French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing has completed a three-day visit to Corsica by paying tribute to the Foreign Legion paratroopers who took part in last month's evacuation of Europeans from the Zaire town of Kolwezi.
GV Corsican coastline and seascape
GV & SV Paratroop regiment headquarters (2 shots)
GV Paratroopers on parade for medal ceremony and officer taking salute (2 shots)
SV Troops standing at ease and holding medals on display
SV & CU Troops during parade
SV & CU Legionnaires being presented with medals (2 shots)
CU Medals TILT UP TO soldier
SV Soldiers being presented with medals, including injured on crutches (3 shots)
CU Colonel Philippe Erulin speaking
GV Soldiers walking across parade ground as others watch (3 shots)
GV Soldiers marching through streets and crowd applauding (3 shots)
GV & SV Troops and officers standing to attention during parade (4 shots)
GV & SV French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing arrives and reviews troops (3 shots)
GV Crowd applauding
GV Giscard standing in front of monument during ceremony
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Background: French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing has completed a three-day visit to Corsica by paying tribute to the Foreign Legion paratroopers who took part in last month's evacuation of Europeans from the Zaire town of Kolwezi. He visited the Legion's headquarters at Bastia.
SYNOPSIS: Set close to the Corsican coastline, the Foreign Legion headquarters was the scene of a special medal presentation ceremony on Friday (9 June) to paratroopers who went to Zaire. More than 650 troops had been airlifted to Zaire and drooped over the mining town of Kolwezi, following the attack on the Shaba province by Katangese rebels.
The Second Paratroop Regiment which went to Zaire is made up of about 1,000 men from 23 different countries. The majority are Europeans, mostly French, Belgian, West German, Italian, Spanish and British. The Regiment has already been mentioned in despatches for the brave??? it showed in rescuing Euro??? from Kolwezi, and it has also been awarded France's highest military order.
The regiment's commanding officer, Colonel Philippe Erulin, who was attacked last week by left-wing newspapers for alleged atrocities during the Algerian war, spoke to newsmen about the Kolwezi operation, saying that almost all the men who went were volunteers. He added that they were frustrated and disappointed for one week after the news of the rebel invasion because they wanted to leave on their own mission immediately.
Reports from Corsica say the Foreign Legion have been the centre of attention since the return of the paratroopers from Zaire. They have now been replaced by troops from Morocco and other African states, which are forming a Pan-African peacekeeping force. French authorities claim the legionnaires killed up to 300 rebels in their recapture of Kolwezi and during later search-and-destroy missions, while just four of their own number were killed in combat.
The French President, on his first visit to the Mediterranean island, described the Logion as an honour to France. President Valery Giscard d'Estaing said the paratroopers just back from the African mission had managed to save hundreds of innocent people from being murdered.
A??? ??? of his visit President Giscard spoke briefly about local Corsican problems.