Hyderabad: The man at the helm of the mighty Indian Air Force has a Hyderabad connection, one that he has been maintaining for 42 years. Air Marshal VR Chaudhari, who has been appointed as the next Chief of Air Staff, is an alumni of the BHEL Higher Secondary School, Ramachandrapuram here, with his parents still residing in the city.
And as one from their alma mater gets ready to head the IAF, the teachers and alumni of the school are celebrating, with his friends here planning to felicitate his parents soon.
Air Marshal Chaudhari, who is presently the Vice Chief of Air Staff, will be succeeding present Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria after the latter’s retirement on September 30. The new IAF Chief, the seniormost IAF after Bhadauria, is an experienced fighter pilot and one who flew several air defence missions during the Kargil War.
After completing his schooling in 1979, Air Marshal Chaudhari went on to join the National Defence Academy (NDA) at Khadakwasla, Pune. According to the alumni of the school, Air Marshal Chaudhari’s father was an employee of BHEL while his mother worked as a teacher. Both parents are still staying in Hyderabad.
N Tirupati Reddy, retired deputy general manager of Union Bank of India, was the classmate of Air Marshal Chaudhari and said he was a studious all-rounder participating in sports and all activities in the school.
“We lived in the same township. After he joined NDA, he visited home for one month during holidays. So, five of us friends went on a cycle expedition to Nizam Sagar from BHEL. It was really a memorable adventure for all of us,” Reddy recalled.
Sharing his association with Air Marshal Chaudhari, Lt Col (Retd) Boppana Shashidhar said Chaudhari was his senior in the school.
“Chaudhari used to be a member of the school committee. He was also my neighbor in the colony. He left the school in January 1979 and joined the NDA,” Lt Col (retd) Shashidhar shared.
Air Marshal Chaudhari was commissioned into the fighter stream of IAF on December 29, 1982. He has held various command, staff and instructional appointments at various levels including the present one as Vice Chief of Air Staff.
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