FRIDAY FOTO (April 6, 2012)
For a change of pace, we thought we’d show a little pageantry in this week’s FRIFO, and when it comes to pageantry few military organizations can touch the French Defense Forces: camouflage uniforms with gold epaulettes!
Here French soldiers — we think they’re soldiers (note the diamond-shaped anchor patch on their sleeves, possibly Marines?) — render military honors to U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno during an arrival ceremony at L’Hotel National Des Invalides in Paris Thursday (April 5). Les Invalides is a complex containing an Army museum, monuments, a hospital and retirement home for military veterans. It also houses the tomb of Napoleon.
Odierno was in France as part of a tour of several U.S. commands and installations in Europe, according to Stars and Stripes. The visits come as the Army prepares to shrink its personnel and facilities in Europe as part of the post-Iraq and Afghanistan drawdown and the Pentagon’s shifting focus on Asia and the Pacific. While in Paris, he delivered a speech at the French War College to students from more than 60 nations.
To see more photos of the ceremony — and how the new U.S. general officer’s uniform stands up against the French in the gold braid competition — click here. There are also some pretty interesting French uniforms, colorful kepis (caps), white gauntlets, etc.
We’d also like to hear from any visitors who also think that the French Army chief of staff’s kepi appears to be a size too small — compared to the other officers and enlisted men’s headgear.