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Periodista del EMAD

The Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejón celebrates ten years of operational life

Torrejón AFB, Madrid
November 28, 2023
  • The event was attended by numerous national and international authorities, both civilian and military.

The Torrejón Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC TJ) has completed its first ten years as the unit responsible for the air defence of NATO's southern flank in Europe. A ceremony was held at Torrejón Air Base to commemorate this anniversary.

The event, which was headed by the Chief of Defence, Admiral General Teodoro Sánchez Calderón, was an appreciation of the history of the only unit of the NATO command structure located in Spain. Special attention was given to appreciating the work of the professionals who make up the CAOC TJ staff, which is made up of personnel from up to 19 different nations, in addition to the National Support Elements (NSE) and the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA) detachment, without whom the daily work of the unit's personnel would be much more difficult.

The ceremony started with the arrival and presentation of honours to the CHOD, accompanied by the Commander of the CAOC TJ,  Air Force Lieutenant General, Juan Pablo Sánchez de Lara.

This was followed by the screening of different video clips about the unit and the personal accounts of its personnel, followed by an event at which Spanish aeronautical and military merit medals and NATO appreciating awards such as the SACEUR Recognition Award and AIRCOM Recognition Award were presented to military personnel of different nationalities belonging to the CAOC TJ.

Following this ceremony, Lieutenant General Sánchez de Lara addressed the event, emphasising the essential mission carried out by the CAOC TJ in the defence of Europe thanks to NATO's integrated air and missile defence system (NATINAMDS), a task that has been carried out since 1961, as part of its joint defence, twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year.

General Sánchez de Lara also wanted to highlight a series of characteristics that define the CAOC TJ, such as being a unit that combines not only different weapons systems, but also different mentalities in pursuit of the same mission.

The CAOC TJ Commander did not want to miss the opportunity to recall that the reliability of the CAOC lies in all the personnel who have contributed their selfless work over the last ten years, making special mention of CAOC 8, the unit that preceded the current one and whose values and traditions the CAOC TJ is a direct successor.

Subsequently, Admiral López Calderón emphasised in his speech that "the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Combined Air Operations Centre in Torrejón is yet another example of Spain's commitment to collective dissuasion and defence, in this case as a Host Nation, thus making it possible to achieve allied objectives and interests".

"In 2014, little more than a year after its creation, it became the first unit of the new NATO Command Structure to achieve full operational capability, a first landmark that opened a path full of effort and work, but, I am convinced, also of enthusiasm and new challenges to be met."

CHOD ended his speech by congratulating "all the personnel who have formed part of the CAOC Torrejón in recent years and who have made it possible, through their effort and work, to achieve high standards of quality that allow the CAOC to fulfil its tasks with great efficiency,... and I encourage the current members to continue to maintain the high capabilities achieved through their professionalism and dedication".

The General Air Force Command Music Unit was also present and took part in the tribute to the fallen with which the anniversary event ended.