The National Cadet Corps and the IAF

In this research piece by Anchit Gupta , the author untangles the history of the Indian Air Force's heavy involvement with the National Cadet Corps starting in the 1950s


NCC01

Linking the youth early on to the armed forces has been a desired objective since the early 1920s when the University Corps was formed. The Indian Air Force got involved in this when the Indian Air Training Corps (IATC) was set up at Aligarh University in 1943 and then rapidly expanded over the next few years. The IAF spared no effort in providing as much support and officers to IATC as feasible. However, IATC was found wanting in many ways, notably as highlighted by then Group Captain Aspy Engineer in 1946 who lamented that very few from IATC had succeeded in obtaining commissions as officers. IATC was suspended in October 1947 and disbanded thereafter. After two years of intense deliberations to overcome the limitations of the previous organisation, NCC was formed by an act of the parliament on 15 July 1948. Initially, it had a two-tier structure – HQ in Delhi and units in various places across the country that were controlled directly by the HQ. In September 1949, a three-tier administration was introduced. An HQ in Delhi, Circle HQ in various provinces (States), and units in specific cities. In 1963-64, a fourth tier was added to this in the form of Group HQ between a circle and units. The nomenclature for these HQs, units, location, boundaries, and appointments kept changing continuously mirroring the states and districts of the country on one hand and the up-gradation of ranks and appointments across services on the other hand. As an inter-service organisation, its personnel are appointed from all three services. As of today, NCC has 17 Directorates (a modern avatar of circles), 97 Groups and 825 units (Styled Battalions/ Units and Squadrons). Apart from running the Air Wing, Indian Air Force officers man about 15% of the overall appointments across NCC at various levels. NCC is a joint initiative of the Central Government, Armed Forces, and the state government and has employees from all these arms. It has an authorised strength of permanent cadre of officers at about 1,600 with nearly 1,100 of these from the services.

Air Wing

The Air Wing was formed in 1950 and currently comprises 62 flying and technical Squadrons. Besides the primary aim of NCC, the objective of the Air Wing training is to create an interest amongst the youth of the country in aviation. The academic syllabus is somewhat like Air Force academies and civil flying clubs. For practical training, glider flying was considered appropriate as the most economical way of reaching a wider population. Where NCC units were co-located with Civil flying clubs, some powered aircraft experience was also provided. In recent years, gliders have given way to microlights. NCC, including the Air Wing, is not meant to train cadets specifically for employment in the Air Force, but a few cadets every year are selected for commissioned service in the IAF. A motley staff at HQ, NCC devises training curriculum, manages staffing requirements and logistics. The actual activity is carried out by “squadrons” who are styled similar to the Indian Air Force. The authorised strength of cadets in the Air Wing is roughly 12,000. Glider training was introduced in the Air Wing in 1955 and is only for senior wing cadets. No. 6 (UP) Air Squadron at Kanpur was the first unit to receive one.

The NCC Air Wing though has performed below expectations due to a host of reasons, not entirely in its control. Infrastructure shortages (Hangar facilities, runway access) are under the control of the state governments have seen major delays. Availability of gliders was poor to negligible for the most part of the last 60 years. To support gliding, IAF ordered nearly 300 gliders from HAL in 1964, of which only 57 were delivered even 5 years after the due date. All told between 1952 and 1966, the IAF acquired 91 Gliders for NCC (66 Rohini and 25 T-21B Sedberg). By the late 70s, nearly half the fleet was unavailable due to fatigue, accidents, unserviceability, restrictions placed on the import and financial constraints. IAF kept waiting for the replacement glider which only came about in 1985 and that too in small quantities again. Compounding the issue was a shortage of air force pilots (due to the 62 war) and unattractive pay scales for civilian gliding instructors. Many NCC Air Squadrons went through long periods as non-flying units. Eventually, such conditions discourage motivated IAF officers to seek postings to NCC units, as was the norm in the 1950s and 1960s, further leading to the poor state of NCC Air Wing. As Air Marshal Raghvendran terms NCC in his autobiography as “the graveyard of dumped aviators”.

HQ NCC

HQ NCC when formed was headed by a Director, Colonel rank officer with a small HQ staff namely a deputy Director (Lt. Col.), Staff Officer (Air), Staff Officer (Lady) and Staff Officer (Navy). The first Director was Col. GG Bewoor. Between 1948 and 1962 as the organisation grew rapidly across all dimensions necessitating augmentation of the staff and upgradation of the post. The Director post was upgraded to a Director General, headed by a Major General and assisted by a Deputy Director General that was shared in rotation by IAF and Navy. The HQ had staff to assist with Training, Personnel and other functions akin to a military HQ. By the late 1960s two DDG posts were created and the responsibilities of managing the regional setup and HQ staff was distributed between two. The additional DDG post was reserved for an Army officer. By 1988, these posts were upgraded to Additional Director Generals (A and B) and the system continues to date. Since 1948 IAF officer of the rank of Group Captain, Air Commodore and finally AVM has rotated in the DDG/ ADG post representing the highest office that an IAF officer can have in the NCC Org.

The HQ staff has another 20 officers running various functions of the HQ including five Brigadier level DDGs. Some appointments in the HQ staff are also earmarked for IAF officers – namely Deputy Director General (DDG) for Planning and Coordination in the rank of Air Commodore. Also an in charge for Air Wing and a GSO1 for training (Air), both in the rank of Group Captain.

NCC02

The first IAF officer ever to hold an appointment at NCC was Flt. Lt Sarangapani Srinivasan (1900 GD(P)), earlier an Observer commissioned in 1942. He was posted in on 25 August 1949 as Staff Officer (Air) and held the post till 3 July 1950. He was replaced by Sqn Ldr Phiroz Mehta (1715) till 19 August 1951, followed by Sqn Ldr PN Sanyal (1682). This post was subsequently renamed and upgraded to Deputy Director (Air) in the 1970s. In due course, the DD (Air) was assisted by an AD from flying branch and Technical branch each. An incomplete list of IAF officers who held positions at HQ NCC are mentioned in Appendix A.

Circle HQ/ Directorates NCC

In 1948, though the NCC HQ had been setup, no organisation was laid out in the provided. To put this un order, the committee approved formation of eight circles in September 1949 for control, co-ordination and working of the NCC in the princely states and provinces. A Circle was a geographical region, styled like provinces and states and all the individual NCC units within these circles were under the control of the Circle commander who initially was of the rank of Lt. Col.

The circles were named numerically such as No. 1 NCC Circle, No. 2 NCC Circle and so on. By 1955, there were 16 Circles spanning the country, though due to reorganization of states they reduced to 14 thereafter. In Nov 1962, just as NCC HQ in Delhi was redesignated as Directorate General, the circles were renamed as Directorates. As of now, there are 17 Directorates, the only additional one to come up post 1960 is Uttarakhand in 2006. The Circle commander was initial redesignated as Director and that nomenclature gave way to Deputy Director General (DDG) by the 1980s equivalent to a Brigadier. Most of the DDG positions have been upgraded to ADG under a Major General officer since 2000. A Circle HQ/ Directorate is staffed similar to the HQ with a deputy Director of a rank lower than the Director and other officers for personnel/ planning and training.

