10 Inspirational Facts About The Marshal Of The Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh

Indian Air Force Marshal Arjan Singh passes away at 98 years of age - The  Indian Wire

Hello Warriors! Remembering the first and only Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh, DFC, on his birth anniversary today. A WW II Hero, Recipient of Distinguished Flying Cross during the Arakan Campaign, led the IAF in the 1965 Indo-Pak War.

But how many of us do really know much about his inspiring story-from boots, belts and berets to the Marshal of the Indian Air Force?

1. Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh, who was Chief of Air Staff of the Indian Air Force from 1964 to 1969, is the epitome of a military leader and it is in the great fitness of things, and truly a grand morale booster to the officers and men of the Indian Air Force that he was honoured with the rank of Marshal of the Indian Air Force, on the Republic Day of 2002.

2. He is the only Indian air warrior to be elevated to the rank of the Air Chief Marshal, considering his distinguished service-both in the military and in politics. Which makes him unique, as there is no immidiate successor to his rank in the Indian Air Force.

3. Promoted to Squadron Leader in 1944, Arjan Singh led the squadron against the Japanese during the Arakan Campaign. flying close support during the crucial Imphal Campaign and later assisting the advance of the allied forces to Rangoon, Burma. For his role in successfully leading  the squadron in combat, Arjan Singh received the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in 1944. He was given command of the IAF Display flight flying Hawker Hurricanes after the war which toured India giving demonstrations. On 15 August 1947, he had the unique honour of leading the fly-past of over a hundred IAF aircraft over Delhi, over the red fort.

4. In recognition of his leadership and gallantry in the air, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) on the spot, the first Indian pilot to be so honoured by the Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia. The citation read:

Squndron Leader Arja11 Singh is a fearless and exceptional Pilot, with a profound knowledge of his specialised branch of tactical reconnaissance and he has imbued those under him with the same spirit. The success of No. 1 Squadron Indian Air Force reflects the greatest credit on him.

5. When India became a Republic in 1950, Arjan Singh was commanding the Operational Group, then responsible for all air operations from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari. Arjan Singh held the Command of this Group, the only fighting arm of the IAF, till December 1952 and again from December 1955 to April 1959, initially in the rank of Air Commodore and then in the rank of Air Vice Marshal for over 6 years, longer than any other officer of the IAF.

6. Arjan Singh, who on 1 August 1964 had become Chief of Air Staff in the rank of Air Marshal at the young age of 45, was the first officer of the Indian Air Force to don the tapes of Air Chief Marshal, on January 15th 1966.

7. For his meritorious services in the conduct of the 1965 Indo-Pak War, Arjan Singh was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan.

8. Arjan Singh has flown no less than 65 different types of aircraft and continued his passion for flying till the last day of retirement. Arjan Singh’s zest for flying percolated right down the line, which enthused the flyers for combat flying training and who then gave ample proof of their readiness in the 1965 war.

9. In 1967, Arjan Singh had the unique honour of being invited to take the salute at the passing out parade of the Royal Air Force Flying College, Cranwell, where he had first learnt flying 28 years earlier, and presented the ‘Sword of Honour’ to the best Cadet.

10 Measured by any standard, Arjan Singh has had some fine innings. Even after retirement he continued to serve the country. In 1971, he was accredited as India’s Ambassador to Switzerland. From there, in 1974 he went to Kenya, as the Indian High Commissioner, and returned to India in 1976, after having had a six year long ambassadorial stint, longer than any other officer from the Armed Forces. Some years on, he became the Lt. Governor ot Delhi.

A Padma Vibhushan awardee, the rank of the then CAS, Arjan Singh, was upgraded to that of Air Chief Marshal and Arjan Singh became the first Air Chief Marshal of the Indian Air Force. He retired in August 1969, thereupon accepting ambassadorship to Switzerland. He remained a flyer to the end of his tenure in the IAF, visiting forward squadrons & units and flying with them. Arjan Singh was a source of inspiration to a generation of Indians and Officers.

Hope this story of an Air Warrior from a Flight Cadet to the Marshal of the world’s fourth largest Air Force within merely 31 years and after surviving several wars inspires the best in you and doesn’t let you stop from working towards your goals. Who knows, you could become the next Air Chief Marshal in the making with sheer determination and courage!

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