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The blue skies of Air Force Academy in Dundigal, 45 km from Hyderabad, turned vibrant with a colourful march-past on the ground and amazing aerobatics in the air by various aircraft of Indian Air Force here on Saturday to mark the combined graduation parade of 152 flight cadets as Flying Officers of the Indian Air Force.

The Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa reviewed the parade and conferred the ‘President’s Commission’ on behalf of the President of India to the graduating flight cadets who had successfully completed their basic and professional training.

A total of 152 flight cadets, including 24 women, graduated as Flying Officers to join the elite cadre of the Indian Air Force.

The thrilling and exhilarating occasion was witnessed by the family members and friends of passing-out cadets, as well as senior serving and retired Officers from the three services.

The high point of the parade was the ‘pipping ceremony’ during which the graduating flight cadets were awarded with their ‘Stripes’ by the reviewing officer.

After the ‘pipping ceremony,’ the Reviewing Officer gave away various awards to the Flying Officers who had excelled in training.

Flying Officer Gajulapalli Navin Kumar Reddy from the flying branch was awarded President’s Plaque and the Chief of the Air Staff Sword of Honour for standing first in overall merit in the pilots’ course. Flying Officer Suprabh Saxena and Flying Officer Renu Yadav were awarded President’s Plaque for being first in overall merit in navigation and ground duty branches respectively.

Later, addressing the parade, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said that it was a matter of great pride to review the parade to welcome these fine men and women into the IAF as military leaders and aviators. He emphasised the importance of core values of IAF and exhorted the passing out cadets to uphold these values in professional as well as personal lives.

The spectators were delighted to witness the magnificent parade and were awestruck by the spectacular movements of Air Warrior Drill team. They were mesmerised by the breathtaking aerobatic display by ‘Sarang’, the helicopter aerobatic team of IAF, ‘Suryakiran team’ and PC 7 aircraft.

The glittering 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.

They marched in absolute synchrony and with purposeful strides as they saluted the Reviewing Officer and crossed through the portals of their alma mater to take on their future assignments and challenges unstintingly to ‘touch the sky with glory’.
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