The current organogram at a typical HQ Directorate is attached below. The Director (reporting to the DDG) is 2nd in command at the Directorate and used to be designated a Deputy Director till the early 1980s. Thereafter the post was upgraded to a Colonel equivalent with the designation of a Director. In Directorates that are now commanded by a ADG level officer, the 2nd in command has got upgraded to a DDG in the rank of Brigadier or equivalent.

NCC03

The First IAF Circle commander was then Wg. Cdr. C Satyanarana (1610) took over 2 (Madras) Circle in 1953 which controlled all of the southern Peninsula at that time. In 1955, IAF officer was given command of No. 15 Circle (PEPSU, HP and J&K). However, this was short-lived as the Circle was dissolved in November 1956.

In the 13th Circle Commanders conference held in 1957, it was announced that 10 of the 14 circles at that time would have an Army Commander, two each from IAF and Navy. Two Circle/ Directorates were put under IAF officers command in the 1950s. IAF was thereafter asked to take control of No. 7 (Delhi) Circle and No. 10 (Bangalore) Circle. By 1959-60, as circles increased to sixteen, IAF officers were to command three Circles – No. 10 (Mysore), No. 12 (Andhra) and No. 14 (Rajasthan). This arrangement has remained to date with Air Commodore rank vacancies.

Following the same logic, the 2nd in the command post at a Directorate (Deputy Director/ Director) in the rank of Wg Cdr/ Gp Capt was also offered to the IAF. It is unclear how this evolved in the early years but since the 1960s it seems Directorates of Gujarat, West Bengal and Orissa are with IAF Officers. An incomplete list of IAF Officers who have served in Circles/ Directorates is mentioned in Appendix B.

An abridged historical evolution of the 17 directorates is as follows:

1. Maharashtra Dte (HQ Mumbai): No. 1 NCC Circle (Bombay and Saurashtra) with its HQ at Bombay/ Mumbai was formed on 25 Oct 1945 and continued till 24 March 1955 before being renamed No. 1 NCC Circle Bombay from 24 March 1955 to 30 April 1960. On bifurcation of Bombay into Maharashtra and Gujarat, it was renamed as No. 1 Circle Maharashtra from 1 May 1960 to 25 Oct 1962 and has been called NCC Maharashtra Directorate since 26 Oct 1962. The Directorate has 7 Group Headquarters and 59 units. The Directorate has three flying Air Squadrons based at Mumbai, Nagpur and Pune, all of them formed between 1950 and 1960 and can claim to be the oldest NCC Air Wing.

2. Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andaman & Nicobar Dte (HQ Chennai): This was formed originally as No. 2 NCC Circle Madras and had coverage of the entire southern peninsula. Karnataka was segregated in 1953, Kerala and Andhra in 1955. Andaman was added to its coverage in 1987. The Directorate has 6 Group Headquarters and 59 major / minor units. The Directorate has three flying Air Squadrons based at Chennai, Coimbatore and Pondicherry and three technical Air Squadrons at Chennai, Salem and Trichy.

3. Madhya Pradesh & Chattishgarh Dte (HQ Bhopal): No. 3 NCC Circle (Madhya Pradesh and Hyderabad) was raised on 24 Jan 1950 at Nagpur. The HQ was moved to Kamptee in 1952 and Indore in 1957 and to Bhopal on 22 Sep 1976.. The circle was redesignated as Directorate of Madhya Pradesh in 1963 and Chattisgarh was added to its name on formation of the state. The Directorate has two flying Air Squadrons based at Bhopal and Indore, both formed between 1958 and 1960.

4. West Bengal & Sikkim Dte (HQ Kolkata): No. 4 NCC Circle (West Bengal, Orissa & Assam) was formed in 1950 to control units in West Bengal and Orrisa with HQ in Calcutta. In Nov 1962 the Union Territory of Andamans and Nicobar came in the fold of NCC and was placed under this circle. In 1976 with the integration of Sikkim, that was placed under this Directorate as well. Over the years, Orissa and Assam became independent circles/directorates and Andaman and Nicobar was placed with Tamil Nadu Directorate on 31 March 1987. The circle was redesignated as Directorate in 1962. The Dte today has six groups and 52 units under its command including two technical Air Squadrons (Calcutta and Midnapur) and two flying Air Squadrons (Both at Calcutta).

5. Bihar and Jharkhand Dte (HQ Patna): NCC was introduced in Bihar in the year 1948. It was designated as No. 5 Circle (Bihar) with HQ at Patna in 1950. On 15 Jan 1963, the Circle was re-designated as NCC Directorate. From 1st August 1985 the post of Director was re-designated as Deputy Director General (DDG). The same was further re-designated as Additional Director General (ADG) with effect from 1st November 2000. Consequent to the formation of the State of Jharkhand, the Directorate has been renamed as NCC Directorate Bihar & Jharkhand with effect from 15th November 2000. The Directorate comprises of six groups with 50 NCC units under them. The Directorate has two flying Air Squadrons based at Patna and Ranchi.

6. Uttar Pradesh Dte (HQ Lucknow): No. 6 NCC Circle (Uttar Pradesh and Vindhya Pradesh) was raised on 17 Jan 1950 with its HQ at Lucknow. Circle was redesignated to Directorate in 1960. In 2001 the Dte was renamed as Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand on the formation of the new state. On 29 June 2006, 3 groups and 16 units were transferred to Uttrakhand Dte. The Dte is the largest in the country with 11 groups and 110 units and is now commanded by a Major General (ADG). The Directorate has four flying Air Squadrons based at Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow and Varanasi. One Flying Squadron formed at Pantnagar in around 1962 but disbanded in mid 1960s.

7. Delhi Dte (HQ Delhi): No. 7 NCC Circle was formed in Delhi in January 1950 at Delhi Cantt with overall control of Delhi, Ajmer, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh. Ajmer and Rajasthan was carved out in 1954, Jammu and Kashmir in 1960 and Himachal Pradesh in July 1963 was transferred to Punjab Dte. Delhi Circle was redesignated as a Directorate in 1960 and the HQ moved to Red Fort soon after. It comprises of two groups and 19 units. The Directorate has two flying Air Squadrons based at Delhi with one of them dedicated for girls.

8. Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh Dte (HQ Chandigarh): No. 8 NCC Circle (Punjab, PEPSU & Himachal Pradesh) was formed with its HQ at Simla in 1950. In 1955 PEPSU, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir was placed under the control of No. 15 Circle at Patiala and No. 8 Circle was in control of Punjab. On 1 Nov 1956, PEPSU was merged into Punjab and No. 15 Circle seized to exist (It would come up later in 1960). Control of HP and J&K was placed with No. 7 Circle (Delhi). Also in 1956, the Circle HQ was shifted to Chandigarh. In 1964, the Circle HQ was converted into NCC Dte Punjab commanded by a Director NCC of the rank of Brig. On 1st Jul 1964, the jurisdiction of NCC Dte Punjab was extended to the State of Himachal Pradesh (HP) and the Directorate was re- designated as NCC Directorate Punjab & HP. On 01 Nov 1966, consequent to re-organisation of Punjab State into Punjab, Haryana, HP States, and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, the designation of this Dte was changed to NCC Dte Punjab, Haryana, HP and Chandigarh (PHHP&C Dte). Punjab has 8 groups and 69 units under its command and is headed by a Major General (ADG rank) officer. No. 15 Circle (PEPSU) in its short-lived tenure of 18 months was under the command of IAF officers. The Dte now has eight Flying Air Squadrons at Kullu, Hisar, karnal, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Patiala and Ludhiana making it the largest Dte from an Air Wing perspective.

