French Foreign Legion? What’s about it?
Still crazy after all these Years?
I miss our camaraderie. I miss the true friendships, the fellowship, I miss going through thick and thin. Legio Patria Nostra.
FYI: The production of the book „Die Legion: Mit dem 2. Rep in den Krisenherden dieser Erde“ was stopped in Mai 2016. The new title of the book, available since December 2016 is – Leben unter fremder Flagge – (German) Paperback – and we re looking forward to find an US or British edtior.
CUSTOMER REVIEW ON AMAZON.COM
„Thomas Gast in the Foreign Legion for seventeen years. He rose to the rank of Warrant Officer and led a platoon in the renowned 2nd Parachute Regiment, one of the most elite military formations on the face of the earth. Gast describes his career, starting as a recruit and his training and deployments. His book is a military classic and can readily take its place next to such classics as Simon Murray’s ; „Legionnaire“ and Sledges;“With the Old Breed“. If you like the Legion, you have to read this book.„
“But in the meantime it can be said that every Legionnaire,
be he in the jungles of Tonkin, or on the boiling sand of the desert,
should his time come, will be prepared to face death,
either with a smile or a curse on his lips according to his own temperament,
just as his predecessors have done in the past.”
More Majorum. (Walter Kanitz, The White Képi)
This Site is for all USA citizens curious and open for the Mythic „Légion Étrangère“.
Frank SINATRA and the
« Légion étrangère. »
„If you turn me down once more, I’ll join the French Foreign Legion
Bet you, they would welcome me, with open arms
First you love me, yes; then you love me, no
I don’t know where I stand“
„Do we march together down the isle
Or do I march that desert sand
If you think I won’t find romance, in the French Foreign Legion
Think about that uniform with all its charm“
„Just one more time are you gonna be mine, or au revoir cheri
It’s the French Foreign Legion for me“
The French Foreign Legion and it’s most famous US „Legionnaires.“
General, Mister Norman Schwarzkopf
(honoured by the Legion as caporal d’honneur) after the Gulf War in 1991.
Born August 22, 1934, Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf was a graduate of the WestPoint Military Academy, and engaged twice in Vietnam (1965 and again in 1970). After the Vietnam War, Schwarzkopf stayed in the military. He became a general in the late 1970s and served as the deputy commander of the U.S. forces during the 1983 invasion of Grenada. Just some years later, he was called to lead the U.S. Central Command / CENTCOM. He became one of the famous persons in the military response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait 1990. 1991, „Stormin‘ Norman“ led Operation “Desert Storm” and during the war, he became famous for his straightforward style. He received numerous honours including a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. But … The French Foreign Legion “Légion étrangère” honoured him as “caporal d’honneur”! And he received the “Kepi Blanc.” He retired in August 1991, a few months after the end of the war Gulf and died in Tampa, Florida (south) at the age of 78 years.
Mister (Légionnaire) Alan Seeger
American poet born 1888 in New York City, USA
„I have a rendezvous with Death at some disputed barricade, when Spring comes back with rustling shade and apple-blossoms fill the air — I have a rendezvous with Death when Spring brings back blue days and fair.“
“Légionnaire” Alan Seeger was an American poet. He served the French Foreign Legion in World War I. And he died in the Field of honour. To his memory and to the memory of his comrades, Americans who had volunteered fight for France, a statue was erected in the “Place des États-Unis” in France / Paris. Alan was contemporary with poet T.S. Eliot.
“Or the long clouds would end. Intensely fair,
The winter constellations blazing forth — –
Perseus, the Twins, Orion, the Great Bear — –
Gleamed on our bayonets pointing to the north.”
