The crest of No 5 Squadron Air Force is a fully grown Asian wild elephant within a roundel placed directly below the state emblem which is an adaptation from Sarnath Lion Capital of Emperor Ashoka. The mighty tusker with a twisted tail is showing blowing its trumpet before the charge. This majestic tusker symbolizes the enormous strength that could be harnessed in order to impart crushing blows to the enemy. The squadron motto is inscribed in the scroll by Sanskrit words "SHAKTI VIJAYETE" which translates into "Strength is Victory".
ERA OF LIBERATOR
The need for a long range heavy bomber capability in the Indian Air Force began to be keenly felt in the later stages of 1947. Against such a requirement, the Royal Air Force offered to supply Avro Lancasters, large no of which were then under disposal at the end of World War II. Instead, with a keen sense of responsibility and an energy borne out of pride and necessity, the IAF came out with a bold, and in retrospect, wise decision, to reclaim B-24 Liberator aircraft that had in retrospect, wise decision to reclaim B-24 Liberator aircraft that had served during the war in the East. Between the pioneers of the IAF and HAL, over 40 Liberators were finally refurnished and overhauled and the first of these donned IAF color on 02 Nov 48 when the IAF formed its first bomber Squadron. No 5 Squadron crest, the "TUSKER" was to be as appropriate to its role and strength as any emblem can envisage.
Although, optimized for the heavy bomber role, the Liberators were soon to assume maritime reconnaissance functions along the Indian coast line. Although the IAF Liberator was not ever required to go to war, its different aspect certainly played a part during the crises of 1950 and 1951.
INDUCTION OF CANBERRA
On 1st September 1957 the "TUSKERS" became the first IAF Squadron to re-equip on the modern Canberra jet bomber aircraft. The TUSKERS pioneered the development and operational expansion of the Canberra fleet in the IAF.
Congo Operation - In 1961 Tuskers were selected to provide a six aircraft detachment for service with the United Nation forces (Along with Swedish, Ethiopian, Italian, Argentinean & Brazilian Forces) in Congo. Twelve aircrew and ninety support personnel under the command of Wg Cdr A Suares, Vr C landed in Leopoldville, Congo in September and October 1961 and soon moved to Kamina. While operating from this base with primitive facilities and against heavy odds, (projected by Katanga Rebel Forces) the IAF element carried out photo-reccee and offensive air support missions, mainly in the Elisabeth ville sector inspite of heavy ground fire. Flt Lt (late Wg Cdr) P Gautam destroyed two enemy aircraft in air action. The Sqn earned two Vr Cs, one VM & five VSMs in this operation. After 14 months the TUSKERS' detachment returned to India, having won numerous gallantry awards and unstinted praise, respect and affection of UN forces forces from Sweden and Ethiopia. The Unit excelled itself in the Congo operation. The squadron was a major contributor towards the UN aim of establishing peace in Congo.
Indo-Pak War 1965 - In Aug 65, hordes of regulars and irregulars infiltrated from Pakistan into Kashmir. On 01 Sep 65, Pakistani armor attacked in the Chhamb sector and the IAF went into action. Led by Wg Cdr PP Singh, the TUSKERS railed to the defense of the country. Chaklala, Mianwali, Sargodha, Chak-jhumra and many others enemy airfields experienced the thunderous fury of enraged bands of Tuskers and were laid low as proved by the progressively decreasing enemy air activity. Offensive air support missions against enemy troops and armour concentration in Chhamb, Khemkaran, Pasrur and other sector resulted in the rout of the enemy. Interdiction missions against railway yards caused the collapse of enemy lines of communication. The squadron also undertook reconnaissance and armed patrols of many airfields but the enemy had no desire to face the Tuskers. The "TUSKERS" finest hour was undoubtedly during the three week conflict with Pakistan in Sep 1965. In the 22 days war, over 300 attack sorties were flown, two third by night. The "TUSKERS" earned one MVC, four Vr Cs, three VSMs, and 14 mention-in-despatches.
Indo-Pak War 1971 - The events leading to the Indo-Pak War 1971 are too recent to need elaboration. When Pakistan launched her pre-emptive air strike at dusk on 03 Dec 71, the orders to retaliate were received and No 5 Squadron got airborne at 2150 hours the same night displaying a remarkable short reaction time. Thus, the credit for being the first to strike back goes to this squadron. The Tuskers raided Shorkot, Sargodha, Lyallpur and Mianwali airfields during the first three nights repeatedly and devastatingly. Dhaka the airfield in erstwhile East Pakistan was also bombed. Interdiction missions against Raiwind, Jassar and other railway yards were carried out. Enemy installations at Sulemanki and Zaffarwal were neutralised. Air support mission in Chhamb sector and against enemy armour concentrations bore fruit. The Army confirmed the enemy's complete loss of morale and will to fight caused by the destruction rained upon them by the Canberras. With the unconditional surrender in the East and the unilateral Indian declaration of cease-fire in the West, the 14 days war ended. No 5 Squadron had flown over 300 hrs, nearly all by night and delivered hundreds of thousand of pounds of high explosive bombs. The "Tuskers" once again proved formidable and played into Pakistani territory during the 1971 War. This time the "TUSKERS" earned one MVC and three Vr Cs.
President's Colour Presentation - With such a glorious past and unparallel record of bravery in war it is in the fitness of things that the "TUSKERS" should be the first bomber unit to be awarded the President's Standard. 5 Squadron was awarded the Presidential colours on 09 Apr 75 by the Rashtrapati late Shri Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed.
INDUCTION OF JAGUAR
In the ten years after 1971, the Canberra maintained their sterling reputation and the 'TUSKERS' their élan, but in the face of growing electronic wizardry and proliferation of sophisticated air defenses, it was necessary to induct an aircraft that had the ability of flying very low and fast, penetrate layers of air defenses, deliver a lethal punch as accurately as possible and return safely to base. Thus on 01 Aug 1981 the ' TUSKERS' re-equipped on the modern and lethal Jaguar Strike aircraft under the command of then Wing Commander JS Sisodia who is now the Commodore Commandant of the Squadron.
Op-Pawan - In Jul 88, the Tuskers undertook the most sacred task in defence of human rights across the Indian Borders by participation in Op-Pawan in support of IPKF in Sri Lanka. They flew highest number of reconnaissance missions.
'TUSKERS' continue to fly the Jaguars till date and are over ready to deliver their lethal and bearable punch to the enemy with utmost precision. Having mastered the moral and human qualities of valor and sacrifice, Tuskers will always live up to its sky high traditions with whatever weapon system entrusted to them from time to time.
The 'TUSKERS' complete 50 years of glorious service to the nation on 02 Nov 98. Their men and machines are fully geared to face any challenge and defend the Indian sky. The squadron lives up the tradition of imparting crushing blows to the enemy as their motto says "Shakti Vijayete" (Strength is Victory).