chain of command

Major General Antonio Planells Palau

MG Antonio Planells Palau was born in Madrid on August 16th 1959. He joined the Spanish Navy on August 16th 1978 graduating as First Lieutenant (Marine Corps) on July 16th 1983. In July 1986 he was promoted to Captain. Subsequent promotions dates include: Major (October 1995), Lieutenant-Colonel (July 2001), Colonel (July 2009), Brigadier General on March 22nd 2014 and Major General on January 12th 2018.

His professional career includes, among other posts: First Lieutenant in the Royal Guards (Guardia Real) and the “Tercio de Armada” Fire Support Acquisition & Control Squad. As Captain he was in charge of the Madrid Security Company and later assigned to the Operations Platoon of the Reinforced Landing Group. He also served in the 1st Landing Battalion embarking in the Landing Flotilla Staff and the attack transport ship “ARAGON.” As Major, he was posted to the Spanish Navy Studies Commission, the Marine Corps General Headquarters and appointed Logistics Chief of the Marine Corps Brigade. As Lieutenant-Colonel he was Technical Advisor in the Chief of the Defence Staff Inner Cabinet, Chief of Staff of the “Tercio de Armada,” and First Liaison Officer of the U.S. Marine Corps in Quantico (Virginia). As Colonel he was assigned to the Marine Corps Force Staff as Chief of the Plans Section, and was subsequently appointed Director of the Chief of Naval Staff (AJEMA) Inner Cabinet.

From 4th September 2015 until 12th January 2018 he commanded the Amphibious Brigade “Tercio de Armada.”
On the 16th of January 2018 he was appointed Commander of the Spanish Marine Corps. Major General Planells’ international assignments include: United Nations Observer Group in Central America (ONUCA) in 1990, and commanding officer (Major) of a Marine Corps Tactical Sub-group in Bosnia-Herzegovina (SFOR) in 1999.

Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia

The Operation Commander (Op Comd) commands the operation from the Operational Headquarters (OHQ) at Rota, Spain. There he plans and conducts the operation in conjunction with the political and military authorities of the European Union.


Rear Admiral Giovanni Battista Piegaja

Rear Admiral Piegaja was born in Lucca on December 24th 1962. He attended ITN Naval Academy from October 1983 until April 1987, commissioned as Ensign.

From 1988 until 1990 he was the Navigator on board the Destroyer ARDITO. In 1990 he joined ITN MW community where, afterwards, he carried out several duties:

  • MWO of MHC LERICI (1991-1992);
  • XO of MHC LERICI and ALGHERO (1992-1994);
  • CO of MHC NUMANA (1995-1996) participating to Operation “Decisive Enhancement” in Adriatic Sea focused to the mine clearance of former Yugoslavian harbours and approach routes;
  • SOO of the MCM SQN 54 (COMSQUADRAG 54);
  • SOO of COMFORDRAG CEB Dept. (Combat Readiness “Mareval” Test);
  • Chief of COMFORDRAG OPS Dept.

After attending Italian Military Joint Staff College in 2001 and obtaining a Masters Degree in International Military Strategic Studies, he returned to active duties as XO of a “Soldiers” class Frigate until 2003 (ITS BERSAGLIERE), participating in several patrolling missions in Sicily Strait and in Operation “Active Endeavour” in MEDOR.

In 2003-2004 he commanded MCM SQN 53 (COMSQUADRAG 53). From 2004 until July 2006 he was the Director of COMFORDRAG CEB Dept. From September 2006 until October 2009 he served as MWO at the ITN General Staff – Rome. From November 2009 until May 2014 he took the duty of MW courses coordinator and MW Teacher at the ITN Naval Academy – Livorno. From June 2014 until May 2015, in the rank of Captain, he commanded the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasure Group Two (COMSNMCMG2).

In regards to National duties, in June 2015, he firstly was Head of R&D bureau. Then, since December 2015, he was the Chief of Staff at ITN Mine Warfare Forces Command – La Spezia. During this same period, he has been the COS of Operation “Mare Sicuro” in MEDCENT four times.

Besides his National duties, he has been involved in the organising processes of NATO Harbour Protection Trials 2006 (La Spezia 03-07 April 2006) as MW specialist, Harbour Protection Trials 2007 (Taranto 10-21 September 2007) as Project Manager and of NATO Harbour Protection Trials 2008 (Eckernfoerde – Germany, September 2008) as Vice-Chairman of the related NATO “Quick Response Team”.

