Service Day in the Indonesian Air Force Date in the current year: July 29, 2024

Service Day in the Indonesian Air Force The Indonesian Air Force has two important observances: Foundation Day, celebrated on April 9, and Service Day, observed on July 29. The latter commemorates the 1947 Yogyakarta Dakota C-47 accident, which resulted in the deaths of eight people.

The first armed conflict in which the Indonesian Air Force, founded on April 9, 1946, participated was the Indonesian War of Independence, also known as the Indonesian National Revolution. In July 1947, a group of Indonesian nationalists was tasked with delivering medical supplies donated by the Red Cross of Malaya from Singapore to Yogyakarta. The humanitarian mission was approved by Dutch and British forces, who guaranteed the safety of the flight.

On board a Douglas C-47 Skytrain, chartered by the revolutionary government from an Indian businessman, there were nine people: three crew members, including Australian pilot Alexander Noel Constantine, and six passengers.

Shortly after the flight departed Singapore, the Indonesian Air Force bombed Dutch strongholds in Ambarawa, Salatiga, and Semarang. Infuriated, the Dutch retaliated by sending two P-40 Kittyhawks to intercept the Dakota C-47 as it was approaching the airfield. After the landing gear descended, the Dutch air fighters shot the aircraft, sending it into a dive.

The Dakota C-47 crashed into a tree and then into a paddy field. Seven people on board died on impact. Two survivors, Abdulgani Handonotjokro and the pilot’s wide Beryl Constantine, were rushed to a hospital, where Beryl eventually died. Handonotjokro was the sole survivor of the crash. Among the casualties were Agustinus Adisutjipto, the first Indonesian pilot and the founder of the Indonesian Air Force, and Abdul Rahman Saleh, a physician and revolutionary.

Immediately following the incident, the Dutch command denied its involvement, claiming that the plane had crashed into something. However, witnesses on the ground confirmed that the Dutch Kittyhawks had shot the Indonesian aircraft, and an inspection of one of the victim’s bodies confirmed that he had been shot. After that, the Dutch stated that they had not been informed of the flight and that the aircraft had lacked Red Cross markings.

At this point, the Indian government got involved, since the Dakota C-47 belonged to an Indian national, politician, aviator and businessmen Biju Patnaik, who owned Kalinga Arlines. The Dutch government sent a Dakota C-47A to India and paid restitution, effectively confirming its involvement.

In 1948, a monument to the victims of the crash was erected in Ngoto, not far from the crash site. In 1974, the government of Indonesia declared Agustinus Adisutjipto and Abdul Rahman Saleh National Heroes of Indonesia. Five years later, the command of the Indonesian Air Force declared the anniversary of the incident Service Day (Hari Bakti) to honor the memory of the victims and to celebrate the willingness of Air Force members to make sacrifices for their country and its people. The day is marked by solemn remembrance ceremonies held at air force bases.

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Service Day in the Indonesian Air Force, observances in Indonesia, memorial day, 1947 Yogyakarta Dakota C-47 accident