Rooted to the ground, yet their aspirations soared into the skies just like the machines they are ready to fly from now on.
Humble and rich backgrounds apart, the cadets who attained their Indian Air Force (IAF) colours had one big ambition – serving the motherland. And they include girl cadets, who in equal measure showed their talent proving a match to their male counterparts.
The Combined Graduation Parade at the Air Force Academy at Dundigal on the outskirts of Hyderabad saw 161 flight cadets of flying and ground duty branches commissioned as officers in the Indian Air Force. Among these were 31 women candidates.
Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria reviewed the parade and conferred the President’s Commission upon the graduating flight cadets. He also presented ‘wings’ and ‘brevets’ to the cadets who successfully completed the flying and navigation training, including six officers from the Indian Navy, and five officers from the Indian Coast Guard.
The IAF chief was received by Air Marshal RD Mathur, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command and Air Marshal IP Vipin, Commandant, Air Force Academy. The Chief of the Air Staff was presented with a general salute by the parade on his arrival followed by an impressive march past.
Flying Officer Prajwal Anil Kulkarni from the Flying branch was awarded the President’s Plaque as well as the Chief of the Air Staff Sword of Honour for standing first in overall order of merit in the Pilots’ Course. Flying Officer Kritika Kulhari was awarded the President’s Plaque for being first in overall order of merit in Ground Duty branches.
The highlight of the parade was the ‘Pipping Ceremony’ in which the graduating flight cadets donned their ‘Stripes’ and were awarded ‘Wings’ & ‘Brevets’ by the chief guest. The newly commissioned officers were then administered the ‘Oath’ by the Commandant of AFA in the presence of the Reviewing Officer and other dignitaries.
Later, addressing the parade, the IAF chief commended the AFA and other training establishments for timely completion of the training despite severe COVID constraints placed upon the training infrastructure. He noted the significant milestone achieved by the Air Force Academy in achieving over 20,500 flying hours in the last one year – the highest ever in the Academy’s history.
The grand ceremony culminated with the newly commissioned officers stepping out in a slow march to the traditional notes of ‘Auld Lang Syne’; as they received their first salute from the junior course. They then went past the saluting dais and passed through the portals of the Academy, symbolising the beginning of their journey in the IAF.
The flypast by Pilatus PC-7 Mk-II, Hawks, Kirans and Chetaks as well as display by Sarang, Suryakirans and Akash Ganga Sky Diving team added colour and cheer to an impressive graduation parade.
Source: Read Full Article