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Air Marshal Jafar Zaheer

Service No 3173 Branch F(P)
Date of Birth: 14 Jun 1923
Date Commissioned 27 Sep 1943 Course 18 Course
Service End Retired on 30 Jun 1979 / Died on 23 Jan 2008
Remarks : later DGCA
Promotions Gazetted
Sqn Ldr : 01 Oct 1954Wg Cdr : 01 Oct 1962Acting Gp Capt : 15 Jan 1964Gp Capt : 01 Oct 1966
Acting Air Cmde : 01 Apr 1968Air Cmde : 01 Oct 1969AVM : 01 Apr 1976Air Marshal : 01 May 1978
C-in-C : 24 Aug 1978
Google the Bharat Rakshak Website for : "J Zaheer"
Notes: 1) Ranks shown are substantive ranks at retirement. 2)Branch is at retirement and may not match with branch at Commission 3)Notional seniority is reflected in dates of substantive rank.

Appointments, Postings & Other Service Particulars

DatesRankUnitLocationAppointmentPhoto
01 Feb 1947 - Fg OffrNo.9 Squadron, RIAF 
01 Jan 1953 - 01 Dec 1954Sqn LdrNo.4 SquadronJamnagar Commanding Officer
01 Jan 1968 - 16 Nov 1969Gp CaptAir Head QuartersDelhi Air Defence Commander
17 Nov 1969 - 19 Jan 1973Air Cmde4 WingAgra Air Officer Commanding
20 Jan 1973 - 01 Dec 1974Air CmdeAir Head QuartersDelhi Director (ASR)
01 Dec 1974 - 19 May 1977AVMAir Head QuartersDelhi Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Plans
20 May 1977 - 23 Aug 1978Air MshlAir Head QuartersDelhi Deputy Chief of Air Staff
24 Aug 1978 - 19 Jan 1979Air MshlMaintenance CommandNagpur Air Officer Commanding in Chief
20 Jan 1979 - 30 Jun 1979Air MshlCADelhi Director General
 
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Awards and Decorations


Number of Awards: 2
  
Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air CmdeJafar Zaheer3173 F(P)Award Date 26 Jan 1972Announced 26 Jan 1972
Details :

Air Commodore Jafar Zaheer was commissioned in the Air Force in March 1944, in the Flying Branch. He has served with a number of fighter and fighter bomber squadrons of the Air Force and has commanded one of them. In addition, he has been a staff officer at Command and Air Headquarters, the Commander of a Tactical Air Centre and the Air Officer Commanding of an Air Defence Area. At present he is the Air Officer Commanding a major bomber base, and concurrently is the air defence commander of the area within which his base is situated. During the recent conflict with Pakistan, the bombers at his Base carried out a large number of strikes on important targets in enemy territory. Their attacks were kept up throughout the hostilities despite repeated raids by the enemy designed to put the base out of action. The servicing and repair of aircraft and their preparation for operational missions was maintained at a high tempo due largely to the personal example of Air Commodore Jafar Zaheer. He has rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Unit : AFS Agra
Reference : GoI19720126
Param Vishist Seva Medal
AVMJafar Zaheer3173 F(P)Award Date 26 Jan 1976Announced 26 Jan 1976
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Jafar Zaheer was commissioned in the Flying (Pilot) Branch of the Air Force in September, 1943. During his service career he held with distinction a variety of important operational and staff appointments. He has the rare qualification of being a graduate of the Institute of Armament Technology. This technological background in combination with his primary qualification as a pilot has equipped him with the background to function in many appointments in a uniquely effective and efficient manner. As Deputy Director of Weapons at Air Headquarters in 1962-63 his broad-based knowledge and experience enabled him to compile and introduce a Weapons Planning Directive which continues to be the standard document for such planning in the Air Force. He also rationalised the operational parameters on the basis of which the War Reserve of Weapons are calculated.

From 1964 to 1968, he commanded the Air Force Project Team for the development of an indigenous aircraft. During this tenure, essential improvements/modifications were progressed which led to the introduction of this aircraft in service. During 1968-69, he rendered distinguished services as Air Defence Commander in the Eastern sector and during 1969-72 as Air Officer Commanding of a big station. As Director, Air Staff Requirements at the Headquarters from January, 1973 to June, 1974 he had to undertake the task of selecting major weapons systems for the modernisation of the Air Force. His technological background and operational experience were of immense value in these tasks and also in the concept formulation of Air Staff Requirements for Research and Development in the country. As Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Plans) since July, 1974, he has controlled and coordinated the activities of various Directorates dealing in Projects, Plans and Programmes, etc. During a period when the Air Force has recognised the need for large scale replacement of obsolescent equipment, initiation of development projects and review of establishments, he has achieved exemplary results in the formulation of Requirement and Financial Plans on a long term perspective. His professional competence, high intellectual calibre and capacity for work have inspired his Directors and staff to high standards of performance and achievement, and he has thus gained the total confidence of his colleagues and superiors.