John F. „Jack“ Hasey
John Freeman „Jack“ Hasey, born 03. November 1916 in Brockton (Massachusetts), died on 09. May 2005. And yes! He was captain in the French Foreign Legion during World War II. In 1936, Hasey travelled to France studied at the famous “Sorbonne” in Paris. When the Soviet-Finnish war started in 1939, Hasey, like many other American volunteers joint the French Army. For his heroic actions in Finland he received „Liberty cross“ in the 1950s. Wounded in February 1940, he was repatriated to the United States. Returning to Europe in June, he moved to France to resume his employment with Cartier (Jewellery). As “The Battle of France” erupts suddenly he joined General de Gaulle’s Free French Forces in England. Assigned as a second lieutenant in the health service, he took part in the operation of Dakar in September and in Gabon October and November 1940. After this he was ordered to 13th half- brigade of the Foreign Legion the famous 13th DBLE in January 1941. With this unit, he fought in Eritrea against the Italian forces. The 20. June 1941 during the campaign in Syria to face Vichys troops he is seriously injured by six machine gun bullets close to Damascus. One of the bullets took away a part of his face. Treated in Jerusalem and in the United States in January 1942, he undergoes several chirurgical operations. Promoted to Lieutenant in August 1941, John Hasey is the first American made honoured with the title “Compagnon de la Libération” by General de Gaulle. He then became liaison officer between deGaulle and Eisenhower. Starting 1950 Hasey worked for the CIA
John F. Hasey
William Augustus WELLMAN
„Wild Bill“ William Augustus Wellman was a famous American film director. Although Wellman began his film career as an actor, he worked on a lot of films, (about 80), as director and producer but most often as a director, notable for his work in crime, adventure and action genre films. He was focusing on aviation themes, his particular passion. He joins the French Foreign Legion on December, 1917.
American actor and „Legionnaire!“
„Manhattan Madness,“ (with Douglas Fairbanks), „The Little Princess“, „Amarilly of Clothes-line Alley,“ „The Phantom of the Opera“, and so on, and so on. Norman Kerry was a famous US Silent-Movie Star. Born as Arnold Kaiser in 1894, he changed his name just before World War I and struggeld to avoid comparisons with German Kaiser Wilhelm II. Kerry works as a salesman in his family’s leather goods business, than became a theatrical agent. Around 1916, Kerry met Rudolph Valentino and pursued him to work in films. Kerry went on to appear in two major films in 1923: „The Hunchback of Notre Dame,“ and „Merry-Go-Round,“ filmed by Austrian director Erich von Stroheim. By several accounts, Kerry survived the transition to sound film, but struggled with the medium and had limited success with it. Among other movies, he starred in the 1931 film „Bachelor Apartment.“ His last role was in 1941’s „Tanks a Million.“ Kerry joined the French Foreign Legion in 1939, was ordered to Sidi bel Abbès /Algeria (HQ of the Legion) where he learned to fight! Back in France he defended with his unit de Maginot Line, but contracted a serious pneumonia. He returned to the USA with not a Penny in his pocket (Friends paid his voyage!) and made his next movie in 1941: “Tanks a million!” (in the Role of the major). Nota Bene: Kerry married three times, also with actress Kay English.
Mister Cole Porter
American composer and songwriter, born in Indiana, USA.
Mister (Légionnaire ) Dominique Vandenberg
Actor (Gangs of New York) and stunt choreographer: Born in Belgium he works, lives and performs today in the USA.
Gangs of New York – Mortal Combat – The Pit Fighter … Vandenberg is a stunning actor. And he is getting better with each film he does. At eighteen, he became the youngest man ever to win the champion title at The World Open in Bare Knuckle Karate (form of full contact fighting). But before going to Hollywood, he chose the more difficult way. And what is the most difficult way in the world? Your right! The French Foreign Legion or “Légion étrangère”. So Dominique Vandenberg hired in the elite paratrooper regiment, the 2nd REP (2e Régiment étranger de parachutistes), and after more training, was sent to Africa. He spent five years in countries such as Chad, Nigeria, and the Central African Republic, fighting to control rebellions. During this time, he met his fiancée, Waruny, a freedom fighter. After their meeting, he returned to fulfill his last eight months of service to the Legion, but when he returned, she had been killed. An accident caused a leg injury and he endured a painful recovery period. After recovering, he went on to fight Kran, the legendary Northern Thai fighter. Vandenberg had become the best. Later on he left the Legion for good and travelled to Thailand to fight in their famed freestyle fighting rings, or „iron circles“. After winning several fights, he returned to Europe and from there to USA. He is an author also: “The Iron Circle: The True Life Story of Dominique Vandenberg” appeared in 2005. Vandenberg is living in California.
Dominique VANDENBERG with Cameron Diaz
… and with my book!
