Review of the book "Sky is Close to Heaven"

Memoirs of Pilot Hossein Behzadfar

Fereydoun Heydari Molkmian
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


A suitable photo of a pilot and a stair-liked arrangement of the title, which remind the peak and the flight, is used for the cover of the book "Sky is Close to Heaven". The book begins with a brief dedication by the pilot Hossein Behzadfar to his wife and then handwriting of thanks to those who work to collect the memories of warriors and martyrs. Then there is an introduction of the Sacred Defense Documents Organization, followed by the foreword of the research [unit] of the General Directorate for the Preservation of Relics and the Publication of the Values of the Sacred Defense in North Khorasan; But before the main text of the book, a short two-page chronicle entitled "Hossein Behzadfar from Yesterday to Today" is included, which introduces to readers his life. The text of the book has four chapters and an interview structure. At the bottom of the text, there are respectively: photos and documents, a list of announcements and sources, and references. The photos are also of good quality and show different periods of his military service.

The book "The Sky is Close to Heaven" is a description of the activities of air force pilot Hossein Behzadfar in the sacred defense. The first chapter of the book, however, contains memories of his childhood up to the time of the revolution and also mentions his education and religious activities. He was Born in Bojnourd in 1953 -with three brothers and three sisters-from a kind and housewife mother and a hardworking father who was felt-maker and was active until he was 90 years old and he took care of his family from his means.

The second chapter deals with Hossein Behzadfar's employment period in Air Force; From the day the army recruitment paper was brought from Mashhad to Bojnourd and distributed, he saw the recruitment paper and decided to go to Mashhad to register. The family was also satisfied when they found his desire to join the army. He had a passion for piloting and a passion for flying. When the initial work was done in Mashhad, he was sent to Tehran and after being accepted for medical examinations, he was hired by the Air Force. After six months of military training, he left Tehran for Isfahan to begin a program of English language classes and training in meteorology, radio, helicopter repair, and conversation with the tower. When he completed the courses and training programs, he prepared to fly. After 25 hours of flying, he gained the necessary skills and after passing all the cases in 1976, he became the second pilot in the Air Force. In 1978, when the [Iranian] nation's struggles against the Shah were raised, he participated in the demonstrations of the people of Isfahan in his clothes. Finally, along with other colleagues in Isfahan's Air Force, they separated their way from the Pahlavi government and joined the ranks of the people. The people also greeted them with bouquets and sweets, but when the Imam told the soldiers not to go to the barracks, he also left the barracks and went to Bojnourd for a few days. After the victory of the revolution, he was informed through his friends that he could return to the barracks.

Chapter three tells the story of their life with wife. In 1979, he married a neighbor's daughter in Bojnourd. He went to Isfahan with his wife to start his life. Six months after graduation, he was transferred to Kerman.

The fourth chapter, which covers more than half of the pages of the book, is devoted to the imposed war and focuses on this period of his life. When he was in charge of protecting the Kerman airbase, the war started: In September 22, 1980, It was reported that Iraq has bombed some of Iran's barracks and airstrips. At three o'clock in the afternoon;[therefore] a commission will be formed in the Kerman governor's office. Commands were issued from Tehran to evacuate the barracks with flying forces due to possible bombing. In the absence of the commander of the Air Force in the governorate, the orders were communicated to Hossein Behzadfar and he was asked to implement the orders at the base, and the gendarmerie and ground forces were provided with support. When he returned to the base, he passed the necessary orders to the barrack commander: since there was a possibility of bombing from Iraq, the barrack had to be evacuated by 8 pm and to be ready to defend. The pilots dressed in flying uniforms and stationed helicopters inside the barracks in the mountains around Kerman, removing the flight equipment from the barracks and taking it to safety. They also enlisted the help of military forces to guard and maintain aircraft in the mountains.

In 1980, he went to Dezful, Baneh, Sardasht, and Saqez as the second pilot of a helicopter for reconnaissance. The reconnaissance was done in most operations to allow for planning. He and the first pilot were in contact with the children of the IRGC and the ground forces, and they were estimating and informing the enemy equipment. In Abadan's Defense, he acted as a coordinating officer. After each mission, they returned to Kerman and resumed their normal service. Every day in the barracks, they flew training and side flights until it was their turn to have a mission. Of course, apart from the Kerman group, other groups worked hard in the war. Sometimes they did not have war missions for up to two months and only had reconnaissance missions to Sistan and Baluchestan or Jiroft. They also went to help the flood victims in Jiroft and stayed there until the end of the relief work. The floods had destroyed the roads and as a result, aid was difficult to provide.