9. North East Region (HQ Shillong): NCC Bns were raised for the State of Assam, Manipur & Tripura in the year 1948. In 1951, No. 9 NCC Circle (Assam and Tripura and Manipur came up with HQ at HQ Shillong. Post the Sino Indian conflict of 1962, NCC trg was made compulsory for the youth and in Sep 1970, the Dte was redesignated as NCC Dte Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, NEFA and Meghalaya. Consequent to renaming of NEFA as Arunachal Pradesh and creation of a new Union Territory Mizoram, the Dte was redesignated as NCC Dte Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram in Mar 1972. On 01 Sep 1977, the Dte was once again redesignated as NER (North East Region). There are 08 NCC Gp HQs and 47 NCC Units. The Directorate has three flying Air Squadrons based at Guwahati, Imphal and Dimapur and one technical Air Squadron at Jorhat.

10. Karnataka & Goa Dte (HQ Bangalore): Initially the region was controlled by No.2 Circle (Madras). In April 1953, No. 10 NCC Circle – Mysore, Coorg, Travancore-Cochin with HQ at Bangalore was setup. Travancore-Cochin was separated under a different circle in 1955 and Mysore/ Coorg was renamed as Karnataka in 1972 leading to renaming of the Directorate. The Directorate has 6 groups and 55 units. The Directorate is headed by an IAF officer and has Four flying Air Squadrons based at Bangalore, Belgaum, Mangalore, and Mysore and two technical Air Squadron at Bangalore and Bidar.

11. Kerala & Lakshadweep Dte (HQ Trivandrum): The first NCC Unit in Kerala was raised in the state of Travancore on 1 June 1949 and the state was under the control of No. 2 NCC Circle at Madras. In 1953, the control was passed to No. 10 Circle (Mysore) briefly. No. 16 NCC Circle (Travancore - Cochin) was carved out of No. 10 Circle with HQ at Trivandrum in May 1955. However, on 1 November 1956 on the formation of the state of Kerala combining Travancore-Cochin and few other districts, the Circle was disbanded. No. 11 Circle (Kerala) came up to take control of the region. The circle was upgraded to Directorate on 29 Nov 1962. The NCC Directorate (Ker & L) has 5 Group Headquarters and 42 NCC units. The Directorate has two flying Air Squadrons based at Trivandrum and Kochi.

12. Andhra Pradesh & Telangana Dte (HQ Hyderabad): NCC was instituted in Andhra Pradesh in May 1949 when it was a part of the erstwhile composite Madras State. In 1955, on re-organisation of the State, the existing NCC units were placed under an independent NCC Circle HQ for the new State of Andhra Pradesh as No. 12 Circle (Andhra Pradesh). The HQ was located at Guntur when it was formed and shifted to Hyderabad on 21 Dec 1956. The Circle was re-designated as Directorate in 1962 with an Air Commodore as its Director. The Director’s post was re-designated as Deputy Director General in Aug 1985. The Directorate has been redesignated as NCC Directorate (AP&T) in Mar 2015 after bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh State into Andhra Pradesh & Telangana has 9 Groups & 69 Units. The Directorate is headed by an IAF officer has four flying Air Squadrons based at Secunderabad, Vijaywada, Vishakapatnam and Warangal and two Technical Air Squadrons at Kakinada, Secunderabad and Tirupati.

13. Odisha Dte (HQ Bhuvaneshwar): No. 13 NCC Circle Orissa was formed in 1955 with its HQ at Cuttack by carving out Orissa from the No. 4 Circle. The circle was redesignated as Directorate in 1962 and moved its HQ to Bhuvaneshwar in 1968. The directorate has three groups and 28 units under its command. The Dte has two Flying Air Squadron at Bhuwaneshwar and Jharsuguda..

14. Rajasthan Dte (HQ Jaipur): NCC was started in 1949 with only three NCC Units, one each at Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur reporting to No. 7 Circle (Delhi). In 1954 No. 14 Circle (Rajasthan) was raised at Jaipur. In January 1963, the Circle Headquarters was redesignated as Directorate. It has four Group Headquarters and 36 units. The Dte is headed by an IAF Officer and has four flying Air Squadrons at Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Kota.

15. Gujarat Dte (HQ Ahmedabad): No. 11 Circle (Saurashtra and Kutch) was formed on 25 March 1955 with Jamnagar as HQ on bifurcation with No. 1 Circle (Bombay). However, No. 11 Circle seized to exist on 1 November 1956 when Saurashtra merged back with Bombay state. (No. 11 Circle was put put in control of Kerala) The State of Gujarat emerged from the former Greater Bombay State on 01 May 1960. Consequently, No. 1 Circle (Bombay) was re-organised into 1 & 15 Circle with the latter located at Ahmedabad. On 04 Feb 1963, the designation of Circle Commander changed to Director Cadet Corps, and the office renamed as Directorate Gujarat. On 28 Feb 1963, Union Territories of Dadra Nagar Haveli, Diu & Daman were merged with the directorate. The Directorate has 5 groups and 43 units including three flying Air Squadrons at Vadodara, Ahmedabad and Bhavnagar.

16. Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh Dte (HQ Srinagar): NCC in J&K was raised in the year 1954 and was initially placed under the control of No. 15 Circle (PEPSU, HP and J&K) between 1955 and Nov 1956. On the disbandment of No. 15 Circle, the control was passed to No. 7 Circle (Delhi). On 22 October 1960 it was created as an independent circle as No. 16 NCC Circle (Jammu & Kashmir) with its HQ at Srinagar and upgraded to Directorate subsequently. In 1982, the post of director was upgraded to Brigadier and in 1985 it was redesignated as Dy Director General (DDG) NCC. Subsequently, it was upgraded to Additional Director General (ADG) NCC in Jun 2012. Now J&K Dte is redesignated as NCC Dte JK&L after bifurcation of State of Jammu Kashmir in two union territories namely Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh. The Dte has two group HQs, with a total of 11 NCC Units. The Dte had a flying air Squadron based at Srinagar but seems to have been disbanded.

17. Uttrakhand Dte (HQ Dehradun): Consequent to the formation of Uttarakhand State, NCC Dte Uttarakhand was raised at Dehradun on 08 Aug 2006. Command was upgraded to a Major General as ADG wef 14 October 2012. The Dte comprises three Gp HQ and 18 units. The Dte has a flying air Squadron based at Pantnagar formed in 2008. Pantnagar had earlier been the base for an air squadron in the 1960s.

An incomplete list of IAF officers who held positions at Circles/ Directorates are mentioned in Appendix B.

Group HQs

As the number of NCC units expanded phenomenally between 1954 and 1962, it became difficult for Circle HQ to keep control directly and in 1963-64, a span breaker in the form of group HQ was introduced.

Initially, eight NCC “Station Headquarters” were setup in 1961 and seven NCC units were grouped under each of these station HQ. The Command of one of these seven NCC units was upgraded to Lt. Col and that unit CO was placed in dual command of the unit and the station HQ. The station HQ was later renamed Group HQ. In 1965, the Group commanders were placed in overall command of the Groups and relieved of the command of their own units. Initially NCC had nearly 138 Groups, that came down to about 90 later.
The Group HQ was commanded by a Lt Col/ Col rank and in recent years even Brigadiers who are designated as “Group Commanders” and report to the Head of the Directorate. Each Group will have 2-10 units under its command of NCC Battalions, NCC Air Force Squadrons and NCC Naval Units. The groups are named after the city in which the Group HQ resides. A Group HQ staff will have an administrative officer and a training officer in the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel/ Major. In all 95 groups exist across the country and 6 of them are commanded by IAF officers -Nagpur, Madras B, Delhi C, Bombay B, Varanasi and Behrampur.

