Uttarlai Snapshots From Air Cmde VK Murthy (Retd)

Air Cmde VK Murthy has sent in some interesting snippets of events and  photographs from those days at Uttarlai.


Visit of Mr Barkatullah Khan, Chief Minister of Rajasthan to the Base


Air Cmde Ramesh Phadke had asked in the previous post regarding the performance of the P-12 radar and how useful it was. I think performance of the Early Warning (EW) radars was a uniformly sore point at most bases. I recollect late Wg Cdr Saw Sawardekar’s comment on the EW radar at Sirsa “It can’t even catch a cold!”  Murph Murthy’s views are equally to the point :

“Flt.Lt.Jyothi Punj (Sigs) Manning  P-12 Radar ( only  one Radar Van  placed at  one corner of Airfield  which  worked  for  3  days  !!!)


When  everyone got  FED UP with  this Radar ,  How Punj got  it alive  when  we  most  needed !  Only he can tell .”

Maj Jairam Sanadi, GLO, Sqn Ldr Pete Gaynor and Wg Cdr Murthy in the GLO's office

Coincidentally the GLO is our own Gp Capt Prakash Sanadi’s brother.

Air Cmde Murthy had mentioned earlier of how one of the JCO’s at Uttarlai had got the brain wave of clearing the Parallel Taxy Track of debris using a novel technique – his turban. There was a corollary to that :

“Sub Lab Singh was  JCO,  MES at  Utterlai.   While  cleaning  the taxy track, on  the  first Bombing , we  ran  out  of  Brooms  &  shovels. Mid-night passed , no progress made  and  we  were  HELPLESS. I  saw SUB. Lab Singh kneeling down (saying  Vayu Guru…Vayu Guru..) and then took  out  his  Turban and  twisted and holding one  end and  the  other with  another sikh and  started cleaning  the taxy track.
IT  WORKED AND  EVERYONE FOLLOWED THE  EXAMPLE. we  came  to  the  end  of  taxy track  by  5 am , just  in time  for  the  Mission 1 to  Take  Off as  described  by  Bobby.

I did not  wear  my AVSM  Ribbon till  Lab Sing  was   awarded.
When  I  recommended for  his  award to  32  wing AF, WAC  sent  it  to Army  as  he  belonged  to  Army. Promptly Army forwarded  it  to  MES organisation  as  he  was with  them.   Lt. Gen Das, E-in-C,  sent  it  to me to forward through Air Force. I  was  back  to  square   one.  When  General  Bewoor Army Cdr came  to  congratulate me , he  asked  why  I  am  not  wearing  my  AVSM .  I told  him  the  whole  story and expressed Sub Lab Singh deserves  more  than  me.   I will put on  when  he  gets  some recognition

Within   48  hrs ,  Sub Lab Singh MES , got Mention in Despatches from  MES, Honorary Commission  from  Army & Cash  Award  from Air Force.  When Sub Lab Sigh came  with  a  basket  of  Ladoos to  thank  me , I bowed  to him  and  thanked  him.”

Wg Cdr Murthy, a fully recovered Sqn Ldr Mickey Jatar, Mr Barkatullah Khan and Wg Cdr Aggy Agarwal at a celebratory party.


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