New Delhi, Sep 16(ANI): 'Golden Arrows', the gallant 17 squadron of the Indian Air Force celebrated its 60th anniversary today.
Formed in 1951 at Ambala with Harvard IIB aircraft, the squadron saw action in 1965 and 1971 wars.
It also played a key role in 'Op Safed Sagar', the Kargil conflict in 1999 and earned the highest number of gallantry awards in the IAF including a Vir Chakra (Posthumous) awarded to Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja.
The celebrations to mark 60 years of glorious service to the nation were held in the traditional Air Force way at its parent base, along the Western border.
The Commodore Commandant of the Squadron Air Vice Marshal BS Dhanoa YSM VM, Air Officer Commanding, Air Commodore Vishwas Gaur VM and the Commanding Officer Wing Commander Rajesh Nandedkar placed the wreath at the War Memorial.
The other celebrations during the event included a Barakhana and a special drill display by the Air Warrior Drill Team and thrilling Skydiving display by 'Akash Ganga' team.
The Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Rajesh Nandedkar described this as a "momentous occasion" for the squadron and said that he was proud and honoured to be Commanding the Squadron at this time.
He added that the presence of the Commodore Commandant, Air Vice Marshal BS Dhanoa YSM VM, on this historic occasion who was the Commanding Officer of the squadron during Kargil conflict, made these celebrations significant.
The then Wing Commander BS Dhanoa was awarded Yudh Seva Medal (YSM) for his sterling leadership during the conflict as the glorious phase in the history of the Golden Arrows, when one Vir Chakra, one Yudh Seva Medal, two Vayu Sena Medals and two Mention-in-Dispatches were awarded for the operations.
The squadron played a key role in filming the enemy positions which facilitated their subsequent targeting during the conflict.
Speaking of the occasion, Air Vice Marshal BS Dhanoa credited the achievements of the squadrons to the strong lineage of Commanding Officer, who built such strong foundations and carried forward the highest traditions of the IAF.
Many of them rose to the highest rung of the IAF echelons including Air Chief Marshal LM Katre PVSM AVSM and Bar, the Chief of the Air Staff from September 4, 1984, to July 1, 1985.
The other illustrious Commanding Officer of the yesteryears include Air Commodore Jasjit Singh, Air Marshal Janak Kapoor, Air Marshal R Bhasin and Air Marshal MSD Wollen.
The squadron was stationed in the Eastern theatre for a considerable period including 1971 Indo-Pak war.
It mounted continuous Combat Air Patrol (CAP) missions during the war to keep the enemy air at bay.
Rich tributes were paid to the martyrs on the occasion, who in the highest traditions of the service made the supreme sacrifice for the nation. (ANI)