33 years old preparing for joining

Joseph Cosgrove

Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. As Andy says the Legion, or at least the selection, is upgrading. Luc-Léger and pull-ups minimums have gone up and they've added now the 25 metres swimming. The swimming part I have been harking on about for a long time. In every commando that I have done , Mont-Louis, Guyane, Martinique and Djibouti all have involved swimming. Then there are the company challenges. It's been said that at the end of basic you are expected to be able to swim 100 metres and 10 metres underwater.
Summer time is coming so get out your trunks. OK in places like Mali, where it's all beach, you won't be putting your Johnny Weissmuller skills into action, but when you go on your corporal's course you will need to pass the swimming test.
You say getting rejected was to be expected. Did you go knowing you had a smaller than normal chance? Everything seemed fine, even your age shouldn't have been an issue since plenty of guys have gotten in at 33 or older. What was the issue? Anyway good write up. Good luck in whatever you do next.
Last edited:
On my flight back home I noted things about my experience and now I have time for another post.

For the future candidates, you have no reason to be afraid, legion's staff behaves professionally, they know what they have to do. Every volunteer receives his share of "kurva", usualy because he do not understands the orders, sometimes someone is called "mongol", and sometimes we all did "pompe" push-ups as punishment. If the DSPLE personal is not friendly, do not take it personally, they probably want to check your reactions, body language, and even if they mean it, if you want to be part of their club, you must play by their rules.

The candidates (EV = engage voluntaire) come from all over the world, but most of them are from Brazil and the former USSR (Russia and Ukraine mainly, and some from Moldova, Belarus, Kazakhstan). I think half of the candidates speak either Russian or Portuguese. There were a few people from Nepal, Madagascar, France and South Africa. The rest of us came from: Albania, Algeria, Colombia, England, Hungary, India, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Slovakia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, US, Venezuela, and I believe one guy was from Senegal. I am sure there were people from other countries, but I do not know or remeber for now. I guy came from Tahiti with the help of the new preselection center there, they pay for his trip to Aubagne, and he made it to rouge stage of selection.

Less than half of the EV's spoke English. It was a shock at first. With the brazilians I could use to comunicate a combinaion of french and spanish, but in russian I know only: da, niet and harasho.

The age of the EV's was between 18 and 39. I know two 31 years old and one 33 years old who made it to rouge. Some guys with military experience, with wife, with children, tattos, glasses made it to rouge stage.

Every morning the corporals asked us if someone wanted to go civil (papa, mama, playstation), and on Friday, they announced that Saturday and Sunday you can not go civil, and if you want to go home, you must to go today. Only four people I remember that they asked to leave. They were from Spain, New Zealand, England and Mexico.

If you come from EU or Schengen zones, you can bring only your passport and birth certificate. You can let home or to a friend your ID and drivers lincence. If you make it into the legion, when you are on vacation, with your ID you will be able to travel across EU and Schengen areas, and with your drivers licence and a valid bank card you could rent a car. You could also go to your embassy or consulate, explain your situation and ask for a new passport. But be careful, you are not allowed to hold these documents until you are rectified, if the legion fiinds out, you will be punish.

I recommend that you make copies of your study papers and bring the copies. You could bring them in your phone, or on a SD card, USB stick, even a CD. You could keep them in your mail acount or in the cloud. Make them in jpg or pdf formats at 300 dpi.

For medical documents I believe it is better to bring the originals.

The DSPLE people want to know you better, to know that they can trust you. I believe it helps if you bring digital photos with you, your family, friends, girlfriends, to see that your are a social creatures, with a normal life and hobies. You can also show them your social media profiles if you have. But be careful, maibe you come from a good life, to good for your sake.

Every day you will work (corvee), your first weapons (premier fusils) will be the broom and the scrape (balai et racle). You will do a lot of cleaning, you will help at the kitchen, at the warehouse, you will see.

The food in Aubagne and Malmousque it is very good, I ate everything they gave me. Some complain that there was little food, especially at breakfast, but it was enough for me. For the past year I did intermitent fasting to lose weight, in my case, I found out that staying away from bread helps me with not feeling hungry in the evening and not feeling bloated. I have eaten bread only at breakfast.

