The French Foreign Legion Gallantry Medal was established in 1956 to reward soldiers, sailors, and airmen serving in Algeria who had committed acts of valor or gallantry in combat. Algeria was a department of France at the time, so it was not considered a declared war but peacekeeping operations on French soil. Therefore, the War Cross for foreign operational theaters, which had been awarded for valourous service in Indochina, was not considered appropriate. On April 11, 1956 Decree n° 56-371 authorized the creation of the Médaille de la Valeur Militaire and described its various grades of distinction akin the War Cross (denoted by metal stars and palms on the ribbon). It was reauthorized as a cross-shaped decoration, to put it on the same level as the Croix de guerre, by Decree n° 56-1048 on October 12, 1956.
Unit History:The 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (French: 2e Régiment étranger de parachutistes, 2e REP) is an airborne regiment of the French Foreign Legion, stationed at Camp Raffalli near the town of Calvi on the island of Corsica, just south of mainland France. It is part of the 11th Parachute Brigade and the spearhead of the French Rapid reaction force.
The regiment is composed of around 1140 men organized into 8 companies and a reserve unit of 60 men.
- Compagnie de commandement et de logistique (CCL) - Command and Logistics Company
- Compagnie d'administration et de soutien (CAS) - Administrative and Support Company
- Compagnie d'éclairage et d'appui (CEA) - Reconnaissance & Support Company (recce, anti-tank, sniper & pathfinder sections)
- 1er CIE - 1st Company (specialises in Urban warfare) (a command section and 4 combat sections)
- 2e CIE - 2nd Company (specialises in Mountain warfare) (a command section and 4 combat sections)
- 3e CIE - 3rd Company (specialises in Amphibious warfare) (a command section and 4 combat sections)
- 4e CIE - 4th Company (specialises in sniping and demolitions) (a command section and 4 combat sections)
- 5e Compagnie de maintenance (5e CM) - 5th Maintenance Company (formed August 1994)
- 6e Compagnie (6e CIE) - Reserve Unit (founded July 2001 upon the dissolution of the 173rd Infantry Regiment of Corsica)
Some members of the 2e REP belong to the Commando Parachute Group - Groupement Commando Parachutiste which is a special forces unit of the 11th Parachute Brigade of the French army. While GCP members of other units wear the parachutist's red beret, the 2e REP GCP members conserves the green beret of the French Foreign Legion.