Golden jubilee year for IAF's 'knights'

Golden jubilee year for IAF's 'knights'

The 109 HU ‘The Knights’, raised on August 26, 1961, by Sqn Ldr W V Liddle at Chandigarh, was moved to its present location on October 31, 2009.

Logo to be unveiled

As part of the year-long celebrations, the HU will begin with the unveiling of the golden jubilee logo on Friday, followed by a series of activities including the release of first day cover and unit stamp, motorcycle expedition, trekking, volleyball and cricket championships throughout the year.

The Knights, with its motto of ‘Ever Victorious’, continue to remain vigilant and in a state of readiness in serving the nation both during war and peace.

An official release, while noting that the 109 HU is the only operational helicopter unit in the southern peninsula, said: “The unit shoulders the responsibility of undertaking the entire spectrum of helicopter operations in the four states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.”

‘Angels of Mercy’

In January 2005, the unit was actively involved in tsunami relief operations for rehabilitation of people, airlifting essential supplies and medical aid, in addition to ferrying officials, VIPs to the affected areas.

“The Knights as known as ‘Angels of Mercy’ have undertaken extensive relief operations in cyclone hit areas of Vijayawada and Nellore in October 2009. The unit carried out life-saving flood relief operations in Karnataka,” the release said.

In its 50 years of service, the unit has won several laurels for various operations that it was part of.

Ever victorious chopper unit

The Knights raised on August 26, 1961, by Sqn Ldr W V Liddle at Chandigarh equipped with Mi-4 helicopters, subsequently moved to Jammu in 1967, and was re-equipped with Mi-8 Helicopters in 1974.

In 1979, the unit moved to Hindon and later in 1987 to Sulur. It has played an important role in numerous operations, including: the 1962 operations right after its inception, the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak war, Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka and Operation Cactus in Maldives. The Unit won the President’s Standard award in 1991, given in recognition of its meritorious service in its 30 years.

The unit moved to its present location October 31, 2009, and is presently being commanded by Wg Cdr V S Srihari and is likely to get upgraded to state-of-the-art helicopter, Mi 17 V5s in due course of time.

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