Ahmed Rafa was born in 1906 at Mouzaïaville, Algeria, to a family of peasant farmers.
He attended primary and secondary school in Algiers and when he turned 20, he joined the 5th RTA - Régiment de Tirailleurs Algériens (Algerian Colonial Infantry Regiment) -.
Moving up very fast through the first ranks of the military hierarchy, he was made corporal, sergeant and then warrant officer, before being promoted to second lieutenant in 1937. He was then posted to Lorraine, within the 13th RTA of Metz.
When the war broke out, Lieutenant Rafa fought at the Eastern front before being captured and taken prisoner in June 1940. During a transfer, he succeeded to escape and joined the Resistance in the Orléans region where he served under the pseudonym Chérifi Kaddour. After having participated in the liberation of Orléans alongside the FFI (Internal French Forces) and the American forces, he left for the Alsace front where he fought within the 1st French Army.
His regiment, the 7th RTA, suffered serious losses during fighting and was consequently sent back to Algeria for replenishment. Upon return to Germany after the latter had been conquered, Captain Rafa was put in command of the 2nd company of the 7th RTA in occupation. He acquired the reputation of a leader endowed with natural authority over the colonial infantrymen of his unit.
In 1953, Battalion Commander Ahmed Rafa was sent to Blida to head the 1st battalion of the 1st RTA. The following year marked the beginning of the Algerian War. For thirty months, the 1st battalion scored victory after victory in Eastern Algeria, the Aurès Massif, the Nementcha, and the North Constantinois regions. He destroyed major rebel detachments and seized several hundreds of arms.
From October 1957 to November 1960, Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Rafa served in Germany within the 13th RTA, and then within the General Challe’s staff, where his knowledge of Algeria and his guerilla warfare experience proved to be very useful. In December 1960, Colonel Rafa became commander of the 7th RTA in Barika. In 1961, his regiment killed 300 rebels and seized 124 arms.
In 1962, General Ahmed Rafa was put in charge of Infantry Inspection, and in 1964, he took a well deserved retirement in Phalsbourg with his Lorraine-origin wife.
Officer of the Legion of Honour, holder of several commendations and awards, Ahmed Rafa, whose military career was entirely characterized by honesty and loyalty, is the epitome of a volunteer serviceman.