Of iron and steel.
The motto of the 7th Battalion of the Alpine Chasseurs summarizes the feats of arms of Master Corporal Maxime Blasco.
Friday, September 24, in the forest of N'Daki, near the border between Mali and Burkina Faso, a drone spots a group of enemy combatants.
About thirty commandos, supported by two helicopters and a drone, are "
deployed to recognize the area
", according to a statement from the General Staff of the Armed Forces.
Read also Mali: the junta negotiates with Russian mercenaries
Very quickly, they are taken to task in a very dense wooded area.
During this action, Master Corporal Maxime Blasco was hit by a sniper, which was neutralized by the commandos
Seriously injured, he quickly succumbs to his injuries.
The master corporal becomes the 52nd French soldier to die in combat since the launch of Operation Barkhane in 2013.
A French hero
Originally from Grenoble, he enlisted at the age of 25, specializing as a marksman, then a sniper for the Commando Montagne group.
In 2014, he was deployed to the Central African Republic, Chad and Senegal as part of operations Barkhane and Sangaris.
He distinguishes himself each time in combat actions by his precision and his composure.
It will be worth to him to be decorated with the cross of the Military value with bronze star
”, specifies the press release of the Army.
Read also: Florence Parly in Niger to discuss the French military reorganization in the Sahel
It was screened several times in Mali as part of Operation Barkhane. From September 2016 to January 2017 as a sniper of the mountain commando group where "
his commitment will earn him the attribution of a testimony of satisfaction
", allowing the arrest or neutralization of armed terrorist groups.
Then from September 2017 to January 2018 where he distinguished himself twice.
First, by participating at night in the assault on a house housing five armed jihadists where, at the head of the assault system, he found himself facing four enemies whom he took prisoner.
He later contributes to the seizure of a large depot of weapons and explosives where, after an infiltration into a hostile zone, he participates in the immobilization of enemy sentries.
He will then be decorated again with the Cross of Military Valor with a bronze star.
Read also Behind the scenes of the elimination of the emir of Daesh in the Sahel
Once again deployed from May to September 2018 as an on-board gunner on Gazelle helicopters, it stands out for its combat effectiveness, particularly "
in a very dense wooded area
He is decorated for the third time with the Cross of Military Valor with a bronze star.
A heroic feat of arms
It is a heroic feat of arms which earned him the recognition of the Armies and to be decorated with the Cross of Military Valor with Star of Vermeil then the Military Medal from the hands of Emmanuel Macron.
This exploit was reported in July 2020 by France 2.
Master Corporal Maxime Blasco was sent to Mali for the fourth time in 2019. A few days earlier the Islamic State had killed around twenty Nigerien soldiers.
In response, France, Mali and Niger launched Operation Aconite on June 7 in the Azambara forest on the Niger-Malian border.
Read alsoParly rejects the parallel between the Sahel and Afghanistan
On the night of June 13-14, a drone spotted a group in the woods. A Tiger helicopter was dispatched to the site, followed by 45 mountain commandos. In Gao, Maxime Blasco climbs aboard a Gazelle helicopter tasked with relieving the Tiger, which has been in combat for several hours. As soon as it arrives, under enemy fire, the Gazelle must land urgently. Still there, the Tiger flies over the crash and distinguishes three survivors. His pilot decides: "
we are going to look for them
Hit by enemy fire, the helicopter was forced to land in an emergency and Master Corporal Blasco was ejected on impact. Despite serious injuries and the immediate proximity of the enemies, he did not hesitate to extract the pilot as well as the captain, wounded and embedded in the burning aircraft. He drags them to an open area for nearly fifty meters then, still under enemy fire, secures them by a makeshift maneuver on a Tiger helicopter that has come as a reinforcement before clinging by the sole force of his arms to the train of 'landing. Its action will allow the rescue and survival of the helicopter crew. Injured in the back and suffering from multiple vertebral fractures, he was repatriated to France on June 18, 2019
”, narrates the Ministry of the Armed Forces.
Read alsoWith the camel drivers, sentinels of the Sahel on the back of a camel
A year later, in the France 2 documentary, Maxime Blasco denies being a hero.
I don't really see heroes, I see brave people.
It was collective action
I had always sworn to myself that the day I had an accident on a mission, I would stop my job.
Finally, I see that this job is a passion.
The spirit of camaraderie, the action, the adrenaline, the feeling of being used for something, that outweighs the accident.
I feel like going back,
In his book
Du courage - Praise for the use of adventurers and ... everyday heroes,
Gérard Guerrier recounts the words of Maxime Blasco's wife: “
For him, things are simple.
We leave with friends, we go home together.
He has confidence in the collective;
it has always been like that.
When he was still a pastry chef, he intervened one night in the center of Grenoble to immobilize a man who was beating his partner until the police arrived
At 34, this man of iron and steel "
died for France during a combat action against a terrorist group in Mali
He leaves behind a wife and a child.