A second-hand M1, 40 years later
In March 1978, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon or UNIFIL was authorized and one of the first “blue berets” on the ground in the DMZ were French with Warrant Officer François-Xavier Roch, a military photographer, arriving at Beirut airport before the French contingent deplaned to capture the moment for history. As the area was not exactly secure (over 300 UN peacekeepers have been killed as part of UNIFIL, not counting the horrendous casualties by the U.S. Marines and French paratroopers in 1983), Roch picked up a M1 steel pot he found kicking around and painted it blue, later applying a “Presse” placard to the front like the newsmen of old.
Now, with the “interim” UNIFIL still very much a thing (comprised of 10,500 peacekeepers from 41 countries), Roch presented the helmet to the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, during his visit to Lebanon last week.
Roch retired from the French Army after 20 years at the rank of Captain.