173 Air Warriors commissioned as Flying Officers at Air Force Academy

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Sanjay Arora

New Delhi.173 Flying Officers were commissioned into the Indian Air Force at an impressive Combined Graduation Parade held at the Air Force Academy (AFA), Dundigal, today. Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor was the Chief Guest and reviewed the impressive passing-out parade of No. 183 Pilot Course, No. 124 Ground Duty Officers Course and No. 109 Navigators Course. Also present at the ceremony were Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command, Air Marshal VR Iyer and AFA Commandant, Air Vice Marshal KJ Mathews.

The parade marked the culmination of training for flight cadets who apart from AFA also underwent training at various other IAF training establishments such as Air Force Administrative College (Coimbatore), Air Defence College (Lucknow), Air Force Stations – Hakimpet, Begumpet (both near Secunderabad) and Yelahanka, Bengaluru.

Of the newly commissioned officers, 106 are from the Flying Branch including one Women Officer each in the Transport and Helicopter Stream, seven from Navigator Branch and 60 from the Ground Duties Branch that includes 30 Women Officers. In addition, three Naval Officers and one Coast Guard Officer were also awarded the Wings on completion of the flying course.

Flying Officer Himanshu Gupta, who commanded the parade, was awarded the President’s Plaque and Chief of the Air Staff ‘Sword of Honour’ for standing first in overall order of merit in the Pilot Course. Flying Officer Rekha Yadav was awarded the President’s Plaque for standing first in overall order of merit in the Ground Duty Officers Course. Flying Officer Rahul Singh was awarded President’s Plaque for being first in the order of merit amongst 108 Navigation Course. The newly commissioned officers received their first traditional salute from their immediate junior Cadets at the end of the parade while slow-marching to the lilting notes of ‘Auld Lang Syne’.

After reviewing the Parade, the Army Chief congratulated all the newly commissioned Officers and their parents. The General also exhorted them to develop leadership qualities with focus on team-work and to practice the cardinal values of Honour, Courage, Valour and Integrity. He reminded them to move ahead keeping always the national interest foremost during the course of their duties in the Air Force as leaders.

Traditional flypast by Chetak helicopters, Kiran, HPT-32, AN-32, Dornier and newly inducted Hawk aircraft heralded the commissioning of the Air warriors. The ‘Surya Kiran’ aerobatic team and ‘Sarang’ helicopter display team kept the audience spell-bound. Air Warrior Drill team and Akash Ganga Skydiving teams were the other added attractions. A large number of retired and serving Defence officers, civilian dignitaries, service personnel and their families witnessed the colourful grand finale.

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