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    Meeting the Spanish Armada

    Meeting the Spanish Armada

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Elvis Umanzor | Naval officers from the U.K, Spain, France and U.S. stand in front of the Spanish ship...... read more read more

    Cádiz, Spain (Feb. 6, 2019) – It was all hands on deck as naval officers from NATO’s Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) in Gloucestershire, U.K, and Spanish Maritime Forces (SPMARFOR) at Naval Station Rota, Cádiz shared capabilities to strengthen the NATO alliance.

    The two-day annual staff exercise in southern Spain, started February 5, aimed to refine maritime expertise for continuous professional development and establish relations between key maritime personnel across NATO’s multinational force.

    “It’s important for us, now, to build those relationships … so we can understand the maritime perspective of any operation,” said British Royal Navy Commander John Payne. “We’ll be able to afford much better advise to the commander of the ARRC and the staff on what the capabilities and limitations are of that maritime force.”

    Payne, HQ ARRC’s chief maritime, and his team, met with fellow sailors from the United States, France, Portugal and Spain to personally build relationships as HQ ARRC and SPMARFOR develop and prepare to meet NATO’s military goals and long-term commitments.

    After a series of briefs explaining command structures, missions, and capabilities, the British team met the crew aboard Spanish ship Castilla (L52) and toured the warship or landing platform dock, which has served on many humanitarian missions.

    Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander Andy Spurdle, a maritime planner for HQ ARRC, said he found it incredibly useful to understand the vessel’s capabilities, especially since he hasn’t had the opportunity to work with the Spanish often.

    “It’s also been useful just to build-up those relationships, so that should we both find ourselves activated in support of NATO operations we have those personal relationships,” said Spurdle. “We can pick up a telephone, drop an e-mail and I know who I am talking to; that’s almost priceless to some extent.”

    During the trip, sailors also visited the lighthouse at Cape Trafalgar, which marks a historic battle well known in the U.K., and surely among British sailors.

    The Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 is known as the victory of the British fleet, led by Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, against the French and Spanish fleets off the southern coast of Spain.

    “Since you join the navy, it is drummed in to you the significance of the battle,” said Spurdle. “To be able to see where the battle took place puts it into context; I hadn’t appreciated personally how close it was to the Straights of Gibraltar.”

    Hundreds of years later, much has changed. Once foes, the three nations are now NATO allies.

    “The Spanish and the French are integral to NATO, just as the U.K and all the 29 nations,” added Payne. “We work together, imbed together and operate together. We work together as a NATO force at sea almost on a daily basis.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 02.06.2019
    Date Posted: 02.15.2019 09:57
    Story ID: 310889
    Location: CADIZ, ES 

    Web Views: 97
    Downloads: 0
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