Argentina's Defense minister Julio Martínez headed the Air Force's 34th baptism of fire anniversary which took place on May first 1982 during the South Atlantic conflict. The Sunday event at the V Air Brigade in Villa Reynolds, province of San Luis, was also attended by government and military officials, Malvinas veterans and Air Force Chief of Staff Brigadier Major Enrique Victor Amrein.
On this day we must honor our dead because they have honored the motherland, said minister Martínez who added he was the carrier of an acknowledgement message from President Mauricio Macri to the next of kin of the 55 heroes of the Air Force and all Malvinas veterans.
We have the commitment and the need to include in our agenda the recovery of the capacities lost by our Armed Forces. I want to announce to those who have chosen this career that you have all our respect and pride because you have decided to serve the motherland, said Martinez at the ceremony.
On May first 1982, according to the official Air Force history of events, the British forces had the intention of landing and establishing a beach head in the Falklands/Malvinas and thus put pressure on the Argentine troops. With this in mind the British bombed the two airfields in the Islands, but the Argentine Air Force responded with 57 air sorties attacking the Task Force and dropping 20 tons of bombs.
Since it was the first air battle in its history for the Argentine Air Force, May first became baptism of fire Day.
The Argentine Air Force said 2016 was also a very special year, not only because of the 34th anniversary but also because it coincides with the two centuries of Argentine independence, next July.
It is appropriate to link values and principles that guided the founders of the motherland in the search for a free nation with those who forged the combat spirit of the fallen heroes in the Malvinas war.
During the conflict the Argentine Air Force lost 55 men most of them pilots. In honor of them their names were read out, followed by a minute silence and an air pass.