Throughout, Air Vice Marshal Jafar Zaheer rendered distinguished service of the most exceptional order.

Unit :
Reference : GoI19760126

Accidents and Incidents: 2

DateAircraft TypeTail NoPilot/CrewUnitRemarks
20 Feb 1947Spitfire XIVeNH803Fg Offr Jafar Zaheer
9BL at Nagpur
27 Apr 1947Spitfire XIVeRN192Fg Offr J Zaheer
9engine cut on ferryflt BL in field near Kunkurali,

Additional Notes

Remarks: Wg Cdr Walter Henry Marshall (Email) Note added: 2009-09-19
No doubt about that. (That they dont make officers like Zoot anymore).
 He was my first Squadron Commander No.4 Sqn Poona flying Tempests. Affectionately called ZOOT. One of the most handsome guys around. In his yellow Studebaker convertible he was the essence of elegance BUT treated us all on par. Grab a lift even borrow his car. Parked next to the Crew room on a cold winter day we would pile into his car & listen to the Radio - a rare commodity those days. Often enough the battery would run down & a push start at pack up time.
 There were 7 of us from the 60th. Pilots course posted in to 4 Sqn. & in many ways we we must have been the last thing a Sqn. Cdr. wanted. Spitfire jockeys converting onto Temps. With poor serviceability & a worse reputation it would not be easy to work up the Sqn. to Ops. status, something we never ever felt. Come Saturday & he would beat up the airfield with either 'Dusty' Dastoor or Millicans as number two, & much of the Station would stop & look up at the hair raising sight of these Two Temps ridiculing the Temps poor reputation.
 During the Firing range session he had an engine failure on take-off with full armament load Rockets & F.Guns. We all rushed out on to the tarmac as we heard the siren not knowing which or what aircraft till we saw a cloud of dust at the end of 09 Runway. Soon enough his jeep went tearing off to the crash site, bringing him to the Hangar & as usual his wry smile & nonchalant comment 'hell of a lot of dust' as he dusted himself.
Sadly a few days later our course mate Bali crashed at the end of the 27 Runway with full armament load but he never survived the resultant fire.
 Later I was to meet up with him again at Jodhpur where he was posted after completing the FIS Course ( if I recall rightly) for a while we were in the same flight as instructor's, he as C Cat. & I as B Cat. but to him rank was never an issue. His absolute freewheeling & easy way endeared him to every one. One of most endearing assets was his cultured tone of voice.His wife too was a wonderful person & a party at his place was a much prized event.
 In ones service career certain persons are indelibly engraved in ones memory & Zoot was one of those.   Yes, undoubtedly they don't make them like that anymore.
 Marsh
Remarks: AVM Hamid Shahul (on Email) Note added: 2009-09-20

Indeed Mac's words are Prophetic " They don't make them like that any more"

To pay tribute by remembering this Great soul, late Air Marshal Jaffer Zaheer is indeed a great honor. Surely my pen is too feeble to attempt it.  Yet there are some instances in life that you just cannot forget and one such event I remember so vividly. While he was ACAS( Plans) in Air HQ, if my memory does not betray me it was in 1974. I was posted as Assistant Director Maritime Operations. We interacted very intimately with him for a week on an issue of " Procurement and Induction of Aircraft". The paper was finalized and the values were checked and rechecked and finally it went to the Ministry.

A week later we were huddled up in Air Marshal's office to counter a question from the Ministry. Against a value of X number  of aircraft, Type wise, presented to the ministry there was a query " Why not X+1 or X-1. All of us worked for a day and arrived at a figure and the Air Marshal was just not convinced.

The next day he remembered Sqn Ldr Murugan, now retired as an Air Cmde. He was on leave and asked him to come to the office. My God it was an anti climax.  Murugan arrived and one look at the figures and the question from the Ministry  " Sir he said, this is a red herring and what Ministry wants is just a figure working out the Standard Deviation ( SD). Murugan compiled it all in a hurry. To pay a compliment to Murugan the Air Marshal was quick to acknowledge a good work  "Remember he said, this world belongs to Experts and thus respect them"

It was for the first time I had worked with Zaheer Sahib and like my Instructor Marshall has said that it is deeply ingrained in my memory;  his easy and comforting disposition put us all to work with him on one to one basis; surely unheard of in most cases. Later while I was the Chairman  Airports Authority of India I used to talk to him on issues pertaining to Civil Aviation and amazingly he knew the subject so well and yet his modesty never misplaced.

May the Almighty Bless his soul, Amen.

Regards, HMS.