Once again, the Primary 5 students from Yago School visited the Spanish-American base at Rota.
From the start of the visit, staff from the Public Relations office from the Base accompanied us throughout the tour. First of all, we visited the squadrons of aircraft from the Spanish Flotilla. While some aircraft were taking off and doing landing manoeuvres, we saw the Sikorsky helicopters from the 5th Squadron, it was explained that one of their main functions for rescues and especially people at sea; the Black Hawk from the 10th Squadron, which are always prominent in Somalia protecting our ships and other nationalities from pirate attacks; and the Harrier from the 9th Squadron, which several of the students had seen flying at the Rota beach air show this summer, and which is able to take off and land vertically.
Then we went to the docks at the Base where we had the extraordinary opportunity to board the Frigate Navarre (F-85). There several of the officers on the ship gave us explanations about the different spaces on the frigate, the hangars, the bridge, where the students sat in the posts of the commander and the different decks. One of the officers told us that when this frigate was doing surveillance work in the Mediterranean they were able to rescue a group of emigrants who were trying to reach the Spanish coast from Libya and one of them gave birth in the ship’s quarters, which served as an infirmary for the occasion.
Finally, they took us to the American area where we had the opportunity to watch a display by the American Marines and their Patrol Dogs, a detachment which specialises in training German Shepherds for the detection of explosives, drugs and protection of the security of the enclosure at the base. The dogs gave us a spectacular demonstration of the degree of preparation and obedience they give to their caregivers and how well they were able to do their jobs.
The visit ended at the Parque del Salado, an enclosed area, with swings, grass and benches where we could eat our packed lunch and play for a while until we got on the bus to return home.
It turned out to be, once again, a fantastic trip for all of us where we learned about the important work that the Armed Forces do.