Punjab: 'President’s Standards' awarded to IAF's 223 squadron, 117 helicopter unit
President of India and the supreme commander of armed forces, Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday awarded standards to two units of Indian Air Force, viz 223 Squadron (Tridents) and 117 Helicopter unit (Himalayan Dragon) for having a history of excellence.
In his address, the President recalled the glorious legacy of the Indian Armed forces in protecting the unity, integrity, and sovereignty of the country. The contribution of Punjab to our armed forces, and of our armed forces to our nation, has been enormous, he said.
"Both units being honoured today have a history of professional excellence. The nation honours them with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for dedication and courage in the face of adversity," the President said.
"India's rise in the international system has many dimensions to it. But it draws heavily from the capabilities and valour of our Armed Forces. Though we remain firmly committed to peace, we are determined to use all our might to protect the sovereignty of our nation," he said
"Each time we have had to do so, our valiant men and women in uniform have risen to the occasion. Every citizen of India sleeps securely because he or she knows that you are there to protect them," he added.
The 223 Squadron or the Tridents was formed on May 10, 1982, right here in Adampur. It was initially equipped with MiG-23 MF aircraft. Whether flying the MiG-23 or the formidable MiG-29 upgrade aircraft today, the squadron has a remarkable operational record. This squadron is one of the few that remains alert 365 days a year. It truly lives up to its motto of Vijyaya Amogh-astraha, which means the Ultimate Weapon for Victory.
The 117 Helicopter Unit, or the Himalayan Dragons, was raised on February 1, 1971, at Air Force Station, Bareilly. The unit gained its initial experience in the India-Pakistan War of 1971, in the Eastern theatre. It moved to Hasimara in 1983 and flew extensive air maintenance and casualty evacuation missions in the Northeast. The unit moved to its present location, Air Force Station Sarsawa, in January 1988.
In Operation Rahat, Operation Megh Rahat, and numerous other humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, the unit has worked tirelessly in helping civilians. It has an appropriate motto: Aapatsu Mitram, which means Friend in Distress. That is exactly what it is to so many of our fellow citizens.