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Ministry of Defence

Ejército de Tierra

'Boletín Tierra' Newspaper Reports

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Number: 850

The Last to Leave the Sahara

The 40th anniversary of the 2nd Helicopter Unit is celebrated

Flight of a UH-1H over Villa Cisneros (at present Dajla)

Base "Jaime I" in Bétera (Valencia) was the venue on 25th March for the gathering of former members of the 2nd Helicopter Unit, which has celebrated its 40th anniversary of service to Spain.

They were accompanied by the commander of the Army Helicopter Forces, General García de las Hijas, and the commander of the 2nd Emergency Helicopter Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel León Zafra. This Battalion is the heir of the defunct 2nd Helicopter Unit.

During the gathering, Lieutenant General Muñoz-Grandes and Lieutenant Colonel Mas presented the commander of the Army Helicopter Forces with the original speech delivered at the farewell ceremony on Base "Santiago" in El-Aaiún (18th December 1975), along with the Spanish Flag that flew there for the last time.  Both the speech and the Flag will be deposited in the Army Helicopter Forces Historical Hall.

Farewell ceremony on Base 'Santiago' in E-Aaiún

The 2nd Helicopter Unit was created on 24th March 1971, and its command corresponded to Major Sánchez Bilbao. The initial flight was undertaken on 2nd August in Rota (Cádiz). The unit reached El-Aaiún on 9th December of the same year, aboard the helicopter carrier "Dédalo". After four years of service in the Sahara, the 2nd Helicopter Unit redeployed to Base "El Copero" in Dos Hermanas (Seville) on 29th December 1975.