The Portuguese ambassador to Spain, João Mira-Gomes, accompanied by his Defence Attaché, Colonel Natalino Rodrigues Pereira, and a delegation from the Portuguese embassy were received at the Torrejón Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC TJ) by Lt. General Fernando De la Cruz.
The delegation held a working meeting with the CAOC’s Commander and afterwards the ceremony to commemorate Portugal's National Day began. This date also celebrates the Day of the Portuguese Communities and the Luis de Camões’s work, the greatest exponent of Portuguese literature.
During the ceremony, the traditional raising of the country's flag was carried out. Later, the authorities addressed a few words to the personnel who participated in the military act.
During his speech, General De la Cruz thanked the presence of the Portuguese delegation at the military ceremony, underlining Portugal's contribution to the activity currently carried out by the Alliance to strengthen security on the southern flank. NATO represents the only defence policy organization that has maintained its commitment to peace and security for more than 70 years”, said General De la Cruz, “where the commitment of allies plays a capital role. Portugal has proved such commitment since the founding of NATO in 1949.'
The Portuguese ambassador highlighted CAOC’s work in respect of the permanent surveillance of the airspace of its responsibility as well as in respect of the operation's management on the southern flank, especially in the current security context. He also mentioned the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, underlining the vitality and significance of the Alliance's response to this situation. Before ending his speech, the ambassador wanted to remind NATO soldiers who have lost their lives in the line of duty or due to COVID.
El embajador portugués ha destacado la labor del CAOC en la vigilancia permanente del espacio aéreo de responsabilidad y la conducción de las operaciones en el flanco sur, especialmente en el contexto de seguridad actual. También hizo mención a la invasión de Ucrania por parte de la Federación Rusa, subrayando la vitalidad y significación de la respuesta de la Alianza ante esta situación. Antes de finalizar su discurso, el embajador ha querido recordar a los militares de la OTAN que han perdido la vida en acto de servicio o recientemente con motivo del COVID.
Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón
The main purpose of CAOC Torrejón, commanded by a Spanish Air Force Lieutenant General, is to plan, direct, coordinate, supervise, analyse and report on air defence operations in southern Europe following the directives of NATO's air component command with the assigned assets by NATO in peacetime.
The Spanish Armed Forces are making an important contribution to the mission conducted by this facility. Roughly 120 military personnel are assigned to the CAOC itself, as well as to the National Support Element (NSE) and the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA).