Panagarh airbase renamed after former IAF chief Arjan Singh

Apr 16, 2016 09:08 IST

Panagarh Air Force Base of West Bengal was renamed as Air Force Station Arjan Singh on 16 April 2016. This can be termed as a rare honour to the nation’s oldest soldier Marshal of Air Force Arjan Singh.

Air Officer Commander-in-Chief of the Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal C Harikumar unveiled the rechristening plaque at a ceremony held at the Panagarh Air Base. He announced that the crucial Air Force Base in the eastern theatre will now be called Air Force Station Arjan Singh.

Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, 97, had led the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the 1965 India-Pakistan war.

The decision of rechristening the Air Force Station was announced by the Chief of Air Staff Arup Raha on 15 April 2016 at a function in New Delhi to mark 97th birthday of the Marshal Arjan Singh. Military installations are not usually named after individuals, especially when they are alive, a defence spokesperson informed.

Panagarh Air Force Base

• Panagarh, approximately 150 kilometers from Kolkata, is located in Burdwan district.

• It was developed during the Second World War as part of the US Army's 'over the hump' operations against the Japanese.

• Post the Second World War, Air Force Station, Panagarh, played a significant role during the Indo-Pak Wars of 1965 and 1971.

Arjan Singh

• As Squadron Leader, he led the Tiger squadron in saving Imphal Valley against the marauding Japanese forces. At that time, he was the commanding officer of No.1 Squadron.

• His leadership and daring exploits earned him a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), which was pinned on him by Lord Mountbatten in Imphal during the operations.

• He was the IAF chief from August 1964-69.

• He was the first Indian Air Chief to be elevated to the rank of Air Chief Marshal on 16 January 1966.

• In recognition of his lifelong services, the union government conferred the rank of the Marshal of the Indian Air Force on Arjan Singh on 28 January 2002 making him the first and the only Five Star rank officer with the Indian Air Force.

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