Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa Biography
Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa or Kodandera Madappa Cariappa was born on 28 January 1899 in Coorg. After his formal education at Madikeri, he went on to study at the Presidency College, Madras. He was an active sportsman.
Cariappa was one among the select few who was selected for the first batch of KCIOs (King’s Commissioned Indian Officers) at the Daly Cadet College in Indore and was commissioned in the Carnatic Infantry.
Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa was in active service with the 37 (Prince of Wales) Dogra in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) and then posted to the 2nd Rajput Light Infantry (Queen Victoria’s Own).
He went on to become the first Indian officer to undergo the course at Staff College, Quetta in 1933. In 1946, he got promoted as the Brigadier of the Frontier Brigade Group.
Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa saw action in Iraq, Syria and Iran from 1941-1942 and then in Burma in 1943-1944 and became the first Indian Officer to be given command of a unit in 1942.
Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa went on receive many awards and accolades in his distinguished career. In 1947, Cariappa became the first Indian to be selected to undergo a training course at Imperial Defence College, Camberly, UK.
After India’s independence, K.M.Cariappa was appointed as the Deputy Chief of General Staff with the rank of Major General. Thereafter, he became the Eastern Army Commander and General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command during the outbreak of war with Pakistan.
K.M Cariappa was appointed as the first Commander-in-Chief of an independent Indian Army on 15 January 1949. Post-retirement from Indian Army in 1953, he served as India’s High Commissioner to Australia and New Zealand.
He was awarded the ‘Order of the Chief Commander of the Legion of Merit’ by American President, Harry S. Truman. The Government of India conferred the rank of Field Marshal on Cariappa in 1983.