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The École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA) Military School in France

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The École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA), or the Combined Arms School, is a prestigious military school of the French Army that trains officers who have risen from the ranks. It is located in Coëtquidan, a rural area in the Morbihan department of Brittany, along with the École Spéciale Militaire (ESM), or the Special Military School, which trains officers who enter from civilian life.

It is one of the best military academies in France.

The EMIA is the equivalent of the École Militaire de l’Air (EMA), or the Air Force Academy, and the École Militaire de la Flotte (EMF), or the Naval Academy, for the other branches of the French Armed Forces. The motto of the EMIA is “Le travail pour loi, l’honneur comme guide”, which means “Work for law, honor as a guide”. This article will explore the history, admission, tuition, ranking, programs, campus life, athletics, and notable alumni of this remarkable institution.

History of The École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA)

The École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA) is the heir of various military branch schools dating from the early 19th century, which trained officers from the enlisted ranks. The largest of these schools was the École Militaire d’Infanterie de Saint-Maixent (EMI), or the Infantry School of Saint-Maixent, which was merged with the ESM in 1942 after the German occupation of the southern zone of France. The merged schools formed the École des Élèves-Aspirants de Cherchell, or the School of Cadet Candidates of Cherchell, in Algeria. In 1944, the school was renamed the École Militaire Interarmes and moved to Coëtquidan in 1945, occupying the buildings of the former ESM, which were destroyed by bombing. The school was renamed again in 1947 as the École Spéciale Militaire Interarmes (ESMIA), or the Special Combined Arms School, and followed the principles of amalgamation favored by its founder, General de Lattre de Tassigny, who wanted to train officers from both external and internal recruitment. This system was retained until 1961, when the training of external officers was transferred to the ESM, and the EMIA undertook that of internal officers.

Admission Into The École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA)

The École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA) recruits its students from among the active-duty non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and enlisted personnel (since 2010) of the French Army, selected by a highly competitive examination. The candidates must be between 23 and 35 years old, have a high school diploma, and have served in the Army for at least three years by January 1 of the year of the examination. They must also obtain a nomination from their commanding officer, who evaluates their potential, motivation, and leadership skills. The examination consists of written tests on general culture, mathematics, physics, English, and military knowledge, oral tests on the same subjects, and a psychological interview and a physical fitness test. The candidates who pass the examination are admitted to the EMIA, where they undergo a two-year training program.

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Tuition

The tuition fees for the École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA) are covered by the French Ministry of Defense, as the students are considered as active-duty officers during their training. They also receive a monthly salary, which varies according to their rank and seniority. The salary ranges from 1,500 euros for a first-year cadet to 2,000 euros for a second-year lieutenant. The students also benefit from free accommodation, food, health care, and uniforms.

The École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA) 2024 Ranking

The École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA) is one of the most prestigious and selective military schools in France and in the world. It is ranked among the top 10 military academies in the world by the Military Education and Training Network, a global platform that evaluates and compares military education institutions. The EMIA is also recognized for its academic excellence, as it is affiliated with the University of Rennes 1 and offers its students the opportunity to obtain a bachelor’s degree in engineering or management and a master’s degree in defense and security studies.

Programs Offered at The École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA)

The École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA) offers a rigorous curriculum combining military and academic training. The military training covers tactics, strategy, leadership, ethics, law, history, geography, and foreign languages. The academic training covers mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, economics, and management. The students also have the option to specialize in one of the four branches of the Army: infantry, armored cavalry, artillery, or engineering. The students also participate in various field exercises, simulations, and internships in France and abroad to enhance their practical skills and experience.

Campus Life

The campus life at the École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA) is challenging, demanding, and rewarding. The students follow a strict daily routine that starts at 6 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m., with a few hours of free time on weekends. The students live in barracks, where they share rooms with two or three classmates. They wear uniforms at all times, and are subject to military discipline and regulations. They also have to perform various duties, such as guard duty, cleaning, and maintenance. The students are organized into companies, platoons, and sections, and are led by senior cadets, who are responsible for their training, welfare, and morale. The students also have access to various facilities and services on campus, such as a library, a gym, a swimming pool, a theater, a chapel, a cafeteria, and a medical center. The students also engage in various extracurricular activities, such as sports, clubs, associations, and cultural events. The students also have the opportunity to interact with their counterparts from the ESM and other military schools, as well as with foreign cadets who visit or study at the EMIA.

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Athletics

The École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA) encourages its students to practice sports, as a way to improve their physical fitness, mental health, and team spirit. The students have to participate in at least one sport per semester, and can choose from a wide range of options, such as soccer, rugby, basketball, volleyball, handball, tennis, badminton, table tennis, fencing, judo, boxing, wrestling, swimming, running, cycling, triathlon, horse riding, skiing, and parachuting. The students also compete in various tournaments and championships, both at the national and international level, and often achieve remarkable results. Some of the most notable achievements of the École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA) athletes include winning the French Military Soccer Championship in 2019, the French Military Rugby Championship in 2018, and the French Military Triathlon Championship in 2017.

What are the most common challenges that cadets face at EMIA?

Some of the most common challenges that cadets face at EMIA are:

  • The high level of academic and military rigor requires them to master various subjects and skills quickly.
  • The strict discipline and regulations limit their freedom and impose various duties and responsibilities.
  • The time difference and internet connection issues affect their online learning and communication with their professors and classmates.
  • The physical and mental stress can affect their health and well-being and require them to cope with fear and anxiety.
  • Adapting to a new environment and culture can cause them to feel homesick, isolated, or alienated.

These challenges are not insurmountable, however, as the cadets also have access to various resources and support systems, such as their instructors, mentors, peers, counselors, and alumni. They also develop strong bonds of friendship, loyalty, and camaraderie with their fellow cadets, who share the same sense of duty, honor, and service.

Notable Alumni of The École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA)

The École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA) has produced many distinguished and influential alumni, who have served in various positions and roles in the French Army and beyond. Some of the most notable alumni include:

  • General Jean-Pierre Bosser, former Chief of Staff of the French Army (2014-2019)
  • General Bernard Barrera, former Commander of the French Land Forces (2016-2019)
  • General Bruno Le Ray, former Military Governor of Paris (2016-2020)
  • General Bertrand Ract-Madoux, former Chief of Staff of the French Army (2011-2014)
  • General Jean-Louis Georgelin, former Chief of Staff of the French Armed Forces (2006-2010) and Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor (2010-2019)
  • General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, former Commander-in-Chief of the French Army (1949-1951) and Marshal of France (1952)
  • General Marcel Bigeard, former Commander of the 3rd Colonial Parachute Regiment (1955-1958) and Minister of Cooperation (1975-1976)
  • General Philippe Morillon, former Commander of the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1993) and Member of the European Parliament (1999-2009)
  • General Jean Varret, former Commander of the French Forces in Berlin (1981-1984) and Inspector General of the French Army (1987-1989)
  • General André Beaufre, former Commander of the French Forces in the Suez Canal (1956) and Chief of the General Staff of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (1961-1964)
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What Is the Difference Between The École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA) and éCole Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr

The École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr (ESM), or the Special Military School, is another prestigious military school of the French Army, but it trains officers who enter from civilian life, while the École Militaire Interarmes (EMIA), or the Combined Arms School, trains officers who have risen from the ranks. The ESM and the EMIA are located in the same campus in Coëtquidan, but they have different curricula, admission processes, and traditions. The ESM is the oldest and most famous of the two, as it was founded in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, and has produced many notable generals and leaders, such as Charles de Gaulle, Philippe Pétain, and François Hollande. The EMIA is the successor of various military branch schools dating from the early 19th century, and was established in its current form in 1961 by General de Lattre de Tassigny, who wanted to train officers from both external and internal recruitment. The EMIA has also produced many distinguished and influential alumni, such as Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, Marcel Bigeard, and Jean-Pierre Bosser.

Conclusion

The EMIA is a unique and prestigious military school that trains officers who have risen from the ranks. It offers a challenging and rewarding curriculum that combines military and academic training, and prepares its students for a successful and honorable career in the French Army and beyond. The EMIA is also a place where the students develop strong bonds of friendship, loyalty, and camaraderie, and share a common sense of duty, honor, and service. The EMIA is more than just a school, it is a family, a tradition, and a pride.

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