Captain Abhilasha Barak on Wednesday created history by becoming the first woman combat aviator in the Indian Army.
Officials said she has been awarded the coveted 'wings' along with 36 Army pilots by the director-general of the Army Aviation during a ceremony held at Combat Army Aviation Training School in Nashik.
D G of Army Aviation, A K Suri, was the chief guest at the event.
Barak has been assigned to the second flight of 2072 Army Aviation Squadron that operates the Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH), officials familiar with the matter said.
For the 26-year-old from Haryana, joining the forces was a natural career choice having grown up in military Cantonments across the country.
The combat aviator is the daughter of Col S Om Singh (Retd).
"While growing up in military Cantonments, and being surrounded by people in uniform, it always seemed like an ordinary affair. I never realised it (that it was different) until our family moved out of the military life, after my father's retirement in 2011. The feeling only grew stronger after seeing my elder brother's passing out parade at Indian Military Academy in 2013. That was the moment I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life," Captain Barak said in a in-house interview shared recently by the Indian Army.
Captain Barak is an alumnus of The Lawrence School, Sanawar. She completed her graduation in B Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Delhi Technological University in 2016 and was placed at Deloitte, USA.
In 2018, she was commissioned into the Indian Army from the Officers Training Academy, Chennai. During her attachment with Corps of Army Air Defence, she was selected as a Contingent Commander for Presentation of Colours to Army Air Defence by President Ram Nath Kovind.
She attained 'A' grading in Army Air Defence Young officers course, 75.70 per cent in Air Traffic Management and Air Laws course and passed the promotional exam, Part B, in her first attempt.
While women officers in the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy have been flying helicopters for long, the army took a decision in early 2021 to allow them to opt for its aviation wing. Until now, women officers were assigned only ground duties in army aviation.