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York Soldier Trains With French Foreign Legion

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6:43am 23rd January 2014

A paratrooper from Fulford has been training with the French Foreign Legion in Corsica.

Private Jon Goddard, of Colchester-based 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (2 PARA), has been on Exercise Blue Legionnaire alongside troops from 2e Regiment Etranger de Parachutistes (2e REP).

During the two-week exercise Pte Goddard has used the Giat Famas assault rifle, the standard weapon of the French Army; learnt French tactics and techniques for beach assaults and fighting in built-up areas; climbed the island’s snow-capped mountains; and tackled 2e REP’s assault course.

The 28-year-old said: “It has been a really good exercise because it’s been so different. It’s been good to try things that we don’t really do, like amphibious operations, and get our hands on each other’s weapons. The mountains in Corsica are stunning and it’s the first time I’ve done winter climbing, which I really enjoyed.

“The legionnaires are very similar to us in role and spirit. They’re from different backgrounds from all over the world and it’s been interesting to get to know them, where they’ve been and what they’ve done.”

Pte Goddard, who went to Fulford School, has been in the Army for two years.

Exercise Blue Legionnaire was designed to improve the ability of 2 Para and 2e REP to work together. The two units are part of a partnership between the British 16 Air Assault Brigade and the French 11e Brigade Parachutiste, which stands at high readiness to deploy together on contingency operations ranging from war fighting to disaster relief.

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