that dominated the news feed for “Foreign Legion” this past month. Here is the better written rebuttal found at Red State. I just want to note that there are far more “foreigners” in the U.S. military (about 65,000) than there are in the entire French Foreign Legion. This idea of an American Foreign Legion, as noted by the Red State article, often crops up in various forums and websites. It makes no sense to me why some would actually think its a good idea. A better idea (not too much better) might be to create penal units to empty out our prisons and make the prisoners pay back their debts to society. Start with the street gang losers–make them earn their paroles via deployments to Afghanistan.