As many as 113 flight cadets, including 13 women officers, graduated as Flying Officers of the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the Air Force Academy on Saturday. Besides, 80 young pilots, six navigators and 27 ground duty officers earned their coveted ‘Wings and Brevets’, along with six officers of Indian Navy and five of the Indian Coast Guard, who successfully completed their flying training.
Various awards were also given on the occasion to flying officers who excelled in their training. Flying Officer Tarun Nair from the Flying branch was awarded President’s Plaque and the Chief of the Air Staff ‘Sword of Honour’ for standing first in Overall Merit in Pilot Course. Flying Officer Abhishek Bajpai and Flying Officer Banti were awarded President’s Plaque for being first in overall merit in Navigation and Ground Duty branches respectively.
Congratulations to Newly Commissioned Offrs : Today, from the portals of AFA, a total of 113 Offrs Graduated as Flying Offrs in the #IAF. The occasion also marked the commissioning of another Woman Fighter Pilot, Flying Offr #MeghanaShanbough.@DefenceMinIndia @rashtrapatibhvn pic.twitter.com/GWWXmvCjdb
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) June 16, 2018
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, was the Chief Guest on the occasion, and reviewed the Combined Graduation Parade.
The ceremony began with the sky diving by the ‘Akash Ganga’ Team, enthralling the spectators by dotting the skies of Dundigal with tri- colours and precise landing right in front of them in the parade square. Spectators were held spellbound by the spectacular movements of the Air Warriors Drill Team, the ‘Nishan Toli’ marching-past with the ‘President’s Colours’ of the Academy and impressive Parade by the graduating trainees. The spectators were awestruck by the breath-taking aerobatics of highly experienced and skilled pilots of Suryakiran Aerobatic team, ‘Sarang’ the Helicopter Aerobatics Team, and PC 7 MK-II of the IAF.
The Reviewing Officer was accorded ceremonial salute by the Cadets followed by an impressive march past. The highpoint of the parade was the ‘Pipping Ceremony’. The Flight Cadets were awarded their ‘Stripes’ (Air Force rank) by the Chief Guest, the AOC-in-C Training Command and Commandant, Air Force Academy. They were then administered the ‘Oath of Service’ (the Pledge) by the Commandant of the Academy in the presence of the Chief Guest, Parents and other dignitaries.
Later, addressing the Parade, the Chief of Air Staff complimented the newly Commissioned ‘Flying Officers’ for an exceptional standard of parade. Congratulating the passing-out Cadets the Air Chief said, “It is a matter of pride and honour to review the Combined Graduation Parade and welcome the fine men and women into the Indian Air Force as Military Aviation leaders.”
Keeping in view the changing geo-political and strategic environment and varied security challenges faced by India, he urged the young officers to remain in heightened state of preparedness by dynamically adapting to the continuously changing environment. While bringing out that our country is going through a transformational shift to continuously modernise its forces, he told them to widen their horizon and keep pace with the swiftly advancing technology to exploit the true potential of the Aerospace Power.
He advised the Cadets to focus on the core values of the IAF- Mission, Integrity and Excellence and to be an inspiration for today’s young generation through selfless service and devotion to duty. He also reminded the Cadets that the task cut out for the Defence forces is painstakingly challenging one and the task of IAF is to defend our aerospace in addition to supporting the people by providing them succor in times of natural calamities.
All the Flight Cadets were imparted their initial basic training at AFA for six months (known as Stage–I) and subsequently undergo professional and advanced training at various Air Force Stations namely Hakimpet, Begumpet and Yelahanka besides AFA itself, based on their area of specialisation, for another six months (known as Stage–II). After completion of both the stages of training, they re-assemble at Air Force Academy, Dundigal for the ‘Combined Graduation Parade’ from the portals of the majestic “Sekhon Block”, a landmark building named after Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, Param Vir Chakra.
The ceremony ended with newly Commissioned Officers marching-out in two columns in slow march to the traditional notes of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, the poignant farewell tune played by Armed Forces of the world when bidding adieu to colleagues and comrades, proudly acknowledging the first salute given to them by their immediate juniors.