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Marfil Detachment celebrates the Patron Saint of the Air Force

Thíes, Senegal
December 12, 2022
  • The military ceremony was attended by the Spanish Ambassador to Senegal, Olga Cabarga Gómez.

The facilities of the "Escale Aéronautique Commandant Lemaitre" at the Blaise Diagne International Airport hosted the military event in which the Marfil Tactical Air Detachment (DAT) celebrated the day of the Virgin of Loreto, Patron Saint of the Air Force and Space.

In addition to local authorities, the ceremony was attended by the Spanish ambassador to Senegal, Olga Cabarga Gómez, who joined the contingent and expressed her personal support for the work carried out over the years.

In his speech, the Force Commander recalled the beginnings of the devotion to the Virgin of Loreto and the origin of this tradition. He also emphasised the importance of the mission in which the detachment is immersed and encouraged to continue with the same spirit of sacrifice and service to Spain and all Spaniards.

Marfil Detachment

The Air Force's DAT ‘Marfil’ belonging to Operation A/M operates from the French Elements in Senegal (EFS) based at "Escale Aeéronautique Commandant Lemaitre" at "Blaise Diagne" International Airport.

Under the operational command of MOPS, this operation is tasked with intra-theatre tactical airlift and logistics missions, as well as in-flight refuelling ( if possible) in support of France in its fight against terrorism.

In addition, DAT ‘Marfil’ supports MINUSMA and MINUSCA, UN missions focused on the stabilisation of Mali and Central Africa, respectively, as well as the EU missions EUTM RCA and EUTM Mali, which support the training of the armed forces of these countries, and the G4 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).

This detachment is an example of the capabilities provided by the Spanish Armed Forces, in this case through the Air and Space Force, to other Armed Forces, where availability and operability prevail. These resources operate in a sub-Saharan environment, often in unprepared fields and in extreme weather conditions of high temperatures and intense rain due to frequent seasonal storms. These factors, along with the extensive area of operations where the missions are carried out, are a constant challenge for the detachment's aircrews.

After more than nine years of operation, DAT ‘Marfil’ is consolidated as an  example of the contribution of the Armed Forces to the State's external action in its commitment to international peace and security.