Marching with the Devil
Legends, Glory and Lies in the French Foreign Legion
By David Mason
An account of five years in the infamous French Foreign Legion
In 1894 a French Foreign Legion General said, "Legionnaires, vous etes faits pour mourir, je vous envoie la ou on meurt." Legionnaires, you are made for dying, I will send you where you can die. When I was in my mid-teens and first read those words they were powerful and confronting. I read them as a challenge and an invitation. The words, and the feelings they evoked, remained with me until I was ready. On 20 May 1988, I enlisted in the French Foreign Legion.'
Based on his diaries, this is a frank account of how Mason came first in basic training, trained other Legionnaires, went to Africa, did sniper, commando and medic's training and took part in two operations, both in the Republic of Djibouti where a civil war nearly crippled the nation. It tells of his daily life in the Legion, in the training regiment, in Africa and with the Legion's Parachute Regiment. But more than this: David's gripping account reveals his disillusionment, frustration and disappointments, and how the Legion today is not what it seems.
In 1988, David Mason joined the French Foreign Legion. He stayed for five years and served in the Legion's elite Parachute Regiment. David later wrote about his time in the Legion in MARCHING WITH THE DEVIL. In 1998, alone with three camels, David walked across Australia at its widest point, carrying out the first recorded solo east-to-west crossing of the Simpson Desert. For this expedition he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Australian Geographic Society. He wrote a book about this journey titled, WALK ACROSS AUSTRALIA: THE FIRST SOLO CROSSING. For a decade David was Counsel, International Law in the Department of Defence. He was Senior Adviser to Australia's Defence Minister and later, National Security Adviser to the Attorney-General of Australia. David left the Attorney's office to pursue a Doctorate in Law at the Australian National University's College of Law. His doctoral thesis deals with the status of mercenaries in international armed conflict. David has deployed on operations eight times and is the only person to have served as a Legionnaire, Australian Defence Civilian on Bougainville and in Iraq, Private Contractor in Iraq and as an Australian Defence Force Officer in Afghanistan....
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- Publication date:
05 Jan 2012
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