Life history Of Arjan Singh, Marshal of the Indian Air Force

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Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, DFC (born 15 April 1919) is the only officer of the Indian Air Force to be promoted to five-star rank, equal to a Field Marshal, to which he was promoted in 2002. He was born in the Punjab town of Lyallpur, British India, into an Aulakh family. His father was Risaldar Darbara Singh of the Hodson’s Horse who had served in Gallipoli during the First World War and was wounded in Burma during World War II and retired from the Army in 1949.[3] With the death of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in June 2008, he is the only living Indian military officer with a five-star rank.

Early life and career
Arjan Singh was born on 15 April 1919 in Lyallpur in the Punjab in what was then British India in a military family. His father was a Naik in the Hodson’s Horse at the time of his birth, and his grandfather was Risaldar Major Hukam Singh, of the Guides Cavalry between 1883 and 1916. His great-grandfather was Naib Risaldar Sultana Singh, among the first two generations of the Guides Cavalry who was martyred during the Afghan campaign of 1879. Arjan Singh was educated at Montgomery, India (now in Pakistan). He entered the RAF College Cranwell in 1938 and was commissioned as a pilot officer in December 1939. As a distinguished graduate of the RAF College, Singh’s portrait is now to be found on the walls of the College’s west staircase.

Singh led No. 1 Squadron, Indian Air Force into command during the Arakan Campaign in 1944. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in 1944, and commanded the Indian Air Force Exhibition Flight in 1945. Singh almost faced a court-martial in February 1945 when he tried to raise the morale of an trainee pilot ( later rumoured to be future Air Chief Marshal Dilbagh Singh) by conducting a low level air pass over a house in Kerala, but he insisted that such tricks are needed for every cadet to be a fighter pilot.

Career and commands held
He was Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), from 1 August 1964 to 15 July 1969, and was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1965. He also became the first Air Chief Marshal of the Indian Air Force when, in recognition of the Air Force’s contribution in the 1965 war, the rank of the Chief of Air Staff was upgraded to that of Air Chief Marshal. After he retired in 1969 at the age of 50, he was appointed the Indian Ambassador to Switzerland in 1971. He concurrently served as the Ambassador to the Vatican. He was appointed High Commissioner to Kenya in 1974. He was a member of the National Commission for Minorities, Government of India from 1975-1981. He was the Lt. Governor of Delhi from Dec 1989 – Dec 1990 and was made Marshal of the Air Force in January, 2002

Career highlights
1.1938 – Entered RAF College Cranwell as a Flight Cadet
2. 23 December 1939 — Commissioned in Royal Air Force as a Pilot Officer
3. 9 May 1941 – Flying Officer
4. 15 May 1942 – Flight Lieutenant
5. 1944 – (Acting) Squadron Leader
6. 2 June 1944 — Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross
7. 1947 — Wing Commander, Royal Indian Air Force, Air Force Station, Ambala
8. 1948 — Group Captain, Director, Training, Air Headquarters
9. 1949 — (Acting) Air Commodore, Indian Air Force AOC, Operational Command
10  2 January 1955 – Air Commodore, AOC Western Air Command, Delhi
11. 19 December 1959 (?) – Air Vice Marshal
12. 1961 — Air Vice Marshal, Air Officer in Charge of Administration, Air HQ
13. 1963 — Deputy Chief of Air Staff and subsequently Vice Chief of the Air Staff (India)
14. 1 August 1964 — Chief of Air Staff (India) (Air Marshal)
15. 30 October 1965 — Awarded Padma Vibhushan
16. 26 January 1966 — Chief of Air Staff rank upgraded to that of an Air Chief Marshal; appointed   Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee
17. 15 July 1969 — Retired from Indian Air Force
18. 1971 — Ambassador to Switzerland and the Holy See
19. 1974 — High Commissioner to Kenya
20   1989 — Lieutenant Governor of Delhi
21.26 January 2002 – Marshal of the Indian Air Force