A French Battalion And U.S. Legacy

By Jean-Marc Tanguy

Photo Credit: 1st RCP, Jean-Marc Tanguy, Cahors, France, 2011


03/05/2011 – Legend already has it that it is to remind us that the First Parachute Chasseurs Regiment – Premier Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes –  (1st RCP), a French Army airborne unit and the very first French parachute regiment, was formed and equipped by the 82nd Airborne during World War II, that the combined arms battalion formed by this regiment from Pamiers will sport an English name in Afghanistan.

The 1st RCP, one of the older parachutist regiments of the French army, will deploy in April to Kapisa.  The “Rapaces”, as one calls them in France, will be baptized with the name “Raptor” in Kapisa.

The 1st RCP, one of the older parachutist regiments of the French army, will deploy in April to Kapisa.  The “Rapaces”, as one calls them in France, will be baptized with the name “Raptor” in Kapisa.

Each French combined arms battalion adopts a name before deploying in Afghanistan, and often, in Kapisa, a province under American command, this name is English: often, but not systematically: after arriving in 2008, the 8th RPIMa chose the name “Chimera”; the 27th BCA, “Tiger”; the 3rd RIMa, “Korrigan,” which is from Brittany; the 13th BCA, “Black Rock”; the 21st RIMa, “Hermes”; and the 7th BCA, “Allobroges”. The name of the French brigade, La Fayette, under American command, was purposely chosen to honor French-American relations.

The name of the French brigade, La Fayette, under American command, was purposely chosen to honor French-American relations.

More than 650 parachutists will come from Pamiers, with reinforcements from the 17th RHP (engineering), the 35th RAP (artillery), and the 1st RHP.  These 850 or so soldiers from the 11th parachutist brigade will be deployed on two forward operating bases (FOBs), Morales Frazier (Nijrab) and Kutchbach (Tagab).  The first is home to a FARP (Forward Air Refueling Point) for US Army Aviation, and the second is home to about a dozen American personnel. The parachutists of the 1st RCP will be the first French to deploy in Afghanistan with Javelin missile, acquired last summer and tested since December in Canjuers.  Firing tests must be carried out by the 1st RCP in Canjuers, following an operational readiness milestone set for March.

"If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking."

—General George Patton Jr.

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