Arjan Singh: 15 milestones of his career

New Delhi, Sep 16: Ninety-eight-year-old Singh, the only officer of the IAF to be promoted to five-star rank, equal to a field marshal in the Army, was admitted to the Army's Research and Referral hospital this morning after he suffered a cardiac arrest. finally the bravve soldier succumed to the eternal truth of life: Death, but not before adding feathers to his illustrious hat.Here are the major milestones of his career.

April 15, 1919 He was born in Lyallpur, Punjab (now in Pakistan) in a distinguished military family

1938-1939 While still in college, the 19-year-old was selected for the Empire Pilot training course at RAF College Cranwell, from where he graduated the following year. His first posting on being commissioned was flying Westland Wapiti biplanes in the North Western Frontier Province as a member of the No.1 IAF Squadron.

1944 He was promoted to squadron leader and led the offensive against the Japanese during the Arakan Campaign. He later assisted the advance of the allied forces to Rangoon, Burma (now Myanmar). He is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for successfully leading his squadron in combat.

August 15, 1947 On the day of India's independence, he had the unique honour of leading the fly-past of over a hundred IAF aircraft over the Red Fort in Delhi.

1949-1961 He was promoted to Air Commodore and took over the Air Officer Commanding of Operational Command. He has the distinction of having the longest tenure as the AOC of Operational Command, from 1949-1952 and again from 1957-1961. After his promotion to the rank of Air Vice Marshal, he was appointed as the AOC-in-C of an Operational Command.

1962-1963 Towards the end of the 1962 war with China, he was appointed as the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff and he became the Vice Chief of the Air Staff in 1963. He was the overall commander of the joint air training exercise "Shiksha" held between the IAF, RAF and RAAF.

August 1964 Singh took over as the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) in the rank of Air Marshal.

1965 He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for services rendered to the nation during the 1965 Indo-China war. Subsequently, in recognition of the Air Force's contribution during the war, the rank of the CAS was upgraded and Arjan Singh became the first Air Chief Marshal of the Indian Air Force.

1969 He retired from the Indian Air Force at the age of 50.

1971 He served as India's ambassador to Switzerland.

1974 He is appointed Indian High Commissioner to Kenya.

1989-1990 He acted as the Lt Governor of Delhi.

January 2002 Government of India conferred the rank of the Marshal of the Air Force upon Arjan Singh, making him the first and the only five star rank officer with the Indian Air Force.

April 15, 2016 The IAF's Panagarh air base is renamed to 'Air Force Station Arjan Singh' to mark the officer's 97th birthday.

September 16, 2017 Arjan Singh passes away.

Compiled by News24Bureau