One of the greatest Bangladeshi fighter pilots of all time, Saiful Azam, has died at a hospital in Dhaka.
The former 80-year-old Civil Aviation Authority Bangladesh (CAAB) chief – who served at the organization for two terms (from 1982 to 1984, 1987 to 1988) – breathed his last while undergoing treatment at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) around 1 pm on Sunday (14 June 2020).
A press release was issued by CAAB in this regard later in the day.
In the release, present CAAB Chairman Air Vice Marshall M Mafidur Rahman, on behalf of the organization, mourned Azam’s death, prayed for his departed soul and conveyed deep sympathy to the bereaved family.
Saiful Azam, born in 1941 in Pabna, Bangladesh, served in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) from 1960-1971, and the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) from 1971-1979.
The retired group captain of BAF is the only fighter pilot in the world to have served in a war setting for four different air forces — Bangladesh, Jordan, Iraq, and Pakistan.
He is also the only pilot to have destroyed fighter planes of two different air forces – India and Israel – during the 1965 Indo-Pak war and the Third Arab-Israeli War, also known as the “The Six-Day War” in 1967.
In April 1961, Azam, after his training in the US, was awarded “Top Gun” by the United States Air Force (USAF) at the Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.
Azam holds the record for shooting down more Israeli aircraft than anyone else till date – a total of three – and in 2001 he again was honoured by the USAF as one of the 22 “Living Eagles” of the world.
He also received various gallantry awards from Jordan, Iraq, and Pakistan for his extraordinary skill and courage in war.
Azam also served Bangladesh as a lawmaker in 1991-96.