The French Foreign Legion is one of the most legendary corps of soldiers in the world. It still accepts men from everywhere, and in the past was known for taking you no questions asked; men were even required to take a new identity. Its motto is Legio Patria Nostra, "the Legion is our country." After serving in good standing, they were eligible for French citizenship.
The Legion today is still far more flexible than anywhere else in the Western military. Its requirements now include psychological tests to make sure you're not a psychopath, and your teeth, eyes and general health must be in good condition. Felons are "generally" not allowed to serve, but motivation is considered and the "recruitment" section of the website says that candidates are interviewed to "learn if your past is acceptable in relation to the Legion."
The Pioneers of the Legion lead the Legionnaires march in the Bastille Day parade (which by the way is never called Bastille Day in France: it's the Quatorze juillet) and their getup is extraordinary, as you can see here. They have beards, wear buffalo-leather aprons and carry an axe over their shoulders. They were the sappers, first into combat, and originally the leather apron served to protect them from splinters of wood as they hewed down the barriers of the foe. Don't mess with them!
What made me write this post was hearing their song on the radio this morning. I heard it while I was talking and thought "What?"
Tiens, voilà du boudin,voilà du boudin, voilà du boudin
pour les Alsaciens, les Suisses et les Lorrains,
-- pour les Belges y en a plus, pour les Belges y en a plus,
ce sont des tireurs au cul.*
Look, here's sausage, here's sausage, here's sausage
for the Alsatians, the Swiss and the Lorrains
--none for the Belgians, none for the Belgians