How to become a member of the French Foreign Legion?

How to become member of the French Foreign Legion
How to become member of the French Foreign Legion? (Photo: XY)

To become a member of the French Foreign Legion you will need to pass the selection process. Recruitment into the French Foreign Legion is open to all people who are meet basic requirements. They accept people of all nationalities, and French Foreign Legion (FFL) still offers the traditional anonymity and opportunity to adopt an assumed name sometimes desired by people running from their problems.

Clear sheet and background

The French Foreign Legion does not accept criminals, murderers criminals in its ranks, however, and they make inquiries into people’s backgrounds where possible. Obviously it is really difficult to check to details of new coming recruits from the frontier colonies, but normally these are in a minority of recruits, future legionaries.

Legionnaire of French Foreign Legion brandishing his FN Minimi machine gun
Member of the French Foreign Legion (Photo: Pinterest/FFL)

The French Foreign Legion’s parachute regiments attract a different recruit from those joining the other infantry and cavalry regiments. In most cases, they have professional backgrounds, as professional soldiers from other armies, and frequently from airborne units. This has the effect of increasing the overall quality of the REPs as well as increasing the impression that the paratrooper legionaries are an elite within an elite.

French citizens in French Foreign Legion

One feature of note is that Frenchmen also serve in the French Foreign Legion as soldiers, and normally they make up the largest national group within most units. The Frenchmen are usually former ‘voluntary service’ conscripts from line regiments who have chosen to soldier professionally and chosen to do so in the French Foreign Legion’s ranks. All officers in French Foreign Legion are entirely French citizens(born or naturalized). However as legionnaires are eligible for French citizenship after 5 years of service, many do rise from the ranks. Although they rarely rise so high as the French-born citizens with St Cyr or Desaix academy graduates, normally French Foreign Legion officers are from the top 10% of cadets, who make up the bulk of the junior officers.

Combat veterans through history

The French Foreign Legion’s recruitment usually benefits from wars and their aftermath, wherever they take place. After the Central Asian War, there was an influx of Russians, after the War of German Reunification, Bavarian’s, Flemish, and loyalist Elysian’s. This tends to deliver combat veterans into the ranks of the French Foreign Legion, but sometimes also brings national disagreements as well which can have a negative effect on overall discipline.

The FFL regiments have always had a strong German influence, especially after World War I and World War II and this continues to this day and the REPs are no different. However, there is also an Anglo-Saxon presence in the REPs that isn’t apparent in other Legion units. British, Americans, white Asians, and Australians are all represented in the REPs and makeup between 3 and 20 percent of these unit’s strengths. One facet of this is the influx of British Parachute Regiment soldiers (officially AWOL but with the tacit approval of their CO’s) at the gates of the French Foreign Legion’s depots every time a war not involving Britain looks likely.

Another recent influx has come from Japanese and Manchurian CW pilots with Central Asian War experience into the ranks of II/2e REP. Vietnamese soldiers from Canton’s Indochina province aren’t as common in the REP as in other units but are a distinct presence. There is a similar presence of Polish soldiers, and a small minority of Czechs. Italian soldiers, often with experience in Italian quasi-mercenary units can also be found in the ranks of the REP. For some reason, the number of Africans in the REPs has always been much lower than in the rest of the Legion. Most soldiers are from Earth or Tirane, with a few from the colony worlds.

The First Step

The actual process of enlistment into the French Foreign Legion is a simple one, just report to any of the Legion’s depots and the process begins. The French Foreign Legion has recruitment centers all across France. The first contract is usually for 5-year terms, or for the duration of the conflict in wartime. You may obtain more information HERE.

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