Air Force Day
IAF Turns 81
The Indian Air Force celebrated its 81st anniversary on October 8, this year. An air display by various aircraft formed part of the Air Force Day Parade-cum-Investiture Ceremony at Air Force Station, Hindon. Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne reviewed the parade.
In Bangalore, Air Marshal PS Gill, Air Officer Commanding in Chief, Headquarter Training Command began the day by placing the wreath at the Headquarters Training Command War Memorial in remembrance of those who laid down their lives. All IAF personnel present observed two minutes silence as a mark of respect to pay homage to the Martyrs.
Later at a gathering of Training Command personnel, Air Marshal PS Gill gave away the Chief of the Air Staff and AOC-in-C commendations to the recipients. While addressing the gathering he emphasized that training plays a pivotal role in enhancing operational effectiveness. He urged all the personnel to renew pride in them as members of Air Force and conduct themselves with dignity and honour at all times.
At Bamrauli, Air Marshal J Chauhan, Air Officer Commanding in Chief, Central Air Command administered the oath of allegiance to all the Air Warriors as well as the civilian personnel for rededicating themselves in the service to the nation. AOC-in-C lauded the efforts and contribution by each individual in accomplishing the assigned task and enabling Central Air Command to demonstrate a high degree of Ops preparedness and potential. He made a special mention of Central Air Command helicopters supporting "Op Rahat"- saving countless lives and supplying relief material to stricken villagers in Uttarakhand despite adverse weather and difficult terrain
Earlier in the day, a wreath laying ceremony was held at CAC War Memorial wherein the AOC-in- C paid tribute to the brave heart air warriors who laid down their lives in the service of the nation. As the buglers played the 'last post,' the guards solemnly stood at "reverse arms" and all personnel observed two minutes silence.
The people of Shillong were enthralled at the Air festival -2013. It was organised to mark the Air Force Day by the Head Quarters Eastern Air Command (HQ EAC), Upper Shillong. The chief guest on the occasion was Air Chief Marshal R K Sharma Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief and Mrs Chitralekha Sharma. The highlight of the show was fly past and air display by Sukhoi Su-30MKI, skydiving by the Akashganga, India's first sky diving team, slithering operations by The Garud Commando Force, Fly past by Micro light aircraft, Aero modelling, free flight by the air wing of National Cadet Corps (NCC) and Air Force Band Display.
   All mobiles and cameras were up and ready to get a picture of the Su-30 but only a few could get it in their frames. It was the most exciting moment for the children present at the Air Fest.
The Garud Commando Force personnel performed slithering operations from Mi-17V5 hovering over the ground. Later they also performed some unarmed combat, and show of strength. The team was led by Wg Cdr Ravindranath and 14 elite Air Force commandos. The Akashganga team gave a breathtaking display of skydiving to the applause of the entire audience. Wg Cdr Baig was the team leader plus 11 skydivers. The event started with Air Force band display and Fly Past by Micro light aircraft pilot was Wg Cdr Chopra Commanding officer Air NCC Guwahati. The entire Air fest programme was threatened by bad weather but held back just enough for the entire event to go through flawlessly. Helicopters, micro light aircraft were on display for people look at close range, other equipment were Night Vision Glasses and many other gadgets used by the Air Force.
Those who came for the air fest included children from schools. A large number of Civil and Armed forces dignitaries were present on the occasion. DC Shillong, DG Assam Rifles, GOC 101 Area and many more enjoyed every moment of their stay at the venue which was Advance Landing Ground, Upper Shillong.
In Pune, Air Force Station orgainised various events to show case its potential and boost the morale of both the defence as well as civilian population. The Marathon run conducted in Viman Nagar area covering a distance of 8 Kms saw a huge response from air warriors and their families. The Static display covering SU 30 MKI aircraft, AKASH Missile, state-of-the-art fire tenders, exciting range of military armour and aero-modeling show were the main attraction. The children were very excited to witness the static display and interact with media personnel. The brief on Air Force Station Pune presented by GP Capt A Bhadra was not only informative covering various facets of Air Force Station Pune, but it generated a healthy interaction too. Air Commodore Surat Singh Air Officer Commanding Pune conveyed his appreciation for the support rendered by the residents of Pune in meeting the national commitment and assured that the station is always geared up to take up any challenge.Reaching out to the college students an interaction drive was also conducted at College of Engineering Pune recently wherein at least 300 engineering students were informed about various career opportunities in Indian Air Force. The Adventure Wing of Air Force conducted Microlight Flying and para sailing at AF Station Lohegaon for selected 70 students which included participants from IIT Mumbai too.
Air Force Station, Tambaram,  organised a wide range of activities. These included various competitions for its personnel and family members.Celebrations of other events included Healthy Baby Show, Cultural Show, Static Display of Aircraft and Weapon System. Family members of Air Warriors and students of the two Kendriya Vidyalayas located at the station were also present on the occasion.
- Dr MS Patil, Gp Capt BB Pandey, Gp Capt Amit Mahajan, Sanjay Arvikar and N Andavan
Pix: GD Mehra and Naresh Kumar