French Foreign Legion

I wana join im ex army and unlike most I'm serious, I have nothing here no family nothing, I wish I new if I was guaranteed entry, don't wana waste people's time but I went to prison for supply of drugs in 2002 10 years ago. Some people say it will be ok some people say you won't get in some people say don't tell em, I wish just somebody that actually knew facts could tell me. I've tried to contact the ffl but no joy. I don't wana go leave job etc then come back a week later with no job etc
Foxman79 Foxman79
31-35, M
2 Responses Jan 13, 2013

Do they take post braces? (retainer)

I went through selection November 2010 at the time I was 34 years of age,former US Marine infantry, university graduate and project manager/proposal writer. As you obviously can guess I was rejected, from my experience; I can say that it's hard not to compare your previous service with the way that things are done in Aubagne. The French do not lead by example nor do the enlisted appear to think for themselves, furthermore the tests are not that hard, even the medical I would consider criminal since they do not check anything other than your spine, knees and ankles.

When I went I travelled through Paris having spent a week there basically on vacation before I boarded the train down to Marseille. The best place to join is in Aubagne, which can be reached via train from the Gare de Charles, cost is 4 Euro one way. The French take a 2 hour lunch break from noon to 2PM so there's no point in going sooner. There is a sign posted on the door, near the gate which you might recall from youtube videos. They do not process you there, as the sign only notes articles of toiletries and undergarments that you must have before they even let you in. A caporal chef will lead you and the others inside, he will take you to the pre-selection building here they catalogue your personal items, and allow you to keep some pocket money, all your valuables are sealed in an envelope.

You don't do much over the next couple of days other than an initial interview, where they ask you your reasons for joining, then it's a medical examination if you pass the exam. They take you to an admin building where you sign the initial 5 year contract after that you go next door to the Centre du Selection et Incorporation this is where you're given a blue track suit, black t-shirt, 2 pairs underwear and socks, a musette bag with your toiletries, and linen. They show you where you can and cannot go, most of your time if not doing tests or going on working parties will be spent outside in the yard.
The typical day looks like this; 4:30 AM reveille after which you fold your sheets into a "boudin" and your blankets into a square configuration. The boudin/sheets goes over the blankets in a union jack pattern, you shave after that then you go outside and wait until you hear a siren that calls you to assemble. Breakfast is a baguette roll and a bowl of either coffee or hot chocolate. After that you wait until 8 AM for the next assembly, this is where they call out names for tests or they ask for volunteers for working parties.

Basically they have assembly/appels about 6 or more times per day; the first test that you will do is the psycho-technical test which is real easy unless you happen to not be that bright. In my group of 16 only 2 failed the test, however the guys from the day before had 12 out of 14 fail. So, it all depends on the group that you're with; the tests are completed in the morning, any failures are discharged that same day in the mid afternoon. The next morning or following Monday (no tests are completed on weekends) you do the sports test which consists of a 20 metre shuttle run, and pullups. A minimum pass is 7 paliers (a palier is 120 metres in total) and 4 pullups; I suggest that you bust your @ss on the shuttle run, the pullups I would train for at a soccer/football field. The legion's pullup bars aren't taped and they're made close to the ground so you end up having to bend your knees, also there's condensation on the bars given the time of day that the test is performed. For your information I did 9 paliers and 15 pullups, most of the guys did between 7-10 paliers and around 5-8 pullups.

After you pass the sports test you're given a green t-shirt and the background checks and the gestapo interviews begin; first off you meet with someone that speaks your language, he wants to know what questions you have that need clarification (he's scoping you out though), then you meet with a Francophone that asks you where you want to be posted (2eme REP is not a popular as it used to be, most guys want to go to 2eme REI in Nimes) after you meet with these two you then meet with a psychiatrist who only speaks French, same questions are asked. Being an Anglophone, it's not hard to pick up French as it is for other nationalities, so I would not worry about the language barrier. Trust me on this, French is probably the easiest foreign tongue for an English speaker to learn.

The gestapo interview follows in the afternoon, mine lasted about 6 hours; this was mainly because of my age, life experience and the fact that I was from North America. There's nothing intimidating about this it's basically the interviewer typing and asking you questions every now and then, he will often pass you a sheet of paper to write in locations and dates. Since you're former military sitting for a long period of time shouldn't be a problem.

Once, the gestapo interview is complete, they put your file in for Thursday's Rouge Commission this is where they decide who's accepted and who's not. They will call out those who's files are being considered at 2PM Thursday afternoon, this is where you know if they accept you or not. Out of 36 of us, they chose 15 and rejected 21. The common profile of those accepted was 18-25 years of age, underweight/skinny, only one had previous military experience, most had no life experience or profession.

Now, the hard part for you to hear; they will refuse you entry if you have been arrested for drugs, murder or anything of that sort. Depending on where you're from, if you're American you might be able to hide the fact of your past incarceration since other than Interpol you yourself are the only source of information for them. However, if you're English it's easier for them to check into your background. Yet the gestapo guys are very good at what they do, the questions asked require a very detailed reply so be prepared to account for that missing period of time, for instance you can say tell them that you were backpacking for that length of time.

