Shillong, Oct 31: Former Vice Chief of Indian Air Force (IAF), Air Marshal (retd) P K Barbora, who was instrumental in reactivation of the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) air strip in eastern Ladakh, passed away at the Research and Referral Hospital Delhi on Monday. He was 72.
He was born on December 10, 1950 in Shillong and was commissioned into the IAF as a fighter pilot on June 13, 1970.
He was a highly experienced aviator with over 3,500 hours of flying, he had taken part in the 1971 war as well.
He was unwell for some time and was undergoing treatment at the Army’s Research and Referral hospital where he breathed his last yesterday.
Barbora, who hails from Assam, was the first person from the Northeast to reach such a coveted post in the armed forces.
Air Marshal Barbora was the vice chief of the IAF from June 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010.
He was instrumental in reactivation of the DBO air strip in 2008 after a gap of over four decades.
In his illustrious career, he served as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of IAF’s Western Air Command and Eastern Air Command.
A qualified flying instructor and a fighter combat leader, Barbora was on the staff of Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment which is a premier flying establishment of the IAF.
Among his several operational assignments include command of a MiG-21 squadron, chief operations officer of a fighter airbase and air officer commanding of a premier fighter airbase under Eastern Air Command.