Among other different courses attended by Capt. Piegaja, some of the most significant are:

  • MCOC (MCMV Commanding Officers Course) at EGUERMIN Ostend (BE);
  • IMWOC (International MW Officers Course) at MWTC Ingleside (Texas- USA);
  • ITN Staff Officers Course at Naval War Institute (Livorno – IT).

In 2009 he was awarded Knight for the merit of Italian Republic by President Napolitano.

Rear Admiral Piegaja lives in Lucca (Tuscany) with his wife, Paola. They have two sons: Federico (29) and Alessandro (27). A former Baseball player at a good level, his spare time is now dedicated to the family, but he also enjoys swimming and cycling. His preferred book author is Patrick O’Brian

Currently, Rear admiral Giovanni Battista Piegaja is serving as the EU operation Atalanta deputy commander in Rota.

Deputy Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia

The Deputy Operation Commander (DCom) exercises command in absence of the Operation Commander.


Rear Admiral Armando Paolo Simi

Rear Admiral Armando Paolo Simi was born in Foggia, june the 29th, 1970.

From 1989 to 1993 he attended the Naval Academy of Livorno. At the completion of the Normal Course he was in the United States to attend the U.S. Navy Flight School.

In 1995 he was designated as Naval Aviator from the U.S. Navy.

By the end of the same year he was assigned to the 2nd Helicopter Squadron where he achieved the operational qualifications on helicopter AB-212.

From 1996 to 1998 he was appointed as a Flight Ops Officer on ITS Mimbelli, then from 1998 to 2000 he took part at the operation “Allied Force” and “DINAK” during the crisis in Kosovo as Chief of flight operations on ITS Perseo.

From July 2000 to February 2001 he was appointed as Chief of flight operations on ITS Espero.

From February 2001 to 2002, while assigned to the 4th Helicopter Squadron, he sailed multiple time on board of Italian Navy Fleet as Helicopter Section Commander.

During this period he also completed the flight training on the helicopter EH-101 in Somma Lombardo (VA) and also at the 1st Helicopter Squadron.

From October 2002 to October 2003, as Lieutenant, he was the Commander of ITS Vieste at the Italian Countermines Warfare Command in La Spezia.

From 2003 to 2010 he was appointed as Chief of Statistics Section, ASW/ASUW Division Officer, Operations Officer, and Executive Officer of the First Helicopter Squadron.

In 2006 he took part at the operation “Leonte 06” on ITS San Marco and ITS Garibaldi. In the 2009 he took part also at the “Grande Evento G8” in L’Aquila and the Antipiracy Italian Operation in Somalia. In the last part of 2010, he participated in ISAF Operation, in Herat – Afghanistan, West regional Command, as Commander of Air Task Group Shark, inside the Joint Air Task Force. From the 30th of July 2011 to July 2012 he was appointed as Commanding Officer of ITS Libeccio and right after he was assigned as head of Flight Support Office at the Navy General Staff on Rome. In September 2018 he was appointed as Commanding Officer of DDG Luigi Durand De La Penne. From October 2018 he is the Vice chief of Flight Department at the Navy General Staff.

Rear Admiral Simi flew for an amount of 2900 Flight hours, he graduated in “Maritime and Naval Sciences” in the University of Pisa, he attended the Junior staff officer course at Military Maritime Studies institute in Venice and the 118th Senior Course at the NATO Defence College in Rome.

He’s qualified on helicopters AB-212 and EH-101 as flight instructor.

Rear Admiral Simi’s awards and decorations include:

  • Long Navigation Air Medal;
  • Long Command Medal;
  • Gold cross for service seniority
  • Commemorative Cross for Operation in Kosovo
  • Nato Medal-Kosovo
  • Commemorative medal for Operation Unifil
  • Non article 5 NATO medal for service in relation to the ISAF operation
  • Commemorative Cross for National Operation in Afghanistan
  • Decoration of Merit for service in the Navy General Staff;
  • Civil Protection Medal;
  • Gold traditional emblem for Air personnel.

He’s married to Marirosa and has two daughters.

Force Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia

The Force Commander (FCdr) exercises command and control of all military forces in the area of operation.


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