And St. Anthony… (Death of General Antoine Lecerf)

Antoine is not. He left on Friday. The 22 avril 2011. He is in the Father's house. Antoine, it is Antoine Lecerf. Army Corps General Antoine Lecerf. A Warlord. A brilliant leader of men. One of the most extraordinary men I have known.

When you meet the first time Antoine Lecerf, there was this frank and firm handshake, but there was something else immediately ; something that was within the charisma. Antoine Lecerf have charmed snakes. He shook your hand and immediately there was a spell. He wanted to immediately know if you were with him, if you were prepared, if you adhere to his plan. Which project ? He had a new every five minutes. And he did not let fall. He thought quickly, but his friendship last long. He wanted to know if you were with him and he had a foolproof way to know : he shook your hand, he kept it, his face approached the your, he came to meet you, he wanted to know. He shook your hand, he kept it, her face was approaching and your wrinkled a little his left eyelid as to improve visual acuity, as to be sure of what he would see, what you were going to reveal him. Her pleated look, this penetrating gaze came for something. He was looking for that little flame. He wanted to know if you too were animated. Antoine Lecerf not only spawned animated people. Nothing interested more than whether you as you were, or even to a lesser degree if you could be (which was enough to satisfy the, because the potential was of particular value to him). Antoine Lecerf chose you. And nothing was less by chance.

Antoine Lecerf was also this peculiar way of speaking. As I have said, ideas abounded home. His mind accommodated itself to no comfort. The ideas abounded and as if he knew in advance that he could not say everything, it would be impossible to carry out any, that the time would fail, he wrinkled his mouth slightly as the left. It was an effort on itself, he held the overflow of force, he built a dam that allowed him to sort, select, to refine, tweaking. Some would call it impatience. There was impatience in him. But impatience he inflicted on himself. Not that others unbearable impatience. Non. A completely controlled impatience, he modeled at leisure not to make sure that its essence, son suc, what seemed inevitable him.

I met Antoine Lecerf, I had 23 years. I was a young lieutenant. Not quite weaned. I arrived in one of the finest regiments in the world : 2nd Regiment Infantry Stranger in Nimes. Lieutenant Colonel Fretwell was second in command. I talked to him the first time at the Officers Mess. I remember like yesterday what he said : "If you are here, is that you deserve, but now must you deserve more. "He had a permanent search of the perfect word. The search for the perfect word in a military involves viewing a concurring Action. It is difficult to understand for a civilian. It is difficult to understand in our time. Antoine Lecerf, this research was required and the time could well unfold its mediocrity, it yielded him nothing.

Antoine Lecerf went to the desert of Daguet operation with "Citadel" Saint Exupéry "The Koran" in its package. I was still a young junior officer in the General Staff of the 6th Light Armored Division under the command of another great leader, Colonel Jean-Claude Lesquer. When Antoine Lecerf returned from Daguet, I wore the green beret, I was transferred to the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment, I worked back basis with the formidable captain Benoît Tulin of the 1st company to prepare the show we wanted to give to the city of Nîmes, for his unwavering support. I write and read a long text that accompanied the entrance of the Regiment in the city. Antoine Lecerf told me two or three times thereafter. The text began with the words : "It is men who make history, but it is the history that gives them their strength ". He always wanted to dig. Understand a new idea. Addressing the sentence from another angle. He was full of a desire for perfectionism. We talked again, months later when I visited him in the Minister where he was stationed. He asked me how I had come this crazy idea that history did not exist because it never ceased to write. And I told him I had put myself in the shoes of our dear legionnaires to write this. Them, that never lingered on one of their exploits and yet deserved mostly mausoleum ! 1. We joked in his office, right next to the minister's office. His faithful friend Lieutenant Colonel Bruno Germain had found us. We talked about the past course, since time spent.

Antoine Lecerf could also get you a shove for nothing. Many have thus received a cold shower without expected. It took some time to understand this attitude that although it was not common, was unexpected and left circumspect. Antoine Lecerf might therefore seem a bit unfair sometimes. He announced just something in you which you have not yet realized. The flicker of the flame. He saw a world that was cracking and there remedied immediately forcefully. There was no space for mediocrity seep.

Years later, I remember Antoine Lecerf a dinner with entrepreneurs and industrialists being teased by invited guests - height of roof ! - By a former captain fascinated by the civil life and its splendor. I remember this old officer welcoming the "mili" a bit stuck in the armholes in a consumerist dialogue. Fretwell remained extremely courteous quickly realizing that the guests present could not even touch the military reality. Antoine Lecerf reflected the troops, or, more precisely, he was there to witness life in troops. Antoine knew that only values ​​gave meaning to life, that only values ​​could bring people together and give them that extra soul to perform feats. He also knew the time closed to the idea.

Antoine Lecerf loved life, the youth, the bloom of youth. When he was still Lieutenant Colonel, he honored the word lieutenant in rank. Although it is a rule that lieutenant colonels pride themselves on having the two grades, only him, to my knowledge, could rely. And all that I have read or heard of Antoine Lecerf later in his career, he kept all the time this way, This way of lieutenant, close to his men, easy to contact and always looking for an improvement of military life. the nickname was given to him “ladle” between lieutenants, because he always added more ladle of things to do. If it is crossed or if we summon, we were certain to leave the bag full of innovations… Constantly had to do more and better, and for him, Lieutenants were the bulwark against fatigue.

I do not say again by the force of conviction of Antoine Lecerf. We read here and there on his rants the training of military cadres, sure the fate of the French flag during a contemporary art exhibition… Antoine Lecerf did not mince words, created a mesmerizing dynamics, personified respect. Antoine Lecerf was unique and authentic. Who else could have him declare : "Why a young French he dies in Afghanistan ? France, the tricolor, non, jive ! He died for her boyfriend, his sergeant, son lieutenant, son colonel. Why ? Because, when tu death daily, he created a sacred covenant. This is simply called love ". He leaves a legacy to any young person who wants a military career, because it undoubtedly represents a figure : the figure of the French officer. He placed himself in this tradition. He is among those who embody forever. Ernst Jünger wrote : "It was given to us to live in the invisible rays of great feeling, this will remain our inestimable privilege. "I have been given to serve in the shadow of Antoine Lecerf, it will remain a priceless privilege. Rest in peace, my general.

  1. In September 1991, 2nd Infantry Regiment Etranger returned from Saudi Arabia where in the Rapid Action Force had completed Operation Daguet. Within the first combat company remained behind base, I was commissioned to write and stage a show to celebrate this return and the 150th anniversary of the Battle of El Moungar. Ernst Jünger was invited to this show which incorporated many passages in his books and even considered a virtual character called the show the passer. This show attracted over 10 000 Nîmes spectators began with the words chanted by Richard Bohringer who participated in this show of love for the Legion : " There's no, there will never be of the Foreign Legion story, it is every day that God created "

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