First woman Air
Marshal in The Indian Air Force (IAF). Became the Director General
Medical Services (Air) at the Air Headquarters.
Bandopadhyay was born on 04 November 1944 to Shri V.
Swaminathan and Smt. Alamelu at Tirupati . Seeing her
mother sick, who was almost in the hospital for the rest of her
life ,she decided to become a doctor and cure her mother and
also thousands of such people who suffered.
in Delhi and studied Pre Medical in Kirori Mal college. She
stood first in the whole course. When the Armed Forces Medical
College opened in Pune in 1962, she applied and passed the entrance
examination in the first batch. However, sending a daughter far away
from home to stay in a hostel and study for a medical course
for five years was out of question for Padma’s family
members, and so she did not join AFMC. The following year she
convinced her parents and joined the ‘B’ Batch of AFMC.
her studies, she excelled in every field and passed with many prizes,
medals and cash prizes. She opted for the Air Force and she was
posted as an Internee at Air Force Hospital, Bangalore. There she met
her husband to be, Flt Lt Satinath Bandopadhyay.
commissioned in the IAF in 1968 after passing out of the Armed Forces
Medical College. A problem with her eyesight forced her to give up
the dream to become a pilot and stick to a medical career in
the IAF. She specialised in aviation medicine in 1975, which
was then a new field . Over the years, she has completed 23
research projects and has 27 publications to her credit . She is
the the first woman officer to become an aviation medicine
During the 1971 war with Pakistan, Bandhopadhyay,
then an intern fresh out of the IAF command hospital in Bangalore,
was posted along with her husband, S.N. Bandhopadhyay, at the
Halwara airbase in Punjab. For their contributions to the war effort,
both Bandhopadhyay and her husband, an administrative officer, were
awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM), an award for exemplary
devotion to duty. This resulted in the first-ever husband and wife
team to be honoured with the VSM at the same defence ceremony by the
Sqn Ldr Padma Bandopadhyay became Wing
Commander and she was posted to DIPAS (Defence Institute of
Physiology & Allied Sciences ) where she did laudable research
work on high altitude. During this time she lived at High Altitude
areas both in the Western and Eastern Himalayas. She was instrumental
in making the new acclimatization schedule for Indian Soldiers at
high altitudes and preventive measures to HAPO (High Altitude
Pulmonary Oedema and HACO ( High Altitude Cerebral Oedema).
member of the Indian Society of Aerospace Medicines, International
Medical Society and New York Academy of Sciences. Has also been a
member of a research expedition to the Arctic. She is the first
Indian woman to have conducted scientific research at the North Pole.
In the late eighties, she went to the Arctic to join an Indo-Russian
physiology experiment to determine whether people from tropical
Indian climates could acclimatise themselves to extreme cold
conditions. She spent four months at the North Pole between November
1989 and February 1990. On her return, she was awarded Indira
Priyadarshini Award for being an Outstanding Lady with so many
achievements. This was the first time any Lady in uniform was
honoured with this Award. She was also awarded the Air Force Wives
Welfare Association Trophy by AFWWA.
Padma was promoted to the
rank of Group Captain and was posted as Deputy Principle Medical
Officer (Specialist) of Western Air Command, Indian Air Force when
Indo-Pak relations reached their lowest ebb. During the Kargil
Operations she toured all the forward areas and looked after the
medical needs of the Air Warriors.
She made history again by
becoming the First Lady Air Commodore of Indian Air Force on 26 June
2000. She took over the command of the most prestigious Air Force
Medical Unit, Air Force Central Medical Establishment. She was
awarded Ati Vishisth Seva Medal for her service of meritorious order
on 26 January 2002.
She was promoted and became the First Lady
Air Vice Marshal of Indian Air Force and also the first of all the
Air Forces of the world. She took over as Additional Director General
Armed Forces Medical Services. She did laudable job and was promoted
to the highest rank of the Medical Branch – Air Marshal on 01 Oct
2004. She took over the command of Air Force Medical Services and
became the first lady Air Marshal of the world and also the first
Lady Director General Medical Services of the forces. She is also the
first Lady Honorary Surgeon to the President of India. Source: