King Felipe VI Visits San Javier, Murcia

King Felipe VI in San Javier, Murcia

King Felipe VI presides over the graduation of 125 new officers of the Spanish Air Force. Image: Twitter/Fernando Lopez Miras

King Felipe VI presided over the ceremony for the delivery of the 2023 Royal Commissions to 125 new lieutenants of the Spanish Air Force, 10 percent of whom were women. These officers successfully completed their studies at the General Academy of the Air (AGA) in San Javier, Murcia.

The ceremony, which began at 10 am with the arrival of His Majesty the King, took place in the courtyard of the General Academy of the Air in San Javier. The battalion of students, along with authorities, family members, and friends of the academy’s students, totalling nearly a thousand guests, were already assembled.

In addition to King Felipe, the event was attended by the Chief of Staff of the Air and Space Force (JEMA), General Javier Salto, the Colonel-Director of AGA, Pascual Soria, and other military authorities. Among the civilian authorities were the acting President of the Community, Fernando López Miras, the President of the Regional Assembly, Visitación Martínez, the Government Delegate, Francisco Jiménez, as well as the mayors of San Javier and Los Alcázares, José Miguel Luengo, and Mario Cervera, respectively.

King Felipe was received in the courtyard of AGA, an institution celebrating its 80th anniversary, and the Spanish national anthem was performed by the Academy’s Music Unit. Following his arrival, Felipe VI, who received his commission from his father, King Juan Carlos I, in 1989, conducted a review of the troops. Subsequently, the Archbishop of Madrid, Monsignor Juan Antonio Aznárez, delivered a prayer of thanksgiving and asked for blessings for the families and success in their endeavours.

The ceremony continued with the procession of the AGA standard-bearer, a traditional event in which a fourth-year student is honoured to carry the flag for the next academic year. Afterward, the King presented the commissions to the top graduates in each specialty.

Out of the 125 officers who received their diplomas, 96 of them, including three women, belong to the LXXIV promotion of the General Corps of the Air Force-EOF; 12 are from the Quartermaster Corps of the Air Force (EOF); and 17 from the Corps of Engineers.

Colonel-Director Pascual Soria took the opportunity to express his gratitude for the King’s presence and addressed the lieutenants, acknowledging the emotional and challenging moments they experienced during their time at AGA, moments that have shaped their character.

“To those of you who are now officers, you are fully trained and prepared. You represent a new generation of officers, and the future leadership of the Air and Space Force lies in your hands,” he said.

He also extended his congratulations to the graduating class, urging them to never cease their pursuit of excellence. “Never cease in your quest for excellence,” he emphasised.

The event concluded with an air and ground parade, paying tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for Spain. The parade included four Pilatus aircraft and seven C-101 aircraft from the Eagle Patrol, flying over Avenida García Morato, and a ground parade featuring the Student Squadron and the Music Unit, as well as a tribute to fallen heroes. The ceremony concluded with the AGA Music Unit performing the Spanish national anthem. Afterward, the guests attended a reception.

At the end of the ceremony, just before the air and ground parade, King Felipe addressed the newly commissioned lieutenants, instructing them to “break ranks” for the last time. In a now traditional gesture, the lieutenants threw their cap plates into the air, symbolising the end of their time as cadets and the beginning of their service as officers.

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Written by

Catherine McGeer

I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!