2e REI: 750 legionnaires to deploy overseas

In 2020, around 750 legionnaires of the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment (2e REI) will deploy overseas, according to their commanding officer, Colonel Arnaud Guerry. The vast majority of the men take part in anti-terrorist Operation Barkhane in Mali, West Africa.

Colonel Guerry, the head of the longest-serving regiment of the French Foreign Legion, stated that his 600 men (four companies) will deploy in mid-February to the Sahel in Africa, a transition zone between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south. Around 4,500 French soldiers (including legionnaires from other regiments) are fighting there against jihadist groups, including an Islamic State group’s branch, in Operation Barkhane. The operation occurs in a large territory which extends across Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad.

The legionnaires will form Task Force Dragon (GTIA Dragon), a battalion-sized composite unit of some 800 men under the command of the 2e REI’s colonel. The name recalls an old insignia of the regiment (used from 1945 until 1957), as well as the Task Force Dragon formed by the 2e REI in Afghanistan in 2010. The deployment will lasts four months.

Since March, another 2e REI company (120 men) is to reinforce French troops in Senegal of West Africa. Some 30 legionnaires will be placed in the United Arab Emirates, situated in Middle East, to participate in a desert warfare training there.

During the year of 2020, a company of the 2e REI should also deploy to French Guiana for four months, while another company of the regiment is going to reinforce the DLEM in Mayotte in the Indian Ocean.

Such a large overseas deployment of the 2e REI companies is planned again for 2022. In 2019, only two of the regiment’s eight companies were deployed abroad: one company to the United Arab Emirates, another one to Estonia in northeastern Europe. The remaining companies participated in Operation Sentinelle to guard French cities.

The current 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment is composed of about 1,300 men who represent 96 nationalities.

Colonel Arnaud Guerry, the current head of the 2e REI. He started his military career in this regiment, as lieutenant, in 2000. He is to leave the regiment in July, after returning from Africa. Photo credit: Anthony Maurin, ObjectifGard
The badge of 2020 Task Force Dragon of the 2e REI to be used in Africa between February and July. Photo credit: Anthony Maurin, ObjectifGard
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Foreign Legion - RMLE-EO - RMLE/EO - insignia - badge
The original insignia of the 2e REI inspiring the Task Force Dragon was created in Algeria in 1945. It was adopted with decent modifications in Indochina in 1946. It was the first distinctive unit insignia of the 2e REI.

Main information and images source: Des légionnaires nîmois qui partent au feu


Related posts:
2e REI: Training for Africa 2020
2e REI + 1er REG + 1er REC: Training before deployment
VIDEO: Mission Lynx in Estonia in 2019