24 December 2013

“Stay True to your Subordinates, to your Air Force Flag and to Our Nation”: IAF Chief as He Welcomed the Passing Out Course into the IAF Fraternity

The morning of 14 December 2013 saw the officer who passed out from the Air Force Academy, Dundigal, forty one years ago, on 24 June 1972, come back as Chief of the Indian Air Force, to review the passing out parade of 202 flight cadets at the cradle of military aviation. 

Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) and Chief of the Air Staff reviewed the Combined Graduation Parade of the flight cadets of No. 192 Pilot Course, No. 133 Ground Duty Course and No. 117 Navigation Course. 

Congratulating the passing out course, the Air Chief said, “It is a matter of great honour for me to be here this morning to review the Combined Graduation Parade and welcome these fine men & women into the Indian Air Force and the military aviation fraternity. My congratulations to the officers who have been awarded the President’s Commission this morning. The honour bestowed upon you is richly deserved since you have successfully achieved the exacting standards of a tough, strenuous and demanding training curriculum. My felicitations to the officers of the Indian Navy & Coast Guard for earning their coveted ‘wings’. 

This graduation parade marks a landmark event in your fledgling military careers. The stripes and wings, that you will proudly wear on your uniforms from now on, signify the immense trust and confidence that the service reposes in you and your capabilities. From this day onwards you will become the custodians of a rich legacy of valour, sacrifice and dedication. We are indebted to our predecessors who endured immense hardships and built this great service on a rock solid foundation. It is now your sacred duty to carry forward this noble mandate and preserve the glorious traditions and strong value system that have become a hallmark of the IAF. 

The Air Force Academy (AFA), as a cradle of military aviation, provides a unique environment for officer trainees of all branches to train together and forge life-long bonds of camaraderie, cohesiveness and éspirit-de-corps. With a distinguished training record to its credit, AFA is at the vanguard of a comprehensive upgrade in IAF’s training pattern and infrastructure. This academy has successfully inducted and operationalised the PC-7 Mk II as IAF’s Basic Trainer Aircraft and has ushered in an era of modern flying training with high standards of safety and reliability. AFA forms an important component of IAF’s training roadmap and will witness an increased intake of trainees from the present 480 to 750 trainees in the coming years. Having learnt the founding lessons during your training here, you are duty bound to protect and preserve the sterling reputation of this hallowed institution, irrespective of your branch or service. 

While you are ready to ‘fly solo’ and assume charge of your upcoming responsibilities, the most challenging task that awaits you is the sacred responsibility of leadership. The unique facet of military leadership, particularly in the IAF, makes it incumbent upon you to maintain very high standards of professionalism as an individual while ensuring complete cohesion and synergy in your team. You will command immediate compliance and eternal respect from the people under your charge when they see in you – a professionally sound and morally upright leader who has the ability to build and lead the team; even in the face of daunting odds and danger.

 As you prepare to join your squadrons and units, the key guiding principles that you should imbibe from IAF’s mission statement of ‘People First – Mission Always’ is that while excellence in mission accomplishment is an absolute requirement; it is our people who will prove to be the key enablers for the success of your mission. Therefore, I urge each one of you to devote your time and energy in nurturing and grooming the people under your watch while keeping their training and well-being as the foremost concern. The ‘force multiplier’ effect of a well trained and well equipped team will greatly enhance the effectiveness of any operational plan and will bring with it exponential benefits; even in adverse situations. 

As your Chief, the most enriching part of leading the IAF for the past two and half years has been the honour of commanding the elite ‘Air Warriors’. The prompt and professional response of our air warriors during ‘Op Rahat’ re-affirmed the nation’s faith in IAF’s capabilities and demonstrated the strength of our operational teams. These shining illustrations of IAF’s core values exemplifies the remarkable aptitude and high professional calibre of these young men and women who faced unconventional challenges and performed admirably in the face of extreme odds. I urge you to retain these important qualities of spirited leadership and innovative thinking as you learn and grow in service. 

It is extremely fortunate that, despite many other tempting options and easy career opportunities, you chose to voluntarily don the blue uniform and join the noble Profession of Arms. This speaks highly of your personal commitment and strength of character. On behalf of the IAF, I express my sincere gratitude to your parents for supporting your decision and for handing to us the most elite and gifted men and women of our country. I assure them of IAF’s commitment to provide highest quality of training and the best hardware that the nation can afford for you to undertake your challenging mission. 

As you prepare to receive the first salute and march off the tarmac, you will join an Air Force that is an institution revered by our countrymen, not only for its operational successes but also its tradition of continuous transformation towards being the primary response option for all national security contingencies. As air warriors, wear your uniform with pride every day and stay true to your subordinates, to your Air Force flag and to our nation. I wish you success in your career and glory in service of our great nation. Happy Landings Always.” 

The President’s Plaque and the Chief of the Air Staff Sword of Honour for standing first in overall order of merit in Pilot’s Course was awarded to Flying Officer Praveen Kumar while Flying Officer Firdous Ahmed Dar and Flying Officer Vipin Kumar were awarded the President’s Plaque for standing first in overall order of merit in Ground Duties Branches and Navigation Branch respectively. 

There was a thrilling display of manoeuvres by the newly inducted Pilatus PC 7 Mk II and ‘Sarang’ Aerobatics Team followed by the traditional fly past by Kiran, Hawk aircraft and Chetak helicopters. A breathtaking performance by Akash Ganga Para Jump Team & Air Warrior Drill Team was appreciated by one and all. A large number of retired and serving defence officers, civilian dignitaries, service personnel and families witnessed the grand parade. 

On his arrival at the Air force Academy on 13 December 2013, the Air Chief was received by Air Marshal P S Gill, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command and Air Marshal R G Burli, Commandant, Air Force Academy and attended the Ceremonial Guest Night with the passing out cadets and their parents, where he also awarded trophies to those cadets who excelled in their respective branches. 

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