During my years in the French Foreign Legion I experienced some very “interesting” situations. However, I still consider those four months of radio training as the most difficult period I suffered during my service ever since.
Not because it was a particularly hard training, but I wasn’t good enough, neither physically nor mentally.
At the end of August, on the third week, another radio training started in parallel with ours but for freshly promoted sergeants.
Welcome back to Castel
The chief of the platoon organized a “welcome back to Castel” party for us. This manifested in an 8km run with a 15kg radio in the backpacks.
Naturally, I don’t even have to say how happy and satisfied I was with this short wake up run at 7 o’clock in the morning. That moment, I thought it’s going to be the most difficult physical effort during the training. Once I finished, it will be okay.
I couldn’t be more wrong.
The same week we did a 30km long night march with a 2 hours Morse exercise right after. At the end of the 3rd week in Castel I felt exhausted and tired. The weekend wasn’t for rest for those who failed the weekly tests. I had to stay in the regiment and be in a classroom from 8AM to 6PM and learn. I always made part of the “dream team” whose weekends were blocked.
My biggest challenge was to find out something to improve my French
I didn’t think that the problem was with my IQ level, but rather with my language skills. I decided to learn the 50 most used verbs and checked all of the unknown words in a dictionary I found in my drafts.
Some weeks later
I got better notes, but success didn’t come as quickly as I hoped and the first eliminatory test was approaching.
My only chance was that my Morse skills were one of the bests in the platoon. This allowed me to concentrate on the definitions I had to memorize for the exams.
Although I’ve already passed a year in the Legion
I still didn’t get the 1st class Legionnaire distinction and it made my days harder than I expected. In normal conditions, it comes automatically by a regimental order and one of the officers or NCOs put the rank sign on you.
Unfortunately, no one
gave a fuck cared back in St. Christol that 500km away I started each morning with a broom in my hand, just because I didn’t have a single stripe on my chest. But after all, everyone passes by the same shit, so I knew that one day I’m gonna be at the other side. Either way, my biggest problem was still the tests I wasn’t sure to pass…