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
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.