An incomplete list of IAF officers who held positions at Groups are mentioned in Appendix C.

Units

Each squadron imparts to cadets training in drill, P.T., organisation administration, citizenship, first aid, weapon training, principles of flight navigation, meteorology, aeroengines, aero - modelling, gliding, powered flying. In the Technical Air Squadron special emphasis is laid on technical subjects such as tele - communications, radio, and radar systems.

Each Squadron is headed by Commanding Officers (CO) and has a Civilian Gliding Instructor who functions as a flight commander. In the early years of NCC, IAF deputed commissioned officers as Gliding instructors too. In addition, airmen are given the responsibility to function as technical support. Some units have an Administrative Officer (AO) OR a Whole Time Lady Officer (WTLO). A flying branch officer in the rank of Wg Cdr/ Gp Capt is the CO of flying squadrons and a technical branch officer is the CO for Technical squadrons. The squadrons were originally commanded by Squadron leaders but the post was upgraded during the cadre review of 1982.

The first two IAF Air Squadrons were formed on 1 April 1950 at Bombay and Calcutta and the commanding officers were Flight Lieutenant HR Chitnis (2964) (Later Air Marshal) and Flight Lieutenant NK Sarker (2859) respectively. A comprehensive list of all NCC Air Squadrons, its brief history, and incomplete listing of commanding officers are mentioned in Appendix D.

Direct Entry into IAF

It was in 1954 that the Chief of Air Staff extended some concessions that opened the IAF to direct entry of NCC Cadets. He removed the condition that made it obligatory for NCC cadets to have a Pilots Air Wing “A” Licence for grant of commission. He also reserved about 10% vacancies in the officer cadre for cadets of the Air Wing NCC who have the requisite qualification (Certificate C). These cadets need to meet the age and education criteria in addition to the NCC certification and can apply for addition to AFA directly without the need for a competitive exam. Soon thereafter, Air Vice Marshal TNB “Boondi” Shankar (5060) was the first NCC cadet to be commissioned in the IAF as a direct entry cadet in 1955. His Coursemate from 67th PC, Sqn Ldr FN Kapadia was the other officer. From the 69th PC, average of 4 NCC cadets were getting commissioned in the IAF via the direct entry. Since 2017, girls can also join via the direct entry route.

Many NCC cadets joined IAF through the regular entry route and cannot be tracked separately. Some of the NCC cadets, who later became IAF officers share their thoughts

a. Sqn Ldr OP Sikka (7409) - I joined Holkar College Indore MP in 1959 - primarily it had NCC Air Wing. It was known as 16 MP NCC Air Wing. My CO was Sqn Ldr ED Venner. Staff beside CO consisted of one Warrant Officer and 2/3 SNCO’s. It was housed in private bungalow belonging to Cricketer Mushtaq Ali who was also living there. Initial batches consisted of very enthusiastic boys. We were required to come on Saturday and Sundays. It was primarily for drill and aero modelling. We were kitted with blue cotton full sleeve shirt, pant, belt and black shoes. At the end of day we were given allowance of 12 Annas to buy some refreshment and kit maintenance. We were also sent for Republic Day parade and for that there was selection on state level. Our training was quite on pattern of IAF and drill master were very strict. There was weapon training and were required to clean 303 occasionally. Our batch was first to go for power flying. It was on Tiger Moth at Indore Flying Club. After Solo we became eligible for wing. 16 MP NCC Air Wing has given quite a few bright officers to IAF who got decorated and rose to Air ranks. Notably among our group - Harish Masand.

b. Air Cmde SL Sharma (12804): I have been an NCC ( Air Wing) cadet during my school and college days at Pilani. I am very grateful to my NCC training and NCC officers for whatever I achieved in my career. I will be always thankful to Our CO Sqn Ldr/ Wg Cdr Narendra Singh ( No.3 Air Sqn NCC, Pilani) for guidance as a fatherly figure to choose a right career.

Summary

Outside-in estimate of the authorised strength of IAF officers above the rank of Wg Cdr in NCC organisation currently seems to be around 100. Several IAF officers were also awarded, specifically for tenures with the NCC. A list of those awards and citations are attached as Appendix F. NCC operations have also had its share of fatal accidents, a list of those is attached as Appendix E.

NCC04


 


 

APPENDIX A – IAF APPOINTMENTS AT HQ NCC/ DG NCC

1. 2nd in command at NCC HQ: Designated as Additional Director General (A) since 1987-88, Deputy Director General between 1963-1987 and Deputy Director since 1950.

 2. DDG (P&C) – Deputy Director General (Planning and Coordination) is a direct report of ADG (A). It is unclear if the post was even in its earlier designations restricted to IAF officers, though the function has existed since NCC was formed.

APPENDIX B – IAF APPOINTMENTS AT CIRCLE/ DIRECTORATE

1. No. 2 Circle (Madras) was the first circle to have an IAF officer in command. Only two known officers were in command before it reverted to other services.

2. No. 15 Circle (PEPSU) was the 2nd circle to be offered to IAF Command. The circle was disbanded about 18 months later and merged with No. 8 Circle (Punjab)

3. On the closure of No. 15 Circle (PEPSU), IAF was offered command of No. 7 Circle (Delhi) which they held till 1962

4. IAF was offered No. 10 Circle (Mysore) when No. 2 Circle was transferred to other services. The Dte till date continues to be under an IAF Officer.

5. No. 12 Circle (Andhra) has been under IAF officers since 1959.

6. No. 14 Circle (Rajasthan) has been under IAF officers since 1961

7. Bengal and Sikkim Dte has had the 2nd in command officer in the rank of Wg Cdr/ Gp Capt from the IAF.

8. Orissa Dte has had the 2nd in command officer in the rank of Wg Cdr/ Gp Capt from the IAF.

9. Gujarat Dte has had the 2nd in command officer in the rank of Wg Cdr/ Gp Capt from the IAF.

10. Punjab Dte has had the 2nd in command officer in the rank of Wg Cdr/ Gp Capt from the IAF. (It is unclear if this was a one-off)

APPENDIX C – IAF APPOINTMENTS AT GROUP HQ

1. Nagpur is one of the 7 group HQs in Directorate of Maharashtra.
Group Commanders of NCC Nagpur Group

2. Madras B is one of the two groups in Chennai in the TN&L Directorate. It has five units under its control including one flying Air Squadron
Group Commanders of NCC Madras B Group

3. NCC Gp. HQ Delhi 'C' was originally raised in 1965 and designated as NCC Gp. HQ Delhi 'D'. On re-organisation of the NCC in Delhi it was redesignated as NCC Gp HQ Delhi 'C'. It also has nine units under its command, including two flying Air Squadron

Group Commanders of NCC Delhi C Group

4. NCC Varanasi B

NCC Varanasi B Group

5. NCC Berhampur (Orissa)

NCC Berhampur Group

6. NCC Bombay B

NCC Bombay B Group

 


 

APPENDIX D – BRIEF UNIT HISTORY AND COMMANDING OFFICER LISTS

Initially when NCC Air Squadrons were formed they were numbered chronologically as 1,2,3 and so followed by The State name in brackets and “Air Sqn NCC” thereafter. 35 Air Sqn’s were formed till 1962 with this nomenclature. When Circles were changed to Directorates, the nomenclature changed to a number within each Dte, followed by the abbreviated state name. All existing 35 squadrons were also renamed accordingly. Some of these renamed numbers underwent repeated changes due to Directorate level reorganization or change of states.


