On the beach of Ouistreham in Normandy was to take place this Friday, July 7, a ceremony of tribute to the last veteran of the Kieffer commando, Léon Gautier, in the presence of the President of the Republic.
At the age of 100, Léon Gautier, the last member of the Kieffer commando died on Monday July 3. This marine rifle battalion, led by Philippe Kieffer, is the only French unit that landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944.
A new commando in homage to its 1944 ancestor
In 2008, to bring this memory to life, the President of the Republic Nicolas Sarkozy formalized the creation of a new Kieffer commando. It will be the sixth of the seven units of the marine commandos, these special forces of the French Navy which bring together
In addition to the tribute to soldier Kieffer, two other special units bear the name of officers of the 1st BFMC (Marine Rifle Battalion) who died in combat during the Second World War: the commando Hubert and the commando Trépel.
What does the Kieffer commando do?
Based in Lorient, with five other Navy units, the Kieffer commando takes part in maritime special operations. It has specialists trained in the use of drones, in the management of nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical threats. He is distinguished by his mastery of new technologies, used in the context of cyber warfare.
When it was formed in 2008, only thirty men were part of the commando. The workforce is now about 70 sailors, all men.
How to integrate the Kieffer commando?
The selection to integrate the marine commandos is very tough. Generally, you must first be part of the Marine Riflemen before you can join these elite units.
Candidates pass a pre-selection before completing the Stac, a commando course renowned for its difficulty. Each year, about 170 applicants attempt the course and only about thirty pass the tests and join one of the seven commandos of the French Navy.