A large numbers of pilgrims had been stranded in the narrow valleys of Kedarnath, for over five days without food and water. The Mi-17 V5 helicopter with crew rose to the occasion and promptly commenced rescue operations from 21 Jun 2013 onwards. They were charged with an onerous responsibility of saving as many lives as possible under extremely challenging conditions. The crew flew over 22 critical rescue missions, resulting in saving more than 190 pilgrims who were stranded in the worst affected areas of the Kedarnath valley.
|Wing Co. D. Castellino
|Flt. Lt K. Praveen
On 25 Jun 2013, the captain and Crew of the Mi-17 helicopter were tasked to move essential supplies and National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) teams to Kedarnath, located at an elevation of over 11000 feet and rescue stranded pilgrims from Kedarnath during the return sorties. Fully aware of the criticality of the mission on that particular day involving some of the more grievously wounded / traumatized pilgrims. Inclement weather, frequently drifting clouds and poor light conditions prevalent in the unforgiving terrain of the narrow valley led to frequent delays in the operations and this made his task extremely demanding. Realizing the gravity of their task and the criticality of evacuation for some of the stranded pilgrims, volunteered for the critical mission and got airborne in the first available window of opportunity to position his helicopter at Gupkashi.
|Fl Lt. Tapan Kapoor
|JWO AK Singh
| On that day the helicopter carried out three sorties which were undertaken under deteriorating weather conditions. During these three sorties, they successfully saved 80 precious lives. During the return leg from Kedarnath to Guptkashi the helicopter impacted on the steep slopes off valley resulting in their supreme sacrifice in the line of duty. For their acts of conspicuous courage, professional competence and successful execution of a risk mission to save precious lives in hostile weather conditions in an extremely inhospitable environment the following personnel have been awarded :-
|Sgt S. Yadav
(a) Kirti Chakra (Posthumously) – Wing Commander Darryl Castelino Flying (Pilot) – Captain
(b) Shaurya Chakra (Posthumously) – Flight Lieutenant Krishnamoorthy Praveen Flying (Pilot) – Co Pilot
(c) Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) (Posthumously) – Flight Lieutenant Tapan Kapoor Aeronautical Engineering (Mechanical) – Technical Officer
(d) Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) (Posthumously) – Junior Warrant Officer Akhilesh Kumar Singh – Flight Engineer
(e) Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) (Posthumously) – Sergeant Sudhakar Yadav – Flight Gunner
Wing Commander Aditya Prakash Singh Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Mig-21 Bison Squadron.
On 30 Apr 13, he was authorized to fly a practice diversion sortie by night on a MiG-21 Bison aircraft to Halwara as a part of his syllabus. Approximately 60 Km inbound to Halwara, the battery heavy discharge light came on along with the Master Blinker indicating a failure of the electrical system of the aircraft. This resulted in all the cockpit lights slowly fading away and it became difficult for the pilot to read the instruments which are required for safe operation of the aircraft. Maintaining his composure and understanding the gravity of the emergency, Wg Cdr Aditya Prakash lowered the undercarriage and flaps to take off position as this would not be possible once the electrical system failed totally. The officer had only the pressure instruments and the global positioning system to help him execute the landing. At this stage, disregarding his personal safety, he took a decision to take off his mask and hold the torch in his mouth to illuminate the instruments. In this manner, he was able to view the instruments, execute a flawless partial flap landing and recover the aircraft without any damage.
Once again on the night of 29 Jul 13, a Captain of MiG-21 T-69 trainer flying from the rear seat of the aircraft, the officer experienced a total loss of engine power after a bird hit during the landing phase. In spite of all these constraints, Wg Cdr AP Singh was able to successfully establish an engine off glide and land the aircraft safely without any damage. In this manner, the officer because of his ability to maintain his composure in a grave emergency situation, courage, creative thinking and professionalism has been able to successfully recover two aircraft at night in limited visibility conditions without any damage and has set an excellent professional example for other to emulate.
For his acts of exemplary courage and professional handling of aircraft under difficult circumstances Wing Commander Aditya Prakash Singh is recommended for the award of Shaurya Chakra.
Wing Commander Abhay Satish Parandekar Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Helicopter Stream of the Indian Air Force on 17 June 1995. He is a Category ‘A’ Qualified Flying Instructor and a Helicopter Combat Leader. He is presently posted as Commanding Officer of a Mi-17 V5 Helicopter Unit at Air Force Station Phalodi.
