In the spring of 1974, the Company Commander asked for volunteers to attend the French Commando School in Breisach, Germany, a short distance from the Rhine River and the Black Forest, a mountainous region in southwest Germany, bordering France. The Rhine River separated the two countries.
The French Commando Course was similar, in some of the physical requirements, to the Army Ranger course, but much easier. Ranger school lasted nine weeks. They stayed out in the field most of the time and went without food and sleep. We called the French Commando Course a “mini-Ranger Course,” but we had hot meals, and, most nights, we slept in a bunk. The Rangers seldom had either during their course. This course taught small-unit tactics, patrolling, and leadership, but the biggest focus of the course was on teamwork. There were many obstacle courses, and we carried a pack with an M1 rifle everywhere we went.
We found the three-week course challenging and demanding and completed many tasks to include obstacle courses, river rafting operations, staring down a tank, boxing, jumping from a helicopter, rappelling and mountain climbing to name a few. The school commandant awarded the French Commando Badge upon our successful completion of the course.