Major Shahrina Binte Anwar, the only child of shrimp cultivator Md Anwarul Haque of Satkhira, is a pilot of the Bangladesh Army now.
She has completed the requisite 75-week training course from the Army Aviation Wing in Dhaka Cantonment to become a pilot. Chief of Army Staff, General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq, awarded the ‘Flying Brevet’ of Bangladesh Army to her yesterday at the ‘Brevet Awarding Ceremony’, held at the Army Aviation Hanger in Dhaka Cantonment.
Like Major Shahrina, Major Nazia Nusrat Hossain, the only daughter of Water Resources Joint Secretary Mosharraf Hossain, of Faridpur, also became a pilot of the Bangladesh Army. They are the first lady pilots of Bangladesh Army.
Talking to The Independent, Major Shahrina said she was feeling proud that her dream of becoming a pilot has come true. “When I was studying at Satkhira Government Girls School, I dreamt of becoming a pilot and it’s come true now,” she said and added, “I was commissioned in the Ordinance Corps of Bangladesh Army in 2008. Since then, I have been trying to get an opportunity to become a pilot and I got that opportunity on November 16, 2014, when I was selected for the aviation course.”
“I completed the aviation course successfully as an officer of the Bangladesh Army and not as a lady officer. I have enjoyed training in the Army Aviation Training Centre as the atmosphere there was cordial,” she said. “I have worked hard to complete the aviation course and become a pilot.”
Major Shahrina, wife of Squadron Leader in the Bangladesh Air Force Khalilur Rahman, wants to serve the country by being a Professional Flying Officer of the Bangladesh Army. She said that she is enjoying the challenges of flying for Bangladesh Army.
Another lady pilot, Major Shahrina Major Nazia, wife of Major Mahmudur Rahman, also wants to further her career as a Professional Flying Officer of Bangladesh Army. “I joined the Army in 2008 and was commissioned in 2009,” she said and added, “I got the opportunity from the Army Aviation Wing to become a pilot, which was my dream.”
Along with these two, 12 army officers, with ranks equivalent to Major and Captain, became pilots from the Army Aviation Wing yesterday. Of them, Major Md Shameem Ferdous was awarded the ‘Best’ trophy.
Addressing the Brevet Awarding Ceremony as Chief Guest, Chief of Army Staff, General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq, congratulated the two lady officers for embracing this challenging profession. He said that Army Aviation has started receiving quality aircraft, both with fixed and rotary wings, in the beginning of the new millennium. “In the near future, we are going to convert Ad-hoc Army Aviation Group into a full-fledged group. Six MI-171 helicopters are going to be added to the present fleet by this year,” he said.
Regiment Commander of Fixed Wing Regiment of Adhoc Army Aviation Group, Colonel Baki, informed this Correspondent that they have trained 69 officers, including four naval officers, from the Aviation Wing so far.
Colonel Baki, who became a pilot in 1997 from the Aviation Wing, said that their target is to train more army officers as professional pilots to serve the country. “We want to provide advanced training to the army officers to fly larger aircraft in future,” he said. Commandant of
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Bangladesh Army gets its first lady pilots
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Army Aviation School, Brigadier General Alamgir Hossain, in his speech said that the aviation basic course– 9 started on 16 November, 2014, with 12 student officers. Out of over 200 applicants, only 12 officers were selected for the course. “On successful completion of the ground subjects, each student was put through 120 hours of flying training package in a Cessna 152A aircraft. General flying, navigation flying, instrument flying, formation flying and night flying constituted the flying training package,” he said.
Commander of Adhoc Army Aviation Group, Brigadier General GSM Hamidur Rahman, said that the Army Aviation Wing has become a reliable outfit of Bangladesh Army in carrying out various operational missions like CASEVAC, MEDEVAC, para dropping, load dropping, reconnaissance, VIP and troops carrying, mail run, etc. “We are operating round the clock,” he said.
The Army Aviation Wing has flown a long and laborious route since its inception in 1978.
The organisation was raised only with four light training aircrafts to serve as the integral air arm of the Army.