On 23 Jun 13, he was informed about a group of foreign nationals stranded in the middle of gushing Bhagirathi river near Harsil, which had already crossed the danger mark. The river was swelling by the hour and delay could have cost precious lives. On receipt of this information he took on the onerous job of rescuing these people.
With utmost precision and dexterity, he manoeuvred the helicopter so as to affect hover with one wheel in light contact with the ground. All 17 foreign nationals and three Indians stranded were rescued safely. Wg Cdr AS Parandekar displayed exceptional courage in effecting a successful rescue despite extremely challenging conditions. He continued the flood relief operations for next one month during which he flew 255 sorties which in effect saved 2344 lives and led to the induction of 78.6 tonnes of relief load.
For his act of exceptional courage, dedication to duty, unflinching determination beyond call of duty and display of valour to save people and give them succor, Wing Commander Abhay Satish Parandekar has been recommended for the award of Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Wing Commander Felix Patrick Pinto, SC Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Mi-17 helicopter Unit and in command of the unit since 15 Apr 13.
On 18 Jun 13, during Op Rahat he evacuated of 76 survivors and continued with the gallant act thereafter and was instrumental in saving 892 survivors in the subsequent sorties.
His exceptional professional acumen and meticulous planning led to valiant execution of challenging missions for evacuating of pilgrims of Kedarnath. Regardless of personal comfort and safety, he flew tirelessly throughout the Op Rahat in the challenging environment under hostile weather conditions and landed at hazardous sites. He also carried out drops of 24 tons of ration and medicines. To exploit the limited window of weather and to increase the load carrying capability, he modified his helicopter to carry out a free drop of wood for the mass cremation at Kedarnath bowl. His gallant and selfless efforts during the initial phase of Op-Rahat paved the way for launch of one of the greatest rescue operations by helicopter in history.
For this display of extraordinary leadership and exceptional courage under adverse operational circumstances, Wing Commander Felix Patrick Pinto, SC is recommended for the award of Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Squadron Leader Vinay Bhal Accounts/ Garud is the Commanding Officer of an Indian Air Force Garud Unit since 04 Jun 2012.
The IAF was called to the aid of civil power to undertake rescue and evacuation operations during OP RAHAT after a massive cloud burst resulted in extensive flooding accompanied by landslides in the state of Uttarakhand. The IAF Special Force Garuds, led by Sqn Ldr Vinay Bhal were inducted to undertake search and rescue operation in the affected area.
On 25 Jun 13, the IAF Special Forces Garuds were tasked to locate the crash site of a MI-17 V5 helicopter. Sqn Ldr Vinay Bhal on board the search and rescue aircraft assisted in sighting the crash site in densely forested hilly terrain. With no landing ground, he led from the front and lowered himself close to the crash site using a cable wire. The entire operation lasted for three days and two nights during the course of which he operated in inhospitable terrain, inclement weather and on top of a forested hill with at a steep gradient. He led the team in an exemplary manner and maintained the team’s morale and accomplished the extremely demanding mission with peril to his life. He displayed astute professionalism, dedication and bravery.
For his professional competency, excellent leadership qualities, exceptional courage and selfless devotion to duty, Squadron Leader Vinay Bhal is recommended for the award of Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Wing Commander Nikhil Naidu Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Chetak / ALH helicopter unit since 30 Jan 12. He was among the first few respondents to the rescue operations and was specially chosen to undertaken the task due to his vast experience. He has air transported more than 5200 Kg of relief material and saved 626 people in about 56 sorties flown by him during ‘Op Rahat’. He has played a pivotal role on at least three different occasions wherein he undertook conspicuously daring missions while ensuring the safety of his aircraft and his team.
On 20 Jun 13, Wg Cdr Naidu winched down two civilian mountaineers on a small ledge surrounded by high obstruction and high tension cable near ‘Jungle Chatti’. Subsequently, he also winched down another 10 ITBP personnel equipped with critical equipment required to prepare a makeshift helipad. This courageous and skillful operation paved the way for other helicopters to land at the ‘Jungle Chatti’ ledge and eventually resulted in evacuating more than 700 stranded pilgrims.
On 25 Jun 13, after an IAF helicopter went missing during the operations, Wg Cdr Naidu volunteered for the search mission and managed to locate the crash site. Mindful of the need to access the crash site he winced down four Garud Commandos at almost 10,000 ft, under extremely inclement weather, once again demonstrating conspicuous courage and exceptional flying skill.
