Friday, 26 March 2010

Bengali Top Gun, PAF

PAF Academy, Risalpur

Mohammed Matiur Rahman joined the 36th GD(P) [General Duty(Pilot)] course at PAF Academy, Risalpur as a Fight Cadet on 15th August 1961.

PAK/4367
Flt. Lt. Matiur Rahman, Bir Shresto
Bangladesh Air Force

At Risalpur, Matiur continued to be successful both in the air and academically.

His basic training took place on the Mushak trainer. in which He clocked 200 hours before graduation.

Once again Matiur showed his sporting prowess by representing the academy in various sporting events. He was a very good swimmer and footballer.

Mati enjoyed lawn tennis, squash, billiard, hockey, basketball, volleyball and athletics. Captaining the academy in many competitions.

He was happy, fun loving, intelligent young man and a very professional pilot, an allrounder flight cadet.

Following two years of rigorous training and study Matiur Rahman graduated with flying colours from Risalpur.

On 23rd June 1963 Mati was commissioned as Pilot Officer on a Short Service Commission (SSC) with the Pakistan Air Force.

Matiur was posted to Mauripur AFB (now Masroor) Karachi and number 2 squadron. His service number was PAK/4367.


Mushaq, the green aircraft in the foreground is
used at Risalpur as the basic primary trainer.
The T-37 the advanced trainer can be seen in red

Risalpur runway


No. 2 Squadron


At Mauripur, now Masroor Air Base Matiur underwent Jet Conversion Training on T-33 jet trainers.

He successfully passed the course with a mark of 75.66% and was earmarked for Fighter Conversion Training.

Fighter Conversion Training took place in F-86 Sabre Jets, this course he passed with a mark of 81%.

This success earned him a posting to a Top Gun Squadron. No19 Squadron based at Peshawar was to be his new home for the next few years.




Masroor Air Force Base


Peshawar Air Base


Peshawar runway


No.19 Squadron

At Peshawar Matiur was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer.
During his posting with 19 Squadron Matiur completed Fighter Leadership course at the Fighter Leaders' School back at Mauripur.

Fighter Leaders' School has been redesignated Combat Commanders' School in the mid 1970's

Only top pilots expected to become flight commanders, squadron leaders and wing commanders are sent on this course.

Upon returning back to Peshawar war broke out with India. September 1965 saw Matiur Rahman take part in the Air War against India.

In this 17 day long war Flying Officer Matiur Rahman saw heavy action against the Indians and was awarded Sitara-e-Harb 1965 (Star of War 1965) by the Pakistan Government.

Following his war experience Matiur was selected for Flying Instructors School training and on completion was posted to Risalpur as a QFI (Qualified Flight Instructor).

QFIs trained the future Instructors of Pakistan Air Force. Only the best of the best get this opportunity.


Flying Officer Matiur Rahman (2nd from the left) with colleagues of 19 Squadron at Peshawar
during the war with India 1965. His CO, Squadron Leader SS "Nosey" Haider can be seen 4th from left.


Flying Officer Matiur Rahman (standing, left) with 19 Squadron, September 1965, Peshawar.
Squadron Commander SS "Nosey" Haider is standing next to him.


Sitara-e-Harb 1965 seen with Bengali and Urdu Script

Flight Lieutenant M. Matiur Rahman, SHb. TJg.

Sitara-e-Harb 1965 and Tamgha-e-Jang 1965, Flying Officer M.Matiur Rahman received both the medals for his daring in the 1965 War against India

Despite the above facts the Pakistanis refuse to mention his name in the PAFs 1965 combat history. They leave his name out of the Patankot airbase raid and the GT road raid on Indian armoured column.

No.25 Top Gun Squadron



Sitara-e-Harb 1965 Tamagha-e-Jang 1965
Top Gun Mati flew F-6 (MiG 19s) at Sargodha

Sargodha Air Base, Home of Top Gun

Sargodha runway

Shenyang F-6 (MiG 19)

In 1966 newly qualified QFI Mati was posted to PAF Sargodha to fly F-6 (MiG 19) of 25 Squadron.

No25 Squadron was raised after the 1965 war to train the best of the best in dogfighting. It first Commanding Officer and Chief Instructor was Wing Commander MG Tawab, a son of Sylhet District and later Chief of Air Staff, Bangladesh Air Force.

The posting allowed Moti with his war experience to push the newly acquired Chinese made Mig 19s to it's limits. In 1967 during a mock dogfight he had to eject due to engine trouble.

A Bengali At Heart

19th April 1968. Matiur Rahman marries Milly Khan
daughter of Janab Monir-uz-Zaman Khan at Dhaka

On 19th April 1968 Matiur Rahman went to Dhaka to marry Milly Khan daughter of Monir-uz-Zaman Khan. The marriage nearly did not take place thanks to a report from Milly Khan's brother-in-law, MA Quddus.

Milly's middle sister Rosey's husband MA Quddus was a Squadron Leader at the time. Sqn Ldr MA Quddus reported that Matiur was daring and dangerous. He had already been in two serious accidents. Once he nearly killed himself in a car accident and later in a mock dogfight he just managed to eject before his MiG-19 crashed. Not a suitable match for the Squadron Leader's sister-in-law!

But common sense prevailed and Milly and her family accepted Matiur's proposal.

Milly was a second year BA student at the Holy Cross College Dhaka, when she left her studies to to marry Mati. She planned to complete the course later at Karachi College.

On a trip to Murree after the Wedding, 1968

Forever Bengali

Mati was a true Bengali even to the extent that he refused to marry a West Pakistani girl.

The story goes that whilst driving at night from Sargodha to Lahore with a few friends and colleagues. Matiur was flagged down by a middle aged man on the lonely road. Despite his companion advising him not to, since there are plenty of dacoits about, Mati halted.

It turned out that the man's car had broken down, with him were his wife and only daughter. Saleha, the daughter was of marriageable age.

They along with the car were hiding in the bushes lest dacoits happen to come along the lonely highway.

The Gentleman
Matiur left his colleagues on the roadside whilst he took a 3 hour round trip to drop off the family. The family were so grateful that they later tracked Matiur down and made a proposal of marriage to him. Saleha and her family were smitten by the gentlemanly act of this Officer.

But Mati, ever the Bengali wanted to hear sweet Bengali words from his wife not Punjabi and thus declined the offer of marriage.

With this he in effect turned down wealth, power and influence. A Bengali with West Pakistani connections usually manages to climb the ladder of power quicker than those without.


Matiur with Milly and their firstborn Mahin
on a horse carriage at Risalpur, 1969

In 1968 Matiur was attached to PAF Chaklala for a short period. From Chaklala Mati was posted to Risalpur as a Qualified Flight Instructor.

At Risalpur he trained the future Instructors of the Pakistan Air Force.

In January 1970 Matiur was posted to No 2 Squadron Mauripur as a Jet Conversion Instructor

Survival and Evasion training at Murree, January 1971

Flying Instructors School, Risalpur

T-33


QFI (Qualified Flying Instructors) at Risalpur
Left to right: Flt Lt Khudadad Khan, Flt Lt Khalil, Flt Lt Mati, Flt Lt Shafi Dar the Flight Commander, Sqn Ldr Saleem the Squadron Commander, Flt Lt Ghaus, the Iranian Exchange Officer, Tony Cunnane RAF Exchange Officer

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