C-IN-C INVITES VETERANS
It cannot be inherited, nor can it ever be purchased,
I have earned it with my Blood, Sweat and Tears.
I own it, forever the Title: “VETERAN”
One of the important and much-awaited Naval tradition during the Navy week celebrations is the Veterans’ lunch being hosted by C-in-C every year. The bliss of interacting with like-minded Veterans is Priceless and evident during such a buoyant gathering. 24 Nov was the day when VAdm Ajit Kumar P, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief of the Sword-Arm of our fine Indian Navy invited all Veterans of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka for lunch. An invitation was flashed in major local dailies much in advance. All roads of Navy Colaba converged onto IMSC as hundreds of Veterans with their good ladies started gathering at Dhanush complex starting 11:30 am. It was delightful to interact with senior veterans.
Cdr Vijay Vadhera, President NFMC had suggested ample seating arrangement close to the dais for senior-aged Veterans and requested everyone through a WhatsApp msg, to maintain silence during C-in-C’s address. The Commander-in-Chief was welcomed by VAdm RB Pandit (COS), RAdm Suria Raj (CSO(P&A)) and Cdr Vijay Vadhera, President NFMC on arrival at 1245 hrs and escorted to the dais. The C-in-C in his address briefed the Veterans about the Naval activities in the year gone by, the Naval plans for the future including the progress of the new Vikrant and plans for another one, the progress on the Scorpenes and the welfare measures by the Command particularly the ECHS issues.
Cdr Vijay Vadhera was then invited on stage and briefed everyone present on the wonderful efforts by NFMC in enhancing the Chapter’s membership that had shot up to 1210 including 4 former CNS, 2 former Vice Chiefs, 11 former C-inCs including VAdm MJ Singh, VAdm Girish Luthra and VAdm AV Karve, who were present, 284 outstation, 44 overseas members, 65 Octogenarians, 45 Gallantry awardees and 102 Veer Naris. and was the largest among the 16 Navy Foundation Chapters. He then mentioned the activities spread throughout the year. Last year Aug’s Tri-nation tour with 40 Veterans to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand that paved the way for the next tour to Europe the same time this year with 48 members. The Male- Srilanka Costa Victoria Cruise is awaited with 90 Veterans in mid-Feb 2020 for 8 days, which shall be followed by a trip to China next year for which the plans are underway. He also highlighted the plans that are afoot for the celebration of Veteran’s Day on 14th Jan 2020 on a grand scale with ample media publicity, display of large Banners all over Mumbai in early Jan and the pep talks by veterans in various schools. The Trophies are ready for the Cricket competition and J-24 Sailing Race between the Serving officers Vs Veterans in early Jan. There shall be a relay of TV/Radio interviews by prominent Veterans on the morning of the Veteran’s Day that shall start with homage to the Martyrs at 0800 hrs at the Colaba War memorial by laying of the wreaths by all three arms of the Services, President NFMC and other Veteran foundations. This will be followed by the 17th Soman Memorial lecture at 1130 hrs for which Mr Nitin A. Gokhale, a well-known defence and strategic affairs analyst has been invited to speak on ‘The new Great Game in the Indo-Pacific’. He then mentioned about our active, updated and vibrant NFMC site that boasts of a matrimonial portal which has fructified in 3 matrimonial alliances so far. Cdr Vadhera assured the CinC on behalf of the Veterans that whenever a need arises, for additional manpower by the Sword Arm of our Great Navy, we Veterans, who are retired but not yet tired, will always be there to chip in at an instant notice, to defeat the nefarious designs of the enemy. (Link of Video below after the Pics that speak)
Later the bars were opened and the veterans interacted with each other and dwelled on their nostalgic memories in the Navy over a glass of beer and a delicious meal. Everyone captured enough memories to glance back in footprints of time to come.
The arrangements for the gettogether were magnificent and organised meticulously catering for over 800 Veterans. A sonorous musical system was rigged up with our own in house musicians from the Symphonic band who played a few numbers. There was enough stock of Beer, varied juices and soft drinks. The food was delectable Indian with various Veg/ Non-Veg dishes to top it up with mouth-watering desserts of chocolate cake and multi-flavoured ice-creams.
At the Verandah three stalls had been rigged by personnel of INCS, Navpen and ECHS to look into the problems/ queries of the Veterans in terms of card renewals and other issues.
KUDOS indeed to our fine Indian Navy and the Officers and men steering it efficiently and effectively. The Veterans absolutely felt great and nostalgic albeit still a part of the great family.
Shano Varuna … Jai Hind!
THE PHOTOS THAT SPEAK
RADM SHANKAR MATHUR WITH VEER NARI MRS J SINGH
WITH MRS HA GOKHALE AND CDR PRADEEP & MRS RAJUL JAIN
Ms Shorbita, Cdr BR Katyal, Cdr VK Mohan
DR MRS KANTA MUKHERJI INITIALS
Click the Link below for the complete speech by
Cdr Vijay Vadhera, President NFMC ⇊
A peep into the Veterans Day celebrated on 14 Jan 2019
About the Author
Commander Rajinder Dutta (Retd) has been a Naval Pilot and a Qualified Flying Instructor with about 3000 hrs of flying on various fixed-wing Aircraft of Indian Navy, viz HT-2, HPT-32, Kirans, Islander, Super Connie, Fokker F-27 and IL-38.
He is the Hon Secy of NFMC, a Master of Ceremonies and an avid blogger.