New Delhi: A Combined Graduation Parade (CGP) was held at the Air Force Academy, Dundigal, on Saturday, which marked the successful culmination of Training for 114 Flight Cadets of Flying and Ground Duty Branches in the Indian Air Force. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was the Chief Guest and Reviewing Officer of the Passing out Parade, where he conferred the ‘President’s Commission’ on the graduating Flight Cadets who successfully completed their professional training.
The graduating Officers also included 21 women who joined the growing number of women officers in the IAF. On this occasion six officers from the Indian Navy, five officers from the Indian Coast Guard and three officers from Friendly Foreign Countries (Vietnam-02 and Nigeria-01) were also awarded Wings on successful completion of flying training.
The Reviewing Officer was received by Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff. He was presented with a Ceremonial Salute by the Parade followed by an impressive March Past. The highlight of the Parade was the ‘Pipping Ceremony’ in which the graduating Flight Cadets were awarded their ‘Stripes’ (Air Force Rank) by the Chief Guest. The conduct of the event adhered to Covid protocols.
The newly commissioned Officers were then administered the ‘Oath’ by the Commandant of the Academy in the presence of the Reviewing Officer and other dignitaries. A synchronised Fly Past during the Ceremonial Salute and ‘Antim Pag’ (Last Step) added colour and cheer to the ceremonial setting, wishing them a successful career, in true IAF style. After the ‘Pipping Ceremony’ the Reviewing Officer presented awards to the Flying Officers who excelled in various disciplines of Training. Flying Officer Ashish Khattri from the Flying branch was awarded President’s Plaque and the Chief of the Air Staff Sword of Honour for standing first in overall order of merit in the Pilots’ Course, while Flying Officer Yash Kshirsagar was awarded President’s Plaque for being first in overall order of merit in Ground Duty branches.
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 Reviewing Officer said that “You are going to be part of an organisation which has had a glorious history. The Indian Air Force has always displayed indomitable spirit and valour to protect the Sovereignty and Integrity of the Nation”. He added that “Modern Warfare is undergoing constant changes and we need to keep ourselves abreast to confront any challenges”.
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. The newly commissioned officers then passed through the portals from where the best pilots and ground duty officers of the IAF have begun their journey to take-on future assignments and challenges.
On the eve of the Graduation Parade, the Reviewing Officer awarded trophies to the Flight Cadets for excellence in respective streams at a ceremonial dinner hosted by Air Marshal R.D. Mathur, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, and Training Command. Air Marshal I.P. Vipin, Commandant, Air Force Academy, formally introduced the graduating Flight Cadets to the Defence Minister.
The Combined Graduation Parade holds a special place in the heart of every Air Force officer, as on this particular day they pledge to safeguard the security, safety, sovereignty and honour of the country.