By Lt Col (R) Ilyas Mirza (1st SSC)
Back in 1986, I was attending UCC-21 at School of Infantry & Tactics, Quetta. During an exercise, I was performing the duty of an air observer and I had to guide the PAF jet on to the target with the help of a smoke grenade. This was an exercise with troops and we were to engage the leading tanks with air force to stop the Advance.
For getting a clear view, I had positioned myself on the top of a rocky mound. As soon as I spotted the PAF jet, I immediately hurled the smoke grenade. It fell just 5 yards from me and could not roll down due to stones / pebbles. As there was no trench next to me, so for getting some protection, I immediately hit the ground and waited for the ‘trouble’ lying upside down. It was a very funny position. The next few seconds were terrible. And when the damn thing got burst, I got most of the “Chingaris” (Sparks) on my back. My shirt had turned into a “Changair” (sort of tray for ‘roti’) with black holes. I didn’t complain but didn’t know the shirt was telling the story. I was really looking horrible.
Maj Farooq (19th War Course), an Aviator and a fellow student, got me in an ambulance and rushed me to CMH Quetta. After that incident, I attended the remaining part of the course in Shalwar-Qameez and the great Lt Col Farhat Ullah, my Platoon Comd, who was one of the Directing Staffs, used to address me as’ This guy from MES’.
Editor’s Note: Lt Col Ilyas Mirza almost remembered the complete book, Infantry Battalion in Battle (IBIB) by heart and was known as ‘Chalta Phirtha IBIB’.
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