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'100 years of courage, the courage of 100 years'. Spanish Legion celebrates its Centenary in Mali

September 21, 2020
  • Legionnaires deployed in EUTM Mali celebrate Legion´s Centennial in a very special way

The “Valenzuela” Bandera, VII of “La Legión”, as the core unit, and personnel from different units of the Legión Brigade, make up the bulk of the contingent deployed in Mali aimed to train the Malian Army (EUTM Mali).

A military parade was held at the “Koulikoro Training Centre”, to celebrate Legion’s centennial. During the ceremony, the Legionnares remembered all those who gave their life for Spain in the line of duty, while Legionnaires were singing legion’s anthem called “El Novio de la Muerte” (Death’s boyfriend). Two clauses (spirits) of the Legionnaire's Creed were also recited: the spirit of the Legionnaire and the spirit of Death.

It was on September the 20th, 1920 when the Legionnaire (“caballero legionario” in Spanish) Marcelo Villeval Gaitán got enlisted, a date that is considered the anniversary of “La Legión” even though its was established on January 28th. One hundred years later, the common feeling among the Legionaries in Mali is pride. They are both the heirs to the courage of a hundred years and the lucky ones to be able to celebrate this event deployed, serving Spain, in the front line.

The Legionnaires, since September 20th, 1920, have always requested the toughest posts, and one hundred years later, they keep on looking forward to being deployable in foreign Areas of Operations. For them, there is no better way to celebrate their centenary than by continuing with their work, effort and sacrifice that has always characterized The Legion from its very beginning. This is how the ‘Death’s boyfriends’ are, brave legionnaires, with their shirts opened and without any kind of fear, they will fulfil their duty, will work on whatever they are ordered, without thinking on the timing and honouring the "Spirit of the Legionnaire: he is unique and unprecedented, he has blindness and ferocious courage, always looking for enemy’s short distance and even fighting with the bayonet on".

“La Legión”, along with Spanish Marines’ have the mission of providing protection and security to the military base where the European servicemen who participate in the EUTM Mali mission are deployed, thus contributing to improve the unstable situation in Mali and defending Spain’s "advanced border".