33 SQUADRON “SOARING STORKS” –
HARD WORK LEADS TO ACHIEVEMENT
Air Force Station Sulur
AOC: Air Cmde Rahul Gupta
C O: Gp Capt Faiz Rizvi
The 9th of January 1963 is etched in the annals of history as a glorious date for the” Soaring Storks”, as on this day the unit was raised with 02 Caribou aircraft in Guwahati under the Command of Wg Cdr JC Plomer AVSM, to augment the transport capabilities in the Eastern Himalayas. The unit has carved a niche for itself in the history books with Golden letters, by way of its achievements. In 1965 Ops the unit participated in “Ops Zonga” in the Mizo Hills. During the 1971 Indo-Pak war, under the Command of Wg Cdr SS Sane VM, the unit undertook Offensive Operations by bombing targets in Kumritola and Tezgaon airfields near Dacca. The unit holds the distinction of participating in the biggest para-drop operation in the history of IAF at ‘Tangail’.
The unit was also entrusted with the responsibility of flying Lt Gen AAK Niazi, the deposed Commander of East Pakistan out of Dacca to Calcutta and the first president of the newly formed Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to Dacca from Calcutta.
In the year 1987, the unit was equipped with AN-32 aircraft and the Sqn immediately swung into action in the 1987-88 Operations in Sri Lanka as a part of ‘IPKF’. In 1991 the unit left the foothills of the Himalayas and migrated to its present location at Sulur. The Squadron was entrusted with the primary task of maintaining the air bridge between the mainland and the littoral island territories.
During the 2004 ‘Tsunami’, the first aircraft to land on the island with the relief team and material was from 33 Squadron. The unit flew relentlessly to provide succor to victims affected by the tragedy. In recognition of the yeoman service to the nation, the unit was awarded “President Standards” on 18 Dec 2012.
The Squadron Crest of an ‘Adjutant Stork’ carrying a rice stalk in its beak aptly symbolizes the yeoman service being rendered by the unit in keeping the supply lines to the island territories constantly open. The Squadron will be re-equipped in about two years’ time with new aircraft C295MW transport aircraft being manufactured for IAF at a facility at Vadodara, Gujrat. The Tata-Airbus consortium will manufacture the transport aircraft.