On 11 Jul 13, while his helicopter was parked at night at an ITBP helipad at Gaucher when an impending landslide alert was issued, he acted swiftly and with amazing alacrity despite it being totally dark in the middle of the night. His courageous actions in the face of grave personal risks to his life resulted in saving a precious national asset which would have perished, if left unattended. In all the above instance, the officer has displayed distinct gallantry and professionalism of an exceptional order while undertaking extremely critical missions in response to this grave national disaster.
For these acts of conspicuous bravery, Wing Commander Nikhil Naidu is recommended for the award of Shaurya Chakra.
Squadron Leader Vipin Takawale Flying (Pilot) is Chetak/Cheeta type instructor and is posted in an operational helicopter unit since May 2012.
On 21 Jun 13, the detachment was tasked to drop food packets in the Kedarnath valley. Sqn Ldr Takawale got airborne within minutes of getting SOS call and commenced his food dropping mission. While dropping relief material, he heard a distress call from a civil helicopter which had crashed and was on fire in the treacherous terrain of Jungle Chatti. Despite not being prepared for a casualty evacuation mission, the officer on receiving a SOS call displayed good leadership qualities and took a courageous decision to proceed to crash site. Though this was his first sortie in the area, he was quick to correlate the map and displayed exceptional navigations skills in locating the crash site within 10 minutes of the crash. He noticed that the crashed helicopter was at a site which posed many dangers like dense HT and LT cables, electrical poles, narrow valley, thick vegetation and absolutely no place to land. The inhospitable terrain coupled with adverse wind conditions left him with no margins for error. However, he remained undeterred and after a quick in-flight briefing decided to winch up the casualty. He did all this with extreme confidence and without compromising flight safety. This mission definitely enhanced IAF’s image as being ever ready to provide succour to the affected.
For his exceptional courage, in the face of adverse conditions, and unparalleled dedication to duty, Squadron Leader Vipin Vilas Takawale is recommended for Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Squadron Leader Anupam Dey Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Chetak Helicopter unit since 04 Jun 12 and has been performing the duties of a Fully Operational Pilot.
On 26 Mar 13, he was authorized to ferry a Chetak Helicopter Z-422 from Pune to Jamnagar. During hover for take off, at a height of approximately 5-6 feet above ground level, due to failure of the rudder control linkages, total directional control over the helicopter was lost. Due to the loss of directional control, the aircraft started yawing viciously to the left with increasing amplitude and at such a low altitude above ground level spun for four 360 degree rotations.
His prompt decision making and correct analysis of the emergency coupled with ability to maintain his composure in such an uncontrolled state of flight of the helicopter led to the safe recovery of the helicopter, passengers and service equipment.
For this act of exceptional courage and professional handling of aircraft under difficult circumstances, Squadron Leader Anupam Dey is recommended for the award of Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Wing Commander Syed Muzaffer Yunus Flying (Pilot) is the Commanding Officer of a Mi-17 V5 Helicopter Unit in northern sector wef 11 Jun 12.
On 17 Jun 2013, the unit was tasked for ‘Operation Rahat’ in Uttarakhand. He was the captain of first rescue mission by a Mi-17 V5 helicopter to rescue distressed and injured pilgrims from an unprepared and restricted landing site adjacent to Kedarnath temple at an elevation of approximately 11200 feet. He was quick enough to pick up the distressed pilgrims including 15 old women and exhausted men, in shortest possible time, catering for inclement weather. Throughout that day, he braved and battled against the weather and executed daring landing at untried and unprepared sites rescuing more than 100 persons.
On 21 Jun 2013, once again, Wing Commander Yunus was part of the first Rescue mission at Badrinath, where thousands of pilgrims were stranded, at an elevation of 10,300 feet. He displayed fearless determination and evacuated more than 350 pilgrims in one single day to Joshimath involving eighteen sorties. During these operations, he flew a total of 96 sorties in 46:00 hours and rescued more than One thousand stranded pilgrims.
This act of exceptional courage and fearless determination, Wing Commander Syed Muzaffar Yunus is recommended for the award of Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Wing Commander Kondam Munisubrayachetty Raghuraman Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of an ALH Mk III Helicopter Unit and has been performing the duties of the Flight Commander since 01 Aug 11.
