NAO SENA MEDAL (GALLANTRY)
LT CDR RAVINDRA SINGH CHAUDHARY (07270-Y)
The officer was Officer-in-Charge of the team deployed in J&K for ‘Op Rakshak’ from Nov 18 to Apr 19. Under his leadership, the team successfully eliminated seven hardcore terrorists without own team casualty. On 21 Feb 19, he was team leader of the MARCOS team which undertook ‘Operation Warpura’ which resulted in neutralisation of three hardcore terrorists. The team was placed as inner cordon and the officer along with his buddy Beerbal Singh, SEA I CDIII, 241602-Y occupied tactical position dominating the target house. He maintained alert vigil through the night constantly adjusting the cordon to ensure no gaps were present. On 22 Feb 19, from 0230 to 1000, the terrorists made multiple attempts to escape by resorting to heavy fire on own troops, but accurate firing by MARCOS team ensured that attempts were unsuccessful and resulted in elimination of first terrorist. At 221030, heavy fire was resorted by terrorists, which enabled the Officer to determine their precise location.
At 221130, , the officer relocated himself to get a clear line of fire despite coming under very heavy fire from the terrrorists. This exceptional act of gallantry was exhibted by the Officer despite very heavy risk to his own life. Later, the officer eliminated the second terrrorist with precision fire. The firefight continued and the Officer ensured multidirectional aimed fire at the hiding location of third terrorist to keep him contained thereby displaying presence of mind and nerves of steel under fire. At about 221600, the third terrroist was also eliminated. Leading his team from the front and executing the bold operation with absolute disregard to own life, Lt Cdr Ravindra Singh Chaudhary (07270-Y) displayed raw courage under intense enemy fire with scant disregard to personal safety in face of grave danger and is therefore strongly recommended for award of “Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry).
NAO SENA MEDAL (GALLANTRY)
LT CDR VIKRANT SINGH (06046-R)
Lt Cdr Vikrant Singh was the Officer-in-Charge of Naval Detachment (North) from Nov 18 – Mar 19. During his tenure, the Officer had been at the forefront of several major operations, including two back to back operations; Op BABAGUND and Op WARPURA II in which, a total of five hard core terrorists were eliminated. On 28 Feb 19, at about 1330 hrs, a Joint Cordon and Search Operation was launched by 22 RR along with the Police Special Operations Group and CRPF, in Beighpura Mohalla of Babagund Township, District Handwara. Unfortunately, during the initial stages of the operation itself, six fatal and nine non-fatal casualties were suffered by the Joint Team. At this juncture Para SF and MARCOS were called in for the operation. The situation had turned complex as the two LeT terrorists had managed to break out of the inner cordon and a larger area had to be sanitised by the Special Forces to isolate and eliminate them. The complexity was further exacerbated due to the dense network of houses at the operation site.
9 Para SF undertook aggressive housing clearing drills from one side and MARCOS team was positioned at vantage points to neutralise escaping terrorists. The Officer chose to place himself and buddy in a risky, yet tactically strong position from where they would have wider coverage, and therefore higher probability of targeting the escaping terrorists. Whilst escaping from the fire of Para SF, one terrorist fired upon the officer’s buddy who was in a disadvantageous position. The officer came out of his covered position and fired upon the terrorist thus exposing himself to a grave risk. By taking this brave risk, he not only eliminated the terrorist but also ensured no own casualty and a quick end to the operation as the other terrorist was also eliminated soon. The role of the officer in the operation has also been highly appreciated by GOC-in-C, 15 Corps. For his fearlessness in demonstrating rare courage and ability to take a calculated risk, Lt Cdr Vikrant is strongly recommended for the award of Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry).