If you make it as far as the Rouge Commission and are rejected they give you an "Inapte Definitif" which means that's it, no more chances. Failure on any other tests equals an "Inapte Temporaire" which obviously means that you can try again in the future. Like I said at the beginning it's not what you think it will be; being prior service is more of a problem at least in comparing your previous service to what you will encounter.

Now, my personal impressions; I had wanted nothing other than to join the legion for years, I finally went after spending a year training the Marine Corps way, studying French and reading everything that I could to prepare. All of this other than maintaining a decent fitness level was unnecessary, everyone in selection speaks English even the legionnaires, most of the guys there shouldn't be there. For instance, you will meet a lot of overweight guys to include bodybuilders in pre-selection, for these guys it was basically a waste of money even bothering to show up, same with guys needing dental work. None of them even made it past pre-selection, a former Bulgarian paratrooper was told to lose 10 kilos despite being nothing but muscle and having trained for 2 years before showing up. Also you will meet a lot of nutters and crazies in pre-selection granted most do not speak English so any friends you make while waiting in pre-selection will tell you about them. (guys have a tendency to toss pebbles at each other mainly due to boredom, just be aware of this).

In selection proper, the novelty of the exercise equipment wears off quickly, aside from tests and going on working parties, most of your time will be spent conversing with your fellow engage voluntaires. Most of the guys are okay, while in selection I was friends with the Russians/Eastern Europeans, Chinese, Spanish/Latin Americans, Italians and one American. (He made it by the way). Having an assortment of friends helps in that these guys will look out for you, (basically they'll make sure you don't get anything stolen, as theft is common) and it helps pass the time. Being a loner will not work very well for you here, also despite the myth of not discussing your past with other engage voluntaires most guys will talk about their past freely. One former Spanish Marine was on the run after stabbing his NCO and somehow breaking out of the brig, so you see depending on whether the other guys trust you, you will hear stories like these.

Finally, I would still go at least it's one less thing to think about if they don't accept you just be aware that the legion of today is not the legion before 2001, as the French Army is professional now, so the legion is not utilized the way that it has been in the past.
Bonne Chance!

Thanks for putting this.... I don't know what to do now... I think after being interviewed its unlikely I will be accepted . I can't lie as it won't take long for them to figure out... If my passport was different name changed by depoll I wonder how they would check though?? As I don't think u will need your birth certificate.... I think changing names etc is hardly something the legion can criticise as they are famous for it....

You're correct the only document that they require is your passport, any discharge papers, diplomas or certificates would also be helpful. For a fee you can have the originals photocopied and notarized by a lawyer, this allows you to leave the originals at home rather than have them damaged if you carry them with you.
They no longer do the name change as of October 2010, unless you disclose a reason for doing so; remember the Spanish Marine in my reply? He let the legion know his reasons for being there in his pre-selection interview, because of this they changed his name (he failed the psycho-technical test if you must know).
Also, the background check doesn't end after being selected "rouge", a Russian rouge engage voluntaire received the boot after he lied to the gestapo, in his interview. This surprised me a little, anyway it makes sense for them to verify your details even after being selected.
By the way, you do get fingerprinted, so if your prints are on a database there's really no point in changing your name. I suggest that you follow the reply posted below, they won't have access to your arrest report or conviction details. Only the fact that you do have a conviction listed.

Would they be able to access my juvenile record, I have a drug conviction.

Regarding your juvenile record, it all depends on the country, state or province where you are from. Canadians for example have their juvenile records sealed once they reach the age of majority. If you are American it might be different, so I would not lie about that if this applies to you. The only significant problem this might cause you is if you were to try to be trained as a corpsman/medic.

This has been the most helpful post!!
Thank You both.

Hi there, I really want to join but i already got rejected by the belgian army because of my hearing. now my question is how is the hearing exam there? And can i ask why you got rejected? seems like you were one of the best guys out there.

Hey quick question. I've been reading on the FFL's non-official site because I want to join due to the fact that the Marines won't take anyone with Felony (3rd degree) assault charges on both my Juvenile and adult records. I've been training and I already took a Psycho-technical test in Spanish which resulted in a 98 despite the language barrier. I believe that was rated at average. I just want to know if I'm wasting my time because I wasn't exactly going to lie about my criminal record ya know? I want to do it for the right reasons and get that new identity/passport and a clean slate so I can go be a Merc after 5 years. My dad is Ex-Army ranger and my grandfather was a 30 year Lt. Colonel. What chance does a guy in my situation have? I'm serving 36 months on probation for the recent assault charge which will be dropped to a misdemeanor after I complete successfully. I want to redeem my honor. The corps, much as I love em' won't let me join. Self-inflicted I know, but seriously, what chance do I have? Am I wasting my time? If this info helps based on what you told the other guy I'm almost 24, my height is 5'8", I weigh 142 pounds (trying to build up to 160 or 170 at least) and have a diploma and everything but I don't know how to do **** other than construction and write Horror books. I want to join the Paratroop regiment so I'm sort of hoping I'm passable in my situation. Let me know what ya think. Thanks for being up front dude.

Hi bro i really like your post is really helpful but i need to ask you question if you don't mind
I'm 24 years i have a bachelor in aeronautical engineering and physical fit i want to join Legion and my question is do you have sample or where i can get psycho-technical test sample I'm really worried about that test. thank you.......

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