Mister (Légionnaire) Eugene Jacques Bullard
Eugene Jacques Bullard, an American volunteer in the French Foreign Legion, became the first black military pilot in history ever. This was in 1917. But more than this: He also has been the only black pilot in World War I. Born in Columbus, (Georgia) on 09. Oct. 1894, Eugene left home at the age of 11 to travel around the world, and by 1913 he settled in France as a prize-fighter. 1914, begin of WW1. Bullard enlisted in the French Foreign Legion and rose to the rank of corporal. For his bravery he received the “Croix de Guerre”. As the WW2 broke out, Bullard rejoined the French army. Again seriously wounded he escaped the Germans and made his way back to the United States. He stayed almost unknown in New York. In France he remained a hero. In 1954 he was one of the veterans chosen to light the „Everlasting Flame“ at the French “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” under the Arc de Triomphe, and in 1959 the French honoured him with the “Knight of the Legion of Honour.” Eugene Bullard died in 1961 and was buried with full military honours in his legionnaire’s uniform in the cemetery of the Federation of French War Veterans in Flushing, New York. The secretary of the Air Force posthumously appointed him 1994 a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.
(Knight of the Legion of Honor) The first black military pilot and the only black pilot, WW1. Born in Columbus, Georgia USA. Within his friends: Josephine Baker and Satchmo, Louis Armstrong.
Not to forget Arthur Bluethenthal. He was a US All American Football player, playing for the Princeton University. He joined the Legion in 1916, fought in Verdun, was awarded with the “Croix de Guerre” for bravery, joined the French flying corps one year later … and died as hero 1918. Arthur Bluethenthal was the first North Carolinian killed in World War I.
And last but not the least.
Mister William MOLL.
Moll was an American Legionnaire from Chicago. When he left the Legion after his five years of service and returned to the United States, he was filthy rich. After his death in 1937, at the reading of the will, the family is said to have been amazed (allegedly all were shocked and horrified) because William Moll had his immense fortune not left to them, but given all his fortune to the Foreign Legion. He also wanted that the legion manage all his belongings. He wanted to find in Sidi-Bel-Abbes his final resting place. The urn with his ashes now can be seen in a crypt in the museum in Aubagne.
But what about… MOVIES?
The most interresting for me was
featuring Marlene Dietrich
The 1930 Hollywood classic Morocco had Marlene Dietrich following her Legionnaire lover Gary Cooper through the Sahara.
Beau Geste, (Version 1939 – starring Garry COOPER)
“Beau Geste” is the first movie that features as many as four Academy Award winners for Best Actor/Best Actress in a Leading Role (Cooper, Milland, Hayward, and Broderick Crawford) prior to any of them receiving the award.
And we have the Douglas Heyes version of Beau Geste (1966) starring Guy Stockwell, Doug McClure and Telly Savallas
Another one (Action Genre) is Vandammes „Legionnaire“
„March with the Devil“, starring Dominique Vandenberg
This movie is different. Why? Because Vandenberg is a former Legionnaire. And he knows all these little details about the Legion, more than the best actor ever will know. He don’t has to “play”. He had just to be himself! And I think Kevin LYNCH, Zalman KING and David GOLDING knew that.
Producer: Zalman KING
CAN YOU READ FRENCH?
Did I say … American Legion?
Songs from ORAN / Sidi bel Abbès
Schwarze rose is a song of the French Foreign Legion. The song was created in Algeria by German Legionnaires.
„Schwarze Rose von Oran
Küss’ noch einmal deinen Legionär’
Schwarze Rose von Oran
Vielleicht siehst du ihn nicht mehr
Schwarze Rose, Schwarze Rose
Küss’ noch einmal deinen Legionär’
Schwarze Rose, Schwarze Rose
Vielleicht siehst du ihn nicht mehr“
The dépot of the Foreign Legion in Oran was mandatory passage of all Legionnaire- volunteers before then being transported by train to Sidi Bel Abbes to conduct their classes. On 08th of may, 1959, ORAN received the Gold Medal of Merit issued by the American legion.
And last but not least my own modest person. My father has been Soldier in the US Army – based in Germany / Bindlach – Bayreuth in the years 1959 1964. (2d Armored Cavalry – Toujours Pret!) I spent 18 Years of my life in the French Foreign Legion – Half German and half American: Lot of my relatives are living today in the USA.
