The facilities of the 'Escale Aéronautique Commandant LEMAITRE' at Blaise Diagne International Airport, HQ of the Ivory Air Tactical Detachment (DAT), hosted the official ceremony of the taking over and handover between the incoming and outgoing Contingent Commanders. The ceremony was commanded by Colonel Rafael Martos Villarino, from the Operations Command General Staff. Lieutenant Colonel José Gabriel Gárriz Hernández took command of DAT Marfil, relieving Lieutenant Colonel José Álvaro Martínez-Villalobos Castillo.
In his address, Colonel Martos Villarino thanked the Force Commander of the 36th contingent for his efforts and accomplishments during his mission. He also encouraged his successor to pursue new goals, thereby reaffirming Spain's firm commitment to international peace and security, particularly in the sub-Saharan region.
Spanish Air Force's DAT 'Marfil' operates from the 'Escale Aéronautique Commandant LEMAITRE', in the facilities of the French Elements in Senegal (EFS) at the Blaise Diagne International Airport, a few kilometres from Dakar (Senegal). Under the operational command of the Operations Command (MOPS), it is tasked with intra-theatre tactical and logistical airlift missions, as well as in-flight refuelling, if the air assets deployed so permit, in support of France in its fight against terrorism within the framework of Operation Barkhane. The detachment also supports the United Nations missions MINUSMA and MINUSCA, to stabilise Mali and Central Africa respectively, as well as the European Union missions EUTM RCA and EUTM Mali, to support the training and education of the armed forces of these countries, and the G5 Sahel Joint Force.
The detachment is made up of 70 military personnel from different Air Force units, mostly personnel from the 35th Wing, the Air Deployment Support Squadron (EADA) and the Mobile Air Control Group (GRUMOCA). It operates with two Airbus C295 (T-21) aircraft belonging to the 35th Wing of the Getafe Air Base. The mission's Joint Force Air Component Command (JFACC), located in Lyon (France), is in charge of scheduling the missions of the two Spanish aircraft, which operate H24 in the Joint Operations Area (JOA), an extensive area that includes 21 African countries, slightly larger than continental Europe.
After being operational for over eight years, DAT 'Marfil' has become an outstanding example of the contribution of the Armed Forces to Spain's external action in its commitment to international peace and security.