Group Captain Varun Singh, the lone survivor of the Indian Air Force (IAF) chopper crash in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor, is battling for his life. A few months ago, Group Captain Varun Singh was conferred with a gallantry award, following which he sent an inspiring message to the students of his school.
The Air Force officer, who was onboard the ill-fated helicopter with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, is the only one who has survived among the 14 who were on the flight. Braveheart Group Captain Varun Singh, who succumbed to the injuries sustained in the helicopter accident on 08 Dec 21. Nation offers sincere condolences and stands firmly with the bereaved family.
The Shaurya Chakra awardee was traveling with General Rawat, the country’s first and incumbent chief of defence staff (CDS), as the latter’s liaison officer for a visit to the Wellington-based Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), where the CDS was to deliver a lecture. After the helicopter crash, he was brought to the Military Hospital in Wellington but was later shifted to Bengaluru’s Air Force Command Hospital. Group Captain Singh’s father, Colonel (retired) KP Singh earlier described his son as a ‘fighter’.
In August, Group Captain Varun Singh was conferred with the Shaurya Chakra for averting a possible mid-air accident after his Tejas light combat aircraft suffered a major technical glitch last year. On September 18, he wrote an inspiring letter to the principal of his alma mater, Army Public school in Chandimandir, reflecting on his life as a student.
In his letter, the IAF officer talked about his time as a student. He revealed that he was an average student academically and athletically but went on to score in the first division in his class 12 board exams. He was always passionate about aeroplanes and aviation, he informed.
Group Captain Singh mentioned that he had represented his school in the Aeronautical Society of India twice and secured second and third positions. He then talked about his time at the National Defence Academy (NDA), from where he passed out as OC (Officer Cadet).
“It is ok to be mediocre. Not everyone will excel at school and not everyone will be able to score in the 90s. If you do, it’s an amazing achievement and must be applauded,” Group Captain Varun Singh wrote in the letter.
Group Captain Varun Singh further said “if that doesn’t happen do not think that you are meant to be mediocre”.
“You may be mediocre in school but it is by no means a measure of things to come in life. Find your calling, it could be art, music, graphic design, literature etc. Whatever you work towards, be dedicated, do your best. Never go to bed thinking I could have put in more effort,” Group Captain Varun Singh wrote.
Group Captain Varun Singh described how as a young cadet he lacked confidence. “After commissioning as a young Flight Lieutenant in a Fighter Squadron, I realised that I could do well if I put my mind and heart to it. I started working to be that best I could be, as opposed to only making sure I achieve the ‘pass’ standard,” Group Captain Varun Singh wrote.
This is in context of his days in the National Defence Academy, where as a cadet he did not excel either in studies or sport to make the cut. “It is when I reached AFA that I started to realise that my passion for aviation gave me an edge over my peers. Still, even then I lacked confidence in my true capabilities,” he said in the letter.
In the letter, Group Captain Varun Singh expressed pride after getting the Shaurya Chakra award. The officer said he credits this prestigious award to all those was associated with over the years in school, NDA and thereafter the Air Force.
“I firmly believe that my actions that day were a result of the grooming and mentoring by my teachers instructors and peers,” Group Captain Varun Singh wrote in the letter.
Describing himself as an an average student who barely scored first division in 12th class, Group Captain Varun Singh said he was made the “discipline prefect” in school.
Group Captain Varun Singh wrote that he was equally average in sports and other co-curricular activities. “But I had a passion for airplanes and aviation.”
“Never lose hope, never think that you cannot be good at what you want to be. It will not come easy. it will take effort, it will require sacrifice of time and comfort. I was mediocre, and today I have reached difficult milestones in my career. Do not think that 12th board marks decide what you are capable of achieving in life. Believe in yourself, work towards it,” Group Captain Varun Singh wrote in the letter.
Group Captain Varun Singh wrote that he wanted his story to be shared with students. “If I am able to inspire even one child to believe him/her in himself/herself, I would have achieved my objective of writing to you,” he wrote.
“If I am able to inspire even one child to believe him/her in himself/herself I would have achieved my objective of writing to you,” Group Captain Varun Singh said.
“Never lose hope, never think that you cannot be good at what you want to be. It will not come easy. It will take effort, it will require sacrifice of time and comfort,” he wrote.
Read the full letter here: