Honor and Pride: The French Foreign Legion’s Code

Eric Sof

Hundreds of individuals aspire to join the French Foreign Legion, yet only a small percentage, approximately 10-15 per recruiting class, are accepted. The French Foreign Legion, known as the Légion Étrangère in French, is a highly renowned military unit established in 1831 to allow foreign individuals to serve in the French Armed Forces. Upon completing the initial four weeks of Basic Training, new members of the Foreign Legion are presented with the distinctive white Kepi, symbolizing their advancement to the next phase of their training.

Upon receiving their white Kepis, new members of the French Foreign Legion recite the unit’s seven-article Code of Honor, reaffirming their commitment to live by the motto: “Legio Patria nostra,” which translates to “The Legion is our homeland.” This code serves as a reminder of the pride and loyalty that Foreign Legionnaires hold for their unit and country.

Sappers of the French Foreign Legion.

Article 1

As a Legionnaire, you have the honor of serving France with dedication and loyalty.

Article 2

As a Legionnaire, you are expected to uphold the values of the French Foreign Legion’s Code of Honor, which includes treating every other unit member as a brother in arms. This means showing the same level of solidarity and support towards every other Legionnaire, regardless of their nationality, race, or religion. This bond is an integral part of what makes the French Foreign Legion a cohesive and formidable force on the battlefield.

French Foreign Legionnaires in Afghanistan.

Article 3

As a member of the French Foreign Legion, you are expected to uphold the unit’s values and virtues, including respect for traditions, devotion to your leaders, discipline, and comradeship. These qualities are what make you a strong and capable Legionnaire.

Article 4

As a proud member of the French Foreign Legion, you are expected to consistently display impeccable personal presentation, including maintaining a tidy and dignified appearance in your uniform and living quarters. This pride in your status as a Legionnaire is reflected in your behavior, which should always be modest and respectful.

Article 5

As an elite soldier in the French Foreign Legion, you are expected to maintain a high level of physical fitness and devote yourself to rigorous training. Your weapon is crucial in your role as a Legionnaire and should be treated with the utmost care and respect. You must maintain your physical form constantly to perform your duties effectively and to uphold the high standards of the unit.

Article 6

As a member of the French Foreign Legion, you are expected to carry out your missions with the utmost dedication and commitment, even if it means risking your life. The task is a sacred duty, and your responsibility is to see it through to completion.

Article 7

In combat, you are expected to act professionally and disciplined without letting your emotions cloud your judgment. You are expected to respect defeated enemies and never abandon your wounded, dead, or equipment on the battlefield.

* The Code of Honor of the French Foreign Legion is written in French and translated into other languages for non-native French speakers to understand. Some nuances or subtleties of the original French version may be lost in translation, and the language may not sound as natural or fluent to native French speakers as the original. However, the translated version should still convey the same meaning and represent the values and principles expected of Legionnaires.

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