Name: Alauddin Ahmed
Pak No: 5034
Father’s Name: Dr Tajamal Ahmed
Date of Birth: 3 Oct 1930
Place of Birth: Dacca (Bengal, India)
GD(P) Course: 10 GD (P)
Date of Commission: 13 Jun 1952
Date of Shahadat: 13 Sep 1965
Gallantry Award: Sitara-e-Jurat (SJ)
Early Life/Career: Son of a well-reputed eye specialist of the East Pakistan, Alauddin Ahmed was born at Dacca. The great services rendered by his father in the field of medicine earned the family enviable reputation in Sub-Continent. Later, Government of Pakistan acknowledged his father’s services and decorated him with SI, TI and Qaiser-e-Hind. Alauddin Ahmed received his early education at Dacca and did FSc in 1950 with flying colours. Alauddin was an outstanding boxer during college days and won various medals at district and provincial levels. Alauddin joined RPAF College, Risalpur in 1951 and earned his wings on 13 June 1952. He did his Jet Transition Course from Germany and Advanced F-86 Course from USA. On his return, Alauddin was posted to elite No 11 Sqn equipped with newly inducted Sabres. He proved his mettle during Fighter Leaders’ Course at Mauripur and graduated from the school with distinction.
Later in his career, Butch Ahmed (his nickname) blossomed into one of the most exuberant and valiant fighter pilots of PAF. He did various command and staff courses during his meritorious service and had the honour of being the instructor in the elite Fighter Leaders’ School, Mauripur. He was also the proud member of ‘Sabre 16’ aerobatic formation team, which made a world record in 1958 by pulling up a formation loop. The rare feat was achieved during an international display held at Mauripur. He was also among the pioneering fighter pilots who got converted on modern and state-of-the-art F-104 aircraft. He commanded the elite No 18 Sqn for two years and during his tenure, the Sqn won the Flight Safety, Air- to- Air and Air- to- Ground competition trophy twice.
Always the centre of life at the station, he was a man with cheerful spirit that was infectious. He had a boyish grin, a firm handshake, and a direct manner. In spite of his boisterous behaviour with his Sqn pilots, he always retained that streak of strict disciplinarian, which demanded respect and professionalism. All these combined to make him the very image and epitome of a young Sqn Cdr.
Participation in 1965 War: Sqn Ldr Alauddin was commanding the No 18 Sqn during the 1965 Indo-Pak War. Being the Sqn Cdr, he led his Sqn in twenty combat missions against the Indian ground and air forces and achieved precise results. On the evening of 6 Sep, Sqn Ldr Alam led an offensive fighter sweep of three Sabres with Sqn Ldr Alauddin and Flt Lt Syed Saad Akhtar Hatmi. They were nearing Taran Taaran, a town in Amritsar district when Alauddin called out on the radio and informed the leader about the presence of four Hunters in close vicinity. Alam glanced in the direction pointed out by Butch. His eyes grew larger as he saw Hunter formation in attack formation, glistening in their war paints, crossing two or three thousand feet ahead. Soon Alam commanded the formation to jettison tanks and check guns. In the meanwhile, the Hunter formation located the Sabres and turned violently to avoid attack. Butch Ahmed was thrilled to get some action. This was the moment of trial and he had waited for this day since long. Jettisoning his tanks and checking his guns at ‘Hot’ position, he followed his gallant leader. He manoeuvred his aircraft vehemently and soon set behind the Hunter. As the silhouette of Hunter leader grew larger and filled the gun-sight, he fired a short burst. Ill-fated Hunter got severe damage and reeled away emitting thick black smoke. Alam damaged one aircraft and Hatmi destroyed one. All the Hunters were hunted and vanquished, leaving behind only three victorious Sabres in the hostile skies. Full of pride, victorious Butch Ahmed returned home, opening his account in a dashing manner.
That day onwards, Butch flew operational missions day in and day out and led his Sqn from the front. His professionalism and dedication remained a great source of motivation for the young fighter pilots of the Sqn.
