Maybe not HSLD like some of the real studs on this board, but my little contribution as an ISAF grunt working for Mr. Sarkozy.
I just finished a 6.5 month rotation in Afghanistan with the French Foreign Legion in one of the eastern provinces of Afghanistan. Thought all y'all might enjoy a little peek at a slightly different military life and style versus the primarily anglo-centric viewpoint here on LF. As some of the BTDT types have repeated ad nauseum on this board...“the mission drives the gear”, so I have strived to set up my gear by that golden nugget. So a Stud Board post ala Legion Etrangere....allez!
Mods, please advise if there are any OPSEC or PERSEC issues that I may have overlooked.
Basic background info-
Functions: Platoon medic/Team Leader (chef d'equipe)/Assault Engineer (sapeur d'assaut)
FAMAS F1 bullpup assault rifle, 5.56mm
As you can see, I've made modifications. Not all are technically authorized, but nobody really gives us legionnaires too much crap anyways. Think they're scared of us for some reason.
The painted part is called the PGM (poignee garde main) aka handguard, and it's a personal item, unfortunately it's also only part I'm allowed to paint.
ISAA Picatinny rail platform with MagPul AFG. I had a VTAC light mount with Surefire G2 + IR filter but since I'm not really kicking down doors and doing much stuff inside of compounds, I took it off and use it as a handheld when the VTAC mount broke. Emdom/MM Gunslinger 2-point sling or Emdom/MM URS 1-point attached to RAV. Aimpoint T-1 Micro on factory mount to minimize height-over-bore. 12 mags of 25 rounds full combat load. 1 in rifle, 6 on the RAV, 5 in the assault pack. Plus usually one or two FLG's (fusil lance grenade)...aka rifle launched grenade, AP-AV variety. CAT Gen 2 TQ attached to stock, in addition to the two I have on the RAV. Stole that idea from someone on LF...spasiba tovarich.
Despite its vaguely futuristic look, it's not as ergonomically friendly as opposed to a M4, especially the magazine changes. Standard French ammo is a 55gr (IIRC) steel jacketed bullet, and because the barrel is not chrome-lined, technically not allowed to use other rounds (like green tips). I fiddled with the sling mounts for a while before settling on the current configuration...the bullpup design makes the balance a bit awkward, especially with the additional weight up-front. The design puts the rails above the iron sights, which leads to a chin-weld rather a than cheek-weld. That also leads to some bigass holdovers, but c'est la vie. I had a 3x magnifier but unfortunately it doesn't align very well with the T-1's small scope body. But I absolutely LOVE the T-1. We do a LOT of mountain humping being mountain infantry/engineers, so having an even slightly lighter rifle is kinda nice. Zeroed for 200m, weight I have no idea, but a normal FAMAS with a loaded mag is about 8.5lbs.
MSA Paraclete RAV-something or another. From photo left to right:
1x Maxpedition Rolly Polly dump pouch
1x ATS triple shingle
2x TT single shingles on inside cummerbund
1x FASTMag Gen 2
1x BFG Trauma Now BOK with TQ, Olaes 4” bandage, 10mg morphine injector, 2x permanent markers, gloves, blue chemstick, medical tape, TQ attached via shock cord on top.
1x trauma shears with leash
1x Coldsteel Spike Tanto for digging/probing
1x Emdom shingle with additional kerlix, s-rolled gauze
1x ATS low-pro M4 mag pouch for a small Motorola-type walkie-talkie
1x generic pistol mag pouch carrying a Gerber EOD multi-tool
1x Emdom/MM 3o2 pouch carrying a Surefire G2 + TNVC 250+ lumen bulb, my very own personal light saber...I frakkin love this thing
1x Emdom/MM URS single-point rifle sling
1x PN2A signaling panel on the back (VS17)
1x MSA Gallet helmet (MICH-type) with French Army Centre Europe camo cover + NVG mount and strap + IR strobe + Surefire helmet light
The RAV was issued (used but not abused) with a whole complement of pouches, but I elected to not use any of them, just didn't like the attachment system. We were told we would be issued Eagle CIRAS, but got these instead. Level IV plates + Level IIIA panels. No idea if they are multi-hit, and I'm assuming Level IV and not III based on what's I've been told, not because the plates are labeled as such.
