By Wg Cdr Prakash S Sanadi (Retd)
26 April 1971 to 31 May 1971, a period 36 days of armament training was planned and executed at Air Force Station, Jamnagar. Prior to departure of the squadron, W/C JW Greene, OC 2 Sqn., ordered all officers proceeding on detachment to carry their PT kits. He stressed, everyone to carry PT shoes!! All the officers thought that he meant, PT dress would be worn at work in the afternoon & evenings!! Sqn Ldr K De laughed it off and made sure he would carry only his flying boots as he did not possess PT shoes. On landing in Jamnagar, we went to the Officers Mess to settle into our designated rooms. We were about to disperse, when the CO told everyone to fall in – in PT kit at 6pm in front of the Officers Mess!! Everyone was stumped as to what was to follow.
At 6pm the fall in took place. Crow De in his PT kit wearing flying boots! Leading the pack Johnny Greene started to jog towards the airfield, with all the officers following. We entered the airfield area, turned round and headed back to the mess. On reaching the mess we found Crow De walking back, way behind. When he reached the Officers Mess, Johnny Greene asked him what had happened. Sheepishly, Crow said he didn’t have PT shoes and by running with the flying boots on, he had blisters on his feet. Promptly Crow then went to a shoe shop in the market and bought himself a pair of running shoes realising Johnny Green meant business. There after every evening the squadron officers led by the Boss went for a nonstop run and each day he kept increasing the distance. Lights out was 10pm for one & all. In the morning at work, all the pilots were on their toes, eager to get airborne and prove their worth. Afternoons were spent harmonizing the gun sights with Boss explaining how to do it, as he was an expert in this area. Sadly, soon, the detachment was coming to an end, even then none of us realised what was the Boss’s ultimate plan. Till, the day before the departure all the officers led again by Wg Cdr JW Greene ran the complete distance starting from the officers mess to the beginning of the runway via the taxi track, down this runway, along the taxi track to the cross runway. Down the cross runway, back along the taxi track and the road to the Officers Mess – ALL NON-STOP- At a rough guess the total distance covered non stop on that day must have been close to 12 to 14 Kms! The detachment went off without a hitch, no hic-ups at all. Crow De (Late) included. May his Soul Rest in Peace. I think this record run has never been achieved by any squadron in the IAF till today.
That’s WG CDR JW GREENE to all of us who served under him (Retired as Air Marshal & settled in Colaba, Mumbai, Tel No 022-22875324)