The 328th of Night of Memory – 2

Narrating the Heroism of the Air Force

By Iranian Oral History Website
Translated By: Fazel Shirzad


Note: To narrate the memories of the Sacred defense, the 328th Night of Memory program was held by Davoud Salehi as the presenter on Thursday, September 23, 2021, in the tomb of the anonymous martyrs of the Art Centers. Commander Jahangir Ibn Yamin and Commander Akbar Zamani shared their memories in this meeting.

In the second part of the Night of Memory program, the presenter, said: "Analyzing the behavior of our pilots in the Air Force of the Army during the war for someone like me, who is in cultural activities and a little distance from the atmosphere of authority, courage, and bravery of the armed forces, means that the enemy is everywhere and wherever the enemy wanted to show a little venture against Iran or go beyond his side of the fence, our pilots in the Air Force of the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran immediately entered the operation and gave them such a strong and instructive attack that they regretted their action. As it is being stated today, if they attack us once, they will attack them four times. This can be very proud of me as a listener and audience of those events. For when Iraq attacked the Tehran oil refinery, for example, the first narrator of this program- [Commander Jahangir Ibn Yamin]- immediately moves to Iraq to seek revenge and respond to them."

The presenter then recited a poem written by Pilot Colonel Mohammad Reza Maleki and then invited Lt. Col. Pilot Ali Akbar Zamani to share his memories.

The second narrator of the program began his speech by thanking Commander Ibn Yamin and said: "Regarding the missions and issues that we had in the war, the It is noteworthy that is that they always said that the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran was oppressed, is oppressed and will be oppressed. Commander Ibn Yamin was my master and I was under his command in the sixth joint base of Air Force when the war has begun. The Air Force of the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran fought the Iraqi Navy, Air Force, and Land Forces during the first three months of the war. There were no surface forces in the area. Unbelievably, Iraqi tanks were moving 10 kilometers a day towards Ahwaz. Air Force's F-4 plans fired Maverick missiles, [1] which are more expensive than tanks, to block the Iraqi tanks. The F-5 fighter jets of the fourth joint base acted, in the same way, to prevent the Iraqis from advancing inside our country. Tomorrow morning, we saw 140 Iraqi tanks burned and left; but they had come 10 kilometers ahead. When the Iraqis came 12 miles southwest of Ahvaz and settled there and behind Karkheh, an order was issued to evacuate the fourth joint base; but no pilot was satisfied to give up the war."

The narrator continued: "Dear Mr. Salehi also referred to the liberation of Khorramshahr and the issue of the Kirkuk refinery, which was attacked to retaliate the Tehran refinery. I need to remember here the great commander of the Iran-Iraq war, Commander Mahmoud Eskandari. We had an infinite number of these loved ones in the Air Force of the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran. I always ask you [, audience,] to pay attention to the names on the bridges when traveling on Tehran's highways. All these are the relics of the brave commanders of this country, many of whom were our pilots. Why do not we remember Commander Mohagheghi, the hero of the Iran-Iraq war and the spirit of the sixth joint base in the early days of the war, who is hospitalized in Besat Nahaja[1] Hospital in ICU unit?"

The narrator then referred to the Nojeh coup and said: "I do not believe that this could have been done at all." When the issue of the coup was raised, I was in the presence of Air Force professors as a first lieutenant pilot at the Bushehrۥs Air Force. I thought it might be possible for such a thing to happen. But, when I flew with the F4 plan for 4,000 hours in the F4 Air Force Battalion for 14 years, I realized that the capabilities of this aircraft do not allow an aircraft to take off from the third base at midnight in Hamedan and go to Alborz and destroy a building. Such a thing was not possible at all. But, they thought that in this way they could empty the Air Force including a group of powerful pilots, and take control of the Air Force. At the beginning of the war, with a two-hour delay, Commander Ibn Yamin [flew and] bombed Shoaibiyah in Basra along with three other planes. The next day, 140 aircraft - of course, everyone believed there were 140 aircraft, but I can ensure you with the document that more than 200 aircraft were involved in Operation Kaman 99 on the 22nd of September. 

Zamani continued: "The more the war went on, the more difficult our missions became and the less powerful we became." We started the war with 500 fighter jets; but, [in your idea,] how many pilots did we have? I was once the commander of Bushehrۥs Air Base and I used to say that we should name at least the streets of the base, the name of Air Force's martyred pilots. I remember clearly when we named two martyrs for each street, the number became 168. That is, we had 84 martyred pilots for the sixth joint base. If we want to determine someone as the hero of the Khorramshahr war and Operation Beit-ol-Moqaddas, Commander Mahmoud Eskandari deserves this title. I was next to this great Commander who shot down three F-4 planes from northern Kuwait and two Iraqi forces stationed east of Basra. One of Commander Eskandari and I fired the bridge that the Iraqis had built to retreat and use this bridge to deliver logistics to Khorramshahr. The bridge was destroyed and it caused us to take 19,000 prisoners in Khorramshahr. Iraq killed 14,000 Iranian forces in this war. These are issues that you know better than me. Unfortunately, Commander Eskandari was left out of the organization and was killed in a car accident in Karaj city. I served more than 26 missions, including the attack on the Kirkuk refinery in retaliation for the refineries in Tehran, Mosul, Erbil, Tikrit, Rumila, Harsyh, etc.

