Air Commodore (retd) Mohammad Mahmood Alam, popularly known as M M Alam, passed away in Karachi on Monday morning, after a prolonged illness.
Alam, 78, famous for piloting an F-86 Sabre fighter, downed two damaged three Indian war planes at Sargodha during the 1965 conflict with India.
The war hero, was born on July 6, 1935 in Calcutta (Kolkata), India and was the eldest of 10 siblings. Having completed his secondary education in 1951 from Government High School in Dhaka, Alam joined PAF in 1952 and was commissioned on October 2, 1953.
His major appointments included air gunnery and tactical instructor at Fighter Leader School, commanding officer of PAF squadrons No 11, No 5 and No 26, director operation research, assistant chief of the air staff (flight safety) and assistant chief of the air staff (plans) at the headquarters. Alam retired as an air commodore in 1982.
Following the funeral prayers at PAF Masroor Air Base, the decorated war veteran was laid to rest with full military honours. Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, Core Commander Let Gen Mohammad Ejaz Chaudhry, DG Rangers Maj. Gen Rizwan Akhtar, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt and a number of war veterans attended the funeral.
Speaking to the media, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt said Alam’s death was a national loss. “With his courage and bravery, MM Alam held the country’s honour high as well as of its armed forces and became a role model for every PAF airman,” Butt said.
Any chronicles on the world’s aviation hall of fame or accomplishments of Pakistan Air Force would remain incomplete without the mention of (retd) Air Commodore M M Alam, the Air Chief added.
Talking to The Express Tribune Alam’s brother Dr Mohammad Zobair Alam said that MM Alam was fond of becoming a fighter pilot at an early age of 14, he used to make model aircraft from wood.”
Alam had been battling illness since December last year and was admitted to Pakistan Naval Station Shifa Hospital in Karachi.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2013.