The Only Indian To Have Served As An Aviator, Sailor & Soldier

The Only Indian To Have Served As An Aviator, Sailor & Soldier

War veteran Colonel Prithipal Singh Gill turned 100 this week. Social media went abuzz with wishes from all directions pouring in for the centenarian. Additionally, Sahil Goyal, Deputy Controller of Defence Accounts, Western Command, visited the veteran’s residence, where Colonel Gill was presented with a plaque and a revised pension order. With this order, Colonel Gill will now receive a 100 per cent increase in his pension for crossing 100 years of age. Colonel Gill is amongst the very few centenarian veterans who receive a double pension.

Colonel Gill was born in pre-independence India’s Patiala in 1920. He started taking flying lessons at Walton Aerodrome in Lahore where he earned his flying license, post which he joined the Royal Indian Air Force in 1942. His father, who was also a defence personal, fearing for his son’s life, persuaded him to withdraw from training. This is how he ended up joining the Indian Navy instead. He was stationed aboard the minesweeping ship and later on INS Teer which was a navy escort ship for cargo ships during World War II. He ended his naval innings after completing the Long Range Gunnery Course in which he was graded Instructor Gunnery.

After India gained Independence, he joined the Indian Army. He was keen on joining the Sikh regiment, but because of his gunnery training in the navy, he was posted with the Gwalior mountain battery. Colonel Gill went on to fight the 1965 Indo-Pak war where he was the commanding officer, heading his battalion battle it out at the Sialkot area.

After a long and illustrious career in manning the land, and scanning the skies, Colonel Gill retired to farming in his hometown, Faridkot in Punjab. He currently resides in Chandigarh.

The exemplary feat and versatile spirit that led him to scan the skies and man the land stands out as a brilliant story of valour and courage. His legacy will be celebrated by Indians for years to come, inspiring them to inculcate the core values of this great Defence officer.

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