Mt Garbi, 3rd February 1982

Pink Floyd

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I did the march to the top of the mountain in 1990 and '91. The monument is made out of one of the wings of the Noratlas plane that crashed. A very isolated spot in that small African country indeed.
R.I.P. to all...
 

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Papillon

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The strangest thing I remember was that it was like the Elephant in the Room never really talked about within 4 Cie. Don’t know if any other guys from the REP had similar experience. The rotation comes round fast and the job has to keep on course it’s the beer that fixes the sh*t best medicine at times in my eyes but I never really did need an excuse to.
RIP Brothers (27) if memory is right Legion personal.
 
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mark wake

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it was a tough time in the REP when this happened. i remember when they brought the bodies back home. (Camp raffalli) officers and men from every company took turns in standing garde of honor by the coffins until we buried them. Some of them i knew. Capt. chanson. a good officer ex 2nd co. S/chef storai a tough no nonsense nco. Had took part in the loyada op. and sgt. woutier knew him as a caporal. Jumped at kolwezi with me. Pilot error or aircraft malfunction it doesn’t matter now. in airborne par for the course! they were good lads all of them. and the elite of the legion. Rest In Peace my brothers.
 

Joseph Cosgrove

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it was a tough time in the REP when this happened. i remember when they brought the bodies back home. (Camp raffalli) officers and men from every company took turns in standing garde of honor by the coffins until we buried them. Some of them i knew. Capt. chanson. a good officer ex 2nd co. S/chef storai a tough no nonsense nco. Had took part in the loyada op. and sgt. woutier knew him as a caporal. Jumped at kolwezi with me. Pilot error or aircraft malfunction it doesn’t matter now. in airborne par for the course! they were good lads all of them. and the elite of the legion. Rest In Peace my brothers.
Well said Mark.
 

dusaboss

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The strangest thing I remember was that it was like the Elephant in the Room never really talked about within 4 Cie. Don’t know if any other guys from the REP had similar experience.
Why you think that was a case? Reading this looks to me that somebody really f-up something badly. They crashed into mountain. Those things shouldn't happen with plans.
 

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Why you think that was a case? Reading this looks to me that somebody really f-up something badly. They crashed into mountain. Those things shouldn't happen with plans.
According to the report on the web, visibility was bad that morning; so much so that the second bird lost visual contact with the first shortly after takeoff. No vis means the pilots of the doomed plane were flying by instruments. Unfortunately, the instruments weren't accurate, and they probably thought they were higher than they actually were.

Point is, you can fly by instruments in zero vis conditions-- RAF Bomber Command did almost all their flying at night during WW2-- but your instruments better be right, or accidents will happen.
 

Papillon

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Why you think that was a case? Reading this looks to me that somebody really f-up something badly. They crashed into mountain. Those things shouldn't happen with plans.
Accidents happen in 76 if memory is right we also lost 6 in a helicopter crash unfortunately these situations are part and parcel of military life, sometimes the investigations never get to the real reason or truth!
 

Rapace

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Why you think that was a case? Reading this looks to me that somebody really f-up something badly. They crashed into mountain. Those things shouldn't happen with plans.
As always, a plane accident (or any other type of accident for that matter) is always due to multiple causes. In that case, the main one was a pilot error who didn't set the altimeter properly, which led him to overestimate the aircraft actual altitude. Coupled with low visibility and the fact that the plane didn't follow the previously planned route it ended as we know.
Not really surprising that nobody really wanted to talk about it. I experienced the same phenomenon in my own regiment, which suffered almost all the losses in the explosion of the Drakkar outpost in Beirut (Lebanon) in Oct 1983, the same day as the attack on the USMC position in the same city. I joined one year later and nobody really wanted to discuss this, not even some of the few survivors who were still around.
 

Crawdad

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As always, a plane accident (or any other type of accident for that matter) is always due to multiple causes. In that case, the main one was a pilot error who didn't set the altimeter properly, which led him to overestimate the aircraft actual altitude. Coupled with low visibility and the fact that the plane didn't follow the previously planned route it ended as we know.
Not really surprising that nobody really wanted to talk about it. I experienced the same phenomenon in my own regiment, which suffered almost all the losses in the explosion of the Drakkar outpost in Beirut (Lebanon) in Oct 1983, the same day as the attack on the USMC position in the same city. I joined one year later and even nobody really wanted to discuss this, not even some of the few survivors who were still around.
1er RCP, then. Now I see why you go by “Rapace”.

Unrelated question; why does 1er RCP use the color orange on its rank insignia?
 

Rapace

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Yes, 1er RCP. I thought everybody knew... :D. Each branch has a specific colour for those so-called soutaches in French which are lines embroidered around lozenge-shaped sleeves patches (see picture below), with the regiment number inside and the ranks above (if/when ranks are worn on the sleeves). The colours are green for the Legion, sky blue for the Transmissions (Signals), dark blue for heavy Cavalry, etc. Orange was chosen for the Chasseurs Parachutistes (1er RCP is now the only regiment left, but there were several others in the past), but I don't know precisely why.
Another point is the number of soutaches. Normally it's only 2, but some regiments have 3 when they were created outside of mainland France. In the case of 1er RCP it was created in Fès (Morocco) in 1943, from previous French airborne units created before WWII. The model was the standard American PIR (Parachute Infantry Regiment) present in the US 82nd and then 101st Abn Div.


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Pink Floyd

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Lack of visibility is correct. Driving up from sea-level (Djibouti ville) to Arta was treacherous. The low level clouds that would greet you made visibility beyond 20-30 metres near impossible. Even the camp in Arta was "pea soup" during day and night at times. On top of Sierra Mike was always a surreal experience at 2 or 3 in the morning (guard 24). Photo shows some of the mountain ranges in Djibouti '1990.
 

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