New Delhi, September 17: Marshal of Air Force Arjan Singh was a tough Marshal and an epitome of a great human being, says Wing Commander (retd) Vinod Nebb. It was in 1963 that Nebb was commissioned into Indian Air Force. “Arjan Singh put wings on my chest. It was a proud moment for me,” said Nebb.
During the 1965 India-Pakistan War, Nebb was in Hunter Squadron posted in Punjab’s Halwara. Even though he was a rookie pilot, Nebb shot down a Pakistani F-86 Sabre fighter jet on September 6, 1965 and was awarded the Vir Chakra. (ALSO READ: Rahul Gandhi’s Latest Gaffe, Calls Arjan Singh Air Marshal)
“Marshal Singh flew down to Halwara from Delhi and congratulated me. He said ‘well done my lad, well done’. He also asked me not to get so close to the enemy aircraft,” Nebb remembered. Nebb said he was just 75 yards away from the Pakistani aircraft and Marshal Singh asked him “how he shot down the aircraft”.
“I would cherish the compliment more than the decoration that I got. My Chief, my Marshal remembered me even after 50 years,” the Wing Commander said about his meeting with Marshal Singh on the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war.
The IAF veteran pointed out that Marshal Singh was extremely grounded as well. “All the officers wanted to take a picture with him. He was on the bonnet of a Jeep. There was no place for me to sit and he asked me to sit on the bumper between his legs,” Nebb recalled.
Even in 2015, 50 years after the war, Marshal Singh remembered the names of the officers who shot the three Pakistani aircraft. “He had an elephant’s memory and he remembered our names,” Nebb said.
Nebb recalled that his father-in-law’s name was Arjan Bhagnani. “Whenever my wife wished Marshal Singh, he would always remember her. He would say, “I know you are Arjan’s daughter”. When we asked him, he said “He is the another Arjan in the Air Force”,” Nebb said.
He added that after the demise of his wife Teji in 2011, Marshal Singh went downhill. “His demise is an immense loss to the Air Force and nation. I will personally miss him,” Nebb added.