10 years ago: Staff Sergeant Harold Vormezeele was killed in Mali

Ten years ago, during a battle with local rebels in Mali, West Africa, Staff Sergeant Harold Vormezeele was killed. He was a member of the commando group with the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP).

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Harold Vormezeele - 2013 - Mali

Staff Sergeant Harold Vormezeele was born on July 24, 1979 in Belgium. At the age of 19, in late February 1999, he joined the Foreign Legion as a volunteer for five years. At the end of his four-month basic training in the 4th Foreign Regiment (4e RE) of Castelnaudary, he asked for the 2e REP which he joined in late July 1999.

As of August 2000, he became a radio operator. A serious and motivated legionnaire, he proved to be competent and efficient, showing himself to be particularly rigorous in the execution of the assigned missions. In 2002, he was promoted to corporal. Energetic and determined, he distinguished himself by his remarkable commitment and excellent physical condition. Showing great potential, Harold Vormezeele joined the parachute commando group (GCP). He was promoted to the rank of sergeant on July 1, 2005.

Sergeant Vormezeele then perfected his skills and got the French Army Advanced Technician Certificate (BSTAT). In May 2010, he was naturalized and obtained French citizenship. Two months later, he was promoted to staff sergeant. Staff Sergeant Vormezeele participated in numerous overseas deployments: Bosnia-Herzegovina (former Yugoslavia) in 2000, Gabon in 2001, Djibouti in 2001 and 2011, New Caledonia in 2003, Ivory Coast in 2006, the Central African Republic in 2007, and Afghanistan in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

On January 23, 2013, he was sent again to Ivory Coast in Africa. During the night of January 27 to 28, he was among 2e REP men who jumped over Timbuktu in Mali, as part of Operation Serval (2012-2014). This was another operational jump conducted by the 2e REP and France after 35 years.

Three weeks later, on January 18, a five-week battle with Tuareg rebels started in the Adrar des Ifoghas massif of northern Mali; the battle is also known as Operation Panther. On the second day of the battle, February 19, Staff Sergeant Vormezeele was killed during a skirmish between GCP commandos and rebels; he became the second French soldier to be killed during Operation Serval in Mali. That day, 20 rebels were also killed.

Aged 33, Staff Sergeant Vormezeele was awarded the Military Valor Cross, the National Defense Gold Medal, as well as the French Commemorative Medal with “ex-Yugoslavia” and “Afghanistan” clasps, the Overseas Medal with “Ivory Coast” and “Central African Republic” clasps, and the Combatant’s Cross. He served 14 years in the Legion. Rest in peace.


A military funeral for Harold Vormezeele, posthumously promoted to adjudant (Sergeant First Class in the U.S. or Warrant Officer Class 2 in the UK), took place at the National Residence of the Invalids (Les Invalides) in Paris, on February 22, 2013.

Related posts:
2e REP: 2nd member of GCP killed in Mali
1er REG: Legionnaire killed in Mali
1er REC: Two legionnaires killed in Mali in May 2020
1er REC: Two legionnaires killed in Djibouti