Hyderabad: Saturday morning witnessed 216 newly commissioned officers receive their first salute from their juniors as they marched to the tune of 'Auld Lang Syne' at the end of the parade, marking their successful graduation from the Air Force Academy at Dundigal, Hyderabad.
This Combined Graduation Parade of the flight cadets of No. 189 Pilot Course, No. 130 Ground Duty Course and No. 114 Navigation Course, who underwent training at IAF's various training establishments such as - Air Force Administrative College(AFAC), Coimbatore, Air Defence College, Lucknow, Air Force Station Hakimpet, Begumpet and Yelahanka besides the Air Force Academy marks the culmination of their successful basic and professional training.
Flight Cadet Naveen Lather commanded the immaculately turned out cadets formed in six squadrons on the parade ground in front of the Sekhon Block.
The parade was reviewed by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, who awarded the President's Commission to the flight cadets on behalf of the Honourable President of India.
Congratulating the newly commissioned officers, the Air Chief said, "I welcome you, young men and women, into the brotherhood of arms."
Impressing upon taking care of those under one's charge, he said, "With the privilege of commanding men, comes the responsibility of looking after your subordinates. The IAF's vision statement - 'People First Mission Always' contains an important leadership lesson. It implies that while the mission accomplishment is imperative, the focus has to be on our 'People'."
"The people placed under your charge will look up to you for guidance and leadership and it will be your sacred duty to prove to be a good role model to them. All your accomplishments hereafter must be the success story of your team."
"This cohesion and team work when taken together across the IAF would prove to be our biggest force multiplier - much bigger than any of our present or future technology inductions. Your journey into the Air Force will bring you a great amount of joy and happiness. It will also bring you face to face with many challenges, temptations and dilemmas.
"How you respond to these will ultimately define your strength of character. Make it a point to execute every task, every mission, every assignment the way the Air Force and the Nation expects you to do. This way you will never go wrong and you will look at all challenges as opportunities to grow," he said.
Wishing them continued success, he said, " I welcome each one of you into the fraternity of the IAF and the Indian Armed Forces. Every morning wear your blue uniform with pride as there can be very few vocations as satisfying and noble as yours.
"My special thanks goes to the proud parents for giving the gift of these young men and women as they join the Air Force. You have my personal assurance that their safety, care and comfort will remain my highest priority. We will ensure that our people get to fly and operate aircraft and equipment which is the best in the world."
Of the newly commissioned officers 95 are from Flying Branch, 19 from Navigation and 102 from the Ground Duties. In addition three Naval Officers and one Coast Guard Officer were also awarded wings on completion of their Flying Course.
The President's Plaque and the Chief of the Air Staff Sword of Honour for standing first in overall order of merit in Pilot's Course was awarded to Flying Officer Naveen Lather while Flying Officer S K Kandpal and Flying Officer V P Prajapat were awarded the President's Plaque for standing first in overall order of merit in Ground Duty Branches and Navigation Branch respectively.
There was a traditional fly past by Hawk, AN-32, Dornier and Kiran aircraft while a low level aerobatic display by Su-30 MKI kept the audience spellbound.
On his arrival at the Air force Academy on Friday, the Chief Guest, Air Chief Marshal Browne was received by Air Marshal Rajinder Singh, AOC-in-C, Training Command and Air Marshal P R Sharma, Commandant Air Force Academy.
He later attended the Ceremonial Guest Night with the passing out cadets and their parents, where he also awarded trophies and medals to those cadets who excelled in their respective branches.