What i want?
Share History / share Passion / share Memory! To share together our Future!
- Jungle combat, mission profondes, survival training and instruction for Special Forces coming from other countries (Seals, Rangers, Marines, KSK, Leathernecks.)
- All over Security for the European Space shuttle Ariane.
- Surveillance of the frontiers to : Brazil and Surinam.
- Operations against foreign Gold diggers in the heart of the country.
- Exercises in the jungle with Special Forces the famous Leathernecks and in Puerto Rico with the US Navy Seal Team 4.
- Survival training in the deserts of Chad, Djibouti and in the Gabon tropical forest.
- Special Training as per different unit: Mountain warfare, urban warfare, sabotage and aquatic warfare.
- Parachute Training under special conditions, etc.
- Security in the French metropolis Paris in the Metro-Stations (after the deadly terrorist attacks in 1995)
- Interventions in – Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNPFOR Sarajevo 1992/93), Chad (Operation Épervier 1991), Djibouti (Operation Iskoutir), Congo (as platoon leader Operation Pelican, 1997), Republic Central Africa (Operation Almandin 1997) and Protection for civilians in wildlife protectorates against poachers in the border Region to Chad, and many more.
I. Market orientation / Prognostics / Public aimed.
Everybody can be strong and courageous. Everybody can do miraculous things if he only wants to do them, things he can be proud of!
And by the way !
Starting March 2012 my new book is available in all German Bookstores. Not jet translated in English language,
we want you to be the first English editor obtaining publisher license (foreign rights).
Thomas Gast was 23 years old when he followed a path, the rest of you can only dream of. He engaged in the French foreign legion where he spent 17 years. As a talented storyteller he published his extraordinary autobiography in February 2010.
Now Thomas comes back with more experience in writing (he already published 8 books in Germany, 1 in France, see below), he has finished his second book about the French Foreign Legion.
Genre: (Indochina / Vietnam) war.
Title: Die Legion – 2e B.E.P. Fallschirmjäger im Indochinakrieg. (Paratroopers of the French foreign Legion in Indochina 1949 – 1954)
Volume: 280 Pages / More than 100 unreleased photos and drawings
Short Topic / This Battalion was formed in October 1948 at Sidi bel Abbes, Algeria / North Africa. In 1949 the battalion moved to Indochina and fought more than 120 battles against the Vîet Minh. Most of the legionnaires have been German nationals coming directly from the 2nd world war battlefield (Waffen SS and German Wehrmacht). As a former legionnaire, Thomas Gast talked with a lot of German contemporary eyewitnesses Thomas Gast reconstructed the heroic history of the 2e Bataillon Étranger de Parachutists from the beginning until the mother of all battles when the legionnaires fought to the last man at the disastrous siege of in Dien Bien Phu / Vietnam.
It is a fact that almost all books about this topic are available only in French language. This gives you the opportunity to be one of the first English editors to publish this stunning history in English language.
If another book awakened your interest please do not hesitate to contact
Frau Ellen Sommer – Epee Editions.
Mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas Gast is a German National. Son of an American Soldier based in Germany between 1955 and 1962 and a German Fräulein and ex-Luftwaffenhelferin he was born in may 1961.
Mister Peter Scholl-Latour, one of the worlds most famous Journalist, Reporter and Author (Der Tod im Reisfeld and Afrikanische Totesklage and others) gave him the authorization to insert one of his well-known quotations and he will be one of the first to review the book.
Thomas is proud that among his best friends there is a certain Mr. Dominique Vandenberg (actor in the gangs of New York by Martin Scorsese). Dominique Vandenberg, also ex -legionnaire served at the same time in the same unit as Thomas Gast. Dominique also participated as he released to the author some histories he had during his time in the legion and some of his photos are also exhibited in the book. Dominique Vandenberg is making actually a documentary movie launched by producer ZALMAN KING (†) and the author Thomas Gast will be part of the movie in a very special way.
After the legion Gast Thomas worked for a period of 15 years in the international security business – mainly with British and french private security companies – in Saudi Arabia, Haiti, Israel (Jerusalem, West bank / Gaza) and Jemen.
We published the book in German and French language. So if there is an editor – USA or UK – out there, interessted to bring it in englisch libraries !
… do not hesitate to contact us.