It is the US’ highest military award given to any foreign military official for their exceptionally meritorious conduct.
Sohail Aman, the Chief of the Air Staff of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), received the award at Air Headquarters in Islamabad. It was presented by Lt Gen Jeffrey L Harrigian, Commander of the US Air Forces Central Command, on behalf of General David L Goldfein, the Chief of Air Staff of the US Air Force, who witnessed the ceremony through a video link.
The US Legion of Merit was conferred on the air chief “in recognition of his brave leadership, sagacity, vision, demonstration of superb resolve and unwavering dedication to the global war on terrorism and above all extraordinary efforts to ensure regional as well as global peace and stability,” according to a PAF statement.
“The award is also an acknowledgment of his personal efforts, which greatly enhanced mutual cooperation and relations between the two air forces,” it added.
Peace and stability
“This singularly distinctive accomplishment of Chief Aman is not only a matter of pride for the PAF but also for the entire nation,” the statement said.
Lt Gen Harrigian lauded PAF air chief’s strong commitment in fight against terrorism and capabilities of Pakistan Air Force that contributed in bringing peace and stability in the region. He said that the air chief’s personal initiative proved critical to the successful conduct of war on terrorism around the world.
Later on, Lt Gen Harrigian called on Air Chief Sohail Aman and discussed matters of mutual interest. At the meeting, the air chief reiterated “his resolve to further enhance mutual cooperation between the two air forces”.
Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman is currently paying farewell calls to all important institutional heads as he is expected to retire on March 18 after holding the office for three years.
After Sohail Aman, the senior-most officers are Vice-Chief of Air Staff Farooq Habib and Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Support) Mujahid Anwar. Two other officers in the seniority list are Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Personnel) Arshad Mehmood and Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Administration) Asim Zamir.
The names of all four senior officials have been sent to President Mamnoon Hussain who is due to appoint the new air chief on the advice of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.