Vice Admiral Antonio Martorell Lacave
Vice Admiral Antonio Martorell Lacave was born in Bilbao on 22nd August 1960. He joined Marín’s Naval Academy in 1979, graduating in 1984.
Throughout his career, he has served on board different frigates, corvettes, minesweepers and minehunters as Deputy Commander, Chief of Operations and Chief of Combat System, among other commissions.
These have been his Command assignments: Commander of Minesweeper “Miño”, first Commander of Minehunter “Turia”, Commander of 1st MCM Squadron, Commander of Standing Countermine Measures Group no. 2 of the Atlantic Alliance, and Commander of Amphibious Assault Ship “Castilla”.
In Afloat Staffs, he was Executive Officer of the 2nd Minesweeper Squadron and Executive Officer of the 21st Escort Squadron.
Some of his shore assignments were: lecturer in the department of organisation of the Armed Forces Higher School, Chief of the Torpedoes Workshop at Cartagena Shipyard, three times commissioned in the Spanish Navy’s Staff, and Chief of the European Union Area of the Directorate General for Defence Policy, reporting to the Ministry of Defence.
Abroad, he was assigned for three years to the NATO’s Joint General Headquarters in Naples, Exercise Division.
He obtained his Military Staff Diploma and he is specialist in ASW. He has completed courses including Advanced Tactics Officer and Communications. Abroad, he completed the CSDP High Level Course at the European School of Security and Defence, the NATO Senior Officer Police Course, and the Bi-SC Command and Control Course.
On 25th July 2014 he was promoted to Rear Admiral (OF-6)and was appointed as the Head of the Logistics Division of the Navy Staff. On 22nd April 2015, he was appointed as Commanding Officer of the Naval Action Group-2.
Since 6th June 2017, he has assumed Command of SPMARFOR.
On 23rd June 2017 he was promoted to Vice Admiral (OF-7).
Since 29th March 2019, he has assumed the Command of the EU NAVFOR Somalia, Operation Atalanta.
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 Ricardo A. Hernández
Rear Admiral Ricardo A. Hernández joined the Spanish Navy in 1979. He graduated in 1984 after completing the academic program in the Naval Academy, including a tour around the world on board the sailing ship “Juan Sebastián Elcano”.
In January 1986, after his first appointment on board the corvette “DIANA”, he was selected to attend the naval aviation course with the US. Navy. In March 1988, on completion of his training, he joined the Spanish 9th Squadron of AV-8Bs, based in Rota.
As Harrier pilot on board the Spanish carrier ESPS PRINCIPE DE ASTURIAS, he has participated in several national and allied operations and exercises, and also conducted some cross-decks with US, UK and Italian aircraft carriers.
Once promoted to Lieutenant Commander he served in the Fleet Headquarters in Rota (Operations) and Navy General Headquarters in Madrid (Naval Aviation Branch).
In 1999 he graduated in the Naval War College. Then, he served again in the Navy General Headquarters, in the Ministry of Defence dealing with NATO and EU plans and policies and, from summer 2002 until summer 2006, as Naval Counsellor of the Spanish Ambassador to the EU, in Brussels.
From February to June 2009 he was detached to USNAVCENT/CMF in Bahrain, as Senior Spanish Representative.
From January to December 2010 he was appointed as Chief of Staff of SNMG2, on board HMS CHATTAM, HNLMS ZEVEN PROVINCIEN and HNLMS DE RUYTER. During the deployment, the SNMG2 took part during six months in the NATO’s counter piracy operation OCEAN SHIELD.
In January 2011 he was appointed as Head of the Operations Division of the Spanish Fleet HQ (ALFLOT N2-N3-N7), and in September 2012 he took command of the Spanish Navy Air Wing, until July 2014.
Back to the Navy HQ in Madrid, he was Head of the Naval Aviation Branch until his
promotion to Rear Admiral in October 2015.
As Real Admiral he served as Chief Of Staff of the Fleet HQ (ALFLOT) and since June
2017 as Commanding Officer Naval Action Group 2, on board LHD “Juan Carlos I”. He took up his post as Force Commander EU NAVFOR 31st rotation on 9 March 2019.
Force Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia
The Force Commander (FCdr) exercises command and control of all military forces in the area of operation.