St. Michael and the Paras
By Sgt. Maj. Patrick van de Poele
First published in
SFOR Informer #72, 13 Oct, 1999
Rajlovac - Wednesday September 29, the camp of Rajlovac, on the outskirts of Sarajevo saw a lot of unusual activity. In the French Military calendar it was Saint Michaels day, the patron Saint of the military Parachutists.
The Archangel Michael was the commander of the celestial militia made up of Angels. Together they brought down the dragon, representation of evil.
The French Battalion of Central Brigade, Multinational Division South-East has two companies of the 2nd Regiment of Parachutists of the Foreign Legion units ranks. As traditionally French Parachutist units celebrate St. Michael's day they invited the other units based at Rajlovac to participate in their festivities.
A number of activities were organised during the day, beginning with a cross country in the early morning followed by a fun oriented competition based around well known sports such as "Tug of war".At lunch there was a regimental meal with their guests .
The afternoon saw demonstration parachute jumps from a German CH-53.helicopter Five experienced Sky Divers threw them selves into the air from a height of 1500 metres.
After a free fall lasting several seconds they opened up their rectangular sails and manoeuvred to land on the small target area. It looked easy but the least experienced of the five men had over a 1,000 jumps to his credit.
The evening started with a mass, followed 2000hrs by a parade. The Paras day ended with a traditional "Vin d'honneur".
For more about the participation of France to the SFOR: France