Wing Commander Abhinandan is India’s true hero. On February 27, when Abhinandan’s MIG-21 Bison fighter jet was shot down during a dogfight near the Line of Control (LOC) and he got ejected, the only thought on his mind was to destroy maps and other valuable information available with him, even before being taken into the custody by the Pakistan army.
And, he did it. Despite suffering an injury in the spine and being beaten up by the locals, Abhinandan ate few papers with maps and drowned other important documents in a pond. After he was taken into the custody of the Pakistan army and in the subsequent interview released by them, the officer was a picture of calm, courage and composure.
Undeterred, sipping on a cup of tea Abhinandan refused to divulge any details other than his name, his rank and that he was a Hindu. Thanks to the efforts by the Indian government and international pressure Abhinandan returned to India safe, after spending 60 hours in the custody of Pakistan army on March 1.
Today, everything about Abhinandan is a rage. From his moustache to his famous one-liner, “I am not supposed to tell you that’, his guts, dedication to the motherland has become a huge hit with the younger and older generations of this country.
The entire episode related to Abhinandan has made every Indian curious about the training, food and fitness levels of our Indian Air Force Officers. Read on to know interesting facts on how our IAF officers get trained, what they eat and how they maintain their fitness.
The Officers’ Mess of each defence unit in the country takes care of the daily menu in strict adherence to the healthy diet required by the officers. The officers are always expected to maintain a proper dress code and as per the mess etiquette, they are barred from discussing the topics related to religion, women and politics.
The officers get served with a breakfast that usually comprises aloo parathas, idli, dosa, vada while lunch menu consists two veg dishes, one non-veg dish, dal, rotis, bread, rice, salad, dessert and fruits.
Dinner is chole, rajma chawal, continental food and parathas. Tuesdays are vegetarian days while on Sundays, the officers get to relish a well-planned brunch by 10 am.
Fitness levels are of the paramount importance of our armed forces. The training is aimed not just having a fit body but also surviving in adverse situations and also in higher altitudes with less oxygen. All officers despite their ranks are expected to undergo medical checkups every 20 days and get tested if they are meeting specific responses and speed for every 6 months.
On any given day, early mornings and evenings are dedicated to pursuing various physical activities and to play various sports. The personnel also participate in the regular parades.
Fitness training includes trekking in hilly terrains, getting ejected by a parachute, swimming to meet and survive in all sorts of war like situations.
A typical day in the units starts with early morning briefing for all officers be it fighter jet, helicopter or transport aircraft officers on equipment, safety, weather and communication. The officers get scheduled with flying programme for the day and the post-flight analysis is done after daily training. Officers are expected to study aviation subjects, attend classes and prepare for the next day’s training programme. Most Saturdays and Sundays are free.
Intense training sessions also include on how to rescue themselves during the war, deal with enemies, work under hostile climatic conditions to build both physical and psychological stamina.
And if you thought, being with armed forces is all about training and tough life, you are wrong. The personnel of all our armed forces lead an enviable life. Parties with the families, outings and various perks help them in dealing with a stress-free life and in serving the country.