French Officer Cadets Learn from British Army

Ten French Army officer cadets have been given a taste of life in the Army’s rapid reaction force as the two armies develop closer links.

The French officer cadets from the École Militaire Interarmes de Saint-Cyr Coetquidan have spent a month visiting 16 Air Assault Brigade. They are all experienced soldiers training to be commissioned as officers, with the placement intended to develop their knowledge of the British Army and language skills.

From taking part in infantry and attack helicopter exercises to familiarising themselves with weapons and vehicles, the cadets have gained an insight into the capabilities and skills that make the Brigade such a potent and adaptable force.

2Lt Luc Roman-Amat worked with Colchester-based 8 Field Coy (Para), 7 Air Assault Bn REME. He said: “It is part of our training to do an internship with a foreign army, to learn how different armies operate and improve our language skills. I have been given a really good view of everything 8 Field does, from repairing vehicles and weapons to how junior soldiers are trained and selected for promotion. I have learnt new ideas and different ways of working, which I will take back to France with me to shape how I work as a platoon commander.”

Lt James Campbell, who hosted 2Lt Roman-Amat, said: “We’ve treated Luc as another member of the team and it’s been an excellent experience for our soldiers to work alongside a French officer. As a signaller he comes from a different technical background and has given us an alternative view on how we operate.”

2Lt Charles Pradel was one of three cadets at Colchester-based 2 PARA. He said: “2 PARA has been very welcoming and we have been fully involved in the life of the unit. Going on exercise at Otterburn in heavy snow has been a highlight, because of the different style of training – compared to the French Army there was more use of helicopters and we do not do live firing exercises.”

2Lt Julien Fuselin was attached to 3 Regt AAC, a Wattisham based Apache unit. He said: “It has been very interesting to observe the similarities and differences in how the British and French armies do the same job. My background is as a signaller, so it has also been valuable to broaden my knowledge and learn about attack helicopters.”

16 Med Regt
16 Air Assault Brigade is at the forefront of closer military co-operation between Britain and France. It is working with the French 11e Brigade Parachutiste to develop an Intermediate Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (i-CJEF) for contingency operations, ranging from disaster relief to war fighting.

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