French mountain soldier day

In France, St. Bernard is celebrated as a patron of the Alps and mountain soldiers. Every year, a celebration in his honour is organised at the fortress La Bastille above the town of Grenoble, where there is also a monument honouring 15,000 fallen French mountain soldiers, and a military mountaineering museum. This year’s celebration took place on 17 June. For the first time, IFMS Secretary General, Brigadir Pograjc, and President of the Slovenian Organisation of Mountain Soldiers, Brigadier (Ret.) Kavar, were invited to this event. The French national organisation of mountain soldiers, the UTM, honoured the IFMS as well as the Slovenian Organisation of Mountain Soldiers with its invitation to the ceremony.

The ceremonial formation above Grenoble comprised the entire 27th French Mountain Soldiers Battalion (Chasseurs Alpins). The formation was inspected by the Chief of the Joint Staff of the French Armed Forces and the Commander of the French Mountain Brigade. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the government and other French army branches, war veterans, and the presidents of all UTM sections. After the ceremony, members of the mountain brigade special forces conducted a short tactical exercise which, along with combat and transport helicopters, also included combat aircraft of the French Air Force. In the centre of Grenoble, an exhibition of the equipment and weapons of French mountain units was put on display. A showroom dedicated to the Alpine squad - the Groupe Militaire de Haute Montagne (GMHM) - attracted particular attention.

As part of the French Mountain Soldiers Day, the annual meeting of the UTM also took place in Grenoble. In this context, the new leadership of the French Organisation of Mountain Soldiers was appointed and the organisation will now be chaired by Lieutenant General (Ret.) Michel Klein. Furthermore, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Benoit Deleuze was appointed Secretary General of the UTM.