France is planning celebrations of a French Foreign Legion battle from 1863. (Remy Gabalda/AFP)
PARIS — French Mirage fighters flying over a key Foreign Legion public parade marks American pilots’ aid to France before the US entered the first world war, an Army officer said April 17.
The French Air Force’s La Fayette fighter squadron will fly Mirage jets and march in a military parade that celebrates the Foreign Legion’s April 30 celebration of the 1863 Camaron battle in Mexico, Army Col. Cyrille Youchtchenko told journalists.
The squadron’s part stems from the American pilots and volunteers enlisting in the Foreign Legion to allow them to fly on the French side in the La Fayette squadron formed in 1916, a year before the US joined the allies in the war.
A fly-past of two Mirage 2000N jets from the La Fayette squadron and the Patrouille de France demonstration team will be part of the display, in which the legionnaires will march in parade, an Army spokesman said.
The celebration will be held at the legion’s headquarters in Aubagne, southern France.
Prince Albert II of Monaco is due to attend the celebration as his great grandfather, Louis II, served in the Foreign Legion.
The Foreign Legion holds the parade to mark the Camaron battle, in which 65 legionnaires fought against 2,000 Mexican soldiers to protect a military convoy on its way to a French military base at Puebla.
“The mission was accomplished,” the Army said.