Military News

Friday, July 24, 2015

First Spanish patriot missile rotation complete in Turkey

by Senior Airman Michael Battles
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

7/23/2015 - INCIRILIK AIR BASE, Turkey  -- The Spanish Patriot Unit ended the first portion of their one-year deployment in the city of Adana with a transfer of authority ceremony July 22, here.

In passing of the Spanish guidon, Army Artillery LTC Juan Castilla, assumed authority over the Spanish Patriot Unit's role in Operation Active Fence from CDR. Jorge Cotorruelo, who has been commanding the unit for the last seven months.

"[Coturruelo], you have carried out your mission remarkably," said Castilla. "Once again you have given the chain of command the opportunity to be proud of their Spanish Soldiers."

Along with the OAF mission, which is part of the NATO patriot missile support deployment and supported by the Spanish military, the U.S. and Germany operate missile batteries located respectively in two other areas within Turkey: Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras.

After receiving command of the patriot mission, Castilla addressed the new and outbound Spanish service members.

"To my soldiers, in all aspects we will do the same as our predecessors," he said. "We have the best artillery members in Spain and it's an honor to serve with you."

Additionally, he thanked the NATO allies involved with OAF and all members stationed at Incirlik Air Base.

"We accomplished great success due to the support of our Turkish counterparts," he said. "Also thank you to our German and U.S. allies for their continued support. The Turkish request to NATO is a great opportunity for us to show our commitment and together we are stronger."

According to Cotorruelo, the Spanish mission in Turkey is important to NATO's partnerships and the region's stability.

"Our mission here is to support and protect Turkey from ballistic missile attacks from Syria," said Cotorruelo. "This is our first time deploying abroad for ballistic support, but it's important to support our allies."

Additionally, Cotorruelo offered some advice for the incoming commander.

"The Spanish are here a very long time, so be patient," said Cotorruelo. "Just focus on the mission. When something breaks, fix it. We always need to be ready to fight."

Castilla closed out the event with a few additional words for the new Spanish rotation.

"Our duty is to do our best every day and give everything we have to accomplish the mission while we are here," he said.

Castilla's past assignments had him serving in several artillery positions in Spain. Prior to the NATO patriot mission, Castilla commanded the HAWK-PATRIOT Bn I/74 in San Rogue, Spain. Castilla will serve as the commander of the SPU for the next six months, which will close out Spain's deployment to Turkey.

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