I had all my things in an 30L rucsack. It was the good choice, easy to travel by plane and to walk with it, but in the legion you will not have the time to put everything inside the rucksack in good order, so the solution is to bring a bigger bag or to be more selective with what you bring. My problem was that I have taken a huge towel, 70x130 cm, and that I had 2 pairs of shoes, a street pair and the running pair. I recommend that you take only the running shoes with you, you will not have time to destroy them in selection, and if you make it to become a legionnaire, it will not matter. The towel can be a lot smaller too. Bring some plastic bags to separate the clean dry clothes from the dirty wet ones in your bag. And I repeat, it is not a problem if you bring 5-6 pairs of t-shirts, underwears and socks. And I recommend you have another pair of pants. After the commission for rouge, the ones that were not accepted were taken by minibus to the St. Charles train station in Marseile. My clothes were a little wrinkled, I went to a hotel to get a room, I took a shower, I chose the cleanest clothes I had and then I went to a Decathlon shop to buy new pants and t-shirts.

Next time I will post about my experience day by day.
Great write up, how many guys who were 18-20 make it? Some have wondered if they prefered guys in their early to mid 20's for maturity reasons.

As for the guys over 30 it seems not many were taken, were there just not many of them to start with or were they eliminated in higher numbers than usual? None of the guys over 34 made it, so were any of the guys from 34 to 39 actually good candidates? As in looking fit and testing well, motivated and with good backgrounds or were they old balding dudes with pot bellies, and limps, (not to mention the nagging wife and 5 kids at home)? haha

Apart from age, what set the guys who were selected apart from those who were sent home in your opinion?

The DSPLE people want to know you better, to know that they can trust you. I believe it helps if you bring digital photos with you, your family, friends, girlfriends, to see that your are a social creatures, with a normal life and hobies. You can also show them your social media profiles if you have. But be careful, maibe you come from a good life, to good for your sake.
I don't like the sound of this, I don't have many pictures of me. I have no facebook and my life is fairly boring. I live on my own and I just train and go to work. No gf, no real social life and fairly repetitive.
I don't have many people.


Hyper Active Member
I don't like the sound of this, I don't have many pictures of me. I have no facebook and my life is fairly boring. I live on my own and I just train and go to work. No gf, no real social life and fairly repetitive.
I don't have many people.
Don't worry about that DanSorin told you that would be helpful to have pics, but that is in case they are bit suspicious in your life story. FB profile is not mandatory for FFL :)

Joseph Cosgrove

I don't like the sound of this, I don't have many pictures of me. I have no facebook and my life is fairly boring. I live on my own and I just train and go to work. No gf, no real social life and fairly repetitive.
I don't have many people.
anire123, I would wait a while before getting worried about what DanSorin says about pictures and facebook. This is the first time anyone has mentioned it.
As I've said everyone has a different story to tell of how they were interviewed. If I was to join now, I'd say that I have not got a facebook account. I do not have any photos of my family (legion not counting here). Also you have to remember that the legion is always under scrutiny nowadays.

Could you imagine if a journalist was to "try" and join. the legion asked for for photos of me and my family. Not to mention facebook..
Again this is only an opinion that DanSorin has offered.
Ok, I will clarify about the photos. The DSPLE people, at my interview, had all my documents and my smartphone in front of them. They saw that in the photos on my ID and driver's license I was fatter, I had 20 and 35 kg more, they did not like that, so they ask me if I lose weight, why and how. Then they want to see more pictures of me from the last years. In my phone I did not have any and they ask for my FB account. In my FB account the same, I do not have any pictures of me, last year when I decided about the legion, I deleted all my photos. It was not so smart for me because I had some good pictures with my fat ass doing hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, I even had scan pictures from when I was in highschool and I was playing rugby. But during my interview there were other things about my answers and my past that they did not like. All my interviews were like: "I don't trust you, you lie, you hide things".

About the medical documents, if you had a medical problem and you have signs from it, it is best to bring documents. In my case i had no broken bones, no scars, no glasses, only a tooth implant and I have documents for it. Before I did my implant I had to do blood tests, so I did bring my blood results from last year because they are good. A month before Aubagne I did clean my ears and I did a tonal audiometry, good results so I did bring the paper with the tonal audiometry. And I had with me a document with all the vaccines I did as a child.

Medically I was and I am well. Before going to France I was at a pharmacy and using a smart scale I took my measurements, I had a BMI of 24.1 and a body fat percentage of 15.7%.

And now about the numbers of blues and rouges. I arrive on a Monday afternoon at the gate of 1RE in Aubagne and Wednesday afternoon I was a blue. More about my days there when I will have time to write about my experience day by day. I do not know the exact numbers of blues and rouges in my first days there, I believe they were more than twenty rouges and a lot of blues. Now I am sorry I did not ask. In my first night as a blue my room was full, all 20 beds. But I do not remember if we blues were in 3 or 4 rooms. Probably only 3 rooms and let say that the numbers of blues were between 55 and 60. Next day, Thursday, was the day of the commission of blues for rouge selection. This day the rouge who finnish all their tests leave for Castelnaudary. In my 10 days there there were some rouges on "retard" (on waiting), that they did not leave with the others for basic training. From what I heard this was because medical problems that were find out in rouge medical tests. This day, Thursday, the old blues, the blues that did finnish all their tests and interviews go for the rouge commission. I believe they were around 40 blues and I know that were chosen 27-29 of them for rouge stage.

