The Lielvarde Air Base has hosted the decorations ceremony of the Latvian Air Force to Spanish contingent deployed in that air base. It is an event in appreciation for the support and collaboration of the Spanish NASAMS Surface-to-Air Missile Anti-Aircraft Defence Unit (AADU). This Unit contributes to the Air defence of the Baltic countries by increasing defence capabilities to medium altitude and enhancing the integration of Latvian low-level anti-aircraft units into NATO's air defence system.
The event was chaired by Colonel Viesturs Masulis, Chief of the Latvian Air Force, in which 21 Latvian Air Force medals were awarded to AADU personnel, as well as a Latvian Honorable Mention to each of the components of the Spanish Force deployed at the air base. Major Juan Jesús Rodriguez Lahore, head of the Force, received the due recognition for the collective work of the unit.
The AADU NASAMS deployed in Latvian territory in early June 2022, following a formal request from the Latvian government. The AADU was the 73rd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment based in Cartagena, although it was supported by military personnel from several Anti-Aircraft Artillery Command Units and logistic units.
It is worth mentioning the high number of decorations awarded to the same unit in area of operations (AO) during the deployment, which has lasted about 6 months. This shows the high degree of involvement, professionalism, and preparation rewarded by their Baltic counterparts.
Spain, this way, not only reaffirms its commitment to collective defence, but also contributes effectively to national defence beyond its borders.