The 8th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (French: 8e Régiment de Parachutistes d'Infanterie de Marine, 8e RPIMa) is an airborne regiment of the French Army. The 8e RPIMa was created on February 28 1951 and the men bear wearing the red beret. This elite regiment is part of the 11th Parachute Brigade.
The regiment is garrisoned at Castres, France. Current missions of the 8e RPIMa revolve around peacekeeping and assistance to world populations, and in that regard at the service and disposition of NATO or the United Nations directives. The regiment intervenes around the world protecting French interests in and not limited to : Tchad, Lebanon, New Caledonia, Kuwait, Rwanda, Gabon, Kurdistan, Zaïre, Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, RDC, ex-Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Ivory Coast, and Afghanistan. In outremer, the regiment is engaged in operations defending French interests, or countries that are in liaison with France in security missions. In Europe, the regiment is engaged in defending the national French territory at the corps of the terrestrial action force. This regiment can be rapidly deployed anywhere in the world. The regiment parts various Commando Parachute Groups, a group of French elite units. Parachute training is conducted at the École des troupes aéroportées (ETAP) in Pau.
February 28 1951 : creation of the 8th Colonial Parachute Battalion, 8e BPC.
September 12 1952 : became the 8th Commando Parachute Groupment, 8e GCP.
August 1 1953 : became the 8th Parachute Choc Battalion, 8e BPC.
May 31 1954 : dissolution of the 8th Parachute Choc Battalion, 8e BPC.
May 1 1956 : creation of the 8th Colonial Parachute Regiment 8e RCP at the corps of the 25th Parachute Division 25e DP.
December 1 1958: became 8th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment, 8e RPIMa.
The unit was created on 28 February 1951, in Hanoi as the "8th Colonial Parachute Battalion," as a part of the French union forces. Present since 1951 and to 1954, the "8th Colonial Parachute Battalion" fought at Lai-Chau, Hoa Binh, Langson and Dien Bien Phu heavily superiorly outnumbered. The Battalion was cited at the orders of the armed forces and mentioned in dispatches four times for acts of valor. The quasi totality of the battalion disappeared and was subsequently dissolved on 19 May 1954, after the Battle of Dien Bien Phu.
The unit was recreated as the "8th Colonial Parachute Regiment" on 1 May 1956. The regiment participated in operations against the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN), most notably at El Kiffene, Ain El Kesseub and Tarf at the corps of the 25th Parachute Division.
The regiment relocated to the town of Nancy, Metropolitan France, in 1961, to form a part of the 11th Light Intervention Division 11e DLI. The regimental headquarters moved to Castres in 1963.
The regiment partook in various peacekeeping missions in Lebanon on numerous yearly designated occasions within the UNIFIL first then integrated the corps of the Multinational Force in Lebanon.
The regiment has been present around the world in Lebanon, Chad, Central Africa, Gabon and many others while mainly participating in humanitarian and peacekeeping missions.
The regiment has been spearheading combat, combat support, peacekeeping and multipurposed facade mission operations throughout the globe with the ongoing War on Terror, mainly on all exterior theatres of operations where the French Armed Forces are engaged in along the five continents and oceanic surroundings. The regiment is currently serving with the NATO ISAF in Afghanistan. In a fierce battle on 18–19 August 2008, ten French soldiers were killed and 21 wounded making it the largest loss of French troops in battle in many years. ISAF Press Release
The regiment is composed of around 1200 marine infantry parachute personnel articulated into eight combat companies:Compagnie de commandement et de logistique (CCL) - Command and logistics company
Compagnie d'éclairage et d'appui (CEA) - Reconnaissance and support company
1re Compagnie de combat - 1st Combat company
2e Compagnie de combat - 2nd Combat company
3e Compagnie de combat - 3rd Combat company
4e Compagnie de combat - 4th Combat company
Compagnie de réserve opérationnelle (CRO) - Operational reserve company
Except for the Legionnaires of the 1er REG, 2ème REG, 2ème REP that conserve the Green Beret; the remainder of the French army metropolitan and marine paratroopers forming the 11th Parachute Brigade wear the Red Beret.
The Archangel Saint Michael, patron of the French paratroopers is celebrated on 29 September.
The prière du Para (Prayer of the Paratrooper) was written by André Zirnheld in 1938.
Just like the paratrooper Brevet of the French Army; the Insignia of French Paratroopers was created in 1946. The French Army Insignia of metropolitan Paratroopers represents a closed <<winged armed dextrochere>>, meaning a "right winged arm" armed with a sword pointing upwards. The Insignia makes reference to the Patron of Paratroopers. In fact, the Insignia represents <<the right Arm of Saint Michael>>, the Archangel which according to Liturgy is the <<Armed Arm of God>>. This Insignia is the symbol of righteous combat and fidelity to superior missions. The French Army Insignia of Marine Infantry Paratroopers is backgrounded by a Marine Anchor.
Since creation, the regiment has endured the loss of 19 Officers, 91 Sous-Officiers and 437 paratroopers of the 8e RPIMa.
The regimental colors of the 8th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (8e RPIMa) is decorated with:Croix de guerre des théâtres d'opérations extérieures with :
Croix de la Valeur militaire with :
1 palm ( May 21 2012 for service in Afghanistan ).
1 palm ( August 31 2012 for service in Lebanon - Regularization of the citation at the orders of the armed forces received in 1979).
1 palm ( October 1 2013 for service in Afghanistan ).
Fourragère with colors of la Croix de la Valeur militaire.
The regiment bears wearing 3 Fourragère:Fourragère bearing the colors of the Médaille militaire.
Fourragère bearing the colors of the Croix de guerre des théâtres d'opérations extérieures.
Fourragère bearing the colors of the Croix de la Valeur militaire.
The regiment distinguished savoire-faire in Indochina. The regiment received 4 citations at the orders of the armed forces for acts of valor.
In Algeria, the regiment placed out of combat 2800 militants and recuperated 1000 arms.
In 1978 and commanded by colonel Cann, the regiment was engaged in total in Lebanon in support of the peace effort. The regiment received the 5th citation at the orders of the armed forces.
In 1979 and commanded by captain Marchand, a company from the regiment was engaged fully in Chad in support of the peace effort.
In 2008 and supporting the peace effort, the regiment endured the loss of eight 8e RPIMa paratroopers in Afghanistan.
In 2013 and supporting the peace effort in an intervention confrontation, the regiment endured the loss two 8e RPIMa paratroopers in RCA.
Guy Le Borgne, regimental commander (1952-1953)
Patrice Le Nepvou de Carfort (1952-1959)
René de Salins (1920-2014)
Pierre Tourret, regimental commander (1953-1954)
François Cann, regimental commander ( 1977-1979)