Appel: A Canadian in the French Foreign Legion is the first-hand account of the author’s six years as a professional soldier during the 1990s, and his experience in the Legion's elite Groupe des Commandos Parachutistes (GCP). Joel Struthers recounts the dangers and demands of military life, from the rigours of recruitment and operational training in the rugged mountains of France, to face-to-face combat in the grasslands of some of Africa’s most troubled nations.
Told through the eyes of a soldier, and interspersed with humorous anecdotes, Appel is a fascinating story that debunks myths about the French Foreign Legion and shows it more accurately as a professional arm of the French military. Struthers provides insight into the rigorous discipline that the Legion instills in its young recruits, – who trade their identities as individuals for a life of adventure and a role in a unified fighting force whose motto is “Honour and Loyalty. ”
Foreword by Col. Benoit Desmeulles, former commanding officer of the Legions 2e Régiment Étranger Parachutistes.
For readers wanting to learn about the reality of soldiering in the contemporary French Foreign Legion, unemcumbered by the myth and conceit which characterize so many of the past descriptions of 'la Légion', this is the book for you.- Michael Boire, Canadian Military Journal 19, No. 2 (Spring 2019)
"In Appel, Joel Struthers has illustrated a soldier’s life on and off duty through his vast experience in diverse training activities and operations. Those with a military background will find this a fascinating story, laced with humour, and told through the eyes of a professional soldier in a renowned military organization, the French Foreign Legion. Those who have not experienced military life will be equally fascinated with a soldier’s insights into the dangerous and demanding profession of arms. "- LGen (Retired) RR Crabbe, CMM, MSC, MSM, CD, B Sc
"Travelling through these pages, you will discover how a restless young Canadian turned himself into a professional soldier, and then a pathfinder immersed in a system that, even if could always be improved, remains a reference in terms of soldiering. You will appreciate the quasi-monastic life—made of satisfaction, celebration, hard training, operational commitments, but also of routine and service—of these soldiers who decided to leave everything they had to come and serve in the Legion. And finally you will discover from the inside this esprit de corps that empowers the Corps and helps these hommes sans noms to cope with the tensions of their new lives. "- Col. Benoit Desmeulles, from the Foreword