Field Marshal of Indian Air Force, Late Arjan Singh was the only Air Force officer to be promoted to 5-star rank. He was famous for his role in the 1965 India-Pakistan war. He had also fought during the World War II.
For the first time in its history, the Indian Air Force (IAF) renamed its Panagarh airbase in Burdwan after its Marshal Arjan Singh, the first and also the only highest ranking living officer of the IAF till date, on his 97th birthday to honour his lifelong services.
This is the first time in India’s defence history, a military installation has been named after individuals, especially when they are alive. Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (Eastern Air Command) Air Marshal C. Hari Kumar unveiled the rechristening plaque — Air Force Station Arjan Singh — at the entrance of the airbase.
Who was Arjan Singh?
⇒ Arjan Singh was born on 15 Apr 1919 in Lyallpur (now Faisalabad, Pakistan) in the Punjab in what was then British India in a distinguished military family. Arjan Singh was educated at Montgomery, British India (now in Pakistan).
⇒ He entered the RAF College Cranwell in 1938 and was commissioned as a pilot officer in December 1939 at the tender age of 19 years.
⇒ He had served in different positions in RAF during the British Rule. On August 15, 1947, he had achieved a unique honour of leading a fly-past of over a hundred IAF aircraft over the Red Fort in Delhi.
⇒ He had served as the IAF chief from August 1964 to 69. He had led the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the 1965 India-Pakistan war. He had launched IAF’s Operation Grand Slam that targeted at the vital town of Akhnoor of Pakistan.
⇒ He was the first Indian Air Chief to be elevated to the Air Chief Marshal rank on 16 January in 1966 in recognition of the IAF’s vital contribution in the 1965 war under his leadership.
⇒ He retired in August 1969 and later was appointed as Ambassador of India to Switzerland. He also had served as Lieutenant Governor of New Delhi from 1989 to 1990. He was a member of the National Commission for Minorities, Government of India from 1975-1981.
Awards and Honours :
He was awarded PadmaVibhushan for his astute leadership of the Air Force during the India-Pakistan war.
General Service Medal 1947
Indian Independence Medal
Distinguished Flying Cross
Sainya Seva Medal
Samar Seva Star
War Medal 1939–1945.
He was admitted to R&R Army Hospital after getting a severe cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead on 16th September 2017.
Farewell to an iconic figure :
It’s a great loss, not just for the military but the entire nation – General Bikram Singh, former Army chief.
India has lost a veteran, but the Indian Airforce has lost a father – Air Marshal Barbora
He was an individual who converted adversity into opportunity in the 1965 war – Lt. Gen BS Jaswal
My thoughts are with his family & those mourning the demise of a distinguished air warrior & fine human, Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh. RIP – Narendra Modi (PM)
Aum Shanti Arjan Singh ji, only Indian Air Force officer to be promoted to 5-star rank. Soldiers never die, you were and will always be an inspiration – Virender Sehwag
Deeply saddened by the demise of Arjan Singh Marshal of Indian Air Force.My sincere condolences.May his soul rest in peace. – Ram Nath Kovind (President)
India will always remember the outstanding service of Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh ji. I salute the hero. – Capt. Amarinder Singh
Arjan Singhwon respect of all officers – Maj Gen SP Sinha