Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Welfare of troops an example

Dear Veterans,
Couple of days ago, I had been to the Office of Embarkation HQ at Chennai and ran into Nk Manivannan of 5 MADRAS Bn, presently posted at Embarkation HQ at Chennai. What he narrated reminded me of the famous saying by Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode:
"The Safety, Honour and Welfare of your Country come first, always and every time. The Honour, Welfare and Comfort of the Men you command come next. Your own ease, Comfort and Safety come last, always and every time."
An Example of how our officers look after the men is placed below.
Veteran Cdr Vaidyanathan
Nk Manivannan recounts...
5 MADRAS Bn is deployed in the J&K in counter-insurgency Ops. It was in the beginning of March 2011, that I approached Col Harinder Singh Sidhu, the CO, regarding my problem. My father aged 55 years has been suffering from acute back ache, so much so, that, he can not walk and is bed ridden. My wife at Chennai took him to MH Chennai; but, for want of a Neurosurgeon, could not be operated upon. When approached, my CO, a quintessential Commanding Officer embodying compassion, spoke to Col Srinivas, a Veteran at Bangalore, actively involved in the welfare of Ex-Servicemen, if he could do something to ameliorate the sufferings of my father. In the meantime, my CO was kind to have me posted on compassionate grounds, to Embarkation HQ, Chennai, as my family was stationed there.
I arrived at Bangalore on 25 March, and met Col Srinivas; who then immediately took me to Air Cmde Nanda, the Registrar, Comd Hosp Air Force Bangalore (CHAFB). Air Cmde Nanda having heard me, asked me to get my father immediately to Bangalore; and, requested Wg Cdr Dr Datta, the Neurosurgeon to take up my case.
My father & I arr at Bangalore in the morning of Monday, 28 Mar 2011. Col Srinivas picked us up from the Rly Stn and took us to Comd Hosp Air Force Bangalore (CHAFB), where my father was admitted after examination by Wg Cdr Dr Datta, the Neurosurgeon. Surgery of the spine below the neck was carried out by Neurosurgeons Gp Capt Dr Sridhar and Wg Cdr Dr Datta on 15 Apr. After the surgery, my father was initially kept in the ICU for couple of days; and then, shifted to the General Ward. Thanks to the Registrar, who made available accn to me, I was able to stay next to CHAFB and take care of my father.
Col & Mrs Srinivas visited my father at CHAFB on Sunday, 24 Apr 2011. On hearing from me that my father was being discharged the next day, ie. Monday, 25 Apr; and that, I propose to take him by bus from Bangalore to Tiruvannamalai to Gingee; and from there to my village, 17 km from Gingee; Col Srinivas said a firm NO. Seeing the condition of my father who was bedridden and fitted with a Catheter; Col Srinivas said undertaking a journey by my father by bus from Bangalore to my village would result in undoing the Surgery; and, asked me to collect his Maruti van from his residence and for conveyance of my father to our village, loc nearly 300 km from Bangalore. On 25 Apr when I went to Col Srinivas’ residence to collect the Maruti van; Col Srinivas said that he himself would drive my father to our village, as I was not conversant with the route.
My father was discharged from CHAFB at 4 PM on 25 Apr; and, immediately thereafter, we left for Krishnagiri, 100 km away. We reached Krishnagiri at 7 PM and it was raining cats & dogs. We then stayed put for the night at Tamil Nadu Hotel. Having come to know that the road Krishnagiri to Tiruvannamalai was in a bad state, Col Srinivas decided to take the longer route via Vellore. The next morning, Tuesday, 26 Apr, we hit the road at 5.30 AM; and driving via Vellore – Arcot- Gingee, we reached our village, in the interior, at 1.30 PM. We were received by all our friends & relatives and there was jubilation on arr of my father in the village.
We then had our lunch; and having rested for a while and refreshed ourselves, Col Srinivas & I left for Bangalore at 4 PM. We reached Bangalore at 11.30 PM, after a gruelling drive of 18 hrs, covering 550 km, in one day. And it was Col Srinivas who drove the vehicle.
After having spent the night at Col Srinivas’ residence, I returned to my village on 27 Apr, to attend to my father.
Expression of Gratitude. I am deeply indebted to all Officers starting with Col HS Sidhu, CO 5 MADRAS, Air Cmde Nanda, the Registrar CHAFB, Gp Capt Dr Sridhar & Wg Cdr Dr Datta, the Neurosurgeons, Gp Capt Dr Lalla, the senior anesthetist and to Col Srinivas; for all their help, assistance & support extended to me, an Inf soldier of the Indian Army, in discharging my filial obligation to my father.
To say the least, I am over whelmed; and say with conviction, that the Men of the Indian Army, Navy & Air Force are indeed blessed to have Officers who genuinely care for the welfare & well-being of their Men & their families.

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