Women Officers Who Created History
Meet these women officers who created history in 2023. From earning gallantry awards to assuming pivotal roles within combat units, women in the Indian defence forces have persistently shattered the glass ceiling in 2023. Once again, this year witnessed numerous women making indelible marks in history, elevating the vision of gender inclusivity set forth by the government to unprecedented heights.
As another year ends, here are 10 women officers who created history in Indian defence forces in 2023:
Air Marshal Sadhna S Nair
Air Marshal Sadhna S Nair assumed the appointment of Director General Hospital Services (Armed Forces) in the office of DGAFMS on Oct 23, 2023, becoming the first woman to hold the position on promotion to the rank of Air Marshal. She is the first and only woman Principal Medical Officer of Western Air Command and Training Command.
Lt Cdr Prerna Deosthalee
Commander Prerna Deosthalee became the first woman officer of the Indian Navy to command Indian Naval Warship. Prerana Deosthali was also appointed as the commanding officer of INS Trinkat based in Goa.
Group Captain Shaliza Dhami
The Indian Air Force deployed Group Captain Shaliza Dhami to take over the command of a frontline combat unit in the Western sector. She is the first woman to command any combat unit of IAF.
Wing Commander Deepika Misra
Wing Commander Deepika Misra has become the first woman Air Force officer to receive a gallantry medal. President had conferred Vayu Seva Medal for gallantry on her at Independence Day. Wing Commander Deepika Mishra was detailed to undertake Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations in response to flash floods in northern Madhya Pradesh in August 2021.
Captain Shiva Chouhan
Captain Shiva Chouhan became the first woman officer to get operationally deployed at Siachen, the world’s highest battlefield. Covering a distance of 508 kms, Capt Chouhan successfully led the Sura Soi Cycling Expedition from Siachen War Memorial to Kargil War Memorial conducted on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas in July 2022. She then took up the challenge of leading the men of Sura Soi Engineer Regiment at Siachen and, based on her performance, was selected to undergo training at the Siachen Battle School.
Lt Mehak Saini, Lt Sakshi Dubey, Lt Aditi Yadav, Lt Pious Mudgil and Lt Akanksha
For the first time, the Indian Army has inducted five women officers into its artillery regiment. The women officers have joined the Regiment of Artillery after successfully completing their training at the Officers Training Academy.
An Army Medical Corps Officer Col Sunita BS scripted history on November 21, 2023, by becoming the first woman to assume the role of Commanding Officer at Armed Forces Transfusion Centre, Delhi Cantt. Prior to this, she served in the challenging role of Commanding officer at a strategically important Field Hospital in Arunachal Pradesh, where she provided the best possible Combat Medical Support.
Captain Surbhi Jakhmola
Captain Surbhi Jakhmola of the Indian Army’s 117 Engineer Regiment has become the country’s first woman officer to be posted on a foreign assignment at the Border Roads Organisation (BRO). According to the officials at BRO, the female officer will be sent to Bhutan to implement actions under Project Dantak.
Squadron Leader Manisha Padhi
Squadron Leader Manisha Padhi, a 2015 batch Indian Air Force (IAF) officer made history by becoming the first female to be appointed as the Aide-De-Camp (ADC) to the Governor of Mizoram, Hari Babu Kambhampati.
Colonel Shuchita Shekhar
Colonel Shuchita Shekhar has become the first woman officer of the Army Service Corps to assume command of a Communication Zone Mechanical Transport Battalion.
Colonel Geeta Rana
Colonel Geeta Rana of Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers has become the first woman officer to take over command of an Independent Field Workshop in a forward and remote location in Eastern Ladakh.