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Good evening everyone!

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Greetings!

I am from and currently reside within the United States. I spent the last 10 years or so in the US Army, but it has been a goal of mine for some time to pursue an enlistment within the French Foreign Legion. Although I enjoyed my years of service in the American military, I felt I was more than due for a change and wanted to pursue something different. It is my plan to enlist within the Legion sometime early next year. I am currently working on some master’s degree credit to kill some time until traveling gets a little more regular abroad, getting my vaccines, selling personal belongs, and getting my sh$t in order before I leave and take the plunge. I have met some super helpful people on some of the FFL groups on Facebook, and after discovering this forum, I was eager to join to hopefully engage with others with experience that can help provide me with some insight as well.

Anyway, thank you for your time and I hope everyone is having a great week!
 
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USMCRET

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Many thanks sir, and thank you for having me 🙏

Respectfully,

Vagrant
You are welcome, so look, I had to o from 25 to 45 on active duty. At first, in the Legion, you will encounter 21 or 22 year old Corporals that you will take orders from, you know that all ready Soldier. But, maturity always comes to the forefront and in my cases I went from Marine Corps Private to Sergeant in my first enlistment, 3 years 11 months and then Staff Sergeant at 7 years. It is do able but harder, but if your a PT stud you will be fine, Maturity will show through and you know how to handle the Feck Feck games in basic. So, don't waste time and get there ASAP, best of luck
 
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You are welcome, so look, I had to o from 25 to 45 on active duty. At first, in the Legion, you will encounter 21 or 22 year old Corporals that you will take orders from, you know that all ready Soldier. But, maturity always comes to the forefront and in my cases I went from Marine Corps Private to Sergeant in my first enlistment, 3 years 11 months and then Staff Sergeant at 7 years. It is do able but harder, but if your a PT stud you will be fine, Maturity will show through and you know how to handle the Feck Feck games in basic. So, don't waste time and get there ASAP, best of luck
Thanks for taking the time to respond, really much appreciated. Yeah, I knew there would be the age discrepancy. More than cool with it. I originally enlisted in the ARNG in 2006 when I was 19 and in college, later went active duty when I was 23 after I graduated, and just recently got out at the ten years active mark. So I’ve been in that young leader’s shoes myself. Just turned 34 this month, so although I’m still well below the age limit I am trying to get over there sooner than later. Recently sent out my passport for renewal, and will be purchasing my ticket in advance after I get my updated #. I’ve only been out of the service for about 6 months, but I’m already missing the military life. It’s been nice to grow out the beard and hair for the time being though, haha. But yeah, recently got my Alice pack back out, setting that up again to get back into rucking shape. Mostly been exclusively weight lifting since I’ve been out, so it’s time to get that cardio back in!
 

USMCRET

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The older you are you have to shift to being leaner than more muscled. I found I really hit my prime at 35, I was at my very best. I’d work on the humping to get your feet hard and cardio. Once I got to 42 or so I started to slow because I did not maintain as best as I should
 

Joseph Cosgrove

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Hi Vagrant, I'm inclined to agree with USMCRET, forget about trying to look hunky and concentrate on long distance running. If you are serious about joining the legion you will follow our advice.
 

Joseph Cosgrove

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Oh and look the part when you go to join, the Jesus lookalikes will only get you noticed for the wrong reasons. Have your shirt tucked in and NO baseball cap. Your typical US college drop out look is alright for a job interview at WallMart, remember that you will be watched and noted from day 1.
 
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The older you are you have to shift to being leaner than more muscled. I found I really hit my prime at 35, I was at my very best. I’d work on the humping to get your feet hard and cardio. Once I got to 42 or so I started to slow because I did not maintain as best as I should
Hi Vagrant, I'm inclined to agree with USMCRET, forget about trying to look hunky and concentrate on long distance running. If you are serious about joining the legion you will follow our advice.

Gentlemen,

Great insight. Makes perfect sense. Looks like I’ll be staying with the lower/medium weight with higher volume sets in the gym. I’m currently sitting at about 87kg at 6’0. May try to cut a bit, but that’s typically been a pretty healthy weight for me. I’ll cut out the supplements now though, won’t have them there I guess, so may as well.
Gonna start getting a few miles in every week via rucks, and add a bit of distance and weight every week after. Is there a standard time to hit for marches? I know the standard when I was an infantryman (and later an FO) was 12 miles in 3 hours, with a 35 pound pack (dry). Is this a pretty comparable standard within the Legion?
I’ll definitively adhere to the advice.

thanks a ton,

Vagrant
 
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Oh and look the part when you go to join, the Jesus lookalikes will only get you noticed for the wrong reasons. Have your shirt tucked in and NO baseball cap. Your typical US college drop out look is alright for a job interview at WallMart, remember that you will be watched and noted from day 1.
Sir,

Thanks for bringing this up. It makes sense, though it’s not something I had thought about previously. Looks like I’ll be flying over with a clean shaven face, fresh haircut, and just to be on the safe side, a polo with some khakis to change into before knocking on that door. I do have tattoos up and down both arms, so hopefully that won’t be a deterrence. It’s all professional though, nothing tasteless or extreme.

Many thanks,

Vagrant
 

Joseph Cosgrove

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Hi Vagrant,

No-one calls me sir. I wouldn't advice running or even speed marching with weight before going, you will do more than enough when you are in the legion. You have got to look at the long term effects of what it can do to your knees.
Get yourself a good pair of running shoes and join a running club, get as many certificates as you can.