1. 1 MAH Air Nqn NCC was formed as 1 (Bombay) NCC Air Sqn at Bombay on 1 April 1950. It was changed to 1 MAH Air Sqn sometime around 1962 when the name of the state was changed from Bombay to Maharashtra. 

2. 1 BEN Air Nqn NCC was formed as 2 (Bengal) NCC Air Sqn at Calcutta on 1 April 1950. It was changed to 1 BEN Air Sqn likely sometime around 1962. As per a HAL report of 1966, it is likely that 1 BEN and 2 BEN Air Sqn’s, both at Calcutta interchanged names. 

3. 1 TN Air Nqn NCC was formed as 3 (Madras) NCC Air Sqn at Madras on 1 April 1951. It was renamed as 1 TN Air Sqn likely sometime around 1962. 

4. 1 BH Air Sqn NCC was formed as 4 (Bihar) NCC Air Sqn at Patna on 15 June 1952. It was renamed as 1 BH Air Sqn likely sometime around 1962. 

5. 1 DEL Air Nqn NCC was formed as 5 (Delhi) NCC Air Sqn at Delhi on 24 July 1952. It was renamed as 1 DEL Air Sqn likely sometime around 1962. 

NCC05

 

6. 3 UP Air Sqn NCC was raised as 6 (Uttar Pradesh) Air Sqn NCC at Kanpur as the first NCC Air unit in the state in September 1952. No. 6 (UP) Air Squadron at Kanpur was the first unit to receive a Glider in 1955.On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 1 UP Air Sqn NCC. Sometime later it was renamed as 3 UP Air Sqn NCC. 

7. 1 PB Air Sqn NCC was raised as 7 (Punjab) Air Sqn NCC at Jullandhar in 1953. On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 1 PB Air Sqn NCC sometime in 1962 

8. 2 MAH Air Sqn NCC was raised as 8 (Bombay) Air Sqn NCC at Nagpur in 1953. On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 2 MAH Air Sqn NCC sometime in 1962  

9. 1 KAR Air Sqn NCC was raised as 9 (Mysore) Air Sqn NCC at Bangalore on 1 June 1954. On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 1 MYSORE Air Sqn NCC sometime in 1962. Later the unit was re-designated as 1 Karnataka Air Sqn NCC in 1973 and is operating today at Jakkur Airfield. This Squadron acquired Ardhra gliders in 1984. Chicknox Microlight aircraft was added to the squadron's fleet in 1997, the X-Air Microlight came in 1998 and Zen-Air Microlite was inducted in 2001. Today, the squadron has four Zen Air Microlights and reports to Bangalore B Group. 

10. 1 Orissa Air Sqn NCC was raised as 10 (Orissa) Air Sqn NCC at Cuttack on 1 August 1955. On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 1 Orissa Air Sqn NCC sometime in 1962. The unit moved to Bhuvaneshwar around June 1966 to due difficulties experienced in flying at cuttack. The unit reports to Berhampur Group 

11. 1 RAJ Air Sqn NCC was raised as 11 (Rajasthan) Air Sqn NCC at Jaipur on 1 August 1955. On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 1 RAJ Air Sqn NCC sometime in 1962. 

NCC06

12. 2 BEN Air Sqn NCC was raised as 12 (Bengal) Air Sqn NCC at Calcutta on 1 August 1955 as the 2nd NCC Air Sqn in the city. On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 2 BEN Air Sqn NCC sometime in 1962. 

13. 5 UP Air Sqn NCC was raised as 13 (Uttar Pradesh) Air Sqn NCC at Lucknow likely around 1956. On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 2 UP Air Sqn NCC. Sometime later it was renamed as 5 UP Air Sqn NCC.  

14. 2 JH Air Sqn NCC was raised as 14 (Bihar) Air Sqn NCC on 01 Jul 1956 with one senior division flight consisting of 25 flight cadets. It was re-designated as 2 Bihar Air Sqn NCC in 1964-65 on reorganization of the NCC Air Sqn. On the creation of the State of Jharkhand the Sqn was renamed as 2 Jharkhand Air Sqn NCC. 

15. 2 T Air Sqn (Tech) NCC was raised as 1 (Andhra) Air Sqn (Tech) NCC in 1957 at Hyderabad as the first tech Air Sqn. It was re-designated as 2 Andhra Air Sqn (Tech) on reorganization of the NCC Air Sqn. On the creation of the State of Telanga, the Sqn was renamed as 2 T Air Sqn (Tech) NCC.

ServNo Branch Rank Name Date From Date To Appt Unit Location
3901 AE(M) S/L Gurbachan Singh 1960-12-11 CO 1 (Andhra) Air (T) Sqn NCC Secunderabad

16. 51 Assam Air Sqn (Tech) NCC was raised on 04th November 1957 as 2 Assam Air Sqn (Tech) NCC at Jorhat. It was redesignated as 51 Assam Air Sqn (Tech) in April 1969.
ServNo Branch Rank Name Date From Date To Appt Unit Location
24675 AE(L) W/C Manoj Kumar Sharma CO 51 AS Air (T) Sqn NCC Jorhat

17. 1 T Air Sqn NCC was raised as 15 (Andhra) Air Sqn NCC on 30 Nov 1957 at Secunderabad. It was re-designated as 1 A Air Sqn NCC around 1962 on the formation of the Directorate. On 31 March 2015, on the creation of the state of Telangana, the squadron was renamed 1 T Air Sqn NCC.
 

18. 1 MP Air Sqn NCC was raised on 07 Mar 1958 at Holkar Science College, Indore and as 16 (Madhya Pradesh) Air Sqn NCC. During reorganization of Air Wing NCC it was renamed as 1 MP Air Sqn NCC, Indore. The location was subsequently changed to Nehru Stadium Indore. The Squadron is a lodger Unit of No 40 wing AF Gwalior and is dependent on this wing for pay and allowances, central clothing except medical facility. The No.3 Air Force Hospital, Amla provides medical support. 

19. 1 GUJ Air Sqn NCC was raised at Baroda as 17 (Gujarat) Air Sqn NCC. During reorganization of Directorate, it was renamed as 1 Guj Air Sqn NCC. 

20. 3 MAH Air Sqn NCC was raised at Poona as 18 (Bombay) Air Sqn NCC. On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 3 MAH Air Sqn NCC sometime in 1962. 

21. 2 PB Air Sqn NCC was raised at Amritsar as 19 (Punjab) Air Sqn NCC. On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 2 PB Air Sqn NCC sometime in 1962. 

22. 50 AS Air Sqn NCC was raised at Guwahati as 20 (Assam) Air Sqn NCC. On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 50 AS Air Sqn NCC sometime in 1962. 

23. 8 Andhra Air Sqn NCC was raised at Vijaywada as 21 (Andhra) Air Sqn NCC. On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 8 Andhra Air Sqn NCC sometime in 1962. 

