Here’s the second part of the interview I made with Raf, a sergeant I met during a training in the French Foreign Legion. Click here if you didn’t read the first part
A : Then after Guyana the return to the metropolis. Which regiment did you want to go to?
R : At first I wanted to go to the 2REP, but then I told myself that I was still far from everything for 3 years and maybe going to Corsica is not necessarily the best idea. It’s difficult to leave the island during the weekend, so I decided to go to 2REI. The regiment is well located, it’s infantry, so I ended up in Nîmes.
A : From where you went directly to Castelnaudary for the FG1?
R : Yes, but before that I supervised an FTS to get back into the swing of things a bit. You know, when you spend three years in Guyana, you forget things. So, it allowed me to review everything that is motorized infantry combat. To review the VBCI as well as the FELIN that we didn’t have in Guyana.
A : And then?
R : The FG1 that we did together, hm room mate? -he laughs. A good experience and after finishing this course, two weeks later I went directly to Castel for the CT1 infantry. It was a very good course, we had a lot of fun and I was even lucky, because I was able to finish it two days earlier, which allowed me to go to the UAE with my company.
A : To the UAE anyway right after the CT1…
R : I was lucky. It was a great mission too. We did a lot of shooting and training in the desert and I was a group leader this time.
A : The pace seems to me to be quite dense in 2REI. I guess you didn’t stop after that mission either.
R : My unit commander suggested I become a mortar group leader, so no. I went to Draguignan to the infantry school to become a squad leader and then I switched to the support section. That one was also a good course and I even got a good grade at the end. I finished 4th or 5th.
Then we went to Martinique…
A : Wait a second. You finished the FG1, the CT1, you did a mission in the UAE, you became a part leader and then you went to Martinique. Tell us about that a little bit, because I’m curious.
R : It was also a beautiful mission and we were extended, so we did 5 months in the end. Very enriching, because we went to Guadeloupe and the Dominican Republic for an exercise and there is a great training course in Martinique as well. All this allowed us to train in the mountains, but also on aquatic courses. I even went back to Guyana for two months with my section for the Harpie operation and we had a very good result. We had a great time, everyone was happy.
A : I don’t doubt it. You have a very good track record. What’s next? I saw that you were in Mali this year.
R : After Martinique, we spent a year preparing for Mali. So as usual, it was CENTAC, CEITO, fields, shooting etc. We were busy.
A : Then Operation Barkhane, shortly after the helicopter crash that killed 13 soldiers including a Legionnaire.
R : Yes, for that we did a lot of missions and sorties during our mandate. It was absolutely necessary to take stock and bring back results after this accident.
A : How did you experience this mission?
R : It wasn’t bad. The VBCI is a vehicle that is very well adapted to the desert and rarely gets bogged down. It is a strong machine and quite impressive, because there is no one who gets in front of us when we arrive. In my opinion, our equipment was very adapted to this type of combat, but the mission was complicated. We could only take stock in motion. We had to act fast if we wanted to get results.
A : How often were you in contact during this mandate? That’s what people ask most often.
This is the end of the second part of this interview. I’ll publish the third and last part in the next two weeks. We are also working on the iOs version of the Legion Training app which will be available on the Apple Store in the beggining of next year.
Thanks for reading Legionstories !