1965 – SEA HAWK ON A WEDDING MISSION
[As received in a forwarded mail]
A story to warm the cockles of your heart!
Once an Indian Navy Sea Hawk took off from INS Vikrant….!!!
Its mission??? To get married!!!
An epic story I found when I was browsing for Indian Navy Sea Hawks:
“Sometime in May 1965 the war clouds with our western neighbour were building up and Vikrant steamed out into the Arabian Sea to provide some gunboat diplomacy of the ‘beware we are on alert’ sort to Islamabad. Such sudden deployments cause disruption in the lives of the crew but that is what the Navy is about. One such disrupted young Lieutenant who was a bindaas (to use a Bombay term) Sea Hawk pilot who was scheduled to proceed on leave to get married the day the ship sailed and suddenly found himself far from the railway station that would take him to Bangalore.
Possibly after a lot of requesting and discussions with his superior his Captain ordered him to take off at dawn on the big day in his Sea Hawk and set course for Bangalore and get back on deck by 0600 hours the next morning. Off went our young bridegroom. The Navy may be strict, but it likes to take care of its seamen and the Fleet Commander Rear Admiral BA Samson blessed this adventure. But how was he to carry his clothes and toothpaste.
A bright technician suggested they empty out the cannon ammunition bay and that made just enough space for his clothes to be stuffed into. Onto the steam catapult and off to the old HAL airport at Bangalore. The bride of this arranged marriage lived close to the airport and between the nervous ma-in-law to be and pensive pa-in-law and clueless bridegroom’s parents they didn’t know what to do. Here was the auspicious day and the hero nowhere in sight. Because the ship was on a full alert patrol there was no radio communication at all and let alone the relatives even HAL airport control tower did not know that our man was zeroing in till he asked for permission to land!. Then suddenly the piercing roar of the Rolls Royce turbo jet filled their ears and thumped their hearts. Our man deftly landed, parked his flying machine and was whisked away for the muhurtham, literally with minutes to spare.
Next morning 0400 hours he took off again and in little over 90 minutes got back to the carriers deck in the middle of the sea. This young pilot was SK Gupta who later commanded INAS 300 White Tigers in the 1971 war and was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra. Later in life he rose to flag rank. On his return there were no flowers on the ship to celebrate his new status but his fellow pilots not to be put off garlanded him with a mala made of vegetables.”
His colleagues also wrote “Just Married” on his Sea Hawk with a pair of boots tied on to the nose of the aircraft.
The story does indeed appear on:
[Indian Navy’s Sea Hawk on Mission Marriage, Mohan Guruswamy]