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    Grand ceremony held at Air Force Academy

    A Combined Graduation Parade was held at Air Force Academy, Dundigal on 21st December 2019 marked the successful culmination of training for 127 Flight Cadets of Flying and Ground duty branches of the IAF. 

    The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC was the Reviewing Officer of the Combined Graduation Parade, where he conferred the ‘President’s Commission’  on the graduating Flight Cadets who successfully completed their professional training. Twenty one women officers joined the growing number of women in the IAF.  

    On this day the President’s Commission is formally conferred on these young and tough air warriors after a long period of rigorous training. The graduation ceremony was undertaken through a smart parade and administration of Oath.  The parade commenced with the flag bearing skydivers of the famous Akash Ganga team, spreading the tricolor over the blue skies of Dundigal. The Air Warrior Drill Team once again put up a sharp synchronized performance, delighting the spectators with their handling of weapons.  The event was witnessed by the proud family members and friends of passing-out cadets. Several senior serving and retired officers from the three services were present. 

    The Reviewing Officer was received by Air Marshal AS Butola, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command and Air Marshal J Chalapati, Commandant Air Force Academy. The Reviewing Officer was presented with a ceremonial Salute by the Parade followed by an impressive March Past.  The highlight of the Parade was the ‘Pipping Ceremony’, where the Flight Cadets were awarded their ‘Stripes’ (Air Force rank) by the Chief Guest. They were then administered the ‘Oath’ by the Commandant of the Academy in the presence of the Reviewing Officer and other dignitaries.

    After the ‘Pipping Ceremony’ the Reviewing Officer gave away awards to the Flying Officers who excelled in various disciplines of training. Flying Officer Arunabha Chakraborty from the Flying Branch was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’ and President’s Plaque for standing First in Overall Merit in the Pilots’ Course. Flying Officer Aayush Pandey and Flying Officer Purnendu Kumar Singh were awarded President’s Plaque for being first in Overall Merit in Navigation and Ground Duty branches respectively.

    Later, addressing the Parade, the Reviewing Officer complimented the newly Commissioned ‘Flying Officers’ for their immaculate turn out, precise drill movements and high standards of parade. Congratulating the passing-out cadets, the Chief of the Air Staff said, “It is a matter of great pride for me to witness this momentous occasion of the Combined Graduation Parade of the Indian Air Force”. He emphasized in his address the importance of core values of the Indian Air Force namely, Mission, Integrity and Excellence and exhorted the newly commissioned officers to uphold these values in professional as well as personal lives. On this occasion, he also conveyed his congratulations to all the proud parents who supported their wards and encouraged them to pursue their dreams. 

    Aerobatic displays by the Suryakiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) and Sarang, the Helicopter Display Team held the audience spellbound with their gaze fixed upwards watching a painting being created right in front of their eyes. An impressive flying display by the Pilatus PC-7 trainer aircraft added to the ceremonial setting of the occasion. 

    The grand ceremony culminated with the newly Commissioned Officers marching-out in two columns in slow march to the traditional notes of  ‘Auld Lang Syne’ (the poignant farewell tune played by Armed Forces of the world when bidding adieu to colleagues and comrades), acknowledging the first salute given to them by their immediate juniors. They marched in step past the reviewing officer with synchronous strides. The newly commissioned officers passed through the portals from where the best Pilots and Ground Duty Officers of IAF have begun their journey to take-on the future assignments and challenges. An unflinching determination was visible in the eyes of the young officers to surmount the challenges and to ‘Touch the Sky with Glory’.

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