National Defence Bureau,
New Delhi, 10 March 2018
The Passing Out Parade of the Officers Training Academy, a unique biannual event, was held at Chennai on 10 Mar 2018. A total of 255 Officer Cadets to include 196 Gentleman Cadets, 37 Lady Cadets were commissioned as Officers of the Indian Army following the completion of vigorous training at the Academy. Further, 02 Gentleman Cadets and 03 Lady Cadets from Bhutan, 09 Gentleman Cadets from Afghanistan and 08 Gentleman Cadets Tajikistan also were commissioned into their respective Armies.
Lieutenant General Dewan Rabindranath Soni, PVSM, VSM, ADC, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Southern Command reviewed the spectacular parade which was commanded by Academy Under Officer (AUO) Vivek Suraj.
The Officer Cadets marched out with precision from Parameshwaran Drill Square to the tune of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, taking the ‘Final Step,’ thus symbolising the end of their training. The ‘Final Step’, in fact, is the ‘First Step’ towards an exciting and demanding career as the custodians of the Nation’s integrity and honour. The proud parents of the Officer Cadets, dignitaries, relatives of our fallen war heroes, and members of the diplomatic fraternity witnessed the mesmerising parade.
Addressing the Parade, the Reviewing Officer congratulated OTA for having toiled hard to turn out such a smart and dynamic group of young Military Leaders.
During the Parade, the Reviewing Officer presented various awards. The most coveted “Sword of Honour” was presented to ACA Preeti Choudhary and the “Gold Medal” was presented to AUO Vivek Suraj. The Silver Medal for standing Second in Overall Order of Merit was awarded to SUO Vreeti and the Bronze Medal for standing Third in Overall Order of Merit was awarded to BUO Aman Pratap Shahi. The COAS Banner for Champion Company was awarded to Basantar Company.
Later in a solemn yet emotionally charged ‘Pipping Ceremony’ the Officer Cadets were pipped (putting on of rank badges on uniform) by their parents. The event was followed by the Oath Taking Ceremony. The audience gathered at the Pipping Lawn under the “TRICOLOUR” fluttering proudly atop a 100 feet Mast and listened spellbound as the Cadets took the oath in the name of Constitution of India. The Passing Out Cadets stated under oath that “I will as in duty bound honestly and faithfully serve in the regular Army of the Union of India and go wherever ordered by Land, Sea or Air and that I will observe and obey all commands of President of the Union of India and the command of any Officer set over me even to the peril of my life”. The newly Commissioned Officers are now all set to join their new assignments in Battalions and Regiments across the country
LADY CADETS WIN TOP HONOURS AT OTA
First time in the History of Officers Training Academy, Two Lady Cadets won top Honors including the coveted Sword of Honor at the Passing Out Parade held at St Thomas Mount, Chennai. Academy Cadet Adjutant Preeti Choudhary received the Sword of Honour from the Reviewing Officer Lieutenant General Dewan Rabindranath Soni, PVSM, VSM, ADC, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Southern Command, whereas Senior Under Officer Vreeti was awarded with the Silver Medal. Both these young and inspiring ladies (Now Lady Officers) from Haryana, beat more than 200 Gentleman Cadets to bag top honours at the Prestigious Officers Training Academy.
In the 55 years history of OTA from the portals of which, 105 courses have passed out, till date. Only the third time a Lady Cadet is winning the “Sword of Honor”. Sep 2010 was a landmark in the history of the Academy when the First Lady Cadet, AUO Divya Ajith Kumar was awarded the prestigious Sword of Honour and the President’s Gold Medal, a feat repeated only once later by AUO M Anjana in Mar 2015.
The Sword of Honour is awarded to the First Cadet in overall order of merit. An Officer Cadet has to perform exceedingly well in Physical tests, Academic Training, Weapon training, Leadership Qualities, Field Engineering and Drill and also win competitions like cross country Run, Boxing, Debate etc.,
ACA Preeti Choudhary is from Panipat, Haryana. Her father Inder Singh retired as a Honary Captain from the Army. Her mother Smt Sumta Devi is a teacher. She has a sister who is a Software professional and her brother is pursuing B Tech.
SUO Vreeti’s father is a Banking Professional and mother a Lecturer. Her sister is an Asst Manager in Delhi Metro and her younger brother is Computer Engineer. A B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering, Vreeti quit a highly paid job in Japan as a Design Engineer before joining OTA as a Lady Cadet.
LC Sushmita Pandey (Veer Nari )
LC Shusmita Pandey is the wife of Major Neeraj Kumar Pandey. Martyr Major Neeraj Kumar Pandey served in Corps of Signals who sacrificed his life during course of duty in Arunachal Pradesh on 17 March 2016. She had always wanted to be a part of this organization and after demise of her husband she realised that she could not imagine life outside the Army and decided to don the Olive Green like her late husband. She was the eldest in her group when she joined training, but her determination and hard work made her mentally and physically strong to successfully complete the extremely demanding training at OTA.
LC Neeta Deswal (Journey from Veer Nari to Aadarsh Nari)
LC Neeta Deswal’s husband was late Maj Amit Deswal who was martyred while fighting terrorist in Jammu and Kashmir. In the bat of an eyelid everything changed in her life. But her husband had taught her to be mentally and physically strong. She decided to don the uniform and followed her heart with determination and confidence to successfully crack the SSB Interview. She joined OTA, Chennai, to begin her training leaving her young son behind and faced tough physical and mental training to become a perfect example for others.
GC Om Paithane from an Ola driver to Army Officer
Om Paithane hails from a farmer family in Pune. He was forced to drop out of college during his last year of graduation and started to drive a cab for his livelihood. He was simultaneously preparing for completion of his graduation during this time of the Indian Army. As cab driver he got an opportunity to ride a Retired Colonel who informed him about the CDS Exam. He took the advice seriously and started preparing for the same. He cleared the interview in his very first attempt and joined the Officers Training Academy.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 17 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.