Description of Shahadat: At 1030 hours in the morning of 13 Sep 1965, Sqn Ldr Alauddin Ahmed was flying his second operational mission of the day. Earlier in the morning, with the break of dawn, he had led an army-support mission of four Sabres in Chawinda-Narowal sector where the historic tank battle was still raging with all its blasting fury. Undaunted by heavy artillery fire, his four-ship formation flew at treetop level and blasted the enemy armour and guns with rockets sending huge spirals of smoke and fire all around. They made a number of strafing runs on the enemy until their whole ammunition was exhausted and they headed back home. After breakfast and a little rest the pilots started getting ready for the next mission: this time an armed reconnaissance patrol over Gurdaspur area to locate and destroy any worthy enemy target of opportunity, threatening own troops in the area. It was past 1000 hrs and the heat of summer sun had started swelling when the Sabres again roared out of their base into the blue haze of Sep sky. With Sqn Ldr Alauddin in the lead, the four fighters- Flt Lt Saleem, Flt Lt Amanullah and FIt Lt Arif in other cockpits- flew in battle formation and soon they were spearing through the enemy territory. With eight eyes scanning the skies all around and below for any speck or dot which could be enemy interceptors, they pressed on eastward. Nothing was insight. The steady roar of the engines and the general air of tension combined to bring the nerves to a razor’s edge. They checked their guns and gun-sight. Suddenly, the inquisitive voice of FIt Lt Amanullah appeared on R/T, “A train below at 5 0’ clock. Let us go for it.” The four fanned out and went into a steep dive towards the train. As they drew near, they could see the terrified looks on the faces of passengers craning their necks out of the windows of the red- coloured train in an effort to identify the on-rushing aircraft. “Oh, no it is a passenger train. Don’t hit it”; came the word of command from the leader, Butch Ahmad. The Sabres pulled up from the sharp dive and levelled off. Rubbernecking, they again searched the sky, but found
no enemy aircraft. The Indian skies seemed to be conspicuously free from their guardians. With eyes peeled, they roared on when suddenly the R/T again became alive. This time Saleem had seen the runway of the IAF base at Pathankot gleaming in the distant haze. They had come to the end of the area assigned to them for reconnaissance. ‘Butch’ ordered the formation to return and with flick of hands on the control columns, four were turning sharply to the left.
Now they decided to set course for the city of Gurdaspur. They were flying low, searching for any enemy build-up in the surroundings. They had reached the outskirts of Gurdaspur when they beheld the silhouette of another train in the marshalling yard of the railway station. Suddenly his aircraft peeled off to the right screaming down towards the railway station. It was a train. It could be carrying some military stores, he thought. The wagons grew bigger and bigger grimly as he approached them; suddenly, he realised that it was an ammo train, carrying loads of ammunition to battle area. It had to be destroyed; he decided and in seconds his finger slowly but deliberately pressed the trigger. A stream of bullets slammed into the target. A terrific explosion followed and a huge column of black smoke and debris went up. He pulled up for the second attack and delivered few more rockets and bursts of A.P.I.(Armour Piercing Incendiary) bullets and a number of other wagons went up in smoke and fire. Nothing was visible now as the whole place was engulfed in a black pall of smoke. Large pieces of twisted steel and burning wood were flying in all directions. ‘Butch’ had a narrow escape. Some splinters of broken metal hit his aircraft when he was pulling up. The Sabre lurched for a while. He checked the instruments; all seemed to be well. Now he circled overhead and saw the fireworks from above. His formation was delivering lethal blow to the remaining wagons. A few buildings near the marshalling yard had also caught fire. “I can’t see anything down below due to smoke. There might be some more wagons left,” said the leader on the R/T and again streaked down into the thick pall of smoke. He was engulfed in the dark billowing clouds of black smoke rising more than a hundred feet above.
‘Butch’ strained his eyes to see if any part of the train was left. However, he could not make out anything. He must dive further. Again, he went roaring down until he was flying dangerously low, a few feet above the burning train. All of a sudden, he picked up the wagons he was looking for and pulled up steeply for yet another attack. His salvo of rockets scored direct hit and there was a gigantic explosion of the munitions in the wagons, which sent up pressure waves that shook the other Sabres flying high up, like flying leaves in an autumn breeze. The debris leapt hundreds of feet into the air engulfing the whole area into darkness. ‘Butch’ had pulled up but to no avail. His Sabre was hit by flying debris and soon his cockpit was filled with pungent cordite smoke. He headed his aircraft toward Pakistan, a bare 12 miles away-a minute and a half of flying time! “My cockpit is full of smoke,” he called out to inform his formation. However, a few moments later he said, “It seems to be all right now.”
His comrades heard from him these last words. The formation, at this time, was not in visual contact with one another, and when the deputy leader called again to confirm his safety, there was no response. Realising that Butch must have bailed out, they carried out a vigorous search to locate their beloved leader, but in vain. As the formation was low on fuel, they returned and soon the search was taken over by an Army Aviation L-19 aircraft. The pilot enthusiastically joined in and in spite of his vulnerability to ground fire and interception by enemy aircraft, he combed the area for five hours: all to no effect. A great fighter pilot and a man of unsurpassable courage and a caring father had gone. He sacrificed his life in the line of duty with boots on, thus achieving a great honour for himself and for PAF.
Citation of Gallantry Award: “Sqn Ldr Alauddin Ahmed led his Sqn in twenty combat missions against the Indian ground and air forces. His leadership throughout the operations was cool, courageous and most determined which inspired the greatest confidence amongst pilots of his formations and resulted in destruction of many Indian tanks and vehicles. In his last sortie, he attacked and blew up an important ammunition train at Gurdaspur railhead in complete disregard to his personal safety. During this attack on Sep 13, his aircraft was damaged and was reported missing over enemy territory. Subsequently, it was confirmed that the officer died in this action. For his exemplary leadership, courage, and valour, Sqn Ldr Alauddin Ahmed was awarded SJ.”
Family Details: Alauddin married Sofia Shireen on 3 Nov 1955, and was blessed with two sons and as many daughters. His sons, Zafar Ahmed and Jamal Ahmed are married and settled in USA. His daughters Yasmeen and Neelofer are also married and presently settled in Canada.