French OMLTs in A-stan in the eyes of US soldiers

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by fantassin, Oct 9, 2008.

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  1. OMLT: Operationnal Mentoring Liaison

    For about two months now I have been working side by side with the French OMLT. I remember when I first showed up to take charge of the combat outpost my unit was located at and I found out it would not just be American forces there but also a small section of French. Being the typical American I was making jokes in my head about the French Army. These last two months have truly been enlightening for me and corrected a grave misconception of the French Army.

    Let me say this first I am not envious of their job. Being responsible for training and mentoring the Afghan National Army (ANA) is a job that can only be described as herding cats. Having only worked with the ANA on a couple of missions I have come to realize that the OMLT must have the patience of a Saint. I seriously doubt that I would have the patience to do the job they are doing and I don’t think I could do it nearly as well. Their patience was also displayed almost every night while dealing with me and my soldiers. Due to the rough living conditions some of the OMLT were living in a tent that also housed our television. Although we would try and remain quiet and respect the fact they were sleeping it didn’t always work that way. Too many times while watching a close football game we would begin screaming and yelling over the game. Somehow each night they never yelled at us and never complained. Their patience in dealing with us alone can be considered amazing.

    The French willingness to help is amazing. No matter where we, as the American Army, would go the French Commander located at my base would always try to arrange support from his OMLTs and the ANA they were training. Their willingness to support our guys made my job a lot easier and gave me a better feeling knowing that the French OMLT and ANA were watching our back. On more then one occasion we would respond to a situation and when we reached the location the French would already be there and would give me the current situation on the ground.

    The French always seem to know what was happening. As an American I, like my fellow Americans, take pride in what we do and think that everything we do is the best. I will have to say when it comes to the French Intelligence versus American Intelligence the French have us beat. All too often the French Commander would come to me and ask if I knew about a situation. I would be forced to stand there and give him the confused puppy look. Typically about thirty minutes after the French told me I would finally get the same information from the American Intelligence. This proved to extremely valuable on more then one occasion. American convoys on several occasions were struck by an IED in which we were informed immediately by the French. Thankfully for their quick reporting we were able to come to the aid of those convoys in a timely manner. Luckily in each case there were no severe casualties however if there had been our ability to quickly respond, due to French information and reporting, would have saved lives.

    The French have a handicap; they do not have the training, resources, money, and assets in their military the same as Americans. They have been forced to make due with less and they have still managed to out perform us in some ways. The French military is a force that commands the respect of everyone else in the world. I can’t imagine what they would look like, and how truly incredible a force they could be, if they had the same training, resources, and assets. These past few months have truly opened my eyes and corrected a few misconceptions I’ve had about the French as an American. Although they are not as big as us and sound funny when they talk I am truly grateful to have had this opportunity, and I am honored to call these men my comrades and friends.

    source: (original article in english)

    God, the americans really want us to send more people there to be so nice !


    This is from the same blog I had mentioned earlier there:
  2. Good article fantassin 99% of the people who slag French forces have never actually worked with them and just trot out the old " cheese eating surrender monkey" cliches, as someone who has served with both British & French forces the differences are surpringly few, and on the whole the professionalism is jsut as high as any other European army.
    Its nice to see articles as the one above show this, although the comments on funding, resources etc are spot on.
  3. :wink:
  4. From the same blog here is a view of the Americans by the French

    To our American brothers in arm.

    For some time now we have been sharing our quarters with two units, the first and the fourth company of a prestigious infantry battalion which name can not be given for OPSEC reasons. For the average person it is just another unit. For us, who live with them and have learnt to know them, we know we have the honor of serving alongside two of the best known units of the U.S. Army made famous by a series of films dealing with "ordinary soldiers whithin an extraordinary history".

    Who are they, those soldiers coming from the other side of the Atlantic, what is their daily lives and what support do they provide on a daily basis to the men of the French OMLT ? Few of them belong to Easy Company, the company that is the focus of the television series. It is now called Echo Company, and has become, out of necessity, a fire support company.

    They have a terrible accent. They are American. That means they do not speak English. How many times did I have to write what I was telling them rather than lose precious minutes to try several pronunciations for a word that might seem trivial? Whatever the state they originate from, it never is the same accent, and even they admit that in some situations they have trouble understanding each other.

