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Legion of the Lost

By Jaime Salazar

No army is more surrounded by mystery, romance, and admiration than the French Foreign Legion.

King Louis Philippe II created the Foreign Legion in 1831 as a way to rid France of penniless immigrants and others considered a liability to the French establishment. The Foreign Legion still exists today as an elite army of modern mercenaries from around the world, in the service of la France.

Considered a haven for the dregs of society, joining the Foreign Legion was rumoured to be simple, but it wasn’t. Getting out of the Foreign Legion, as Salazar soon realised, proved impossible. So what was an engineering professional doing in the “Legion of the Damned”? For those Dostoevsky calls the “insulted and the injured,” men of character who seek adventure in the most obscure places, the Legion offers refuge. After surrendering his passport, and with it, any human rights, the Legion gave Salazar a new name and life.

Once enlisted, there are three ways to leave the Legion: finishing one’s five-year contract, disability, or leaving in a box. While serving a term in Legion prison, Salazar came up with a fourth solution – escape

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