India on April 15 will celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). Arjan Singh was born in Lyallpur (Faisalabad, now in Pakistan). The decorated officer entered the RAF College Cranwell in 1938 and was commissioned as a pilot officer in December 1939.
As a Squadron Leader, 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. IAF’s First Bi-Annual Commanders’ Conference Begins Today at Vayu Bhawan; Nirmala Sitharaman Lauds Air Warriors For Displaying Highest Level of Professionalism.
On August 15, 1947, he led the fly-past of over a hundred IAF aircraft over the red fort in Delhi. After getting promoted to Wing Commander, he attended Staff College at UK, and immediately after Indian independence became the AOC, Ambala in the rank of Group Captain. In 1949, promoted to Air Commodore, Arjan Singh took over the Air Officer Commanding of Operational Command, which later came to be known as Western Air Command. Vice Admiral Karambir Singh Appointed as Next Indian Navy Chief; Admiral Sunil Lanba Retires on May 31.
Promoted to Air Vice Marshal, he was the AOC-in-C of Operational Command. Towards the end of the 1962 war, he was appointed the DCAS and became the VCAS by 1963. On 01 August 1964, Arjan Singh took over as the Chief of Air Staff in the rank of Air Marshal, which became the pinnacle of this career. Arjan Singh was the first Air Chief who kept his flying category till his CAS rank. He had flown over 60 different types of aircraft from Pre-WW-2 era biplanes to the supersonic Mig-21.
Story of valour of Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, when he was Fight Lieutenant in 1939:
As Chief of Air Staff, Arjan Singh led the air Force through the war showing successful leadership and effort. Arjan Singh was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for his leadership of the air force, and subsequently in recognition of the air force’s contribution in the war, the rank of the CAS 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. After his retirement he was appointed as the ambassador of India to Switzerland.
In recognition of his services, the Government of India conferred the rank of the Marshal of the Air Force onto Arjan Singh in January 2002 making him the first and the only ‘Five Star’ rank officer with the Indian Air Force. President Ram Nath Kovind Presents Gallantry Awards 2019 to Indian Army, Paramilitary Personnel, General Bipin Rawat Receives Param Vishisht Seva Medal.
Arjan Singh’s health declined in his final years. On September 16, 2016, he suffered a cardiac arrest at his New Delhi residence. He was rushed to the Army Hospital, Research and Referral, New Delhi. The decorated officer breathe his last at 98 years of age at 7:47 p.m. that evening.
(Photo Credits: Twitter/@IAF_MCC)