My young years in the French Air Force.


(Translation Frédéric BRIERE...Thanks!)


A year ago, at my kid's request, I started writing about my childhood and teenage years. These few pages were very well received even outside my family circle, so much so that I was encouraged to continue and write about my experience in the air force.

I had already wrote a few pages but it was only a chronological expose of my service records using official documents in my possession. But this time, the aim is to tell what my feelings were during a special part of my life, considering where I came from and the context of the years 1944 to 1963.

So here we are in June 1944, my first year in college is about to end (in France we start college at 14 years old) at the ND de la Roche school in the Rhone region. Then, on June 6th, the allied forces land in Normandy. Because of it, school is let out early and I return home to my parents for summer break. During this last year, I had a lot of time to think of what I want to do with my life and I had decided that I would not follow the path my parents wished I had taken. I quit school. It's during these vacations that our region was liberated, September 4th to be exact, after Paris, Lyon and a good chunk of France. During this period of unrest where resistance actions were mixed with the German withdrawal after blowing up all bridges and railroads in my hometown of Louhans. Then the American troops arrived but only stayed briefly. The 2nd Battalion de Chasseurs a Pied is created in Louhans, mostly composed of resistant FFI (my brother Pierre was one of them) and the local youth. My other brother, Jean who skipped STO comes home but he will be drafted soon after and will take guard on the RN6 road around Tournus. As for me, back at the family farm, I realize that farm work is not for me. And since the farm is modest, my help is not really needed. As I near my 17th birthday (November 28th), the legal age during wartime, I toy with the idea of joining the Airforce. This way, my immediate future will be taken care of. My family doesn't seem bothered by my decision. Perhaps they think that it's just a phase and I will grow out of it. I remember talking about it to an uncle I was helping once a week. His reply was "Well, soldier is like priest, they're both careers for lazy people". But I would need more to deter me from my newfound passion that keep on occupying my mind

04/1945 - 09/1946: In France.Basic Training 07/1954 - 12/1954: Twin engine M.D.312 Avord (Fr.)
10/1945 - 04/1946: Pushed aside - Bias (France) 01/1955 - 03/1955: Boufarik (Algeria), SASM-99
04/1946 - 06/1949: Tunisia : El-Aouina 04/1955 - 03/1956: Vietnam - Nhatrang : MS-500
07/1949 - 02-1951: Indochina, Saïgon & Hanoï 04/1956 - 02/1959: Avord, Instructor on MD-312
02/1951 - 05/1952: Parisian interlude 02/1959 - 02/1961: Bangui (RCA)
05/1952 - 11/1952: Learning fly Mitry (France) 06/1961 - 02/1963: Boufarik Algerian war.
11/1952 - 06/1954: On T6, Marrakech (Morocco)