1. Attention: We have put together a thread with tips and a tutorial video to help with using the new software. Please take a moment to check out the thread here: Trapshooters.com Tutorial & Help Video.
    Dismiss Notice

French soldiers view of Americans

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by g7777777, Dec 8, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

    Jan 29, 1998
    A French Infantryman's View of American Soldiers

    Written by: host
    Subject: [warrior$] French view

    Military by Jean-Marc Liotier

    American troops in Afghanistan through the eyes of a French OMLT infantryman

    The US often hears echoes of worldwide hostility against the application of its foreign policy, but
    seldom are they reached by the voices of those who experience first hand how close we are to
    the USA. In spite of contextual political differences and conflicting interests that generate
    friction, we do share the same fundamental values - and when push comes to shove that is what
    really counts. Through the eyes of that French OMLT (Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams)
    infantryman you can see how strong the bond is on the ground. In contrast with the Americans,
    the French soldiers don't seem to write much online - or maybe the proportion is the same but
    we just have less people deployed. Whatever the reason, this is a rare and moving testimony
    which is why I decided to translate it into English, so that American people can catch a glimpse of
    the way European soldiers see them. Not much high philosophy here, just the first hand
    impressions of a soldier in contact - but that only makes it more authentic.

    Here is the original French article, http://omlt3-kdk3.over-blog.com/article-22935665.html

    and here is my translation :

    "We have shared our daily life with two US units for quite a while - they are the first and fourth
    companies of a prestigious infantry battalion whose name I will withhold for the sake of military
    secrecy. To the common man it is a unit just like any other. But we live with them and got to
    know them, and we henceforth know that we have the honor to live with one of the most
    renowned units of the US Army - one that the movies brought to the public as series showing
    "ordinary soldiers thrust into extraordinary events". Who are they, those soldiers from abroad,
    how is their daily life, and what support do they bring to the men of our OMLT every day? Few of
    them belong to the Easy Company, the one the TV series focuses on. This one nowadays is
    named Echo Company, and it has become the support company.

    They have a terribly strong American accent - from our point of view the language they speak is
    not even English. How many times did I have to write down what I wanted to say rather than
    waste precious minutes trying various pronunciations of a seemingly common word? Whatever
    state they are from, no two accents are alike and they even admit that in some crisis situations
    they have difficulties understanding each other.
    Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins and creatine (Heh. More like Waffle
    House and McDonalds) - they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind
    us of Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them - we are wimps, even the strongest of us
    - and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans.

    Here we discover America as it is often depicted: their values are taken to their paroxysm, often
    amplified by promiscuity and the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley.
    Honor, motherland - everything here reminds of that: the American flag floating in the wind
    above the outpost, just like the one on the post parcels. Even if recruits often originate from the
    hearth of American cities and gang territory, no one here has any goal other than to hold high
    and proud the star spangled banner. Each man knows he can count on the support of a whole
    people who provides them through the mail all that an American could miss in such a remote
    front-line location: books, chewing gums, razorblades, Gatorade, toothpaste etc. in such way
    that every man is aware of how much the American people backs him in his difficult mission. And
    that is a first shock to our preconceptions: the American soldier is no individualist. The team, the
    group, the combat team are the focus of all his attention.

    And they are impressive warriors! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may
    seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit
    on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond
    the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat
    goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the
    slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five
    consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the
    directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At
    night, all movements are performed in the dark - only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the
    occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered -
    everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.

    And combat? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all - always coming to the rescue when
    one of our teams gets in trouble, and always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks:
    they switch from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three minutes. Arriving in contact with
    the enemy, the way they fight is simple and disconcerting: they just charge! They disembark and
    assault in stride, they bomb first and ask questions later - which cuts any pussyfooting short.

    (This is the main area where I'd like to comment. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Kipling
    knows the lines from Chant Pagan: 'If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white/remember
    it's ruin to run from a fight./So take open order, lie down, sit tight/And wait for supports like a
    soldier./ This, in fact, is the basic philosophy of both British and Continental soldiers. 'In the
    absence of orders, take a defensive position.' Indeed, virtually every army in the world. The
    American soldier and Marine, however, are imbued from early in their training with the ethos: In
    the Absence of Orders: Attack! Where other forces, for good or ill, will wait for precise orders
    and plans to respond to an attack or any other 'incident', the American force will simply go,
    counting on firepower and SOP to carry the day.

    This is one of the great strengths of the American force in combat and it is something that even
    our closest allies, such as the Brits and Aussies (that latter being closer by the way) find
    repeatedly surprising. No wonder is surprises the hell out of our enemies.)

    We seldom hear any harsh word, and from 5 AM onwards the camp chores are performed in
    beautiful order and always with excellent spirit. A passing American helicopter stops near a
    stranded vehicle just to check that everything is alright; an American combat team will rush to
    support ours before even knowing how dangerous the mission is - from what we have been
    given to witness, the American soldier is a beautiful and worthy heir to those who liberated
    France and Europe.

    To those who bestow us with the honor of sharing their combat outposts and who everyday give
    proof of their military excellence, to those who pay the daily tribute of America's army's
    deployment on Afghan soil, to those we owned this article, ourselves hoping that we will always
    remain worthy of them and to always continue hearing them say that we are all the same band of
  2. brantman

    brantman TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
  3. stokinpls

    stokinpls Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Maybe you should forward that on to the White House. Oh, that's right, nobody's home right now.
  4. Chichay

    Chichay TS Supporters TS Supporters

    May 27, 2007
    An eloquent tribute to the American soldier. Thanks for posting. And for us who routinely badmouth the French, we see they're not all the same.

  5. CalvinMD

    CalvinMD Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Northeastern MD @ the top o the Bay
    I'm glad to see there was not a joke involved....you know..something like "the French have no view of us when they are going the other way"
  6. grnberetcj

    grnberetcj Active Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    This has to be one of my personal favorite photos.....


  7. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

    Jan 29, 1998
    They are already rigged- in flight rig and pallet of parachutes, ammo and hand grenades at the back of the plane

    Climb over every man going there to get rigged and on the way back

    Its a trip

    Regards from Iowa

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.