Last week, wearing one of his many other hats, Alan was invited out to see the NATO exercise taking place just off the coast of Vera in Almeria. Here’s a selection of the photographs he came back with.
Residents and visitors to Playa Quitapellejos in Vera enjoyed a spectacular display on October 21 2015 by NATO.
Within minutes the beach was taken over during a simulation by the NATO Response Force (NRF). The activities, part of an exercise named Noble Justification, was part of ongoing activities to test the highest levels of readiness for rapid response to any NATO contingency.
Alan was invited to the event, and travelled by helicopter from the beach to Juan Carlos I (L61), moored just off the Vera coastline, to tour the assault ship, find out more about the exercises and to meet some of the people involved.
Vice Admiral Peter Hudson (UK Royal Navy), Vice Admiral Juan Rodriguez (Spain Navy) and Rear Admiral Brad Williamson (United States Navy), took time to explain the operation and answer any questions.
The entire operation, which incorporates a number of scenarios like the one in Vera, involves more than 5,000 military and naval personnel from 14 NATO nations: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, and two partner nations: Finland and Sweden. On and in the water are 23 warships along with a number of submarines, small units and embarked marines. NATO’S Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM), in Northwood UK, is responsible for organising the operation.
MARCOM has to ensure it is capable at all times of contributing to potential maritime operations. “It exercises a high density, high threat scenario in which NATO responds to a threat to its integrity and the sovereignty of its member states,” said NATO’S Maritime Commander, Vice Admiral Peter Hudson of the UK Navy.
(Article originally published in Euro Weekly News by Elle Draper)
Images ©Alan Gandy 2014. Not to be used in any form without prior written permission from the copyright owner.