Officialdom is often labelled as unfeeling. Brigadier Manjit Singh, formerly of the Brigade of Guards and now director, defence services welfare in Punjab, is an exception. Subedar Makhan Singh from Bathulla, Hoshiarpur, served with the legendary 2 Field Regiment with distinction. He brought glory to the nation with his achievements on the track at various National Games and the 1962 Asian Games where he won gold as part of the 4x400 relay quartet and silver in the 400 metres. His death in 2002 left his family in dire straits.
Air Marshal BS Dhanoa. HT Photo
On learning of the family’s condition from media reports, the Brigadier acted with alacrity. His deputy director at Hoshiarpur was directed to employ Makhan Singh’s son, Parminder Singh, as a helper. Being differently abled, he has been gifted a tricycle by the department. He will also get disability pension. The initiative shown by the Brigadier with a mix of compassion and pragmatism is commendable and worthy of emulation.
ECHS PROCEDURES SIMPLIFIED
A recent decision by certain regional polyclinics of the ECHS that required the personal presence of beneficiaries for getting repeat medicines has caused a lot of inconvenience to veterans. The matter was referred to Major General John George, the helpful managing director of the ECHS. He ruled that dependents of beneficiaries should be permitted to collect medicines on their behalf.
Instructions have already been issued. In addition, General George has asked veterans to get in touch with him on his cellphone in case of difficulties. Kudos to the responsive general!
AIR MARSHAL DHANOA IS NEW SASO, WAC
Air Marshal BS Dhanoa has taken over as the Senior Air Staff Officer at Headquarters, Western Air Command, on July 1. A fighter pilot, he was commissioned in July 1978. The officer has flying experience of over 3,000 hours in a range of fighter aircraft and has served with a number of frontline operational squadrons. He is an A2-qualified instructor with familiarity with the Mig-21 fighter and HAL HJT-16 Kiran basic jet trainer. An NDA and DSSC graduate, Air Marshal Dhanoa has been awarded the Yudh Seva and Vayu Sena Medals.
A Senior Air Staff Officer at a command headquarters not only heads the staff dealing with operations and all aspects of warfare but is also the chief of staff to the formation’s Air Officer Commandingin-Chief.
ANNIVERSARIES OF WARS
This month marks the 48th anniversary of the 1965 War. In two years, we will see the golden jubilee. What plans do the government and the armed forces have to observe this landmark? The war itself was not a strategic victory in the strict sense. We failed to seriously degrade Pakistan’s war-waging potential or liberate our territory in J&K occupied by them since 1949; but we did defeat their sinister designs. The nation came together as one to repel the invaders. We were able to forget the bad dream of the 1962 war. A series of events must be planned to commemorate the battles, victories, sacrifices and the people’s participation in defending the country.
Which brings to mind, how are we planning to observe the centenary of the First World War due next year? A war I might add, in which 1.16 lakh of our soldiers made the supreme sacrifice.