Arjan Singh, Marshal of Indian Air Force, Passes Away

Marshal of Indian Air Force (IAF) Arjan Singh (98) died on Saturday after suffering a massive heart attack. 

Here’s a look at his illustrious career:

April 15, 1919
He was born in Lyallpur, Punjab (now in Pakistan) in a distinguished military family.

While still in college, the 19-year-old was selected for the Empire Pilot training course at RAF College Cranwell, from where he graduated the following year. His first posting on being commissioned was flying Westland Wapiti biplanes in the North Western Frontier Province as a member of the No.1 IAF Squadron.

He was promoted to squadron leader and led the offensive against the Japanese during the Arakan Campaign. He later assisted the advance of the allied forces to Rangoon, Burma (now Myanmar). He is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for successfully leading his squadron in combat.

August 15, 1947
On the day of India’s independence, he had the unique honor of leading the fly-past of over a hundred IAF aircraft over the Red Fort in Delhi.

He was promoted to Air Commodore and took over the Air Officer Commanding of Operational Command. He has the distinction of having the longest tenure as the AOC of Operational Command, from 1949-1952 and again from 1957-1961. After his promotion to the rank of Air Vice Marshal, he was appointed as the AOC-in-C of an Operational Command.

Towards the end of the 1962 war with China, he was appointed as the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff and he became the Vice Chief of the Air Staff in 1963. He was the overall commander of the joint air training exercise “Shiksha” held between the IAF, RAF, and RAAF.

August 1964
Singh took over as the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) in the rank of Air Marshal.

He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for services rendered to the nation during the 1965 Indo-China war. Subsequently, in recognition of the Air Force’s contribution during the war, the rank of the CAS was upgraded and Arjan Singh became the first Air Chief Marshal of the Indian Air Force.

He retired from the Indian Air Force at the age of 50.

He served as India’s ambassador to Switzerland.

He is appointed Indian High Commissioner to Kenya.
He acted as the Lt Governor of Delhi.

January 2002
The government of India conferred the rank of the Marshal of the Air Force upon Arjan Singh, making him the first and the only five-star rank officer with the Indian Air Force.
 April 15, 2016
The IAF’s Panagarh air base is renamed to ‘Air Force Station Arjan Singh’ to mark the officer’s 97th birthday.

September 16, 2017
Arjan Singh passes away. #RIP #ArjanSingh .

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