Sunday, 18 January 2009
Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, born 15th April 1919, is the only officer of the Indian Air Force to be promoted to five star rank, equal to a Field Marshal, to which he was promoted in 2002. He is also the first Marshal of the Air force. He was born in the Punjab Lyalpur, British India, into an Aulakh family. After the death of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in June 2008, he is the only living Indian military officer with a five-star rank. He was educated at Montgomery India (now in Pakistan). He entered the RAF College Cranwell in 1938 and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in December 1939. He led No.1 Squadron, Indian Air Force into command during the Arakan Campaign in 1944. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in 1944, and commanded the Indian Air Force Exhibition Flight in 1945. Arjan was the Chief of Air Staff or CAS, from 1 August 1964 to 15 July 1969, and was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1965, India's second highest civilian honour given for exceptional and distinguished service to India. He was Lt. Governor of Delhi and was made Marshal of the Air Force in January, 2002. He has flown 65 different types of aircraft. His life story is the subject of a book by Roopinder Singh called Arjan Singh: Marshal of The Indian Air Force. Rupa & Co (2002). Arjan has also been an ambassador fr India to Switzerland.