Size medium, would have prefer a small, but wasn't given a choice. I'm not a big dude at 5'8” 155lbs or so, so the side SAPI's can be rather annoying as they dig into my hips. I have the RAV up high enough to protect up to the sternal notch, going higher would have interfered with my reloads, so I elected to go with better and faster reloads vs comfort. The MSA helmet is much better than the older (Spectra?) helmet, lighter and allows a much more natural head position when prone. Note this is the standard basic load-out, as always mission specific load-outs were adapted as necessary. The Legion and French Army usually is on the ass-end of equipment, but this is a huge improvement on the previous generation of kit.
Nobody gives me any grief about using Multicam, especially since when it gets dirty it all looks the same anyways. High quality and dependable pouches do not exist in the French Army's Centre Europe camo pattern, IMHO. OD green is authorized, but it's a bit too dark for my AO. Sticking out a little from under the “Tactical Trunk Monkey” patch is a good luck Chinese Buddhist charm that my cousins gave me. Low-vis Texas flag is self-explanatory. The Major League Infidel...well, I added that after I learned how to say “frak you assholes, you missed” in Dari. A khukri is carried sometimes, as a big ass knife has a more positive effect on adjusting the attitude of the opposite party.
ATS Cobra + xternal pouches (assault pack)
and Camelbak TriZip (assault/sustainment pack for 24hr+ patrols and/or observation ops)
We were issued used and abused Camelbak BFM's, but I much prefer the Futura suspension system on the TriZip. The Cobra is however used more often, I like how I can access the contents from the outside pockets. Bottom pouch is a CTOMS 1st Line TCCC pouch. 1 ATS small upright GP's on each side, right side (as worn) holding an IV kit with 250mL hypertonic solution, IV start kit, etc., left side poncho or ATS pull-out with additional blast bandages, kerlix, aces bandages, etc.. Misc Emdom and TT pouches for holding language cards, goodies for Afghani ankle-biters, GPS, sunglasses, MRE's, 7.62mm ammo for the MG, .50 cal ammo for the Ma Deuce, compass, maps, det cord...as always, mission dependent. 2 mags carried on a double mag pouch outside. Outside slit pocket has an emergency trach kit, burn dressing, SAM splints, boo-boo kit (primarily for the regular French army guys we work with...we legionnaires don't do “boo-boo's” -insert smile here-). There's additional med supplies in every vehicle that I stocked in an ammo can with chest seals, trauma bandages, burn dressing, etc. In every vehicle there's at least one NAR Talon litter or the crappy standard French litter that won't load onto a Blackhawk. Depending on the mission, I have also used the compression straps to carry a DHPM magnetic detector, a 89mm AP-AV rocket (as seen here), or both.
1x OB70 Lucie NOD
1x Ulfrotte 600 wool insulating layer or 1x Snugpak Sleeka synthetic jacket or 1x Montbell Thermawrap UL jacket (temperature dependent)...I HATE being cold
1x Marmot winter gloves
1x generic Thermolite beanie
1x TAD merino ninja hood (usually worn though) or 1x Kermel/Nomex ninja hood
1x MS2000M IR strobe
1x Garmin GPS
1x NATO Emergency ration
1x compass + grid card
1x Petzl eLite head lamp
1x IR French flag + IR reflective squares
1x OPSEC Multicam poncho
1x Arktis Stowaway windproof jacket
1x Arktis Rainshield waterproof jacket
5x extra mags
1-2x field-stripped MRE's + Clif Bars + Powergels + misc cereal bars
1x LaRue/Nalgene 1L water bottle + 4-6x 500mL plastic bottles
1-2x AP/AV rifle grenades
2x empty sandbags
assorted IR and visible chemlights
extra batteries: CR123, AA, AAA, CR2032; D-Cell (for DHPM)
Hope all y'all enjoyed the post, feel free to add any suggestions and questions based on what you've seen. I've gleaned a ton of info from Lightfighter, figured it was time to give back in my little way.
Any idiot can join the military; it takes a special kind of idiot to join the Foreign Legion.