Muhammad Mahmood Alam
|Muhammad Mahmood Alam
محمد محمود عالم
মুহাম্মদ মাহমুদ আলম
Muhammad Mahmood Alam in 2010
6 July 1935|
Calcutta, British India
|Died||18 March 2013
|Service/branch||Pakistan Air Force|
|Years of service||1960-1982|
|Rank||Air commodore (Brigadier-General)|
|Unit||No. 11 Squadron Arrows (1965)
No. 5 Squadron Falcons
|Battles/wars||Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Soviet War in Afghanistan
|Awards||Sitara-e-Jurat and Bar|
Muhammad Mahmood Alam (Urdu: محمد محمود عالم, Bengali: মুহাম্মদ মাহমুদ আলম) (known as "M.M. Alam"; born Muhammad Mahmud Alam; 6 July 1935 – 18 March 2013) was a Pakistani fighter pilot, North American F-86 Sabre Flying ace and one-star general who served with the Pakistan Air Force. Squadron Leader Muhammad Mahmud Alam, Commander of No 11 Squadron, was already a notable leader and highly experienced pilot in 1965, when he was awarded the Sitara-e-Jurat ("The star of courage"), a Pakistani military decoration, for his actions during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. In earning his decorations, Alam downed five Indian aircraft in less than a minute — the first four within 30 seconds — establishing a world record. He also excelled in gunnery competition, a skill that without a doubt contributed greatly to his becoming the first and the only jet ace in one mission.
Born July 6, 1935 to a well-educated family of Kolkata, British India, M.M. Alam completed his secondary education in 1951 from Government High School, Dacca, East Pakistan. He joined the PAF in 1952 and was granted commission on October 2, 1953. Alam's brothers are M. Shahid Alam, an economist and a professor at Northeastern University, and M. Sajjad Alam, a particle physicist at SUNY Albany.
His family moved to West Pakistan in around 1971, after the secession of East Pakistan. Being the eldest among 11 siblings in his family, M.M. Alam never married as he had to share the financial responsibilities of his younger sisters and brothers. Several of his younger brothers excelled in various academic and professional careers, owing their success to MM Alam’s hard work.
Service with the Pakistan Air Force
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
M. M. Alam was the first ever honored fighter pilot for PAF, listed on top in the hall of famers list at the PAF Museum in Karachi. Alam is considered as a national hero for Pakistan, most significantly, for his remarkable show of brilliance in the war of 1965 when he was posted at Sargodha. During this war he was involved in various dogfights while flying his F-86 Sabre fighter. He downed nine Indian fighters in air-to-air combat, including six Hawker Hunter fighters.
In one mission on 7 September 1965, Alam downed five Indian aircraft in less than a minute, the first four within 30 seconds, establishing a world record, with total of 9 aircraft downed in the war. Alam's confirmed kills are as follows:
- September 6, 1965, 1× Hawker Hunter
- September 7, 1965, 5× Hawker Hunters
- September 16, 1965, 1× Hawker Hunter
- Flying Officer Farokh Dara Bunsha, No. 7 Sqn, KIA, near Amritsar.
The Pakistan Air Force figures have been disputed by Indian sources which claim Alam made four kills, attributing one of the losses of Sqn Ldr Onkar Nath Kacker's aircraft to technical failure or some other cause including the possibility of ground fire. They also claim that gun camera footage of Alam's kills is yet to be made public and therefore some of the kills cannot be confirmed.
In 1967, Alam was transferred as the Squadron Commander of the first squadron of Dassault Mirage III fighters procured by the PAF. He was removed from staff college based on a false pretext in May 1969. In 1972, he commanded No. 26 Squadron for two months.
Soviet War in Afghanistan
Alam took part in the Soviet War in Afghanistan and was a close companion of Soviet War veteran Ahmad Shah Massoud as quote by Zaid Hamid in his book "From Indus to Oxus" and some other close acquaintances of Alam.
The Air Force legend had been battling illness since December 2012, and was admitted to Pakistan Naval Station Shifa Hospital in Karachi. After a protracted illness, M. M. Alam died in Karachi on 18 March 2013. He was 77. Alam had been suffering from respiratory problems but his health had deteriorated lately. He had been under treatment for about 18 months. M. M. Alam’s funeral prayer was offered at the PAF Base Masroor, where he served some of the finest years of his air force life. He was later laid to rest at the Shuhuda (Martyrs) graveyard at PAF Masroor Airbase. Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad, Air Chief Marshal (Ret.) Farooq Feroz Khan, Sindh corps commander Lt. Gen Ijaz Chaudhry, Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) Director-General Maj. Gen. Rizwan Akhter, several war veterans of the 1965 war and a number of colleagues of M. M. Alam attended the funeral. One of the younger brothers of the deceased, Zubair Alam, was also present.
M. M. Alam Road, a major road in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan is named in honour of the flying ace of Pakistan Air Force, Air Commodore Muhammad Mahmood Alam, running from Main Market to Gulberg. The road runs parallel to famous Main Boulevard thus providing an alternate route and is a commercial hub with many restaurants, fashion boutiques, shopping malls, beauty saloons and décor stores. M.M. Alam road hosts a variety of flamboyant restaurants in modern Lahore.
- "EVENTS — M M ALAM'S F-86". Pakistan: Pakistan Air Force (official website). Retrieved 5 March 2010.
- Dawn Newspaper, ;
- Iconic war veteran MM Alam passes away, The News International. Retrieved on 19 March 2013.
- Institute for Policy Research & Development, Advisory Board; Dr. M. Shahid Alam
- Cihan Aksan, State of Nature, On Islam: An Interview with M. Shahid Alam
- Department of Physics — University at Albany, M. Sajjad Alam
- Pakistan's Sabre Ace by Jon Guttman, Aviation History, Sept 1998.
- Air Cdre M Kaiser Tufail. "Alam’s Speed-shooting Classic". Defencejournal.com. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
- Fricker, John. Battle for Pakistan: the air war of 1965. pp. 15–17. "before we had completed more than of about 270 degree of the turn, at around 12 degree per second, all four hunters had been shot down ... My fifth victim of this sortie started spewing smoke and then rolled on to his back at about 1000 feet."
- Polmar, Norman; Bell, Dana (2003). One hundred years of world military aircraft. Naval Institute Press. p. 354. ISBN 978-1-59114-686-5. "Mohammed Mahmood Alam claimed five victories against Indian Air Force Hawker Hunters, four of them in less than one minute! Alam, who ended the conflict with 11 kills, became history's only jet "ace-in-a-day.""
- O' Nordeen, Lon (1985). Air Warfare in the Missile Age. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. pp. 84–87. ISBN 978-0-87474-680-8.
- Citation for Sqn Ldr Devaiyya. Missing or empty
- Singh, Pushpindar (1991). Fiza ya, Psyche of the Pakistan Air Force. Himalayan Books. p. 30. ISBN 81-7002-038-7.
- 30 SECONDS OVER SARGODHA - THE MAKING OF A MYTH: 1965 INDO-PAK AIR WAR, Chapter 5, Bharat Rakshak
- M. M. Alam passes away in Karachi, Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved on 19 March 2013.
- Haq, Shahram. "Urban planning: MM Alam Road to be heart of new business district – The Express Tribune". Tribune.com.pk. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
- History of PAF - Government of Pakistan
- "Laying the Sargodha Ghost to rest." Vayu Aerospace Review. November 1985
- M.M. Alam: a fighter to the end, thenews.com.pk