NAO SENA MEDAL (GALLANTRY)
LT CDR SHAILENDRA SINGH (05982-W)
The officer has been serving as Senior Pilot of Gharial Flight since 15 Aug 16. At about 1400 hrs on 15 Jun, a directive was received from HQENC regarding urgent deployment of Sea King 42 C helicopter based at INS Dega to prevent grounding of MV SSL Kolkata, laden with toxic chemicals. The officer, as ever, rose to the occasion and volunteered to undertake the mission. On 16 Jun, as the helicopter approached overhead the vessel, it was found that the ship was unsuitable for landing of personnel due to very heavy smoke. Non availability of Search and Rescue ship, inclement weather, strong winds (35-40 kts), dangerous list to one side and a very heavy helicopter with 15 personnel further made the situation more complex. At this juncture the officer realized that a no go would surely result in a major ecological disaster. The mission was time-critical mission as the vessel had to be stopped at any cost from crossing IMBL Bangladesh (20 nm away) and closing Sunderbans (08 nm away).
The officer carried out a quick operational risk assessment to safely lower four personnel (including 02 civilians) onto the foxle (front part of the ship). Whilst at hover, at about 0930 hrs, two huge explosions occurred on the ship with fire ball rising upto 100 feet in height and dangerously close to the helicopter. The officer displaying excellent piloting skills maneuvered the aircraft out of the explosion zone, maintaining his calm and composure even in the face of mortal danger. Considering the life threatening danger to the salvage crew, Lt Cdr Shailendra Singh showing raw courage and complete disregard to personal safety, maintained hover atop the vessel ablaze with random explosions, for over 20 minutes in heavy sulphur laden smoke-filled conditions and strong winds. During extraction, the winch malfunctioned and the officer displayed exceptional situational awareness to continue with the operation in emergency mode in near zero visibility conditions and successfully extracted the salvage team. The Officer while piloting the helicopter displayed immense courage, fortitude and valour in the face of adversities during the salvage operation of MV SSL Kolkata thereby not only preserving a National Heritage and averting an ecological disaster but also saving his helicopter and lives of all 15 personnel onboard. In view of his gallant act under the most trying circumstances, Lt Cdr Shailendra Singh (05982-W) is recommended for the award of Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry).
NAO SENA MEDAL (GALLANTRY)
SUSHIL KUMAR, LS (GW), 230617-F
The sailor was part of MARCOS team deployed to J & K for ‘Op Rakshak’ from Nov 18 to Apr 19. He played a key role in ‘OP BABAGUND’ from 28 Feb – 03 Mar 19 which resulted in elimination of two terrorists. On 02 Mar 19, the MARCOS team was inducted as inner cordon post heavy casualties (06 fatal and 10 non-fatal) suffered by 22 RR, SOG Handwara and CRPF at the hand of terrorists hiding in a building compound. The team was positioned into tactical location to prevent the terrorists inside the compound from escaping or inflict more casualties as well as to boost up the shattered morale of the troops. The first terrorist was eliminated at 021530. Towards eliminating the second terrorist, an IED was used to bring down the compound. However, the IED did not have any substantial results view large size of the compound. The team leader tasked the sailor and his buddy to clear the closest house using Close Quarter Battle Room Intervention drills and position himself tactically as sniper for precision firing.
As the sailor and his buddy were clearing the house, one of the terrorists opened fire on that house. The sailor under heavy fire and with utter disregard to personal safety immediately rushed and occupied roof of the house. This vantage position allowed him a clear field of view even though he was exposed to enemy fire with no cover. The sailor maintained his calm and alert vigil and directed the IED team to place the second IED in target house. As the IED was being placed, the second terrorist rushed out of the house firing indiscriminately towards the sailor and his buddy. The sailor, delivered accurate fire at the escaping terrorist and neutralised the second terrorist. For displaying indomitable courage, conspicuous gallantry and undaunting bravery beyond the call of duty and neutralising terrorist in the face of enemy fire, Sushil Kumar, LS (GW) is strongly recommended for the award of Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry).
When one escaping terrorist was about to shoot at a MARCOS team member who was unaware of his presence, the Officer displaying rare courage, came out of his hiding position to shoot the terrorist
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 17 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.