On 17 Jun 13, the unit was tasked to position three helicopters at Dehradun to undertake relief operations towards ‘Op Rahat’. With a dedicated aim in mind, he and his team flew vigorously in the flood hit areas, averaging 15 sorties per day and rescued 490 stranded pilgrims/locals in addition to dropping over 50 tons of relief material in the Kedarnath Valley without an accident / incident.
For his meticulous planning and execution of rescue and relief operations and exceptional courage, Wing Commander Kondam Munisubrayachetty Raghuraman is recommended for the award of Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Wing Commander Ravi Chandrashekhar Pathak, VM Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 16 Dec 95 and is Commanding the Sarang Display Team at Air Force Station Sulur. He is an Experimental Test Pilot and a Qualified Flying Instructor. He has flown over 4100 hrs o 21 different types of aircraft.
On 20 Jun 2013, Wg Cdr RC Pathak was tasked to undertake Disaster Relief Operations (Op Rahat) in Uttarakhand as the Detachment Commander at Gauchar. He carried out an aerial reconnaissance to assess the unique requirements to undertake this complicated task and realized that there were thousands of sick and injured people stranded in the valley and only quick air evacuation could save their lives. Wg Cdr RC Pathak flew 41 critical missions, including winching down of Garud commandos at 9000 feet and evacuated 111 personnel.
Wg Cdr RC Pathak had the challenging task of planning and executing Disaster Relief Operations in the backdrop of a huge natural calamity, from a makeshift base at a short notice with severe constrains in terms of fuel, administrative and logistics support. Through sustained intense operations under his command, the detachment airlifted 2700 personnel and inducted 20 tons of relief material. By leading from the front, in the service of the nation, Wg Cdr RC Pathak has displayed exceptional valor, professionalism and operational leadership.
For the act of exceptional courage displayed in evacuating stranded personnel from Kedarnath valley during ‘Op Rahat’, Wing Commander Ravi Chandrashekhar Pathak VM is recommended for the award of Bar to Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Group Captain Mukesh Kumar Yadav Flying (Pilot) is the First Commanding Officer of a newly inducted Mi-17 V5 helicopter unit since 23 Jan 2012 and has over 5300 hours of flying experience.
Gp Capt Yadav was detailed as Detachment Commander at Dharasu during Op Rahat. On reaching there, he immediately took stock of the situation and correctly ascertained that the operations would be hampered due to shortage of fuel. Based on his analysis, he along with his team worked relentlessly through the night on 21 Jun 2013 to prepare the unused Advanced Landing Ground to enable the C-130J to land.
On the night of 22 Jun 13, he was informed that there were approximately 3000 civilians at Harsil, some of whom were critically injured and required immediate evacuation. A total, 533 sorties were undertaken under his dynamic leadership, of which 97 sorties were piloted by him, evacuating 5488 people and airlifting 74000 Kgs of relief material in just six days. Despite physical hardships as a result of non-stop work round the clock for all these days, he continued to inspire all with his extraordinary courage, spirit of selfless sacrifice and exceptional flying skills.
For his exceptional courage to fly the mission in extremely inclement weather conditions and innovative technique adopted to reach inaccessible areas, Group Captain Mukesh Kumar Yadav is recommended for the award of Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Wing Commander Vijay Yadav was commissioned on 05 Mar 94. He took over command of an Advanced Light Helicopter Unit on 01 Aug 11.
At a time when the unit was undergoing induction of ALH MK-III and with shortage of experienced aircrew for the new aircraft, he led by example and was one of the first to fly the new machine in the treacherous operating conditions of Operation Rahat. He flew extensively in the flood hit area in Kedarnath valley and rescued numerous stranded pilgrims while operating from Gauchar, Gupkashi and Joshimath helipads.
On 01 July 2013, he was tasked with the mission of evacuating causalities from the Badrinath. He successfully negotiated the inclement weather and carried out shuttles top rescue stranded and sick pilgrims. All of these missions were carried out in marginal weather where the aircraft was operating at the limits of its capabilities. With inclement weather hampering operations also in Kedarnath valley for almost a week, he displayed highest standards of courage, leadership and maturity and planned and executed missions in the limited window of clear weather to drop relief materials, Doctors and NDRF personnel.
As Detachment Commander at Gaucher, he exhibited exemplary maturity and skills in ensuring mission accomplishment in the most professional manner. Under his exemplary command and guidance, the unit flew more than 260 Hrs, 600 sorties, evacuated more than 1900 stranded pilgrims, tourists and foreign national and dropped more than 60 tons of relief materials in the inhospitable terrain of the flood affected areas of Uttarakhand.
