Hyderabad: Flying officer Gajulapalli Navin Kumar Reddy, an Andhra Pradesh native, was awarded the President’s Plaque and Chief of the Air Staff Sword of Honour for topping the pilots’ course at the Indian Air Force (IAF) Academy, Dundigal.
IAF Academy, Dundigal held its combined graduation on Saturday during which 152 flying cadets passed out. Chief of the air staff, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa reviewed the parade and conferred the President’s Commission on the cadets.
Flying officer Reddy is the son of a Subedar of the Army. “Aircraft thrill me. Besides, I’ve always felt motivated to do something for the nation,” he said.
Flying officer Suprabh Saxena and flying officer Renu Yadav were awarded the President’s Plaque for being first in overall merit in navigation and ground duty branches respectively at the graduation fete.
Flying officer Anjani, a B.Tech student from the Central University of khand, was the only woman fighter pilot who graduated on Saturday.
Her father is a retired IAF sergeant. “I had made a promise to my father in 2007 that I would join the force like him. This is a gift for him,” Flying officer Anjani said.
Of the 152 flight cadets who passed out on Saturday, 24 were women.
Flight officer Thorat Viraj Sambhaji of Pune is a farmer’s son. Before he joined the Indian Air Force, he worked as a casual labourer, security guard, food packer, and as an artificial apprentice in the Indian Navy. He is perhaps the candidate with the most varied life experience.
Another officer who came from the Navy was Flying Officer Anil Dalal. The son of a retired subedar, Flying Officer Dalal was commissioned in the administrative branch.
Before joining the IAF in officer cadre, Flying Officer Dalal worked as a weapon maintainer in the Indian Navy.