Wing Commander Chandra Datt Upadhyay was deployed as Ã¢â‚¬ËœType Force CommanderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ of the Pratap Fleet of Indian Air Force Element of Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka from the 19th October, 1987 to 3rd November 1987, when the IPKF was engaged in fierce battle with Tamil Militants for control of Jaffna town.
On the 19th October, 1987 and again on the 20th October, 1987, Wing Commander Upadhaya carried out sorties to take urgent rations, petrol, oil and ammunition for the advancing Army columns and evacuate casualties. He carried out the mission by landing on an open field which was under fire from all sides.
On the 21st October, 1987, a single helicopter special mission of para commando was dropped at Achuvail and then para commandos and prisoners were picked up from Puttur West. During take off from the ground at Puttur West, his helicopter was fired at by the militants by machine gun & rockets. One rocket damaged the trailing edge of a rotor blade, causing severe vibration. The helicopter went out of control and started descending rapidly. Wing Commander Upadhyay showing great professional skill controlled the helicopter only a few feet above the ground and turned back and landed the stricken helicopter in the same field. All the passengers and crew took shelter in ditches and once the crossfire ceased, he inspected the helicopter. Since the damage was very light, he restarted the helicopter, boarded the passengers and managed to fly it back at low speed to the airfield, thus saving valuable lives and a helicopter.
Wing Commander Chandra Datt Upadhaya thus displayed exceptional professional skill, extreme devotion to duty and courage in the face of the militants in Sri Lanka.