    Brick shit houses. They all look like brick shit houses. Fed from an early age with Gatorade, protein and creatine, they are taller that we are and bristling with Rambo-like muscles. We have this size handicap which they find highly amusing and they even sometimes mistake us for Afghans, even for the most muscular type among us

    Genuine values. Here one discovers America, as it often is depicted: the values they have here are brought to a climax, amplified by promiscuity and loneliness of the post in the middle of this Afghan valley. Honor, Fatherland. Everything here reminds of it; the American flag deployed in the wind above the outpost or the same flag drawn on the post parcels. If US soldiers are often recruited in the heart of gang-ridden American cities, nobody here as any other purpose than to carry the star-spangled banner high and proud. Everyone knows he is supported by an entire people, which treats them well by anonymously sending everything a soldier could need at the front: books, chewing gum, razor blades, powdered drinks (Gatorade, of course! ), toothpaste and so on. So much so that everyone knows he is supported in the difficult tasks he has been assigned to. This is the first clash with clichés: the American soldier is not an individualist. The fire team, the squad, the platoon is the center of his attention.

    And what soldiers! We have yet to meet a bad US soldier. Strange when we know how quick to criticize we can be! Even if some of them are slightly overweight, we all receive lessons in infantry tactics on a daily basis. Beyond the fact they never seem to be bothered by having to permanently wear full combat attire (helmet chinstrap, helmet, goggles, combat rifle), long hours of guard in the outpost does not seem to bother them either. Stagging on for five consecutive hours with full kit and night-vision binoculars and always is switched on to the direction of where the danger might come from. No distractions, no breaks, real statues. Ditto for the outpost as soon as night falls. All move in the dark with only a few red lights indicating the presence of a soldier here and there. Ditto for vehicles, all the lights are always hidden. Everything is done in the dark, including using the hand pump to fill up the vehicles.

    And what about combat ? If you saw Rambo you've seen everything: always there to come to the rescue when one of our teams is in trouble, and always in a very short time. It's one of their secret: they go from T-shirt and flip flop to full battle dress in three minutes; when they arrive near the enemy position their SOP is simple and sometimes off-putting : they just go for it ! Advocates of the direct assault, they bomb first and ask questions later; no procrastination.

    Here, without ever grumbling, and from 5 o'clock in the morning, the chores are performed in an orderly manner. In short, for what we have seen so far, from the passing helicopter which stops next to a broken-down vehicle asking if everything is OK to the infantry platoon standing in support of us even before they know if it's dangerous to do so or not, the American soldier is a fine soldier, worthy heir of those who liberated France and Europe.

    For those who do us the honor to welcome us in their combat outposts and every day demonstrate the finest qualities of soldiering, for those who pay every day a heavy price to the deployment of army United States of America on Afghan soil, we dedicate this article, hoping in turn never to disappoint and to continue to hear that we are all the same "band of brothers.”
  5. Stop me if I'm being a bit touchy but.................If someone is using a tent as a grot its fcuking out of order to carry on using it as a tv room especially when blokes have there heads firmly down

    I'd have been out my pit debriefing the spanks especially as it highlights

  6. I understand that the French army recently converted to being a professional, all volunteer force. They were kind enough to regard the UK army as a template! (About 600 years too late)

    Have the French completed this transition? How do pay and conditions compare to civilian employ? Do they still get free plonk at lunch?
  7. Transition completed in 2001

    Pay and conditions: enlisted men pay were risen so as to be in line with the minimal wages, about 1,400 euros a month (+40% for airborne troops)

    Conditions are still quite drastic but slowly improving; good points are 45 days of hols a year plus another 7 days spread along the year to compensate for the 35 hour week which is now the legal limit in France.
    Quite a lot of deployements, expect once a year for 4-6 months in most units.

    Critical points are crappy individual kit and lack of funds for training and maintenance.

    Free plonk: yes but nobody drinks it
  8. I've worked with the Frogs before in a multi-national unit and also with them seconded to an RN Unit in the UK.

    Good blokes, good drills and although they chuck their toys out of their prams from time to time, they do tend to have a decent sense of humour.

    I'd rather work with the Frogs than with the Aussies any day IMO (and yes I have worked with both).

    As for the yanks whooping and hollering-can they actually do quiet? ;)
  9. What's wrong with the Aussies ? - good guys IMHO.