On the 6th of April 1971, American Consulate in Dhaka, Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) sent a confidential ‘Blood Telegram’ to its government in the U.S. apprising them of genocide in East Pakistan. They informed their government about the suppression of the Pakistani Army on Bengali people and asked them to morally support the Bengali cause. Refuting every report, emboldened by the Soviet’s rivalry at the peak of the Cold War, the United States decided to support Pakistan in every condition.
The United States of America, the so-called oldest democracy of the World, chose to support the despotic, undemocratic, corrupt, authoritarian, and Jihadi nation, Pakistan. They provided them with moral and political support in international forums. They provided them with funds and weapons to fight the Indian forces. Even the U.S. soldiers were directly involved in the planning of an attack against Indian forces. Despite such forceful support, Pakistan still could not save itself from the wrath of Indian soldiers and was broken into two parts.
Within 13 days of the offensive strike, Bangladesh was created and liberated from the Islamic forces. In this war, the Indian Armed Forces wrote uncountable stories of bravery. Among other fights, one particular story is famous for when the former Indian Navy Chief (then naval pilot), Lt Arun Prakash, showed digitus medius to the United States Air Force’s (USAF) legendary pilot, Charles Elwood Yeager.
Charles Elwood Yeager – The Legendary Pilot of USAF
Born on the 13th of February 1923, Charles Elwood Yeager was a United States Air Force Officer. He was the flying ace and the record-setting test pilot who in 1947 became the first pilot in history to break the ‘sound barrier’ that is to exceed the speed of sound in level flight. He has been credited with shooting down 11.5 German fighter aircraft. During World War 2 in 1944, he attained “ace in a day” status after shooting down five German fighter jets in just one mission.
Yeager broke the sound barrier on October 14, 1947, flying the X-1 at Mach 1.07 at an altitude of 45,000 ft (13,700 m) and became the first pilot to shatter the “Sound barrier". During his career he flew over 10,000 hours on 330 different types and models of aircraft.+ pic.twitter.com/hrc5SQoZTT
Famously known as Chuck Yeager, the Brigadier had taken part in various American wars like the Korean War (1950-53) and Vietnam War (1955-75). Charles Elwood Yeager is recorded as one of the greatest pilots of all time. From 1971 to 1973, Chuck Yeager was assigned to Pakistan to advise the Pakistan Air Force in its war against India.
With the help of Yeager’s vast experience, Pakistan was able to launch an offensive strike against India. On the 3rd of December 1971, under Operation Chengiz, Pakistan launched pre-emptive aerial strikes on 11 Indian air bases, mostly in the western parts. Although we were ready for Pakistan’s misadventure, but the offensive strike gave them some sort of morale boost. However, Pakistan and their Yeager soon realised the might of Indian strike forces.
After the offensive strike of Pakistan on 9 Indian air bases, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi announced that the war against Pakistan had begun, and asked the defence forces to launch strikes against the enemy.
Lt Arun Prakash was then a navy aviator and was on the deputation to the Indian Air Force with No. 20 Squadron “The Lightnings”. As the Indian Air Force was ready to launch retaliatory air strikes against the enemy, the pilot was tasked to launch an early morning air take-off.
Lt Arun Prakash, a freshly-minted naval aviator was on deputation to the IAF with No.20 Squadron "The Lightnings".
(TRIBE TWENTY: The Pilots of No.20 Squadron. Then a young Lieutenant, Arun Prakash can be seen kneeling in the middle row, 2nd from left.)+ pic.twitter.com/QBvRNHLRzU
In the first wave of retaliatory strikes, Lt Arun Prakash was assigned to launch a strike at the Pakistan Air Force base of Chaklala, southeast of Islamabad. Flying low under the radar in the early morning, when the night was about to sleep and the day was about to rise, Prakash instantly climbed 2000 feet reaching the target.
When they scanned the Chaklala air base, there were only two planes on the tarmac. Dodging anti-aircraft fire shots, Lt. Prakash, using the 30mm cannon, fire bombed both the planes. One of the planes was Yeager’s Beechcraft and the other was a Twin Otter of Canadian United Nations forces. American centre of defence, the Pentagon had assigned the Beechcraft small passenger aircraft to Charles Elwood Yeager.
Not Strike on Pakistan, But a Message to America
India deliberately sent a mission to destroy Yeager’s Beechcraft plane. The brain of Pakistan Air Force in 1971, Yeager, was totally rattled by the strike.
Charles Elwood Yeager, explaining the war incident, wrote in his autobiography, “On one of those raids, they clobbered my small Beech Queen Air that had U.S. Army markings and a big American flag painted on the tail. I had it parked at the Islamabad airport, and I remember sitting on my front porch on the second day of the war, thinking that maybe I ought to move that airplane down to the Iranian border, out of range of the Indian bombers, when the damned air raid siren went off, and a couple of Indian jets came streaking in overhead. A moment later, I saw a column of black smoke rising from the airfield. My Beech Queen was totaled. It was the Indian way of giving Uncle Sam the finger”.
It was really an IAF’s digitus medius to Uncle SAM. He was totally rattled by India’s targeted strike on America. The aircraft had a marking of the U.S. Army, and a big American flag was painted on its tail. Despite clear visibility and American President Nixon’s warning to PM Indira Gandhi, IAF bombed the American aircraft. It was not a strike against Pakistan; it was a message to Americans not to mess with Indian pride.
After that strike, Yeager started to take the war personally. He himself guided the Pakistan Air Force to strike India. The report suggests after the incident Yeager had moved to an air base at Peshwar and was personally directing the Pakistanis in deploying their fighter squadron against the Indians. He himself took many missions against India.
He admitted in his autobiography that all the Moslem (Muslim) countries rallied around Pakistanis and began pouring in supplies and manpower. China moved in a lot of equipment. The United States was training its fighter pilots and providing state-of-the-art equipment to Pakistan.
The whole world except Russia was against India. Even Russians didn’t take an active part in the war. Even then India was able to bifurcate Pakistan into two parts. It was the courage and extraordinary fighting capabilities of the Indian Air Force that ensured Indian victory in just 13 days. All the Muslim countries, America, and China supported Pakistan in every way possible. But, India not only defeated all the combined powers but also taught a lesson to America. The intentional shooting at the American plane was a digitus medius to Uncle SAM.
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