french foreign legion information - Mothering Forums
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nycmom18's Avatar nycmom18 06:55 PM 04-13-2009
Does anyone have any info or rather insider info on the french foreign legion? my brother is currently in training and our family knows nothing except from a short email from a stranger. has anyone been through this experience?

IsaFrench's Avatar IsaFrench 08:11 PM 04-13-2009
try this web site (they seem to have option for informations in different languages)
www.legion-etrangere.com
nycmom18's Avatar nycmom18 01:31 PM 04-14-2009
thank you. i have looked at their site before. im just really looking for some "insider" info as it all seems very sketchy....

we were notified that my brother was in training by a stranger and we have no way of contacting my brother and we dont know when he will contact us.

does anyone know of anyone that has been through this?
IsaFrench's Avatar IsaFrench 06:38 PM 04-14-2009
well, I'm in France right now and 3 days ago there was a program on TV that showed some of the training candidates to the foreign legion go through ...

it's quite taxing physically especially at the end when they have to spend 4 or 5 days in the wild with no food to take with them - they have to hunt or fish and gather whatever to survive out of the land & end up with walking back 20 km back to camp at dawn after little sleep in these rough conditions (but I saw much worse on another program for people trying to join some other sort of special forces ) & they are also given grades on whether they help out each other and form a good team etc ....

I think (not sure) that some men who wish to join the Foreign Legion do so because they appreciate that once they are "in" some sort (not all) of small & past previous offenses are wiped out of their records. That could explain in part why there seem to be quite a lot of secrecy around it ?????

On the program I saw, most of the recruits had to go through a lot of language learning in the first two weeks too (that alone, when an adult, is very draining mentally !) ... & the minimum amount of vocabulary the instructors and fellow trainees where trying to teach was about 400 practical words .... can you learn 30 words per day in a new language for 14 days in a row ???? (whilst keeping the bedrooms spotless, tweaking personnal habits to fit the expectations of "order" and "ways to do things" for hygiene and timing to get washed, to clean this and that etc ...)

I' m not 100% sure but the training period seems to be at least 5 or 6 weeks & from what I heard, if they are accepted then, they are offered a 5 year contract within the French Army. I think there are at least 3 different "companies" (can't remember the correct military term) of Foreign legion army personnel and they are deployed in smaller batches in many parts of the world.

Locally to where I live, in Provence, last time I heard, but that was about 8 years ago, there seem to be a kind of retirement home for former Foreign Legion personnel, probably for the very few who didn't end up marrying and growing personnal relationships of some sort and find themselves isolated later in life.

On the program I watched they did mention towards the end that most Foreign Legion recruits ended up having a "normal family life" as if to correct some sort of misconception in the public mind (for exemple that could be to consider some FL staff as foreigners who never get a good grasp on the French language and are just pure brute power and live only in a male environnement cut out from the general population ....)

Wish I had watched more intently now ....
hope this is at least a little helpful to you ....

From what I saw on that program, I wouldn't expect your brother to be able to contact you until the end of his training period in fact ....
ewe+lamb's Avatar ewe+lamb 07:53 AM 04-18-2009
I saw this as well and your account of the program is very accurate - I'm not sure I would be able to do as well!! I do remember from another program that the french tv did on the Foreign Legion that the recruits can choose whether or not they would like to have a new name, loose all contacts etc, but this was quite unusual - I just remember it because a scottish guy (I happen to be from the same country) was followed and he wanted to 'forget' his past, he just wanted to start a new, from what I remember he found the language more difficult than the physical part but it seemed quite a normal army sort of life than the type of thing we were told about the foreign legion when I was little. I'm sure your brother will be able to contact you when he's finished his gruelling training - I can try to find out more from some of the french friends we have if you would like.
nycmom18's Avatar nycmom18 07:41 PM 04-22-2009
oh my goodness! thank you! i would lllooovvveee any other info you might be able to find!

just from the stuff i googled, i've ben pretty worried about my brother. he already knows french, so i believe he's good with that, and he is very physically fit and quite intelligent-he just doesnt make the best of choices in the past anyway i hate to think i wont see him for 5 years

anyway, thank you both for your help and any more info is so helpful to myself and our family thank you again!
IsaFrench's Avatar IsaFrench 06:48 PM 04-23-2009
well, I had not considered it under that angle .... I mean appart from the initial training period of 5 to 6 weeks , your brother should be able to communicate with you .... especially nowadays with all modern technological means .... surely there should be an internet cafe somewhere near him at least some of the times during the 5 years .... they can't be on duty 24 hours a day either ....

don't they have some leave of absence too at some points during each year ? (in french for a soldier it's called "une permission", surely if there's a word for it .....)

I'll try to inquire about it ,will let you know if I get any info ...
IsaFrench's Avatar IsaFrench 06:57 PM 04-23-2009
have just sent an e-mail to their site, will let you know if/when they answer me !
nycmom18's Avatar nycmom18 05:35 PM 04-24-2009
thanks for all your help. my brother is on his way home though now! yippee! i will tell all the "insider" info later if you're interested....
IsaFrench's Avatar IsaFrench 08:20 PM 04-24-2009
good to hear that then, you seemed so worried at first ...

just got an e-mail in reply today from someone at the FL and it confirmed that FL soldiers do get the same leave of absence as french soldiers get in the "regular" french army .... but the e-mail was not THAT detailed about amount of leave given ...

yes, I'll be curious to know how it goes for your brother now ....
ewe+lamb's Avatar ewe+lamb 05:49 AM 04-25-2009
I'm pleased for you that your brother is returning home - has he left completely? Or is he just on leave? It would be interesting to hear his story on how things went as it is really difficult to find out any accurate information it would seem!
Lakemom1's Avatar Lakemom1 07:21 PM 10-31-2009
I would appreciate any info anyone has on the Legion. My son called from Paris a week ago saying he planned to join. I have not been able to reach him since. Thanks.
Bobbywex16's Avatar Bobbywex16 04:27 PM 10-22-2012
Hi.i was just writing to you to see if you could give me some information on your brothers experience in recruitment in the French foreign legion.my cousin has gone and he hasnt contacted family,I would love if you could give me some advice.thanks alot
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