Wednesday 8 April 2020

Karnataka's Kodagu district becomes only place in India to have three Lieutenant Generals serving in Army

Kodagu is a small and beautiful mountain district of Karnataka and is well known in the world for coffee and its 'brave warriors', men and women, serving in all services.

It was a proud moment for the people of Kodagu district when Lt Gen CP Cariappa took command of India’s elite 1 Strike Corps at Mathura on Friday. Lt Gen Cariappa became the Corp Commander and the District boasts of rare distinction of three Lieutenant Generals serving the army simultaneously.

Kodagu is a small and beautiful mountain district of Karnataka and is well known in the world for coffee and its “brave warriors”, men and women, serving in all services. Talking only of Indian Army there are 90 posts at the rank of Lieutenant General.

Lt Gen PC Thimmaya and Lt Gen CB Ponnappa are the other two generals. Lt Gen Thimmaya is the Army Commander at the Army Training Command and Lt Gen Ponnappa is the Chief of Staff at the Northern Army Command.  All three officers are a product of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla and joined the army at different times. Lt Gen Ponappa is the junior-most who joined the Army in June 1985.

Lt Gen CP Cariappa was commissioned in June 1984 into the 4th Battalion of the Rajputana Rifles. He served in UN Peacekeeping Forces at Mozambique (Africa) and Iraq- Kuwait. Prior to taking over command of elite 1 Corps, he was the Military Secretary to the President of India at New Delhi. The officer on taking charge emphasized that his priority is ’fight against COVID-19 threat.'

At present Lt, Gen PC Thimmaya is the seniormost coorgi officer, who became Army Commander on 1 November 2018. He was the best cadet in pre-commission training at Indian Military Academy and was awarded the Sword of Honour. He got commissioned into 5th Battalion of the Mechanised Infantry in June 1981.

He commanded Army’s 10 Corps and was the Commandant, Army War College at Mhow before becoming Army Commander. Like the other two officers he also had UN Stint, was a Military Observer in UN Mission, Angola. He also was Defence Attache in the High Commission of India in Bangladesh. 

He assumed the command of Army Training Command in Nov 2018.
File photos of Lt Gen CP Cariappa, Lt Gen CB Ponnappa (R) and Lt Gen PC Thimmaya (L). (Photo | KodaguConnect Twitter handle)

Lt Gen C Bansi Ponnappa is Chief of Staff of the prestigious Northern Command since Feb 2020. He was commissioned into 2 MAHAR Regiment in Jun 1985 and later commanded the same unit. The officer had two UN Tenures. He was in Somalia under UNOSOM-II and North Kivu Brigade of UN Peace Keeping Force in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

These officers follow in the footsteps of illustrious predecessors like Field Marshal K M Cariappa and General Kodendera Subayya Thimayya. Field Marshal Cariappa was first Indian Commissioned Officer, first Indian General and then first Commander-in-Chief of India.

A total of eleven officers from Kodagu have occupied top posts in the Army so far. This apart, Kodagu also boasts of having 20 Major Generals and four Air Marshals, which undoubtedly makes Kodagu, the Land of Generals.

Although, with time the numbers of people joining forces from the district have fallen, steps are being taken to regain it. The district has its own War Memorial with names of all martyred soldiers of Kodagu. 

A museum in the name of former Army Chief General Thimmaiah is also being constructed. The Kodava Legacy in the Army will continue.

(Source: TNIE)

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