The alphabet of all things Legion continues………
I is for INCENDIE
FIRE! But not in the traditional "Ready - Aim" sense. July 2009 saw our beloved family at the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons as over 3,000 acres of forest and scrubland across the Marseille region went up in flames following a French foreign Legion firing exercise. Granted, the culprits came from the Legion’s 1st Foreign Regiment (the administration HQ) but it was still quite "imbecilic" all the same. Not to be outdone, however, our own little band of engineers decided to re-enact the bush-fire debacle (well, have a half-decent stab at it, at least). While preparing for our own firing exercises a few weeks after the Mediterranean hell-fires, we had successfully removed all tracer rounds from our ammo-clips (1 in 4 bullets from the box are tracer rounds) and left them to one side. Once all the NORMAL bullets had been fired, our instructor decided it would be fun to fire ALL the remaining tracer rounds in one foul swoop. Slightly bemused, but with fire extinguishers at the ready, we proceeded to let fly. Only the shrill, urgent shriek of the instructor’s whistle managed to halt the exercise upon noticing a thin plume of smoke rising from behind the targets 200m away. Fortunately it was only a few rogue dry strands of grass that had the audacity to catch fire, and they were soon extinguished. Sprinting 200m with a fire extinguisher, though, is far from fun. Ah the joys of elite military training.
J is for JUST DO IT (©Mel Gibson in "What Women Want")
Ferme ta gueule! Cherche pas comprendre!
These, any many more colourful phrases await those of you silly enough to question the orders of your commanding officer. There’s no "Logic" in "Legion". Granted, there’s an L, an O, a G and an I……er, but there’s no C, HA! See? (C?.....oh God, stop me!). Outrageously incomprehensible orders have included up to 10 young Legionnaires being sent off to empty an ash-tray, unclogging a plugged-up kitchen drain with an empty yoghurt carton, an of course doing push-ups for anything from the a corporal’s flip flop breaking to a rainy forecast for the weekend. Total brain shutdown (well, near-total, mu haw haw).
K is for KRONENBOURG
Eugh! The oil of choice for our champion motors, Kronenbourg’s novelty wears off right about the time the cap is popped on one of their stubby little bottles. In spite of it’s disagreeable taste however, Kronenbourg has become a long-established form of currency here in the FFL. If you lose/break a minor part of your rifle, or mislay any item of equipment, just present a case of this French-brewed foulness to the lucky finder/repairman and a whole world of complicated reports can be avoided. As well as giving postage stamps a run for their money in the world of alternative currency, Kronenbourg is also used as the chief accompaniment to all major Legion parties, from the humble BBQ right up to Christmas and Cameron. But tradition trumps all and Kronenbourg truly finds its spiritual home amongst Legionnaires recently elevated to the rank of Private 1st Class, when one is aided by two fellow soldiers in downing a helmet filled to the brim with the carbonated goat’s urine. One assistant helps hold the helmet, while the other waits expectantly beneath with a bucket at the ready. The bucket ALWAYS sees some action!
L is for LEGIO PATRIA NOSTRA
The tag-line for all life in the Legion, this little Latin number translates as "The Legion is your homeland" and has spawned more tattoo incarnations throughout the years than a butterfly staining the lower back of thong-sporting fat-frog-downing young wans on a Friday night in Coppers. . Aside from tattoos, iron gates, company colours, pens, wine, bottles, you name it - the Legion has withdrawn funding from trivial departments such as transport maintenance and food to have it inscribed on some random boulder. Legio Patria Nostra for 3 more years and then it’s "Yippy Ki Ay Mon. Colonel!".
Not long to go now in our meandering military pre-school, my friends! Keep up the great support,