Kochi, Feb 19: Eleven observers, including four women officers, and three pilots joined the aviation arm of the Navy and Coast Guard in an impressive passing out parade held at INS Garuda, the Naval Air Station here.
In addition to the Indian Officers, three international officers from friendly foreign countries also graduated as "Aviators" at INS Garuda, which was reviewed by Rear Admiral RB Pandit, Chief of Staff, Southern Naval Command. The Admiral also awarded the coveted 'Wings' to the qualified officers.
The officers would now function as 'Airborne Tacticians' on board maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft of the Navy. The graduating pilots were trained at INAS 550, the oldest squadron of the Indian Navy, led by Commander Anubhav Kumar, wherein they underwent a grueling training syllabus, both in air as well as on ground, a Navy release said.
Amongst the "Observers", Lieutenant Shashikant Singh was awarded the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command trophy as well as the Uttar Pradesh trophy for being 'Best in Flying' and 'First in the Overall Order of Merit', respectively, while Sub Lieutenant Yamani Dalal was declared the best amongst the short service commission (SSC) officers.
Sub Lieutenant Kore Kashyap was declared the best graduating pilot. Addressing the parade after presenting the trophies, Rear Admiral RB Pandit reminded the young 'Aviators' that while carrying out their duties they will act as eyes and ears of the fleet, safeguarding the coast and securing the seas and exhorted them to strive towards high levels of professional competence.
The occasion was unique as it is the first instance where both Pilots and Observers -- men and women -- national as well as international trainees graduated on the same occasion at the same venue.