38. Chapter – Two driving licences in a month

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PVP legion

I passed the short Christmas vacation at home, but this time I knew that the year will start in Castelnaudary

My unit commander mentioned that he’ll see if I could go back to Castel for the two weeks long heavy truck training. He found me a place, so less than a month later I was back in 4°RE once again. My situation was clearly better as a 1st class legionnaire. Even if I just passed 4 months in that same company, nobody could tell if I had 1 or 4 years of service.

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The training was more interesting

than the other one I passed for normal car. I never drove a camion before, so that time I was actually learning something. I was surprised by the fact that the instructors were highly qualified and did extremly well their job. It wasn’t because I thought that legionnaires can’t become good in any type of job, but I have to admit that I didn’t think that someone who joins the FFL volunteers to become a driving instructor and actually becomes a very good one.

driving in castelnaudary
Driver’s training area in Castelnaudary

I can’t say that at the end of the second week I became a master in truck driving, but it was okay. However, I almost did a gigantic banane when I didn’t put on the brakes in time. I lost my concentration and I was looking elsewhere when the French instructor next to me pushed the brakes on his side and stopped the camion. We were 50 centimeters behind a small car before us. I don’t even want to imagine the consequences of and accident like that.

The life in Castelnaudary as a trainee isn’t a pleasure

We had to cross the regiment by singing 7 times a day and had to return to the classroom from 7 PM to 9 PM. The driving license wasn’t for free at all…
Back in St. Christol, I had to confirm my driving license the week I arrived and started another training for a vehicle called PVP (Petit Véhicule Protégé.) The PVP is a 4×4 light armoured protected vehicle used as an armoured troop carrier and liaison vehicle for contact forces.

2°REG is well adapted for this training

because we have an off-road training area inside the regiment. We started the instruction with a short theoretical lesson, but jumped in the cars right after and drove a few clicks before going to eat. Driving a PVP isn’t some kind of black magic thanks to the automatic transmission.

The instructors came from my company and the training was surprisingly cool. The best part was when we drove with a night vision binocular just before midnight. At the end of the second week, I became familiar with this small vehicle and I was satisfied with the beginning of the year.

A few days later the colonel came over to the company

to announce that finally only one platoon is going to Mali for Operation Serval in the upcoming days. However, the rest of the company has to stay in alert, because we might go to Central African Republic in March. Might… I was a bit disappointed, because I’d loved to go with the guys to Mali, but I couldn’t do anything to switch the platoon. So as we stayed in alert, we had to continue our training as if nothing had happened.

Fortunately, a week later we got the confirmation that the rest of the company will switch with the 17th Parachute Engineer Regiment in Central Africa.

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  1. Hello,

    Your blog posts are a repository of information, and I look forward to reading your publications here.

    I had two questions, namely: What is the highest rank you can achieve in the first 5 years of service, and second, an someone from the Legionnaire attend the Sant Cyr school?

    • The highest rank you can reach is sergeant.

      Legionnaires can only go to St. Cyr via the EMIA line. The exam is hard, so it’s very rare that a legionnaire actually goes there, but it can happen.

  2. I want to join legion from India. I wanted to know after joining legion how can I become an officer in the legion . Also after how much time can I practically have french citizenship and join regular army as a officer or nco?

    • I agree with Aron. In theory it is possible to join the French Army after five years when you leave the Legion with your French citizenship – as long as you have an excellent service record. To come up through the ranks ie qualify as an officer in the Legion is difficult. Most Legion officers come from St Cyr the French Army’s officer training college. Perhaps 5% of them have come up through the ranks.
      I would suggest that once you join the Legion you stick with the Legion and do 15 years ie three contracts of five years and work hard on your career. Then you MIGHT become an officer. If you are an excellent soldier you can become a sergeant after five years.
      First you have to go to a recruiting office in France or Tahiti and get accepted as a recruit. Good luck.

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