I remember about two older guys that were chosen for rouge. A 30 or 31 years old guy from US. I did spoke with him everyday in Aubagne. No problem for a blue and rouge to speak to one and other. And a 30 or 31 years old guy from Moldova. He is former military with wife and child, but he knew french well. He was one of the first people I spoke to as a blue.

Thursday afternoon, after the commision we here around 20 guys as blue. Very empty place, was strange.

Next Tuesday a lot of guys become blue, some of them arrived from Paris. And with the other guys who become blues on Thursday, Friday and Monday, we were again over 50 blues in there. Wednesday evening we were 55 or 57, again 3 full rooms of blues.

On Thursday I was a old blue for the rouge commission, we were only 27 and 18 from us were chosen to become rouge. I believe they wanted to take more but they did not have from whom to chose. From us 9 rejected, only one guy I know for sure he was under 25, the rest I thing we all were over 25 years old and I do not thing that any of us knew well French.

Two older guys were selected, a 31 years old guy from Russia, he knew English and he was one of the EV's I talked to the most in there. Another 33 years old, from Belarus, he did not knew any French or English, cool guy, I was with him and two other from Ukraine over the week-end in Malmousque doing corvees.

Other older EV's i knew of, a 34 years old from Albania, did not make it to blue stage, and a 39 years old from Russia or Ukraine, he was in the same commission as me and was not selected. I am sure there were others.

Two EV's with previous military experience were selected, both of them around 25 years old, one from Brazil and one from Thailand.

More than half of EV's are 20-25 years old, most of the EV's, old or young, are athletic and I believe they have a BMI between 22 and 24. New EV's come everyday, so the legion has plenty of young healthy guys to chose from.
Last edited:


Hyper Active Member
Is it necessary to bring any document apart from passport? On official site they say that birth certificate is needed. Is it? I suppose if it's needed have to be in French.
If I was flying tomorow to Aubagne, I would take with me only my passport, a debit card with at least 300 euros, 100 euro in small bills and coins and an old smartphone good enough for fiinding and paying for a plane ticket, in case I would be rejected. No birth certificate, no ID, no driver's licence, no school and califications diplomas, no medical papers.
Thank you, I have read Duolingo recommendations on the forum, I tried the app yesterday and I like it.

I subscribed to this YT channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/learnfrenchwithalexa/ and I use https://www.onlinevideoconverter.com/video-converter to save mp3's or mp4's with what interests me, copy them to my phone or Mp3 Player, but please, have an adblock plugin installed before you use this site.

I will take with me a pocket dictionary and a conversation guide.

Regiment food is more than good for me. At the end of February I started to practice intermittent fasting, works for me, I lost over 20 kg. Now at a BMI of 26, I want to lose another 5-7 kg, which will help me with my fitness level.

Are days when I do exercise and I only eat apples, bananas and cold milk with instant coffee and no sugar. I always drink plenty of water.

In Aubagne I plan to not eat before the Leg Lugger test, only drink. Coffee, tea and tap water are fine. Also in the days when I will have to take the medical tests, before them, I will drink a lot of water and stay away from food and coffee. From the stories I read, I want to be save from more investigations, wrong piss colour, high blood pressure... I don't know to have problems, but you never know, being out of my comfort zone and with the stress of an unknown environment.
Hey Dan, I am going in 5 days and was wondering what got you the inept defi, email me dax.mcknight.army@gmail.com if you wish to keep it private. Thanks brother

Joseph Cosgrove

Well, I can tell you that I know of someone (and no, I'm not one of these guys who knows someone who can only do one pull-up and only level 2 on Luc-Léger, but still manage to get o_O! They're sensationalists) who got inapte définitif and wrote a letter to the general commanding the Legion. He is currently serving.
How do I know, because Erika translated the letter he was going to write when we were in Mali into French.
Dan if you ever want to give it another go, send a letter to the COMLE asking for another chance. It obviously will not reach the general, but it will be taken into consideration by the appropriate office.


Top Poster Of Month
don´t give up Bro...try again. write a letter like Joe said. :) you don´t try ..you won´t get. still young enough... plenty of time to rest when your dead :ROFLMAO: