Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh to turn 90 on Wednesday

New Delhi, Apr.14 (ANI): Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh DFC will turn 90 on April 15.

The Marshal of the Air Force was born on April 15, 1919 at Lyallpur. He was educated at Montgomery and later at Government College, Lahore.

In 1938, he was selected for pilot’s training at Cranwell, UK and was commissioned as a pilot in the Royal Indian Air Force in December 1939. He joined No. 1 Squadron in September 1943. He was awarded the ‘Distinguished Flying Cross’ in 1944, for his outstanding leadership in the Burma Campaign during World War II.

At that point in time, the country was still under the British rule and for an Indian to be awarded such a high honour was indeed a matter of immense pride for the nation.

He was promoted to the rank of Wing Commander in 1945 and attended the first course at Royal Staff College, Bracknell.

After partition, as a Group Captain, he commanded Air Force Station Ambala. In 1949, as an Air Commodore, he was appointed as the Air Officer Commanding Operational Command and in 1952, he was appointed the Air Force Commanding-in-Chief Operational Command.

Subsequently, he held key appointments of AOA, DCAS and VCAS from 1958 to 1964. During 1960, he was specially selected for the Imperial Defence College, UK (later named as the Royal College of Defence Studies).

He was appointed as the Chief of the Air Staff in July 1964. He was the first IAF Chief to be promoted to the rank of Air Chief Marshal, in December 1965. In recognition of his services of an extremely high order, ad for his leadership during the 1965 War against Pakistan, Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest national award. He retired from the Air Force in July 1969. During his tenure as the Chief of Air Staff, he brought about significant changes in the structure and functioning of the Air Force, to charter it towards a path of strong professional growth.

On retiring from the IAF in July 1969, Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh (Retd) continued to dedicate himself in service of the nation and rendered distinguished service of an exceptionally high order. He served with remarkable success as the Indian Ambassador to Switzerland from 1971-74 and then as High Commissioner to Kenya from 1974-77. Later, he was appointed as Member of the Minorities Commission and the Lt Governor of Delhi State in 1989.

Many officers and airmen, who served with him, still fondly remember the Marshal as a hands-on, non-formal, incisive and humane person, who flew himself to visit stations and units in his Canbarra. He belongs to the breed of rare few individuals who had the difficult task of shaping the IAF not only in its nascent years, but also at several difficult periods. He saw the IAF carry out its assigned operations in the 1962 Indo-China war. He steered the AF through the 1965 war that was forced upon us. His stewardship ensured the defeat of the adversary and his plans. He also guided the Air Force through the post 1965 embargoes and sanctions.

An avid aviator all his serving years, he flew all the types in the IAF during his time, from its inception till the jets and supersonic types. (ANI)