Arjan Singh was the first to hold a five star rank in Indian air force.
Arjan Singh, the marshal of Indian Air force, passes away at an age of 98.
A statement from the Ministry of Defence said he was admitted to the hospital on Saturday morning following a cardiac arrest, and breathed his last at 7.47 PM.
Born on 15 April 1919, in Lyalpur, now called Faisalabad, in today’s Pakistan, Singh was selected for the Empire Pilot training course at RAF Cranwell, at the age of 19 in 1938. He was one of India’s hero in 1965 war against Pakistan and became Chief of Indian Air Force at an age of just 44.
During World War II, Arjan Singh flew close support missions during the Imphal Campaign and also was part of the team that assisted the advance of allied forces to Rangoon in today’s Myanmar. For his role in successfully leading the squadron during combat, Arjan Singh received the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944. Here is a brief timeline of his life.
15 April 1919 : Born in Lyalpur (Now Faisalabad) Pakistan
1938 : selected for the Empire Pilot training course at RAF Cranwell
1944 : Arjan Singh received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his services in second world war.
1947 : Singh led the fly-past of more than a hundred IAF aircraft over the Red Fort in the national capital on India’s independence day, took command of Air Force station in Ambala.
1949 : Arjan Singh took over as the Air Officer Commanding of Operational Command, which later became the Western Air Command based in Delhi. ( again from 1957-1961) ( record for leading command for longest period)
1962 : (post China War) Arjan Singh was appointed the Deputy Chief of Air Staff
1963 : Vice Chief of Air Staff
August 1, 1964 : Singh took over as the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) in the rank of Air Marshal.
In September 1965 when Pakistan launched Operation Grand Slam, in which an armoured thrust targeted the vital town of Akhnur, Singh was summoned to the Defence Minister’s office with a request for air support. When asked how quickly the IAF will be ready for operations, Singh said in his characteristic nonchalance,”in an hour”. IAF struck the Pakistani offensive in an hour.
Throughout the 1965 war, Singh showed exemplary leadership, and was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for his leadership during the war and subsequently the rank of the CAS was upgraded to that of Air Chief Marshal. Singh thus became the first Air Chief Marshal of the Indian Air Force.
July 1969 : (post retirement) Indian ambassador to Switzerland.
January 2002: Conferred the rank of the Marshal of the Air Force (only officer till date to hold a five star rank from Indian Air Force)
Rare Fact : During world war two’s initial time, he was about to be court marshal-ed as he got bored of the old routine, flew his aircraft to a countryside of his corporal’s house and flew the aircraft lower and lower. Not only the inmates of the corporal’s house, but the entire countryside had come out. All traffic came to a halt. While it was all fun and game for the children and even for old folks, it was not so for the British administrator. An official complaint went up and Air Headquarters took it rather seriously initially. But trained pilots were a rare commodity those days and someone decided to forget and forgive.
In him, India lost an able leader and a true patriot. Team We Are Himachali mourns the death of the legendary soldier of India.
Source : TheHindu