Commandant Martial Pied now replaces Lieutenant-Colonel Gilles Convertini, who has retired, at the head of the Prince’s Carabinieri.
Paratrooper near Toulouse, reserve officer at Châteauroux, pupil at Saint-Cyr, captain of a company in Metz, engineer officer at Castelsarrasin… When we ask Commandant Martial Pied to tell us about his military career, the list is long and varied. This is illustrated by his extensive collection of badges, which take up two display cases in his office.
After vocational studies in agri-food, Commandant Martial Pied discovered a passion for the military during his national service, which was compulsory at the time.
He joined the Prince’s Carabinieri in 2017: “I didn’t ask to join at all. In 2012, Colonel Fringant, who at the time was Commander-in-Chief of the Military Force, came to Montauban with Princess Caroline, that’s how I met him. In 2016, he was looking for a deputy for the Carabinieri, so he called me. I still remember that I was having lunch. I told him I would think about it. Well I didn’t think for too long, and sent in my CV and cover letter.”
But it takes more than an application letter to join the prestigious Company. You also need to have an interview with Prince Albert II. Commandant Martial remembers the special meeting very well: “I was nervous: after all, it was a job interview with a Sovereign! And it wasn’t a foregone conclusion, I wasn’t the only candidate.”
We serve the Sovereign Family, so these are sensitive, ceremonial duties.
In the end, the interview was a success. And although the French and Monegasque soldiers are led in the same way, the Commandant had to take on duties that were very different from those he was used to. We serve the Sovereign Family, so these are sensitive, ceremonial duties. (…) There are a lot fewer external missions, we are much more focused on Monaco. For me, it’s a second phase in my career,” he confides.
Understandably: between Chad, Ivory Coast, Cameroon or even Afghanistan with the Special Forces, this family man has carried out many operations abroad in the course of his career in the French army.
Now Head of the Corps of the Prince’s Carabinieri since January 16, Martial Pied sees this promotion as the culmination of a long career. But there was no question of resting on his laurels: “I had already commanded a company, so I knew what to expect. After four and a half years in the Corps, I had had the time to get to know it and to identify the areas for improvement. Above all, I was keen to get started, because I have lots of projects, such as optimising the time required to train new Carabinieri, recycling, refurbishing the barracks, which was built in 1977… I want to move the Corps forward.”
“What I like is the sense of commitment”
In addition to these projects, the Commander will also have to face a major challenge: training young people who, unlike previous generations, have not experienced compulsory military service. “Over the past five years, we have replaced a third of the Corps with new recruits,” explains Martial Pied. Half of the new intake comes from the French army, the gendarmerie or the police, but the other half comes from the civilian sector. Even if we have a four-month in-house training programme, we have an obligation, every year, to refresh and train.”
Fortunately, the prestige of the duties and of the Principality means that the profession remains very attractive. “The Government website and social networks have also helped us raise our profile a lot. This year, we recruited ten Carabinieri, but we had received 40 applications”, adds Martial Pied.
These are challenges and duties that might occupy the Commandant for the next ten years, as the age limit for an officer is sixty. “I would like to stay until then, I have had other experiences before, that were very different. What I like is the sense of commitment to carrying out the duties we are assigned as well as possible,” the soldier concludes.