Flight Lt Nivedita Choudhary became the first woman from the Indian Air Force (IAF) to summit the Mt. Everest – and the first woman from Rajasthan to achieve this feat. It was in October 2009 that, she joined the squadron in Agra, chanced upon a broadcast calling for volunteers for IAF’s women expedition to the Everest. She volunteered, without realising that, three years later, she would do what no woman in the air force had ever done.
Punita Arora is the first woman in India to don the second-highest rank, Lieutenant General of Indian Armed Forces, as well as the rank of Vice Admiral of Indian Navy. Earlier, she was the commandant of the Armed Forces Medical College in 2004, the first woman at the helm of the institute. She also co-ordinated medical research for the armed forces as additional director-general of Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS).
Anjana Bhaduria is the first woman to win a gold medal in the Indian Army. She applied to an advertisement for the induction of lady officers into the Army through the Women Special Entry Scheme (WSES) and was accepted into the first-ever batch of women cadets in the Indian Army in 1992. Excelling in every field during the training, she was chosen for the gold medal.
Divya Ajith Kumar beat 244 fellow cadets (both men and women) to win the Best All-Round Cadet award and get the coveted “Sword of Honour,” the highest award given to a cadet of the Officers Training Academy, criteria includes P.T. tests, higher P.T. tests, swimming tests, field training, service subjects, obstacle training, drill tests, cross-country enclosures etc. The first woman to win this honour in the history of Indian Army.
Padmavathy Bandopadhyay was the first woman Air Marshal of the Indian Air Force. She was the first woman officer to become an aviation medicine specialist, the first woman to conduct scientific research at the North Pole (she studied the physiology of extreme cold acclimatization during the late 80s) and the first woman to be promoted to the rank of Air Vice Marshal and, last but not the least, she was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal for her meritorious service during the 1971 Indo-Pak conflict.
Deepika Misra In 2006, Deepika Misra became the first IAF woman pilot to train for the helicopter aerobatic team, Sarang. It was during her passing out parade at Air Force Academy in December 2006 that Deepika Misra, then a Flight Cadet, first fell in love with the aerobatic displays by the Surya Kirans and Sarang, IAF’s fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerobatic display teams respectively.