Wanabees, Rambo and the Universe

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Despite the numerous good pieces of advice and interesting postings on this board, it seems to be one or two important matters that receive little attention from most wanabees.

It is really time to clarify the fact that there is no whatsoever resemblance between a professional soldier’s life and all the “Ramboâ€￾ or similar movies that you could have had the doubtful honor to see in your home country.

The Legion has been a professional army for the last 175 years and has never ever used within its ranks conscripts, and has only spent around 40 of its 175 years of existence based in France. Why is this important would a standard wanabee ask? It is important simply because this has obliged the Legion to always organize on its own the whole logistical setup around its campaigns and everyday life.

The Legion is not like the SAS or the Navy SEALS, (nothing wrong with them) that are specialists in a narrow spectrum and incapable to operate outside their predefined sector. The Legion is soldiers, but also mechanics, cooks, cleaners, gardeners, painters, masons, you name it……
The Legion is a whole little universe on its own, and everybody inside this world is a legionnaire (except a very few civilian employees) and all of them have one day been standing outside the recruiting office with their heart knocking and knees shaking.

However after many years in different combat companies some of them get transferred to less “strategicâ€￾ duties and ends up as a “fatâ€￾ painting or cooking Caporal-Chef. But ..! He is still rendering a very active and important service to the Legion community. When the young wanabee (that have seen all the films and read all the books) after three days in the Legion is confronted with a 45 year old Caporal-chef in the kitchen he is first horrified that the CCH doesn’t look like Rambo and secondly he feels deeply offended when the “oldâ€￾ CCH doesn’t give him the respect that he thinks that he deserves.

Dear wanabee, the Legion is maybe stupid, but in 175 years they have slowly managed to find out what is the best way of doing things. If you still think that you know better, maybe you should stay home. Forget Rambo and all his look-alikes; forget your distorted ignorant vision of professional military life. Try to understand that before you can start jumping out of helicopters and killing people you must learn the basics.

Big surprise !!!! The basics are mostly cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. When you are perfectly capable in the cleaning business, we will take it to the next strategic step, on loading and offloading trucks and pushing pallets (the magic secrets of logistics) and so on until the magic day when we can maybe trust you with looking on a FAMAS and let you carry it (unloaded) thru mountains and long nights until you understand how much it is worth for your miserable life.

Welcome to the Legion (it even beats reality TV)
Wannabes, :)

Read mark, learn and inwardly digest the advice given by Mr. Charles Stoeng the 'voice of experience.' Always listen to Seniors since they know more about how units work than young officers. :D
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Hollywood and other media have over the last decades created a completely distorted vision of what an elite soldier is or should be. This has created a pathetic misconception in the minds of young men that are now craving for a career that corresponds to what they have seen in a film or played on a Playstation.

Without taking one second to think about how unrealistic these images of a fantasy elite soldier are, they are dreaming about becoming specialist in the numerous and highly “interestingâ€￾ skills that certainly looks good on film, are well adapted to modern days films special effects, but that for a large part unfortunately have very limited interests when it comes to the elite soldiers every day life in the real world.

The responsibilities that for obvious sentimental reasons (they need a good story in the film) are given to the “elite soldiersâ€￾ in Hollywood’s fantasy world are also extremely misgiving and create hopes of power and glory that can never be satisfied in real life.
In Hollywood the corporal have the responsibilities of a real world captain, and the captain the one of a four star general. When reality strikes and the newborn elite soldier discovers that most of all his responsibilities will be taking care of his own little ass (the military don’t even trust him completely on that either) deception is often big.
This creates dissatisfaction where the young soldier (without having any whatsoever competences in the matter apart from having watched a few Hollywood films) is commenting on the way military operations (training included) are conducted while his real world responsibilities are not taken care of and his dirty underwear is rotting in his locker.
Already he is failing in the most basic fundamentals of being an elite soldier: To be clean and keep his equipment clean.

The making of an elite soldier is a long and boring process completely stripped for the glorious moments that Hollywood so brilliantly is trying to make us believe exists.
Being an elite soldier is most of all the question of acquiring a correct attitude to military realities, technical skills that are well within reach of any normally intelligent human being and a physical shape and fitness that makes him a good all rounder.

The elite soldier attitude towards military realities is not something that can be achieved in a few months, and it is a process that will take several years to complete. It is a long process where the soldier is conditioned to think as a part of a big military machinery and where it becomes completely clear in his mind that his mission (whatever this mission might be) is an important one, and that nothing should be able to come between him and his mission. The FFL’s famous “corveeâ€￾ is a very important and integrated part of this process. Unfortunately Hollywood is completely ignoring this part of the elite soldier’s life.

Hollywood also displays “expertsâ€￾ in numerous skills that are most of the time useless in the real military world, while the real skills that unfortunately are less spectacular are for the reasons of a good story completely ignored. What a disappointment for the young man when he discovers that it will take weeks, months, sometimes years to learn to clean his weapon correctly and that he cannot just burn of rounds in all directions. What a shock for a young soldier to discover that operating safely on a shooting range includes a whole pile of rules and regulations that he simply have to learn before he can start shooting on cardboard targets. All this just to discover that shooting (and actually hitting) the target is not as easy as Hollywood has made him believe it was.
To maintain, use safely, and finally operate his personal weapon in an efficient way on the battlefield is a complete trade in its own and it is not something that is learned in a couple of months. Unfortunately there are no shortcuts and we have to start with the basics, very boring basics. This training takes time, effort, and energy, but also persistence and it is here the elite soldier is separated from the rest.
This is valid in all the different military skills, and the elite soldier is the one that does not take any shortcuts and knows what he is supposed to know in the smallest details and obviously to perfection.

No bodybuilder has ever been an elite soldier. He is far too dependent on his training and cannot eat bad food; his fine tuned body is fragile while his big muscles forbids him to be a good runner and completely destroys the flexibility needed in the battlefield. The Hollywood image of big tattooed arms on a well fed mastodon is a complete hoax that goes against all military logic. Sure if all that is needed is to travel around in an armored car and occasionally stagger around a bit under heavy body armor while living in well organized base camps it might be OK, but we are here far away from what I would call an elite soldier.
No marathon runner has ever been an elite soldier, sure he can run and have usually more flexibility than the average, but he cannot go for several days without food and when loaded in full gear it will only take a few km before we are facing a collapse.
The physical elite soldier is a good all rounder that can do well in most sports, but most important of all; he has a physical resistance that allows him to remain healthy for long time in poor conditions.
Despite what Hollywood wants us to believe, the fittest soldier (hence elite) is not the best guy in the fitness center, but the guy that can resist the longest time in horrible living conditions.
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