Ranks in the French Foreign Legion

For years, all recruits are also volunteers in the French Foreign Legion, a unit which hosted foreign fighters through history. They begin their careers as basic legionnaires with one in four eventually becoming a non-commissioned officer (sous-officier). On joining, a new legionnaire receives a monthly salary (pay) of €1,200 in addition to food and lodgings. He is also given his own new rifle, which according to the lore of the Legion must never be left on a battlefield. French Foreign Legion promotion is concurrent with the regular ranks in the French Army.

Ordinary Legionnaires (Soldats du rang)

French Foreign Legion rank: Equivalent rank (English): NATO Code for position: Period of service before being eligible for promotion: Insignia
Engagé Volontaire Recruit 15 weeks basic training. None
Legionnaire 2e Classe Private / 2nd Class Legionnaire OR-1 On completion of training and Marche képi blanc (March of the White Kepi) None
Legionnaire 1e Classe Lance Corporal / 1st Class Legionnaire OR-2 After 10 months of service Première classe Légion.PNG
Caporal Corporal OR-3 Possible after 1-year of service, known as the Fonctionnaire Caporal (or Caporal “Fut Fut”) course. Recruits selected for this course need to show good leadership skills during basic training. Caporal Légion.png
Caporal Chef Senior Corporal OR-4 After 6 years of service. Caporal-chef Legion.png

No further promotions are given to non-French Legionnaires on attaining the rank of Caporal Chef.

Non-commissioned officers (Sous-officiers)

Non-commissioned officers (Sous-officiers) account for 25% of the current Foreign Legion’s total manpower.

French Foreign Legion rank: Equivalent rank (English): NATO Code for position: Period of service before being eligible for promotion: Insignia
Sergent Sergeant OR-5 After 3 years of service as Caporal. Sergent.png
Sergent Chef Senior Sergeant OR-6 After 3 years as Sergent and between 7 to 14 years of service. Sergent-chef.png
Adjudant Warrant Officer OR-8 After 3 years as Sergent Chef. Adjudant.png
Adjudant Chef Senior Warrant Officer OR-9 After 4 years as Adjutant and at least 14 years service. Adjudant-chef.png
Major Regimental Sergeant Major OR-9 Appointment by either: (i) passing an examination or
(ii) promotion after a minimum of 14 years service
(without an examination).
Major-French-Army.png

French military rank of major has been attached to the sous-officiers since 1 January 2009. Prior to this, Major was an independent rank between non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers. It is an executive position within a regiment or demi-brigade responsible for senior administration, standards and discipline inside French Foreign Legion and French Army.

Commissioned officers (Officiers)

Most commissioned officers are seconded from the French Army though roughly 10% are former non-commissioned officers promoted from the regular ranks.

French Foreign Legion rank: Equivalent rank (English): NATO Code for position: Command responsibility: Insignia
Aspirant Cadet OF(D) Aspirant de l'armée de terre.png
Sous-Lieutenant Second lieutenant OF-1 Junior section leader Sous-lieutenant.png
Lieutenant First lieutenant OF-1 A section. Lieutenant.png
Capitaine Captain OF-2 A company. Capitaine.png
Commandant Major OF-3 A battalion. Commandant.png
Lieutenant-Colonel Lieutenant colonel OF-4 Junior régiment or demi-brigade leader. Lieutenant-colonel.png
Colonel Colonel OF-5 A régiment or demi-brigade. Colonel.png
Général de Brigade Brigadier general OF-6 Entire French Foreign Legion Insigne général de brigade.png

Chevrons of seniority (Chevrons d’ancienneté)

The French Foreign Legion remains the only branch of the French Army that still uses chevrons to indicate seniority. Each gold chevron, which are only used by ordinary legionnaires and noncommissioned officers, denotes five years with the French Foreign Legion. They are worn beneath the rank insignia.

Today, the French Foreign Legion is serving to the France when their interests are at quest, worldwide.


I'm the active duty law enforcement officer serving in SWAT unit. My hobby's are firearms, skiing, martial arts.

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