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Ravindra Shah

Gujarat-educated Brigadier General Ravindra Shah, the state air surgeon for New York Air National Guard, Latham, New York, retired on May 3 last year.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2004 22:13 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

An exemplary life wasspotlighted when an Indian American retiredafter an illustrious, 21-year-old career with the U.S. military.

Gujarat-educated Brigadier General Ravindra Shah, the state air surgeon for New York Air National Guard, Latham, New York, retiredon May 3. An urologist by training, he washonoured in a military ceremony.

Recollecting his career journey, Shah said he came to the U.S. in 1961 after a bachelor's degree in surgery from Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, and began his military career in 1982 by joining the 174th Fighter Wing, Syracuse, New York, as a major.

Among his recent assignments, he recollected his involvement in making sure that American troops sent to Afghanistan were fighting fit.

He also said that in the weeks following September 11, 2001, he was at Ground Zero every day to ensure that the armed forces were ever-present to protect civilians and people in uniform.

"My basic aim was to set an example. I am a follower of the 'Bhagwad Gita'. I wanted to say that I have not become a citizen of the United States to enjoy the luxuries. I wanted to say that my community is willing to make sacrifices," he said.

"That has helped. I have never faced any problem in my career because I was a South Asian or a member of the minority community." "I will now concentrate on my private practice at Oswego Hospital and also continue teaching. I am an associate professor of urology at the State University of New York in Syracuse," Shah told IANS.

"But much depends on a new assignment. I have been nominated by the New York Air National Guard to assist the surgeon general of the United States Air Force," Shah said.

"If my nomination is accepted, I'll be appointed in the rank of a major general with two stars." He, nevertheless, said he will still be able to serve the military as a liaison officer in the U.S. Air Force Academy to prepare prospective students and help in their selection.

"I also hope to expand a foundation set up by my family -- Tarandi, which is named after my wife's mother Tara and my own Anandi," said Shah, whose wife Manjula is a retired anaesthesiologist.

"The foundation has been supporting research on geriatric medicine at the Brown University and also funding a student every year."

First Published: Jan 05, 2004 00:00 IST