For this act of exceptional courage, Wing Commander Vijay Yadav is recommended for the award of Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Wing Commander Vinod Negi Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Sarang Helicopter Display Team at Air Force Station Sulur with effect from 19 Jul 10 and performing the duty of Unit Flight Commander.
On 21 Jun 2013, Wg Cdr Vinod Negi was tasked to evacuate stranded pilgrims from Kedarnath valley. Having flown several rescue missions over the previous day, he realized that thousands of people were stranded at Jungle Chatti which is at an elevation of 7500 feet and their only hope of survival was through air evacuation. During entire Op Rahat, he displayed exceptional courage, flew 102 sorties, rescued 584 personnel and inducted eight tons of relief material.
He was a positive influence on the unit personnel and guided relatively inexperienced crew in extracting performance beyond expectations. Under his guidance, the unit flew a total of 177 sorties, evacuated 917 personnel and inducted twelve tons of load during ‘Op Rahat’. With his meticulous planning and leadership, Wg Cdr Vinod Negi ensured time critical mission accomplishment against all odds and proved to be a role model for both his peers and junior to emulate.
For his act of exceptional courage in evacuating stranded personnel from Jungle Chatti during ‘Op Rahat’, Wing Commander Vinod Negi is recommended for the award of Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Wing Commander Sachin Gupta Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of an Advanced Light Helicopter Unit since 28 Jan 13.
On 18 Jun 13, at 0530h, he was tasked to proceed to Phata helipad in Kedarnath valley for evacuation of stranded pilgrims, Assessing the weather, he took off immediately and reached Phata. Without switching off, he picked up relief packets and got airborne for Kedarnath valley. Spotting a clear path near Rambada, with just enough space for rotor clearance and with only adequate space for one skid on ground, he boldly carried out a low hover to pick up old and injured pilgrims. He ensured a quick turnaround and carried out continuous shuttles to rescue 45 civilians and drop 900 Kgs of ration on the first day.
Subsequently, he rescued pilgrims in treacherous areas like Gaurikund, Kedarnath and Garud Chatti. Considering the hostile nature of the operating area, and difficulty of carrying out winch operations at the elevation of 2.9 Km, even a small error could have had disastrous consequences. During Op Rahat, he flew 200 sorties / 70 hrs and rescued 237 casualties. All of these missions required exceptional courage and professionalism for safe execution.
For his exceptional courage, focused and dedicated service, Wing Commander Sachin Gupta is recommended for the award of Vayu Sena Medical (Gallantry).
GALLANTRY AWARDS TO ARMY BRAVEHEARTS
On Republic Day – 2014, eight Army personnels were conferred with
Chakra series gallantry awards. One personnel was awarded the Kirti
Chakra, while seven others were conferred with Shaurya Chakras for
displaying conspicuous gallantry in operations.
Nb Sub Bhupal Singh Chhantel Magar, 5/5 Gorkha Rifles.
Lieutenant Colonel Bikramjit Singh (Posthumous), 16th
Major Mandeep Singh Ghumman, 1 Assam Rifles.
Major Gaurav Thakur, 24 Rashtriya Rifles (BIHAR).
Captain Sandeep Bhartiya, 17 JAT.
Captain Mahabir Singh, 9 PARA (SF).
Sepoy Lallawmzuala, 18 Rashtriya Rifles (RAJPUTANA RIFLES).
Sepoy Ran Bahadur Gurung (Posthumous) , 5/5 Gorkha Rifles.
Nb Sub Bhupal Singh Chhantel Magar, Kirti Chakra
Nb Sub Bhupal Singh Chhantel Magar of 5/5 Gorkha Rifles has been
awarded “Kirti Chakra” for displaying exceptional bravery, raw courage
and junior leadership beyond the call of duty, in successful counter
infiltration operations along the Line of Control in J&K. Nb Sub Bhupal
Singh Chhantel Magar is a resident of Rupendehi District of Nepal.
On 31 August 2013, while guarding a crucial gap along the Line of
Control in Kupwara District, Nb Sub Bhupal Singh Chhantel Magar spotted
movement of six heavily armed terrorists. Displaying remarkable presence
of mind, he immediately side-stepped his position in rugged and boulders
ridden terrain and closed in towards the terrorists, despite being under fire.
