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Periodista del EMAD

Commemoration of 'German Unity Day' at the Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón

Torrejón Air Base, Madrid
October 4, 2023
  • The German ambassador to Spain took part in the military ceremony.

On the occasion of the "Tag der Deutschen Einheit", or "German Unity Day", a military parade was held at the facilities of the Torrejón Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC TJ). The German flag was raised in the presence of the personnel of the service unit.

The German Ambassador to Spain, Maria Margarete Gosse, who has held the post since August 2022, was received at the CAOC TJ by Lieutenant General Sánchez de Lara. She then visited its facilities, including the operations room, where the main activity of surveillance and control of NATO countries' airspace on its southern flank is carried out.

During the ceremony, the authorities present addressed a few words to the personnel taking part in the military event.

In his speech, Lieutenant General Sánchez de Lara emphasised at various points the German nation's solidarity, dedication to service and responsibility since its early entry into NATO in 1955. He also highlighted Germany's presence and commitment in various scenarios where NATO has been present, such as Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Baltic States.

The Lutfwaffe (German Air Force) is currently providing command and control capabilities to the NATO Response Force (NRF) and its Headquarters has been activated during September and October for the 'Steadfast Jupiter' exercise.

For her part, Ambassador Gosse stressed the importance of this date for her country, as it has meant the full integration of Germany into European defence after forty-five years of forced separation as a result of the Second World War. He also reiterated that, at times like the present, with Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the pillars on which NATO is based are fully valid, as it means the defence, especially, of democracy and its values, thanks to teamwork such as that developed in the CAOC TJ, despite cultural differences.

German Unity Day' is Germany's bank holidays and is celebrated on 3 October to commemorate the anniversary of the entry into force of German reunification in 1990 under the "Einigungsvertrag", a contract signed by the governments of the western, democratic Federal Republic of Germany and the communist dictatorship of the German Democratic Republic, which ended the division of Germany after more than 40 years of division following the 1939-45 war.

Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón (NATO)

The main mission of the Torrejón CAOC, under the direct command of a Lieutenant General of the Spanish Air and Space Army, is to plan, direct, coordinate, supervise, analyse and report on air defence operations in Southern Europe, following the directives of the NATO Air Component Command on which it depends and with the resources assigned to NATO by the nations in peacetime.

The Spanish Armed Forces make an important contribution to the mission carried out by this centre. Some 120 Spanish military personnel serve in the CAOC itself as well as in the National Support Element (NSE) and the NATO Communications and Information Agency Unit (NCIA).