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The French Foreign Legion


15 minutes - English

They are ready to fight at any time. From French Indochina to Afghanistan, they’ve been deployed rapidly and effectively. From building roads to evacuating hostages, the French Foreign Legion gets the job done. 
The Legion was founded in 1831. It is made up of nearly 8000 foreign soldiers who will go anywhere and run any risk for France. They sign a five-year contract upon joining. Once they become members, they endure difficult physical and psychological training while also experiencing the Legion's well-ingrained traditions. 
They are also known for saving lives. In May 1978, their elite paratroopers successfully evacuated over 2000 Europeans held by rebels in Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
60 Minutes visited the Legion's military headquarters in Corsica and French Guiana to see how it remains a distinct and special part of the French Army today.


William McClure

Associate Producer

Anne de Boismilon


Harry Reasoner

First broadcast

CBS News, 60 Minutes