The gallant soldier displaying nerves of steel, fired a long burst, killing one
terrorist. Displaying raw courage, he pursued the second terrorist and
injured him. While the injured terrorist was hiding behind a boulder, the
Junior Commissioned Officer, unmindful of his personal safety, charged
towards the terrorist and killed him.
Lieutenant Colonel Bikramjit Singh, Shaurya Chakra (Posthumous)
Lieutenant Colonel Bikramjit Singh of 16th
been awarded “Shaurya Chakra” (Posthumous) for his speedy, tactically
sound actions, courageous and bold leadership in the face of mortal
danger and for acting swiftly without waiting for a weapon or protective
gear, acting well beyond the call of duty, in the highest traditions of the
Indian Army in Counter Terrorist Operations in Samba (J&K). Lieutenant
Colonel Bikramjit Singh is a resident of Chandigarh, Punjab.
On 26 Sep 2013 at approximately 07:15 AM, Lieutenant Colonel
Bikram Jit Singh on hearing the sound of automatic weapons near the
Officers’ Mess Complex, rushed to the site. He spotted a terrorist hiding in
a Nala, bringing down fire and attempting to break out towards the adjacent
family accommodation. Despite presence of armed terrorists, the officer
moved from one position to another, shouting instructions and directing
action against the terrorist. His prompt and fearless actions dislodged the
terrorist from an effective firing position, forcing the terrorist to seek cover
in a room, leading to his eventual elimination. While undertaking these
actions the officer was unmindful of his personal safety and the fact that he
was unarmed. The officer suffered fatal gunshot injuries during the period.
By his actions, the officer prevented the breakout of the terrorists towards
the Officers’ Married Accommodation Complex and provided time for the
Unit Quick Reaction Team to move into a tight cordon. His actions
prevented loss of further lives, especially those of unarmed women and
Major Mandeep Singh Ghumman, Shaurya Chakra
Major Mandeep Singh Ghumman of 1 Assam Rifles has been
awarded “Shaurya Chakra” for act of extraordinary bravery, conspicuous
courage and selfless devotion to duty of an exceptionally high order in anti
terrorist operations in the North East. Major Mandeep Singh Ghumman is a
resident of Pathankot, Punjab.
On 08 May 2013, based on specific intelligence, the officer led a
small team to a village located on top of a hill. On reaching the suspected
location, the column came under heavy fire from inside a house. The
officer did not retaliate immediately to avoid civilian casualty. One terrorist
who jumped out of the window firing indiscriminately was chased and
eliminated from close range by the officer with disregard to personal safety.
Another terrorist firing from the neighbouring house had pinned down the
officer’s party. Sensing danger to own troops, the officer, making use of the
undulating ground, rushed to the site. In a brazen act of valour, the officer
charged at the second terrorist and eliminated him.
Major Gaurav Thakur, Shaurya ChakraMajor Gaurav Thakur of 24 Rashtriya Rifles (BIHAR) has been
awarded “Shaurya Chakra” for displaying indomitable courage, tactical
acumen, exemplary leadership and selfless devotion to duty. He was
instrumental in generating actionable intelligence, innovative siting of
ambush and tactical deployment of various parties, which ultimately led to
elimination of five hardcore terrorists. Major Gaurav Thakur is a resident of
Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
On 30 August 2013, sensing suspicious movement near the bridge,
as assault team commander, he challenged the terrorists who opened
indiscriminate fire and lobbed grenades onto the ambush party and tried to
escape. The officer, displaying raw courage, grit and extraordinary field
craft, chased the fleeing terrorists in order to maintain contact. He came
under heavy volume of fire from one terrorist and chased him to a distance
of 50 meters in open terrain. In an act of conspicuous bravery, against
fearful odds unmindful of his own safety, he closed in and lobbed a
grenade from a very close range killing the terrorist instantly.
Captain Sandeep Bhartiya, Shaurya ChakraCaptain Sandeep Bhartiya of 17 JAT has been awarded “Shaurya
Chakra” for displaying exemplary bravery, courage and leadership in the
face of the enemy, showing utter disregard to personal safety in anti
terrorist operations on the Line of Control (LoC) in J&K. Captain Sandeep
Bhartiya is a resident of Munger, Bihar.
