Lt Gen KJ Singh returned ‘home’ to the unit where he was commissioned and spent his final day in uniform with the vintage war machine, the classic T-55 tank, marked as ZX 1685.
Relinquishing his appointment as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Chandimandir-based Western Command, Lt Gen KJ Singh bade a befitting ‘farewell to arms’ by returning to his first love — 63 Cavalry Garages. He was received by Col Manbir Singh Hundal (retd), who was the very person to receive him when he joined the regiment at Ambala back in 1977.
Reminiscing the golden days of his service, he said that the Army is one of the noblest professions and should attract the best talent in the nation.
“I feel happy that I put more than 39 years in the service of my nation. My association with the Army began way back when I joined Sainik School in 1966 in the aftermath of the 1965 war. I feel people should support their Army in all respects.” He also mounted the ZX 1685, the very battle tank that he maintained with elan as its driver as part of the battle crew.
He had taken charge of the Western Command on August 1, 2014 and was instrumental in giving an impetus to the operational preparedness with new concepts to ensure a decisive victory. He steered the establishment of senior veterans home in Panchkula and Youth outreach programme to motivate youth to join the Army, something, he says, he would continue to do.
“I feel honoured to have been offered the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Chair by Panjab University. I will ensure that I keep myself engaged in inspiring youngsters to join the Indian armed forces,” he said. He has served in counter-insurgency areas and also had a stint with the UN in Angola for which he was awarded Force Commanders Citation for Bravery followed by COAS commendation card. Accompanied by his wife Anita Singh and other family members, he said that he planned to settle down in Chandigarh.
Popularly known as ‘Soldiers’ General”, he would always be available for his officers and soldiers, said his wife. “He is a soldier and will always be one. Maybe now, he will have some time for himself. He plans to write a book,” she said. On being asked if he was open to a career in politics, she quickly replied with a firm ‘no’.