The narrator then referred to the attack on the Kirkuk refinery and said that the air force fought with all its might. God bless Commander Babaei, they explained that when Iraq attacked the Tehran refinery, I was in the first base convoy, as a convoy officer. I saw the smoke from the Tehran refinery. He said that the enemy fired the Tehran refinery and you should fire the Baghdad refinery too. Given the risk of sending a plane on a mission, which was about 2 percent, he asked the late Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was the chairman of the Defense Council, to allow us to fire the Kirkuk refinery. He agrees, and I, accompanied by this great commander, flew an F-4 plane at 3 pm and bombed the Kirkuk refinery. At night, the news of this operation was broadcast on the national news of the Islamic Republic of Iran Radio and Television. The whole existence of these noble people was their country and people, and if Commander Eskandari was still present in this world, he would still be concerned about the people."

The narrator recounted another memory of General Eskandari and said: "Of course, I was not honored to serve him in the H3 emission. Commander Eskandari and Commander Baratpour flew all over Iraq by eight planes. Of course, it should be noted that the plane refueled over Lake Urmia and went from southern Turkey to northern Iraq to Syria, where they refueled and bomb the H3. Commander Eskandari participated in this mission. I heard a BBC reporter say that on the second floor of the hotel, I saw an F-4 plane on the street towards Iran after dropping their bombs on the Al-Dora refinery in Baghdad and the pilot of that plane was Commander Eskandari. Of course, all my teachers were capable because of the training they received and the flight experience they had. At the same time, which is the facility of the oil pump house on the Syrian border, I once served Amir Eskandari. Wherever the mission was difficult, there was talk of Mahmoud Eskandari. The narrator then explained how the late Eskandari died in 2001 and said: "Let me just say that the Air Force fought with all its might in every sense of the word and achieved what it deserved." If we wanted to introduce a person in Operation Beit ol-Moqaddas as the winner of the Khorramshahr war, he is just Mahmoud Eskandari. Commander Mohagheghi, who is here, as a spirit for the sixth base's forces, the evacuation base were was black and dark like bitumen; there was not a single light for the pilots to sleep inside a shelter, to inform them a mission in a shelter, have a briefing and eat something, abandon everything and then leave and go to the plane to do their mission. Sometimes we came back at night to sleep, we saw that there were not two of comrades, tomorrow night there were not four of them, and in this way, the comrades were being martyred gradually. These are things that are very difficult for me to say."

I hope that our youth will realize what a heavy price has been paid to maintain our honor and dignity in this country. The Air Force will never see such a generation again. May God help and make a strong air force again, because as I said at the beginning of the war, the air force stood in front of the Iraqi air and ground forces, and whenever we have a strong air force, we can expect to defend our country."

After Commander Zamani's speech, the presenter thanked the audience of the program and said: "It was interesting for me that you mentioned your comrades on this occasion." He then read to the audience a part of the book "Baz Nakhchir" from the memoirs of pilot Gholam Ali Shirazi by Musa Ghayyur, which was published by Surah Mehr Publications:

Then, tomorrow morning we went to that area again by helicopter. Colonel Sattari said, "Tell the pilot, why are we coming here every day?" How do we come by car? I told them: Come by car, it takes a long time to climb a mountain on foot. Then I talked to the pilot and said: Do you know why we come here every day?" He replied: "No, Colonel Javadpour ordered me to bring you here." I told him we were going to deploy a cannon here to protect the lower oil wells. He asked in surprise: is it at the top of the mountain? "I replied d him it was better to watch here in every way.


At the end of the program, Mr. Mahmoudi, one of Commanders Ali Akbar Zamani's students, shared 60 seconds of memories with the audience and said: "I was honored to be Commander Zamani's student in the sixth joint base. In 2004, after training, I was transferred from Martyr Sattari Air Zone to Martyr Yassini Base in Bushehr and served him. Bushehr has sultry weather in June. I requested an air conditioner from the base. They said they did not have any air conditioner. Someone said [that it was better to ask commander Zamani. I went to meet him and raised the issue. He ordered either to give the air conditioner or the cost. The next day, I was informed that I couldn’t receive an air conditioner because I was still a student and didn't have a guarantor. We went to pray on Thursday. Commander Zamani called me to attend a Quran Night program and said, "Are you Mahmoudi?" Did you get the air conditioner? I said no! He angrily called the relevant official and said: "Didn't I order you to give me the air conditioner?" He replied: "Sir, he has no guarantors." They shouted angrily: "His guarantor is Ali Akbar Zamani. This time is the Hereafter. This memory and the authority of his voice will always remain in my mind."[2]



[1] It is the Persian abbreviation for  Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force

[2] The AGM-65 Maverick (AGM stands for air-to-ground tactical missile) is an air-to-surface combat missile designed for adverse weather conditions and effective against distant and relatively large targets.


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