On 31 May 2013, Captain Sandeep observed movement of three to
four terrorists in a dense area. He immediately took a party of four other
ranks and occupied a suitable ambush point. At approximately 11:45 PM,
as the terrorists drew closer to the fence, Captain Sandeep opened fire.
The terrorists retaliated with heavy volume of fire and taking cover of the
thickly wooded area, tried to extricate themselves. Throughout the night,
Captain Sandeep ensured that the terrorists were fixed, by fire, at the same
spot. Close to first light, the terrorist group made another attempt to
escape, by firing heavily. The officer, instead of taking cover, changed
position to fire at one militant and killed him. The operation continued till
the next day and a total of three militants were killed.
Captain Mahabir Singh, Shaurya ChakraCaptain Mahabir Singh of 9 PARA (Special Forces) has been
awarded “Shaurya Chakra” for displaying exemplary leadership, raw
courage and conspicuous gallantry in face of grave personal danger and
personally eliminating one hard core terrorist in anti terrorist operations in
Samba (J&K). Captain Mahabir Singh is a resident of Gurdaspur, Punjab.
On 26 September 2013, Captain Mahabir was tasked to clear
terrorists from unit lines during a Fidayeen attack. As the troops
commenced clearing operations, they came under heavy small-arms and
grenade fire from an adjacent building. Sensing grave threat to the entire
operation and proximity of family quarters in close vicinity, Captain
Mahabir, unmindful of his personal safety, charged into the building to
engage the terrorists. Displaying sheer courage and exemplary field-craft,
he manoeuvered to engage the terrorists at extreme close quarters. He
moved from room to room, closing down their escape routes and shot dead
one terrorist at point-blank range, thereby completely disorganising their
will to resist. This singular action by the officer ensured safety of the entire
team, prevented further collateral damage and minimised casualties during
the entire operation.
Sepoy Lallawmzuala, Shaurya ChakraSepoy Lallawmzuala of 18 Rashtriya Rifles (RAJPUTANA RIFLES)
has been awarded “Shaurya Chakra” for his conspicuous act of bravery
beyond the call of duty in anti terrorist operations in J&K. Sepoy
Lallawmzuala is a resident of Mamit, Mizoram.
On 23 July 2013, Sepoy Lallawmzuala was part of the inner cordon
deployed at night during search operation based on intelligence about
presence of a terrorist in a house. On commencement of search at
approximately 6:30 AM, Sepoy Lallawmzuala was amongst the first to
enter the house. His deliberate and methodical search revealed the
presence of an armed terrorist in a well concealed hideout behind planks
and loose earth in the house. Upon being discovered the terrorist opened
indiscriminate fire, however, the soldier’s alacrity and outstanding use of
field craft enabled him to manoeuvre to an advantageous position within
three metres of the terrorist. His courage under fire, calm collected actions
and outstanding fire control led to elimination of a top commander of Jaish-
e-Mohammad. His actions ensured that the balance of the search party
received critical warning at the opportune time, resulting in effective
covering fire and no casualty to own troops.
Sepoy Ran Bahadur Gurung, Shaurya Chakra (Posthumous)Sepoy Ran Bahadur Gurung of 5/5 Gorkha Rifles has been awarded
“Shaurya Chakra” (Posthumous) for displaying exceptional resilience,
commitment and epic bravery during counter infiltration operations along
the Line of Control in J&K. Sepoy Ran Bahadur Gurung is a resident of
Kaski District of Nepal.
On 31 Jul 2013, the individual was part of the surveillance
detachment deployed in boulders and steep cliffs. Despite being in
virtually cramped position for four days during inclement weather, the brave
soldier maintained sharp vigilance. On 03 August 2013 at approximately
5:30 AM, he sensed some movement in the fog and alerted his party.
Suddenly, the terrorist opened indiscriminate fire and lobbed two grenades
towards the neighbouring team. Sensing threat to his colleagues Sepoy
Ran Bahadur Gurung fired at the terrorist and crawled closer towards him.
This action diverted the terrorist’s attention who charged towards Sepoy
Ran Bahadur Gurung and lobbed another grenade. Displaying steely
nerves, Sepoy Ran Bahadur Gurung kept engaging the terrorist, giving
crucial time for neighbouring team to readjust. However, another burst by
the terrorist caused a fatal injury to the gallant soldier, who sacrificed his
life in the defence of the Nation.
ALL PHOTOS AND WRITE UPS: COURTESY IAF, INDIAN ARMY