On 15th December, presided over by the Minster of Defence, the transfer of authority (TOA) ceremony took place in Diwaniya between "Plus Ultra" Brigades I and II.
General Fulgencio Coll Bucher, commander of the 11th Mechanized Infantry Brigade based in Botoa (Badajoz), took over command from General Alfredo Cardona Torres who had led the "Plus Ultra" I since initiating deployment there on 23rd July 2003.
The present Spanish deployment in Iraq has core troops from the 11th Mechanized Infantry Brigade and makes up: a Staff, drawn from the 11th Mechanized Infantry Headquarters Staff; Task Force "Extremadura" drawn from the "Cantabria" Battalion of the 6th Regiment "Saboya", with the 1st Company from the 4th Legionnaire Regiment "Alejandro Farnesio" (Ronda); a Light Armoured Squadron belonging to the 12th Armoured Cavalry Regiment "Farnesio" based in Santobenia de Pisuerga (Valladolid); a company-type unit from the Special Operations Command based in Alicante; a Sappers unit drawn from the 11th Mechanized Infantry Brigade and with personnel belonging to the Engineering Command in Salamanca with an explosives deactivation team; a Headquarters Unit drawn from that of the 11th Mechanized Infantry Brigade Headquarters; a Signal Unit drawn from the 11 Mechanized Infantry Brigade Headquarters Battalion Signals Unit and with personnel from the 1st Signals Regiment (Burgos) and the 21st Tactical Signals Regiment (Valencia); an Intelligence Unit; a NBC Unit made up of personnel from the NBC Unit from the Manoeuvre Force Headquarters based in Valencia; a Logistics Support Unit with core troops from the Logistics Group of the 11th Mechanized Infantry Brigade; a Helicopter Unit belonging to the 4th Manoeuvre Helicopter Battalion based in El Copero (Seville) that has four helicopters: two Super Puma and two Cougar. Likewise, the Brigade has other Support elements such as: Civic Military Cooperation team from the Melilla Headquarters and from the Antiaircraft Artillery Command (Madrid); a Psychological Operations team; a Logistics Unit with core troops from the 61st Logistics Support Group in Valladolid and an Army Advance Medical Echelon. In total 1,300 men and women (7.5%), to whom 1,100 are added who make up the Task Forces from El Salvador, Honduras and Dominican Republic, in addition to the forces from Nicaragua.
Integrated into Multinational Division Centre-South, the mission of "Plus Ultra II" continues to be the same as its predecessor's: Contributing to the security and stability of its area of responsibility and cooperating in its reconstruction,a total of 36,404 square kilometres where nearly two million people live.
Concretely, its missions have been the following: In Qasidiya and Nayaf carrying out patrols to protect strategic areas with the seizure of 431 weapons (mostly pistol and rifles), the destruction of over 60,000 pieces of ammunition posing danger to the civilian population; in the same manner humanitarian relief programmes have been undertaken, the re-building of 30 schools, 20 medical centres and 20 municipal buildings, as well as the re-building and start-up of the maternity-children's hospital.
Over 500 civilians (mostly the elderly and children) were treated on Base "España". In Um Qasar, the Army Advance Medical Echelon installation on Camp "Bucca" and the ship "Galicia" provided treatment for 5,238 patients of whom 1,129 were treated surgically.
There was the distribution of 14 tonnes of food, 25,000 breakfasts, 3,000 "halal" rations, 16 tonnes of bottled water, 20,000 litres of water in cisterns from Kuwait, 5,000 litres of mother's milk, 15,000 litres of cooking oil, 30,000 kilos of sugar, 15,120 yogurts; delivery was also made of sports and school equipment; three schools, a factory and the Um Qasar sewage system were re-built; the railway to Basora was re-constructed and 800 tonnes of explosives were seized and destroyed.