Hyderabad: Flying Officer Akash Saraswat is the only fighter pilot from Telangana state among the 139 officers who graduated from the Air Force Academy, Dundigal on Saturday.
Fg Off Saraswat passed out from the National Defence Academy in 2017 and joined the Dundigal station. His father, Mr Niranjan Singh Sarawat, is an employee of HAL, Balanagar.
Two others from Hyderabad, Fg Off Kirti Singh and Fg Off Nagumalli Agastya, also graduated on Saturday but chose administration and logistics streams.
Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat reviewed the combined graduation parade at IAF Dundigal. Out of the 139 Flying Officers, 24 were women.
Conferring the President’s Commission, Gen. Rawat said, “It is a matter of pride to review the Combined Graduation Parade of the IAF.” The officers were awarded their ‘stripes’ (Air Force rank) by Gen. Rawat.
Stressing the importance of joint-manship amongst defence services, Gen. Rawat urged officers to think in a joint manner to cope with the challenges posed by dramatic changes taking place in warfare. “There can be nothing more satisfying than participating in the defence of one’s nation, cadets should stay alert to various situations and the rapidly changing geopolitical scenario,” the Army chief said.
Fg Off Sukhmandeep Singh (Flying) was awarded the President’s Plaque and the Chief of the Air Staff Sword of Honour for standing first in overall merit in the pilot course. Fg Off Rashmi Kumari and Fg Off Abhishek Mandyal were awarded President's Plaque for being first in overall merit in navigation and ground duty branches respectively.
The story of Fg Off Gaurav Chaudhary stands out. His father fell ill and he had to run their sweetmeat shop in his hometown Garhwal in Uttarakhand.
“I continued my education while handling the shop. But I always wanted to serve the nation, and joined the NDA. Now, I am part of the elite cadre of the IAF,” he said.
Fifteen officers of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard were also awarded their wings on completion of flying training. The Indian Air Force trains members of other services and para-military forces in basic aviation and related courses at the Dundigal Air Force Academy.
The graduation ceremony ended with a sky diving show put up by the IAF’s ‘Akash Ganga’ team. There was also an aerobatic display by ‘Sarang’ helicopter team, the ‘Suryakiran’ Hawks and PC 7 aircraft....