24. 7 RAJ Air Sqn NCC was raised at Kota as 22 (Rajasthan) Air Sqn NCC. On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 2 RAJ Air Sqn NCC sometime in 1964-65. On reorganization of the Dte, it was renamed as 7 Raj Air Sqn NCC possibly around 1978. 

25. 1 J&K Air Sqn NCC was raised at Srinagar as 23 (J&K) Air Sqn NCC. On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 1 J&K Air Sqn NCC sometime in 1964-65. The unit seems to have been disbanded subsequently. 

26. 2 TN Air Sqn NCC was raised at Coimbatore as 24 (Madras) Air Sqn NCC. On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 2 TN Air Sqn NCC sometime in 1962. 

27. 2 MP Air Sqn NCC came in existence on 12th Sep 1960 at Bhopal as 25 (Madhya Pradesh) Air Sqn NCC. On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 2 MP Air Sqn NCC sometime in 1962. 

28. 1 CHD Air Sqn NCC was raised in 1960 as 26 (Punjab) Air Sqn NCC at Chandigarh. In 1963 it was re-designated as No. 3 Punjab Air Sqn NCC. On re-organization of Punjab State it is functioning under Punjab Dte since 1966. Flying training and Gliding training was introduced for cadets in 1970 and 1973 respectively. 

29. 4 KAR Air Sqn NCC was raised as 27 (Mysore) Air Sqn NCC at Mysore. In 1963 it was re-designated as No. 2 Mysore Air Sqn NCC. On re-organization of Mysore state into Karnataka, it was redesignated as 4 KAR Air Sqn NCC. 

30. 1 KER Air Sqn NCC was raised as 28 (Kerala) Air Sqn NCC at Trivandrum. In 1963 it was re-designated as No. 1 KER Air Sqn NCC. 

31. 6 Raj NCC Air Sqn was raised as No. 29 (Rajasthan) NCC Air Sqn at Pilani. It was renamed as No. 3 Raj NCC Air Sqn on 30 June 1964 and moved to Udaipur in June 1965. It further was renamed as 6 Raj NCC Air Sqn on 18 June 1978. Sedberg T-21B, Eon baby (Single Seater) and Rohini Gliders joined the sqn in 1967. Sedburg and Eon Baby served till 1985 and Rohini till 1995. Ardhra glider was introduced in 1985 and served till 28 Feb 2011. In December 2000, Zen Microlight was introduced. 

32. 3 TN Air (Tech) Sqn NCC was formed sometime in 1960-61. Its earlier name is not known. 

33. 3 PB Air Sqn NCC was raised sometime in 1960-61 at Ambala as 31 (Punjab) Air Sqn NCC. It moved to Patiala in 1963. On the creation of the Directorate, the unit was renamed as 3 PB Air Sqn NCC sometime in 1962. 

34. 8 KAR Air Sqn NCC was raised as 32 (Mysore) Air Sqn NCC at Belgaum. In 1963 it was re-designated as No. 3 Mysore Air Sqn NCC. On re-organization of Mysore state into Karnataka, it was redesignated as 8 KAR Air Sqn NCC. 

35. 3 UP Air Sqn NCC was raised as 33 (Uttar Pradesh) Air Sqn NCC at Pantnagar. The unit was disbanded sometime after July 1965.

36. 3 CG Air Sqn was raised in February 1962 as 34 (Madhya Pradesh) Air Sqn NCC at Raipur. It was renamed 3 MP Air Sqn NCC on June 01 1964. Flying activities was started in 1970. Cadets were getting flying training at Eastern Flying Club, later the squadron started imparting its own glider flying training in November 1971 . Eastern MP Flying Club became non functional in 1979. A new state Chhattisgarh was carved out Madhya Pradesh on November 01 2000, consequently 3 MP Air Sqn redesignated as 3 CG Air Sqn on Aug 25 2001. On 26 March 2006 the sqn was allotted a Zen Air Microlite Aircraft (Transferred from 2 Air Sqn NCC Ranchi Jharkhand). 

37. 2 GUJ Air Sqn was raised in 1962 as 35 (Gujarat) Air Sqn NCC at Ahmedabad and was the last squadron formed under the old numbering methodology. It was renamed 2 GUJ Air Sqn NCC later. 

38. 7 UP Air Sqn NCC was raised on 01 Sep 1964 as 4 UP Air Sqn NCC at its present location Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Varanasi. In the beginning, the unit was part of Gp HQ Varanasi ‘A’. On 01 Feb 1986, the unit was placed under Gp HQ Varanasi ‘B’. The unit is established for 2 officers, 9 PI staffs and 21 civil staffs to look after NCC training. The unit is having 1 Squadron that consists of two flights each of 100 SD/SW cadets and 7 JD/JW troops each consist of 100 cadets. The unit had facilities of powered flying from 1966 till 1990 through Govt flying centre at BHU sponsored by DGCA, Lucknow. Subsequently, since 20th Nov 2000, the unit started microlite flying training to all its NCC cadets. This is being carried out from Kuchcha airstrip situated within BHU campus in co-ordination with the civil Aerodrome Babatpur, Varanasi. 

39. 9(A) Air Sqn (T) NCC, Kakinada was raised on 01 July 1965. Originally it was known as 7(A) Air Sqn (T) NCC. Subsequently during re-organisation and disbandment of certain NCC Units under Andhra Pradesh NCC Directorate in 1977-78, the Unit was thereafter named as 9(A) Air Sqn (Tech) NCC under NCC Group HQ Kakinada. 

40. 1 HAR Air Sqn NCC was setup in 1965 at Hisar. 

41. 4 PB Air Sqn NCC was setup in 1966 at Ludhiana. 

42. 2 HAR Air Sqn NCC was setup in 1967 at Karnal. 

43. 1 HP Air Sqn NCC was setup on 26 Jan 1972 at Kullu.

44. 2 DEL (Girls) Air Sqn NCC was originally formed as 5 RAJ (Girls) Air Sqn at Jaipur on 26 Sep 1974 as the first Girls NCC Air Sqn in the country. In 1983, the unit was moved to Delhi and renamed as 2 DEL (Girls) Air Sqn NCC. 

45. 1 P Air Sqn was raised on 15 December 1986 at Pondicherry. Glider and Microlight Flying activities of this squadron was inaugurated on 29 Nov 2001. Presently, the required manpower, one glider, two Microlight and one winch are available with the squadron. 

46. 3 KAR Air Sqn (Tech) NCC was raised at Bidar on 20 June 1987

47. 1 UK Air Sqn NCC was raised at Pantnagar in 2008 as the first Air Sqn in the recently formed Uttrakhand Directorate. Pantanagar used to host a NCC Air Sqn in the 1960s. 

48. 3 KER Air Sqn NCC was formed at Ernakulam on 31 Jan 2011. 

49. 1 Manipur Air Sqn NCC was formed at Imphal on 23 May 2011. It is likely Manipur had another Air Sqn in the 1970s.

50. 1 Mizoram Air Sqn NCC was formed at Lengpui on 23 May 2011. 

51. 2 OR Air Sqn NCC is the most recent raising at Jharsuguda on 1 October 2021.

52. 6 A Air Sqn NCC is at Vishakhapatnam.

