FLD MRSHL KM CARIAAPA 1899-1993
Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa OBE was the first Indian Chief-of-Staff. He took over from the British Commander- in- Chief General Sir Roy Bucher on January 15, 1949 and held office till January 14, 1953. He is one of the two Indian Army officers to hold the rank of Field Marshal (the other being Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw). His distinguished military career spanned almost three decades, the highest point of which was his appointment as the Commander-in-Chief in 1949. He was affectionately called ‘Kipper’, because as the story goes a British officer’s wife found it difficult to pronounce ‘Cariappa’ and shortened it to a convenient ‘Kipper’. After the end of World War-1 in 1918, Indian politicians raised a demand to sanction Indians to the King’s Commission. He joined the first batch of KC10s (King’s Commissioned Indian Officers) at Daly Cadet College in Indore and was commissioned in Carnatic Infantry at Mumbai. Cariappa saw active service with the 37(Prince of Wales) Dogra in Mesopotamia (presentday Iraq) and was later posted to the 2nd Queen Victoria’s Own Rajput Light Infantry which became his permanent regimental home. He was the first Indian officer to undergo the course at Staff College, Quetta, in 1933. In 1946, he was promoted as Brigadier of the Frontier Brigade Group where Colonel Ayub Khan, later Field Marshal and ex-President of Pakistan (1962-1969) served under him. In 1947, Cariappa became the first Indian to undergo a training course at Imperial Defense College, Camberly, UK on the higher directions of war. During the traumatic period of partition, he handled the division of the Indian Army and sharing of its assets between Pakistan and India as the Indian Officer-in-charge of overseeing the transition. Post-Independence, Cariappa was appointed as the Deputy Chief of the General Staff with the rank of Major General. On being appointed as the first Commander-in-Chief of an independent Indian Army on January 15, 1949, he played a key role in integrating the troops and turning an Imperial Army into National Army.