Keep well away from the shakes. You should start getting used to a legion breakfast too which consists of french loaf, although any bread will do. Jam (jelly in the US), butter and black coffee and fruit juice- which in the legion is cheap watered down stuff (but profit while you can and get quality juice) and a croissant or a pain au chocolate on a Sunday. After your morning's workout, you can have a casse-croûte consisting of bread and a tin (can in the US) of sardines or pâté with milk or orange juice.
 
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Hi Vagrant,

No-one calls me sir. I wouldn't advice running or even speed marching with weight before going, you will do more than enough when you are in the legion. You have got to look at the long term effects of what it can do to your knees.
Get yourself a good pair of running shoes and join a running club, get as many certificates as you can.


Keep well away from the shakes. You should start getting used to a legion breakfast too which consists of french loaf, although any bread will do. Jam (jelly in the US), butter and black coffee and fruit juice- which in the legion is cheap watered down stuff (but profit while you can and get quality juice) and a croissant or a pain au chocolate on a Sunday. After your morning's workout, you can have a casse-croûte consisting of bread and a tin (can in the US) of sardines or pâté with milk or orange juice.
A ton of useful tips here, thank you! I am planning to take all of my military schools certifications as well as my DD214 to prove military experience/service. It will also show deployments as well as time spent overseas in official capacity, so I’m sure it can only help. I did not think about taking my medals paperwork, but I will be sure to include those as well. A few conveniently placed pictures on the phone is a good call too, I did not realize they searched phones; this doesn’t bother me, but it’s still good information to know. Can’t hurt to put a few military photos on there, I’ll also be sure to include some martial arts, sparring/grappling photos on there, haha.

Another bit of advice I got from one of the gentlemen in one of the FFL Facebook groups is to be mindful of what I have on my possession as far as personal documents are concerned when I go through French customs. A too extensive collection of personal records indicates that someone is looking for work (ie: trying to join the Legion for example), however such plans technically require a worker’s visa. I was advised to instead bring a thumb drive of many of these files instead, so that they could not be browsed through at customs, and just print off anything else I wanted to bring at a local Internet café. Of course this won’t work for documents I need originals for (I.e. birth certificate), but maybe a good option for my military records, transcripts, personal files, etc.

I was also told that it’s a good idea to purchase a two way ticket, and to pack a little extra to make it look like a full tourist trip, all just to ensure I don’t have any unforeseen issues at customs. Would you suggest the same?

My apologies in advance for the abundance of questions, but I do appreciate all the insight I can get.

Respectfully,

Vagrant
 
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Hi Vagrant,

No-one calls me sir. I wouldn't advice running or even speed marching with weight before going, you will do more than enough when you are in the legion. You have got to look at the long term effects of what it can do to your knees.
Get yourself a good pair of running shoes and join a running club, get as many certificates as you can.


Keep well away from the shakes. You should start getting used to a legion breakfast too which consists of french loaf, although any bread will do. Jam (jelly in the US), butter and black coffee and fruit juice- which in the legion is cheap watered down stuff (but profit while you can and get quality juice) and a croissant or a pain au chocolate on a Sunday. After your morning's workout, you can have a casse-croûte consisting of bread and a tin (can in the US) of sardines or pâté with milk or orange juice.
On a lighter note, I am a fan of all kinds of salted fish. There’s rarely a time where I don’t have at least one or two cans of sardines or anchovies in my pantry. 👌🏻🐟 A lot of that doesn’t sound too terribly different than what I eat currently. Heh
 

voltigeur

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A ton of useful tips here, thank you! I am planning to take all of my military schools certifications as well as my DD214 to prove military experience/service. It will also show deployments as well as time spent overseas in official capacity, so I’m sure it can only help. I did not think about taking my medals paperwork, but I will be sure to include those as well. A few conveniently placed pictures on the phone is a good call too, I did not realize they searched phones; this doesn’t bother me, but it’s still good information to know. Can’t hurt to put a few military photos on there, I’ll also be sure to include some martial arts, sparring/grappling photos on there, haha.

Another bit of advice I got from one of the gentlemen in one of the FFL Facebook groups is to be mindful of what I have on my possession as far as personal documents are concerned when I go through French customs. A too extensive collection of personal records indicates that someone is looking for work (ie: trying to join the Legion for example), however such plans technically require a worker’s visa. I was advised to instead bring a thumb drive of many of these files instead, so that they could not be browsed through at customs, and just print off anything else I wanted to bring at a local Internet café. Of course this won’t work for documents I need originals for (I.e. birth certificate), but maybe a good option for my military records, transcripts, personal files, etc.

I was also told that it’s a good idea to purchase a two way ticket, and to pack a little extra to make it look like a full tourist trip, all just to ensure I don’t have any unforeseen issues at customs. Would you suggest the same?

My apologies in advance for the abundance of questions, but I do appreciate all the insight I can get.

Respectfully,

Vagrant
In addition it might be a good idea to be able to give the customs agent an address where you will be staying.
Book a hotel for a night to get rid of the jetlag.
They sometimes ask for that if they suspect something fishy.
 
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In addition it might be a good idea to be able to give the customs agent an address where you will be staying.
Book a hotel for a night to get rid of the jetlag.
They sometimes ask for that if they suspect something fishy.
Voltigeur,

Good call. I will most definitely do that, I plan on staying a couple nights at a hotel to kill off all the jetlag before knocking on the door of the Centre de Présélection. I plan on enlisting in Augbane, as that’s what seems to be recommended here. I am debating just flying to Paris initially, just staying for a night or two, then taking a train to Augbane to enlist, as opposed to just flying straight to Augbane. I feel that might alleviate a bit of suspicion as customs at least.

thanks for reaching out,

Vagrant.
 
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