New Delhi. Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi, AVSM, NM took over the reins of the Southern Naval Command (SNC) as its 29th Flag Officer Commanding- in-Chief on November 30, 2021. The Admiral replaced Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, PVSM, AVSM, NM, VSM, ADC who retired after close to four decades of yeoman service. Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi was the Commandant of the Indian Naval Academy, Kannur, Kerala prior to taking over this appointment.
A ceremonial parade, consisting of 16 platoons including 4 armed platoons and a 50 men “Guard of Honour” was held at the Naval base on the occasion, in which both the Admirals were accorded General Salutes and the parade concluded with a “March in Review Order”. Subsequently, both the Flag Officers carried out the formal handing / taking over in the office of the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief.
Speaking to the members of the media, prior to his departure, Vice Admiral AK Chawla expressed satisfaction at the Command achieving its training goals in providing quality and trained manpower for the combat platforms. He also expressed happiness at the synergy achieved by the Command with the civil administration of the state in responding to different “Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR)” requirements.
On completion of the handing over, Vice Admiral AK Chawla was bid farewell by various Heads of Units, Commanding Officers, Chief Staff Officers, Officers, sailors and defence civilians of the Headquarters, SNC. The traditional pulling out ceremony, by the senior officers, officers and men of the Southern Naval Command was also held after the media interaction. Admiral AK Chawla was also presented a memento by the Office Bearers of Ernakulam Press Club on behalf of people of Kerala for supporting the State during challenging times.
VAdm MA Hampiholi is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy. VAdm MA Hampiholi was commissioned in the Indian Navy on July 1,1985. An Anti-Submarine Warfare specialist, the Admiral has commanded three ships – stealth frigate ‘Talwar’, Landing Ship Tank (Large) ‘Magar’ and missile vessel ‘Nashak’. His Command tenures ashore include Commandant, National Coast Guard, Mauritius as well as Commandant Naval Academy and Commanding Officer of INS Mandovi. He has also tenanted the appointment of Executive Officer and Principal Warfare Officer of missile corvette ‘Khukri’. His staff appointments ashore include tenures as Staff Officer (ASW) at Local Work-up Team (West), Joint Director at the Directorate of Personnel, Naval Assistant to the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, Senior Directing Staff at Naval War College and Principal Director at the Directorate of Staff Requirements. He is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College (Wellington), the Naval War College (Mumbai) and the National Defence College.
On elevation to Flag rank, the Admiral held important staff appointments as the Assistant Chief of Personnel (Human Resources Development) at Naval Headquarters and the Flag Officer Sea Training. He subsequently commanded the Western Fleet from January 2018 to March 2019. On promotion to the rank of Vice Admiral in March 2019, he was appointed as the Director General Naval Operations. He then served as the Commandant, Indian Naval Academy from July 2020 to November 2021. He was awarded the Nao Sena Medal in 2011 and the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 2019.