Memories – Pramod Athawale

žDec ’74 to Apr ’77 was indeed a short stay at 10 Sqn, because I could have spent a lifetime with Maruts. ž

Learnt initial lessons and gathered worthy experience at Jodhpur. ž

Became an engineer in any sense for the first time at 10 Sqn under the guidance of the STO, Francis, who I first saw as he was coming out of the Marut air intake, feet first. ž

The most affectionate and tough Sqn Cdr, KK Bakshi single handedly held the whole village across the bridge as villagers came charging at Sqn boys for trespassing (unknowingly) into women’s bathing area. Tex Mathur firmly stood by Boss’s side while the whole Sqn hid behind KKay’s broad shoulders. ž ž

The Flt Cdr, Dodi Bansal had simple rules of functioning and all spontaneity – if he had his ways, he would have passed me out of 10 Sqn as a pilot.

ž10, 220 and 31, the three squadrons seemed to exist in a family house without walls; KKay-Pinky-Bhadgamkar, Minnnie-Johri-Bharat and Francis-Amrit-Prasad all ensured that. ž

The toughest yet the most lovable and professionally competent CTO, Shashi Ramdas was the ultimate for techies to emulate. The provision for pilot training for EOs was gone! So, the next best – he pushed me to be an aircrew. And, I left the Sqn prematurely, with a heavy heart. But, for many years, Marut’s memories were revived every morning by the one parked at the entrance of ASTE.

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2 Responses to Memories – Pramod Athawale

  1. sunith says:

    hi pramod

    great note and nice to see active participation.
    the marut was a tough nut to maintain and the EO’s you mention were the best. i especailly remember Francis who was my ex gnat sqn(22). we need to contact him for the next reunion.also bharadwaj.
    wish you the best and see you at bangalore for the next reunion sponsored or otherwise. i am sure AOC can get HAL to move their butts.
    su

  2. Ravi Burli says:

    Her spirit was great, but innards somewhat weak.
    So, she wilted a bit towards the end of the day and had to be worked upon sometimes well into the night.
    She woke up to the invigorating “26” clarion of the ‘Chiefy’ each morning, long before the sun had risen, as they trooped her out with the others onto the still dark tarmac.

    Everyone knew keeping her airworthy was no ordinary task. You were one of the band of indefatigable engineers that stood by her side and willed her on. And she started each day her head high and characteristic Marut nose pointed straight at the blue skies raring to go.No words will do justice to how much the fleet owed to people like you. And the IAF today is the stronger for it than it has ever been before. A smart salute to all our Marut engineers.

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