Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 14
Air Marshal PP Singh, who was decorated with the second-highest gallantry award Maha Vir Chakra during the 1965 Indo-Pak War, passed away at Command Hospital, Chandimandir, after a brief illness. He was 92.
Commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the Indian Air Force on April 15, 1950, the veteran officer had an illustrious carrier spanning nearly 38 years. He had the privilege of serving as ADC to the first president of India, Dr Rajender Prasad.
Subsequently, he shifted to Canberra aircraft and embarked on a career as a bomber pilot. The start of hostilities with Pakistan in 1965 saw the then Wing Commander as the Commanding Officer of No.5 Squadron (The Tuskers) based out of Agra.
He led the Tuskers on numerous successful night airstrikes into Pakistani territory, which inflicted huge damage to the Pakistan Military and Air Force assets based deep inside enemy territory as far away as Sargodha, Mianwal and Peshawar.
Military history records these strikes as the point at which the confidence of the Pakistani Forces was shattered as they realised that nowhere was safe from the rampaging Tuskers. The Tuskers acquitted themselves with glory in 1965 against Pakistan and later he became the squadron’s ‘Commodore Commandant’.
For his exemplary leadership and valour displayed beyond the call of duty, Wing Commander PP Singh was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra on September 6, 1965.
In 1971, he coordinated air warfare operations as Group Captain at Central Air Command, where he was awarded the Ati Vishist Sewa Medal for distinguished services.
In 1973, then Air Commodore PP Singh was posted as Air Advisor with the Indian Embassy in Paris, France. On his return to India in 1976, he assumed various senior and sensitive positions, including Director of Air Force Intelligence, Air Officer Commanding No.4 Wing (Agra) and Assistant Chief of Air Staff at Air Headquarters.
On promotion to the rank of Air Marshal, he was posted as Senior Air Staff Officer, in charge of operations at Eastern Air Command in Shillong. Thereafter, he served at Air Headquarters as Vice Chief of Air Staff (VCAS) and was awarded the Param Vishist Sewa Medal in March 1985 for distinguished services, making him one of highest decorated officers of the Indian Air Force.
Air Marshal PP Singh was appointed as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the South Western Air Command in 1986 and held that position till his retirement in February 1987.
A keen and passionate sportsman, Air Marshal PP Singh was the Chairman of the Services Sports Control Board and member of the Asian Games Special Organising Committee. As Chief Administrator of Nehru Stadium in Delhi, he was tasked with ensuring the readiness of the stadium in accordance with the Asian Games Planning for the opening and the closing ceremonies, for which he was awarded the Asiad Vishist Jyoti.
He is survived by his daughter and son.
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