Saiful Azam (1941 – 14 June 2020) was a Bangladeshi pilot who first served as a fighter pilot for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) (1960-1971) and later the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) (1971-1979). During his career as PAF pilot, he shot down one Indian Air Force (IAF) and three Israel Air Force (IAF) aircraft. For his actions, he received various gallantry awards from Pakistan, Jordan and Iraq. After the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, Azam left the PAF and joined the newly-formed Bangladesh Air Force. He retired as a Group Captain from Bangladesh Air Force.
He passed away on 14 June 2020 at 13:00 hours at the Combined Military Hospital (Dhaka).
1 Personal life and education
2 Service with the Pakistan Air Force (1960-1971)
3 Service with the Bangladesh Air Force (1971-1979)
4 Post-Retirement (1979-2020)
5 Career achievements
6 See also
Personal life and education
Azam was born in Khagarbaria village, Pabna District, East Bengal (later East Pakistan and now Bangladesh) in 1941. After completing his secondary schooling in East Pakistan, he moved to West Pakistan and joined the Pakistan Air Force Academy, Risalpur in 1958, successfully gaining commission as an officer in the PAF's General Duties Pilot (GDP) branch in 1960. Saiful Azam was married to Nishat Azam who is a lawyer.
Service with the Pakistan Air Force (1960-1971)
After training with the Cessna T-37 aircraft and further education at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, with F-86 Sabres, in 1963, Azam was posted briefly in Dhaka before becoming an instructor with the T-33s at PAF's No. 2 Squadron (Jet Conversion Unit) in Mauripur, Karachi. While still posted as an instructor, Azam flew in the September 1965 war with India as part of PAF's No. 17 Squadron from PAF Base Sargodha, flying F-86s. After returning from a successful ground attack, Azam's group encountered Indian Folland Gnat interceptors; Azam shot down Flight Officer Mayadev of the Indian Air Force. Flight officer Mayadev ejected and was captured by Pakistani soldiers on the ground. For his actions, Azam was awarded the Sitara-e-Jurat, Pakistan's third highest military award. In 1966, he assumed the command of PAF's No. 2 Squadron.
In November 1966, he was sent by the PAF on deputation as an adviser to the Royal Jordanian Air Force. During the 1967 Arab Israel war, Azam shot down a Dassault Mystère IV belonging to the Israel Air Force while flying a Hawker Hunter. A day later, he was shifted to an Iraqi airbase where he shot down a Vautour IIA and Dassault Mirage III belonging to the Israel Air Force.
In 1969, after completing his overseas deputation, he returned in service to the PAF and spent several years as flight commander at various PAF bases before the Independence of Bangladesh in 1971.
Service with the Bangladesh Air Force (1971-1979)
After the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, Azam entered service with the newly-formed Bangladesh Air Force, serving as Director of Flight Safety and Director of Operations before being given command of the Dhaka Air Base and promoted to Group Captain in 1977. He retired in 1979 as Group Captain.
After retirement, Azam served in the following appointments:
Chairman, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), twice
Managing Director, Film Development Corporation (FDC)
Member of fifth Jatiya Sangshad (1991–95) from Pabna-3 constituency (Chatmohar Upazila, Faridpur Upazila and Bhangura Upazila) from Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)
Subsequently, he entered the private business sector as the Managing Director of Natasha Trading Agency and as the director of a travel agency with his wife.
He lived with his wife in Dhaka Cantonment Defense Officers Housing Society (DOHS), while his adult son and daughters live in the state of Arizona, United States.
Saiful Azam has flown for four air forces (Bangladesh, Jordan, Iraq and Pakistan) at war, and has destroyed fighter planes of two different air forces (India and Israel). As of 2012, he holds the record for shooting down more Israeli aircraft than any other, total 3. In 2001, US government rewarded him as "Living Eagle".
Muhammad Mahmood Alam
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