On the 22nd June, 1988, Flight Lieutenant Nicodemus Manohar Samuel was detailed for a special task involving winching down of IPKF reconnaissance party in the most difficult and thickly vegetated terrain in Mullaitivu area in Sri Lanka. This operation involved hovering over an area which was expected to be infested with hard core militants. During the execution of this mission, his helicopter came under heavy ground fire from the surrounding area. However, with utmost dedication and total disregard to personal safety, Flight Lieutenant Samuel continued to hover till the recce party was retrieved by winching. In the resultant ground fire, the helicopter sustained extensive damage and some of the crew members and the troops on board were injured. In spite of being subjected to heavy ground fire, Flight Lieutenant Samuel kept his cool and continued to fly his helicopter in the damaged condition till his mission was completed. He also displayed excellent airmanship by correctly assessing the damage caused to the helicopter and flying this crippled machine safely to the nearest helipad, thereby avoiding further damage to his helicopter and also to render immediate medical aid to the injured troops/crew.
In the whole operation, Flight Lieutenant Nicodemus Manohar Samuel showed courage and professional skill of extremely high order, with total disregard to personal safety in the face of the militants.