It was an emotional reunion between a teacher and a student. The Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, on Monday invited his ‘drill ustaad’ Hony Capt Faqir Singh from the time he was at the National Defence Academy at Khadakwasla (Pune) to the ‘At home’ function he hosted to mark Air Force Day in New Delhi.
A ‘drill ustaad’ at the NDA is the first teacher of the young boys (17-18 years of age) at the academy. The ‘ustaad’ instils discipline and teaches them how to be part of a parade. The Chief was commissioned into the IAF in 1978 and during his formative years Capt Faqir Singh trained him at the ‘Echo squadron’ at the NDA.
Capt Faqir Singh, from the 5th battalion of the Sikh Regiment, retired in 1985. On Monday morning, he stood proud when the IAF Chief announced at the parade at Hindon air base: 'I have asked my ‘ustaad’ to judge my parade and he is sitting in the audience.”
The retired soldier now lives near Adampur, Jalandhar, and at the ‘at home’ he was accompanied by his kin, all smiles as the IAF Chief posed for pictures.