51. chapter – Bouar

5 mins read

Even if everyone was working hard to clean the rest of the new camp, we needed a week to finish the job. Those who were living in the burned tents could temporarily move to a building not too far from the canteen. While we were removing the debris, we found melted rifles, half-burned wallets with pictures of the guys’ family and the rest of their personal equipment.

Camille Lepage

Personally, I wasn’t far to forget the whole operation thanks to the conflagration, but things were going on outside. Central Africa didn’t become the safest place since we arrived.

A couple of days after the “campfire” we got a said news. A patrol stopped a car in the Bouar region and found the body of Camille Lepage, a French photo journalist working in Central Africa. I was on guard at the main gates when a patrol brought her body back to Bangui. This event reminded me that we still had two months left from the mission and I should stay vigilant until the last day.

A tactical mistake

It wasn’t the first nor the last time that we got a last minute order. The only problem was that my high school mentality didn’t completely switch to a soldier’s mind set and I made an easily avoidable mistake.

In the FOB in Bangui as later in Gao (Mali), we had a day when we could have our cloths washed in the laundry. If someone wanted to use this service, he only had to put his stuff in a basket and go back for the clean cloths in the afternoon before 4pm. I was too lazy, so I decided to bring my stuff back the next morning after breakfast. The only problem was that we got our new orders around 4.30pm that we’re moving to Bouar the next day. From a second to an other, I found myself without socks and underwear, because the laundry closed at 4pm. I rushed there to see if I can get somehow my cloths back when I saw my bag just next to the window.

As I had 80% of my cloths in that bag, I decided to steal them through the half-opened window. I found a pole next to the laundry and I tried to lift and pull the bag near to a hole I could pull it easier out. When I almost reached my goal, an African guy working in the laundry passed by and started to shout at me.

Major de camp

Five minutes later, I was already in the office of the “Major de camp”. The guy (usually a high ranked non-commissioned officer) was fortunately cool, but pretty upset. He didn’t understand the situation and wanted to know why I was stealing a bag of cloths from the laundry. I felt pretty stupid when I explained him that it was my stuff and I needed because we were about to leave the next morning.

The major explained me that his job is to ensure the best environment possible to everyone in the FOB. Even if he isn’t supposed to directly combat the militias outside, he has to support the troops the best he can, 24/24.

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When I went back to the tents I arrived 10 minutes before the mission brief’, so I had enough time to report to the platoon sergeant that I had a small incident in the laundry. I knew that he won’t care, but it’s better if a chief hears the story before someone else tells him.

The new situation in the country required new solutions, so our platoon was divided in 3 parts. I made part of the team going to Bouar where the journalist was killed.

Bouar

The next day at 4am I’ve already done the radio check and was waiting for the rest of the two squads. I don’t know why, but I felt tired as never before. I couldn’t imagine how I’m going to be able to drive during the whole day, but around 9pm we reached our destination. We were at the end of may and had a bit less than 2 months left from Operation Sangaris.

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8 Comments

  1. Hello,it is very pleasant to read all your stories about joining and your adventures in the FFL. I have two questions that i would love you to answer:
    1.If you join any other regiment then the 2 REP,do you still need to skydive?
    And 2. I would love to join in the next year,i am able to do hundreds of push ups and i am ok with pull ups,but i have problems with running more then 10km in a good pace like 5’00 or 6’00 /km do you think it would be a problem? My bmi is 24.8 and getting down! Thank you! You are doing a great job and looking forward for the answer and other stories!

  2. Hello, this is best blog and first blog which I read all chapter in 2 days thanks for lots of information .. still I have some questions
    1. Can I send money to home from 1st month and how much I can send … And how to send..?
    2. After 5 year can I get french citizenship or it is just a rumour..
    3. I am from India so when I can get back at home…?
    4. As I told I am from India so plane ticket is high and that amount I can not taking with me so unfortunately If I will not selected so how can I buy tickets or get money any idea..
    Please reply..
    I read your story it was up and down but very adventurous I love to join FFL as soon as possible that’s why gathering some info.
    Thanks

  3. I’ve just finished reading all of your stories back to back. Amazing insights into the Legion.

    Given that you serve in the 2 REG, would you be so kind as to tell me about the requirements, physical or otherwise, to join the GCM? I’ve found some information online but it doesn’t seem trustworthy.

    Thank you.

    • It’s hard to summarize in one reply the requirements to join GCM, so soon or later I’ll write a whole article about, but as always, I’ll need time.

      In a nutshell, you’ll have the same tests as you would do for a corporal course, but you’ll compete with the bests of the regiment. There is a 8km TAP run, rope climbing, swimming, obstacle course, a crossfit challenge with pull-ups, push-ups, running, squats etc. On the technical side there is orientation course, weapon knowledge, identification of military materiels and equipement, shooting, combat medic test etc.

      The week of selection is pretty busy.

    • Awesome, thank you for the reply. Looking forward to the GCM related post.

      Thanks for the awesome content.

      Cheers!

  4. hey Aron you say you graduated from high school? what does that look like for me I don’t have a degree and would like to join the Legion I have a chance or rather not?

    • Helo Yasin,

      you don’t need any special education level to join the legion. The exercises you’ll find in the Legion Training app represent quite well the level you need to have for joining. Try it out and you’ll see.

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