53. 11 A Air Sqn (Tech) NCC is at Tirupati 

54. 4 T Air Sqn (Tech) NCC is at Warangal

55. 3 GUJ Air Sqn NCC is at Bhavnagar 

56. 2 KAR Air Sqn (Tech) NCC is at Bangalore

57. 6 KAR Air Sqn NCC is at Mangalore 

58. 1 Nagaland Air Sqn NCC is at Dimapur 

59. 4 RAJ Air Sqn NCC is at Jodhpur 

60. 4 TN Air Sqn (Tech) NCC is at Chennai 

61. 5 TN Air Sqn (Tech) NCC is at Salem 

62. 1 UP Air Sqn NCC is at Agra 

63. 3 BEN Air Sqn (Tech) NCC is at IIT Kharagpur 

64. 4 BEN Air Sqn (Tech) NCC is at Kolkata

65. 7 KAR Air Sqn NCC is at Bangalore

CO Lists 

Flying Squadrons
●3 Uttar Pradesh Air Sqn NCC
●1 Telangana Air Sqn NCC
3 (Old) Uttar Pradesh Air Sqn NCC
5 Rajasthan Air (Girls) Sqn NCC
●2 Orissa Air Sqn NCC
 
 

 

APPENDIX E – IAF OFFICERS AND NCC FLYING ACCIDENTS

1. Wg Cdr Ghanshyam Mitra (13141) – 16 Nov 1994 – Glider – 1 Bengal NCC Air Squadron - Kolkata - Fatal Accident
2. Gp Capt GS Baweja (15030) – 9 June 2002 – Glider – Group Commander, Madras flying a Glider from 1 TN Air Sqn – Fatal accident
3. Gp Capt GS Cheema (21577) – 24 Feb 2020 – Pipistrel Virus SW80 – 3 Punjab NCC Air Sqn – Fatal Accident. Co-pilot survived with grievous injuries.

APPENDIX F – IAF OFFICERS WITH AWARDS FOR NCC TENURE 

1. Air Cmde Bir Inder Singh (5040) – AVSM - 1985 – Director, Karnataka Dte: Air Commodore Bir Inder Singh VM (5040) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Air Force in January 1956. He has over 4400 hours to his credit. He actively participated in both wars with Pakistan. He was the Director of NCC Directorate of Karnataka and Goa for a year w.e.f, Apr 83. Within this short period, he has been able to achieve the following outstanding results: He personally supervised the camp training for the competitions which were to be held for the Prime Minister's Championship Banner and ensured that selection of cadets was based purely on merit. He personally selected and trained Air Wing cadets for the competition at all India lelvel. A girl cadet from his Directorate won the Gold Medal and a boy cadet the Silver Medal during the Prime Minister's Rally Championship Banner in Jan 84. From his Directorate maximum number of cadets were selected for participants in the Republic Day as well as Guard of Honour contingents. The standard of drill achieved by Karnataka & Goa contingent was exceptionally good. During the All India Level camps held at Gurgaon and Ghaziabad for boys and girls respectively, cadets from Karnataka & Goa Directorate stood first in all the competitions which counted towards the Prime Minister's Championship Banner. In November 1983, due to his initiative, 750 NCC cadets participated in traffic duties during the CHOGM (Commonwealth Head of Government Meet) at Goa. Further, 17 cadets were trained as guides who helped the wives of the Heads of States during their stay at Goa. He volunteered to undertake all Hand Gliding training for the basic as well as advanced stage in his Directorate. A comprehensive case for introduction of Hand Gliding in NCC organization prepared by him is with the Government. Besides he also introduced windsurfing in his Directorate. He was able to achieve exceptionally good rapport with the Karnataka State Government. The Chief Minister was so impressed by him that he went out of his way to sanction incentives for the NCC cadets which have proved to be a tremendous motivating factor. Further the State Government, at his persuasion, in actively considering the reservation of seats for NCC cadets in Home Guards, Forest, Police, Education and Fire Services Department in addition to allotting a certain quota for admission to the Post Graduate and MBA Courses. As a result of his visits to various universities, the Vice Chancellor of Mysore University has agreed to introduce the NCC as an integral part of the curricular in some of the selected colleges on trial basis from the next academic session onwards. Air Commodore Bir Inder Singh VM has, thus, rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

2. Sqn Ldr KB Singh (5865) – VM – 1974 – CO, 1 Delhi Air Sqn: Squadron Leader Krishna Bihari Singh has been in command of No. 1 (Delhi) Air Squadron NCC since January, 1971. He was selected as the manager/pilot of DG NCC Gliding team for the first National Gliding Championship held at Kanpur in April-May 1973. All competing pilots had to be holders of Gold 'C' Distance Leg Badge which meant performance of a cross country of 300 kilometres. Squadron Leader Krishna Bihari Singh had no experience in glider cross country flying. He took up the challenge to fulfill this condition so that the DG NCC team could participate in the National Championship. He was provided with an Olympia glider which was made airworthy on 20th April, 1973. With barely a week in hand he set about this task in an earnest manner. His attempts at 300 kilometres cross country were unsuccessful on 20th & 21st April due to inclement weather. On the 22nd April, 1973 he was struggling from 1100 hours to gain enough height to set course for Kanpur, a distance of 390 kilometres, but weather conditions were unfavourable. Finally in a daring move he set course from a low height of only 2600 feet and at a very late hour of the day. He was down to a height of 1400 feet over Tilpat Range but managed to continue soaring with skill and determination. After covering a distance of 285 kilometres, he was forced to land short of Kanpur due to poor thermal activity and failing light. He was retrieved to Kanpur the next day by the ground party. After one more unsuccessful attempt, he finally completed a distance of 306 kilometres from Kanpur to Varanasi on the 27th April, 1973 and thus earned a Gold 'C' Distance Badge of the Federation Aironautique Internationale for himself and paved the way for the entry of the DG NCC team into the Championship. He is the first in the NCC to earn this distinction. During the Championship he was flying an Olympia glider (1947 manufacture) with a glide ratio of 1:18 against modern high performance sailplanes with glide ratios of 1:28 to 1:36. He was competing against veteran glider pilots of the country with far more experienced than him. In spite of these handicaps, he succeeded in securing 4th position amongst 11 participants at the National level. Squadron Leader Krishna Bihari Singh thus displayed courage, determination, professional skill and devotion to duty in the best traditions of the Air Force.

3. Sqn Ldr KB Singh (5865) – VSM – 1973 – CO, 1 Delhi Air Sqn: Squadron Leader Krishna Bihari Singh as NCC Examiner standardized glider training in the NCC. Under his command his NCC squadron was adjudged the best Air Wing Squadron (Flying/gliding) and won both the CAS Silver Trophy and Subroto Air Trophy for the year 71-72. Awarded Vishisht Seva Medal for his selfless devotion to service and qualities of leadership of a high order.

