Navy to neigh­bourly

Melville Times - - Front Page - Josh Zim­mer­man

AS chair­man of Melville Neigh­bour­hood Watch, Winthrop res­i­dent Atul Garg is a fa­mil­iar face around the City.

What many might not know is that be­fore im­mi­grat­ing to Aus­tralia in 1993, Mr Garg en­joyed a long and dec­o­rated ca­reer with the In­dian Navy – in­clud­ing play­ing a ma­jor role in the com­mis­sion­ing of air­craft carrier INS Vi­raat in 1987.

Mr Garg joined the navy as a cadet in 1970 and was com­mis­sioned as a sub­lieu­tenant four years later.

The In­dian Navy pur­chased the air­craft carrier INS Vi­raat (for­mally HMS Her­mes) from the UK in April 1986 af­ter the con­clu­sion of the Falk­lands War, where it had served as the flag­ship of the Bri­tish forces.

Orig­i­nally built in the 1950s, the INS Vi­raat re­quired an ex­ten­sive re­fit, in­clud­ing the in­stal­la­tion of new fire con­trol equip­ment, nav­i­ga­tion radars, im­proved nu­clear, bi­o­log­i­cal and chem­i­cal pro­tec­tion and deck land­ing aids.

Mr Garg was a mem­ber of the ves­sel’s com­mis­sion­ing crew and the chief avi­a­tion elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer on board.

“I was re­spon­si­ble for su­per­vis­ing in­stal­la­tion of new avion­ics work­shop equip­ment, flight deck and hangar deck equip­ment, and main­te­nance of Sea Har­rier, Seak­ing and Chetak air­craft squadrons,” he said.

“One of my most im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tions was the in­stal­la­tion of the world’s first lo­cal area net­work (LAN) on a sail­ing ship in 1987.

“The LAN al­lowed the ship to con­nect all de­part­ments and op­er­a­tional ar­eas to­gether and assisted fly­ing op­er­a­tions by per­form­ing pro­grammed cal­cu­la­tions of Sea Har­rier data, true wind and fly­ing course.

“Ad­di­tion­ally, the LAN was used for main­te­nance man­age­ment and stock con­trol func­tions.”

He also wrote the ship’s song, which was reg­u­larly broad­cast at meal times and on of­fi­cial func­tions such as pa­rades.

Most ships have a song to en­cour­age ca­ma­raderie and boost morale among the ship’s com­pany.

Mr Garg, by then a Com­man­der, re­tired from the navy in 1993 and mi­grated to Aus­tralia in pur­suit of a bet­ter life and fu­ture for his wife and chil­dren.

Since then he has worked in engi­neer­ing man­age­ment, most re­cently spend­ing the past six years as a se­nior en­ergy spe­cial­ist at Fortes­cue Met­als Group.

“I have al­ways been a strong be­liever in com­mu­nity safety and se­cu­rity through crime pre­ven­tion and so I joined Neigh­bour­hood Watch 22 years ago in 1995 as a street rep­re­sen­ta­tive and have been the chair­man of the City of Melville team since 2008,” he said.

“Neigh­bour­hood Watch is a method of re­duc­ing crime by recog­nis­ing and reporting sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity in your neigh­bour­hood – it’s a good way to build safe, strong, car­ing, con­nected and happy com­mu­ni­ties.”

Ear­lier this year, Mr Garg was in­vited back to In­dia for var­i­ous events as­so­ci­ated with the de­com­mis­sion­ing of INS Vi­raat.

“Meet­ing old col­leagues was price­less and be­ing back on board the air­craft carrier was ex­tremely nos­tal­gic,” he said.

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son­mu­ni­ d467134

An in­ter­est­ing life: Atul Garg at home.

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