Padmavathy Bandopadhyay- First Woman Air Marshal Of The Indian Air Force

Hello aspirants,

In this series of post in which we are discussing the great deeds achieved by the female officer along with we are talking about the first woman to make the highest post in the forces. In this post, we will see about the first woman Air marshal of the Indian air force.

Important Information on Padma Bandopadhyay

  • Padma Bandopadhyay was born on 04 November 1944 to Shri V. Swaminathan and Smt. Alamelu at Tirupati. Seeing her mother sick, who was almost in the hospital for the rest of her life, she decided to become a doctor and cure her mother and also thousands of such people who suffered.
  • She has said that her experience with her mother’s illness and hospitalisation at Safdarjung Hospital and having a neighbouring lady doctor with the same name as she were prime motivations to become a doctor.
  • After completing her schooling, she went on to pursue an undergraduate course at the prestigious Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. She stood first in the whole session.
  • When the Armed Forces Medical College opened in Pune in 1962, she applied and passed the entrance examination in the first batch.
  • She was to join the first batch there successfully. However, her parents were not comfortable with sending their daughter away from home to stay in a hostel and study in a college for five long years. The following year she convinced her parents and joined the ‘B’ Batch of AFMC.
  • She chose to serve in the Air Force after her course ended at AFMC in 1968. She was then asked to intern at Air Force Hospital, Bangalore where she met Flight Lieutenant Satinath Bandopadhyaya (an administrative officer) who would later go on to become her husband.
  • A problem with her eyesight forced her to give up the dream to become a pilot and stick to a medical career in the IAF. She specialised in aviation medicine in 1975, which was then a new field. Over the years, she has completed 23 research projects and has 27 publications to her credit. She is the first woman officer to become an aviation medicine specialist.
  • During the 1971 war with Pakistan, Bandhopadhyay, then an intern fresh out of the IAF command hospital in Bangalore, was posted along with her husband, S.N. Bandhopadhyay, at the Halwara air base in Punjab.
  • For their contributions to the war effort, both Bandhopadhyay and her husband, an administrative officer, were awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM), an award for exemplary devotion to duty.
  • This resulted in the first-ever husband and wife team to be honoured with the VSM at the same defence ceremony by the President.
  • Sqn Ldr Padma Bandopadhyay became Wing Commander, and she was posted to DIPAS (Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences ) where she did laudable research work on high altitude.
  • The lady is a prestigious member of the New York Academy of Sciences. She has also served as the Director General of Medical Services (Air) at the Air Headquarters, New Delhi.
  • She is also the first woman fellow of the Aerospace Medical Society of India and has conducted scientific research at the North Pole.
  • Marshal Padma was awarded the Indira Priyadarshini Award for being an Outstanding Lady with so many achievements.
  • This was the first time any Lady in uniform was honoured with this Award. She was also awarded the Air Force Wives Welfare Association Trophy by AFWWA.
  • The Padma was promoted to the rank of Group Captain and was posted as Deputy Principal Medical Officer (Specialist) of Western Air Command, Indian Air Force when Indo-Pak relations reached their lowest ebb.
  • During the Kargil Operations, she toured all the forward areas and looked after the medical needs of the Air Warriors.
  • She made history again by becoming the First Lady Air Commodore of Indian Air Force on 26 June 2000, took over the command of the most prestigious Air Force Medical Unit, Air Force Central Medical Establishment. She was awarded Ati Vishisth Seva Medal for her service of meritorious order on 26 January 2002.
  • Padmavathy was promoted to the rank of Air Vice Marshal. She is the very first lady officer in IAF to hold this rank. It was after this that she took over as Additional Director (ADG) Air Force Medical Services.
  • She took over the command of Air Force Medical Services and became the first lady Air Marshal of the world and also the first Lady Director General Medical Services of the forces. She is also the first Lady Honorary Surgeon to the President of India.

DDE salute her will power to overcome against all odds and achieved her dream.

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JAI HIND