4. Wg Cdr Surendra Sawhney (8141) – VM – 1986 – DD (Air), DG NCC: Wing Commander Surinder Sawhney was commissioned on 31 Dec 63 in the Flying Branch of the IAF. He has been posted to the Directorate General National Cadet Corps as Deputy Director (Air) since Dec 81. His duties include supervision of gliding, flying, Aero­adventure activities, other training activities and coordination of maintenance, repair and provisioning of new gliders and other aviation equipment in the 54 NCC Air Wing Squadrons throughout the country. During his tenure in the NCC, Wg Cdr Sawhney with his high level of initiative, consistent application and dedicated hard work has been able to achieve many noteworthy milestones of which the main ones are firstly; revision and updating of gliding Standard Operating Procedures and admin instructions for National Cadet Corps/National Defence Academy issued 10 years earlier; secondly, achievement of 75% serviceability state on gliders which are more than 20 years old through excellent planning of repair programme and effective monitoring; thirdly 64,300 launches of gliders in one year, the highest in the history of the NCC; fourthly, reducing the accident rate from 7 to 3, the lowest accident rate in 10 year; fifthly has personally planned and safely executed four Air Shows on gliders in Delhi including for the first time formation of aerobatics display during the IAF Golden Jubilee and sixthly working out modernization plan of gliders and winches into the NCC Air Sqns which includes induction of new gliders at present and planning the future induction upto 1990. Among the gliders planned for induction into the NCC is the, new Microlight aircraft. During a demonstration flight of Microlight aircraft on 27 Jan 84 in the PM's NCC Rally over the Army Parade Ground, the propeller of the aircraft bloke at a height of 50 feet resulting in severe vibrations and the machine getting almost out of control. In this situation of grave emergency, Wg Cdr Sawhney fully aware of the presence of distinguished audience consisting of PM, RM, RRM, Services Chiefs and many other Foreign dignitaries displayed exceptional professionalism and landed the aircraft safely. The emergency and the landing was handled and executed with such professional coolness that the grave emergency, which could have resulted in a grave disaster, came to light much later and was specifically appreciated by the distinguished members of the audience. This act of Wg Cdr Sawhney not only saved a valuable aircraft and a near disaster but was a great morale booster for the young cadets from throughout India who were watching the display. Wg Cdr Sawhney, through his personal contribution and single minded dedication, has done yeoman services in pioneering this aero-sport into India, which has motivated a lot of young students to enter the aviation wing of the NCC and the IAF. The sustained hard work put in by Wg Cdr Sawhney and his exceptional handling of the emergency in the air have been in the highest traditions of the NCC and the IAF. For Wg Cdr Sawhney's exceptional initiative, devotion, professional skill, leadership and airmanship qualities displayed in the air wing of to NCC, the President is pleased to award him the Vayu Sena Medal.

5. Wg Cdr KS Rana (12534) – VSM – 1986 – CO, No.1 Delhi Air Sqn: Group Captain Kuldip Singh Rana was commissioned on 19 December 1970, as a pilot in the flying branch. He has been Flight Commander (Flt Cdr) of two Canberra Squadrons (Sqns). The officer has also commanded a Canberra unit. He has 5000 hours of accident free flying. Gp Capt KS Rana took over Command of No. 1 Delhi Air Sqn NCC on 31 August, 1992. Within a short period, using his immense motivational skills and personal example, he was able to substantially improve the administrative functions of the unit. Gp Capt Rana was not satisfied with the quality and quantum of the gliding effort. He, therefore, completed his own glider conversion in the shortest possible time and got actively involved in the gliding training. Totally unmindful of his personal comfort and inconvenience, Gp Capt Rana plunged head long into the task of restoring the operational and administrative credibility of the unit. It is entirely due to his sustained hard work that the Sqn was able to achieve 4059 glider launches in 1992-93 and 4112 launches in 1993-94. The officer also converted to microlight aircraft. During All India Vayu Sainik Camp (AIVSC) 93, flying from dawn to dusk, he completed air experience sorties of 500 cadets in seven days. During this period he also twice handled serious emergencies by landing the microlight ac safely after engine failure in the air. His unit was adjudged as the best Air Sqn in NCC at the Prime Minister's Rally 1995. For distinguished service of high order the President is pleased to award 'Vishisht Seva Medal' to Gp Capt Kuldip Singh Rana.

6. JWO Sripati Debnath – VSM – 1997 – 2 TN Air Sqn: Junior Warrant Officer Debnath is on the posted strength of 2(TN) Air Squadron NCC, since 18 May 92, as Chief Technical Officer of the unit. During his tenure, the unit exceeded 4000 Launches of gliding per year for two years in a row. He was instrumental in maintaining the high state of serviceability resulting in all Gliders flying on the same day. His excellent supervision ensured 100% safe flying. With excellent time management and deft handling of varied schedules of gliding, he completed the task for each day. His own professional competence has been par Excellence. Be it snag rectification or servicing of gliding equipment, JWO Debnath could always be the man to rely upon. With careful management of his subordinates, he ensured timely and successful completion of all jobs. Due to his selfless devotion to service, JWO Debnath has been the key person responsible for the laurels achieved by the unit. For distinguished services of a high order, the President is pleased to award 'Vishisht Seva Medal' to JWO S Debnath.

7. Wg Cdr MK Sharma (24675) – VSM – 2018 – 51 Assam Air (Tech) Sqn: Wing Commander Manoj Kumar Sharma (24675-T) AE(L) was commissioned into the technical branch of the Indian Air Force on 26 May 97. He is currently the Commanding Officer of 51 Assam Air (Technical) Squadron NCC, which is primarily entrusted with the responsibility of training cadets of Assam and two districts of Arunachal Pradesh. During his career, Wing Commander Manoj Kumar Sharma tenanted various field appointments including as an instructor at No. 8 RADAR TETTRA School, Flight Commander (RADAR) at Air Force Station Tuglakabad, STO of Guided Weapon and Radar units and Chief Engineering Officer at an Air Force Base. He is a qualified "Operational cum Maintenance crew" in "Surface to Air Guided Weapons" as Guidance Officer and Battery Commander. The officer had played a key role in the induction of the new 'Rohini' Radar by utilising his experience as a Senior Technical Officer. He is also trained in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. As CO, Assam NCC, he has been entrusted with the responsibilities of training of NCC Cadets of not only Assam but also remotely located areas of Arunachal Pradesh. His inspirational leadership, selfless diligence and humane dealings have given a new direction and impetus to the Unit, otherwise constrained on many fronts due to multiple functional and administrative controls. The initiative and acumen displayed by him in bringing about symbiotic co-operation with civil administration, Institute faculties for grooming the NCC Cadets has been commendable. He has been instrumental in promoting "Digital India" concept and cashless transactions in the unit and amongst the NCC cadets thereby ensuring transparency. He has brought about automation in the unit functioning and has been instructing the NCC cadets with lectures by distinguished guests. He has brought about a radical transformation in the outlook, mindset and level of fulfillment in the minds of the faculty and cadets of the North East, which is truly praiseworthy. He has undertaken a number of Social service and Community development awareness campaigns in his area of responsibility by greater participation of cadets, civilian and Govt establishments, which has contributed in its own way of the integration of Indian Armed Forces with the people of North East. Under his visionary leadership, foresight and meticulous planning, all tasks and challenges were handled in a proactive fashion thereby delivering sterling results. For distinguished service of high order Hon'ble President is pleased to award, Vishisht Seva Medal to Wing Commander Manoj Kumar Sharma.


References
1. Brig. M. M. Sharma - The National Cadet Corps of India, 1980
2. Public Accounts Committee Reports, Parliament of India – 1960-1970
3. Cadets Handbook and RTI document, DG NCC and state and unit websites
4. V Longer: Youth in Step: History of the National Cadet Corps, 1983
5. Ministry of Defence Annual Reports
6. Military year Books
7. State Gazettes and Education department annual reports


© 2021 - Anchit Gupta