The following year, he took part in the large-scale operation of Samen al-A'meh (PBUH), which started from Mahshahr to Shadegan. In his opinion, this was his first big mission. On the night of the operation, at about 10 o'clock, there was an absolute blackout and they said that everyone should sleep. Then, at midnight, they woke everyone up and took them to the justification room to justify the comrades and determine their duties before the flight. They started from Mahshahr at 4 in the morning and were in Shadegan at 6 in the morning. Their mission lasted about two hours and 45 minutes and they managed to destroy several Iraqi tanks. In addition, the ground forces and the Khorasan Corps and Division were supported that were present. After Operation Samenah al-A'meh (PBUH) was completed and the siege of Abadan was broken, they returned to Mahshahr again from Shadegan and their mission was almost completed. After that, Behzadfar and his friends were sent to Kerman and were replaced by another group.

After a month in Kerman, he was assigned to Dezful and from there to the Dasht-e Abbas area for reconnaissance. He was stationed in Dasht-e Abbas for a few days and was in charge of supporting the ground forces. From then on, they flew to Dezful every two or three months, where the pilots were told which area to fly to. There were reserve bases in the area, from where side flights and flights to identify and evacuate the wounded from war zones were performed. Their flights started from Dasht-e Abbas and they went to any part that was needed as support and participated in the operation.

Helicopters were used to transport the observers to move quickly. Behzadfar sometimes moved Basij (volunteer)  forces to different areas. There were hard-to-reach neighborhoods at the top of the mountain that were suitable for reconnaissance and surveillance, but it took several days to get there on foot, and he transferred the Basij to these places within ten minutes. In 1981, after 150 hours of flying with the pilot masters, he passed the training of the first pilot and worked as a  Jet Ranger pilot. Early the following year, at the same time as Operation Operation Fath-ol-Mobin, he went for reconnaissance. Later in May, during Operation Beit-ol-Moqaddas, he was assigned the responsibility of the first pilot.

They returned to Kerman on June 26, 1982. During one or two months in Kerman, the Muharram and Ramadan operations began. These operations were taken place in the Kurdistan region. They were based in Maragheh. They went from Maragheh to Saqez and from Saqez to Baneh and from Baneh to Sardasht and carried out operations. Their job was to evacuate the wounded, who were taken to hospitals in Tabriz or Urmia and returned to their bases.

In February 1982, clashes broke out in the Chezabeh and Fakkeh Straits, and they were sent to the area to support the fighting forces. Operation Dawn was a prelude to the Fajr decade. From there, Dawn operations continued, and he served in Dawn 1, 4 and 8 as a member of the Army and IRGC Support Group.

At the end of 1983, they moved to Ahvaz during the Khyber operation to evacuate the wounded and the fire brigade. Later, when the chemical bombardment took place in the Kurdistan Region, and also during Operation Nasr 8, he appeared as an operations officer and liaison.

He later played a role in Operation Mersad. helicopter pilots were tasked with reconnaissance. They were monitoring everything from above and witnessing the war. They provided information to the ground forces, who, in cooperation with the IRGC forces, carried out the operation.

Hossein Behzadfar and his fellow pilots could never witness the aliens occupying their country. All they wanted to do was to drive the aggressors out of the country as soon as possible. They did not give up even at the end of the war; they headed southeast and took part in operations against miscreants and smugglers to clear the area. In these missions, most of Hossein Behzadfarۥs reconnaissance flights took place in the cities of Iranshahr, Khash, Zabol, and Saravan. In addition to being a pilot, he also provided security for the Kerman Combat Group for 15 years after the war. Even after retiring, he was invited to work again to go to Sistan and Baluchestan, where his combat group had just been formed but could not accept; Because his children had grown up and he felt that after all the constant missions and being away from family, he should be with his them now.

The book interview was conducted by Fatemeh Ghorbani for the General Directorate of Preservation of Relics and Publication of the Values of the Sacred Defense of North Khorasan, and its first edition was published in 2016 in Tehran by the Foundation for the Preservation of Relics and Publication of the Values of the Sacred Defense in 286 pages and 1000 copies in Medium octavo format at 120,000 Rials (Iranian currency (and has entered the bookstores.

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