13e DBLE: 2022 Change of Command

At Camp Larzac, home to the 13th Foreign Legion Half Brigade (13e DBLE), a change of command ceremony took place on August 30, 2022. During the ceremony, Colonel Aubry was replaced by Colonel Thomas Riou who became the new commanding officer of the regiment.

Colonel Thomas Riou was born in 1980 (42 years). After studying at military academies, then-Lieutenant Riou opted for the French Foreign Legion and chose the 2e REI where he spent an important part of his career. Between 2004 and 2011, he served there mainly as a platoon leader and a company commander. During this period, he participated in several overseas deployments: in Ivory Coast (2004, 2006), in Afghanistan (2008, 2009) or in the Central African Repubic (2010).

Thereafter, Captain Riou moved to the French Army Staff. Promoted to major in 2012, he continued his studies and spent, from 2014, a year at the Command and Staff College of the United States Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia. There, he completed a Master’s degree in Military Studies for which he received a distinction for his thesis on the process of integration and collective identity within the Foreign Legion (to learn more, see Jack‘s article about the thesis on his website).

Back in the Legion’s 2e REI from 2015 to 2017, Major Riou was in charge of the training & operations office (BOI). During this period, he once again deployed to Ivory Coast (2015). Promoted to lieutenant colonel in 2017, he served at military academies (Draguignan, Saint-Cyr). Colonel in 2022, Thomas Riou is married with four children.

Leaving the 13e DBLE for the General Staff of the 6th Armored Brigade, Colonel Pierre-Henri Aubry has recently returned from Mali (West Africa) where his 13e DBLE legionnaires served as the last military force of the French Army, within the Desert Task Force Monclar. However, this August, the French troops – who had been participating there in anti-terrorist Operation Barkhane since 2014 – had to leave the former French colony, at the request of Mali’s authorities. Part of the force moved to the neighbouring Niger, another part returned home; for example, the 4th Company, 13e DBLE.

13e DBLE - 2022 Colonel Riou
Colonel Thomas Riou, the new commanding officer of the 13e DBLE, appointed in 2022.

13e DBLE - 2022 - Colonel Riou - Colonel Aubry
Colonel Riou and Colonel Aubry in the 13e DBLE’s Hall of Honor, late August 2022.

The 13e DBLE’s parade during the 2022 Change of Command ceremony at Camp Larzac, on August 30 (CCL, 1st Coy, 3rd Coy, 4th Coy, 6th Coy):

Related posts:
13e DBLE: 2022 Operation Barkhane
Operation Barkhane: Immersion in the three-border region
1er REC: Neutralisation of two terrorists during Operation Barkhane in Mali
13e DBLE: Foreign Legion’s Designated Marksmen Meeting 2022