I woke up at 5AM, because of a weird bird who set his nest just next to the tree about 20 meters from our tent. I’m not a bad sleeper. In a normal case I can easily nap anytime and anywhere, but the totally new atmosphere started to slightly push me toward to the edge of my comfort zone.
I didn’t want to wake up the others in the tent
so I just stayed in my camping bed and listened to some music. A half an hour later, I woke up and followed the others to the water block to shave and brush my teeth. The weather was warm and still, not like a couple of days ago in Saint-Christol. Once we finished, I followed an older caporal-chef who has already been to Central Africa and seemed to know the place. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do as much OPEX during my career in the French Foreign Legion as I wanted to, but each time I left the regiment I noted that the food was way much better than anywhere I’ve been within the FFL.
I’ve never worked in the restauration
except the few times I had to wash dishes in the kitchen (3-4 times until I passed sergeant), so I don’t know how things actually work there. However, I can’t believe that it would be that expensive or hard to serve a correct breakfast in the regiment. In the small-improvised canteen in Bangui, next to the traditional French breakfast, we could take fresh bread, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, cold meats and cheese. It was like if I were in a hotel’s continental restaurant. It’s not actually for complaining, because a few years later I completely stopped eating breakfast, I just found a bit strange.
After breakfast, we went back to the tents
and got the orders from the platoon chief. The support group went out in town to a place called PK12 to work with their engines and to build a combat post for the local forces. The rest of us, two other combat groups, stayed in the FOB to prepare our mission. I don’t actually remember if we got any further explanation about “the mission” or simply I didn’t understand when they explained… It was truth for almost the whole mandate. I never knew what I was going to do a day later.
In a normal case (or as we always say “normalement”)
the platoon commander has three non-commissioned member and the platoon sergeant in his team. The non-commissioned members are the driver, a radioman and a medic. As I saw later in my time in the FFL, the driver’s place was always filled out by the medic or the radioman. It allowed to the company leader to put an extra man wherever the commandment found him useful. (I’d avoid to describe my actual opinion about the usefulness of this “other person”). In our case, I was the ultimate joker. I worked as a driver, a radioman and as a 1st class legionnaire. It didn’t bother me, but I didn’t have to much free time.
The next couple of days
I was preparing my jeep with another guy from the platoon. I fabricated a cage that I fixed on the left side of the car, so we had some extra place for the water and RICR. (RICR stands for Reheatable Individual Combat Ration, which is the French version of the American MRE or Meal Ready to Eat). A moment when I was checking the bride under the jeep, I heard the noise of a very intensive firefight. I left my rifle in my group’s tent, which was a kilometer away from my actual position. The only thing I could do was to find a protected place. People around me were looking for their combat vest, gun and were about to take positions.