|Flt Lt||Suhas Biswas 2883 GD(P)||Unit : Air HQ and Comm||Award Date 03 Feb 52||Announced 26 Jan 53|
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On Sunday, the 3rd February 1952, a Devon Aircraft carrying six passengers, which included the Army Commander, Western Command, the Chief of the General Staff, the QuarterMaster General, one Divisional Commander, the Military Secretary and the Deputy Director of Supplies and Transport, Army Headquarters, was piloted by Flight Lieutenant Suhas Biswas on a flight from Lucknow to Delhi. Soon after the aircraft left Lucknow at about 1800 hours, the port engine developed serious trouble and caught fire. Flight Lieutenant Biswas tried hard to extinguish the fire but without success; so he immediately decided to force land. It was then getting dark but there was just sufficient light to choose a flat piece of ground. During the descent from 6,000 feet, the burning port engine fell out and the aircraft got out of control but Flight Lieutenant Biswas soon succeeded in bringing the aircraft under control. He then switched off the only engine functioning, and made a successful belly landing under the worst conditions, thus averting a major disaster.
Fully realising the gravity of the situation and in the face of certain disaster, Flight Lieutenant BiswasĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s demeanour and behaviour in the plane was inspiring. At no time did he show that he was not in complete control of the situation. His presence of mind when the plane caught fire, skillful navigation of the plane when the engine had fallen out and his courage in landing the plane on unreconnoitred ground in twilight showed leadership of the highest order and set a magnificent example of extreme devotion to duty.
Full Story: On the 3rd of February, 1952, The U. P. Area command of the Indian Army was holding a tactical Exercise in Lucknow. To Witness this Exercise, High ranking Army Officials decided to fly down to the Exercise to observe. The Then GOC-in-C Western Command Lt Gen S. M Shrinagesh (Later COAS) , The Quarter Master General Maj-Gen K. S . Thimayya (later COAS), The Chief of General Staff Maj Gen S. P. P. Thorat (later GOC-inC East), The Military Secretary Maj Gen Sarda Nand, Maj Gen Mohinder Singh Chopra and Brig Ajaib Singh boarded the IAF HQ and Communications Flight De Havilland Devon (HW 516) which was being flown by Flt Lt Suhas Biswas. The Devon reached Lucknow and after the exercises were completed, the Officers returned for the return flight to Delhi. The Devon took off at 1800 Hrs and moments after the aircraft took off, the Crew observed the port engine was spewing smoke and soon a fire broke out. The Devon became difficult to control and as the fire kept creeping towards the main fuselage, Biswas, the pilot put the Devon in a dive in an attempt to reduce altitude and attempt a crash landing before the aircraft fuel reserves caught fire and blew up. As the Devon was put into the dive, The Aircraft shuddered in the airflow and The Engine mounting broke away, resulting in the burning engine seperating from the wing and falling off. Biswas levelled the Aircraft and belly landed sucessfully at a village near the Sandilla Railway Station. All the occupants walked out of the crashed aircraft unhurt with the pilot being the last to leave.
Flt Lt Suhas Biswas awarded the First Ashoka Chakra to the Indian Air Force for the presence of mind, Skill and cool courage in maintaining the Stricken aircraft and saving the lives of many Senior Army Officers. Which included Two Future Army Chiefs and an Army Commander. The Air Force Chief, Air Marshal Subroto Mukerjee, had had the passenger chairs removed from the wrecked Devon and presented it individually to each of the survivors of the crash with a Brass Plate mentioning the circumstances of the crash.
|Reference:||Notification No. 21-Pres/52 dated 22nd February, 1952 in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India.|
|Sqn Ldr||Rakesh Sharma 12396 F(P)||Unit : Indo Soviet Space||Award Date 30 Aug 84||Announced 26 Jan 85|
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In January 1982, when it was decided that an Indian would go into space on a Soviet space ship, Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma volunteered for this very challenging mission. After a very rigorous selection process, which included a most exacting medical test, he was selected as one of the two cosmonaut candidates from among 150 highly qualified and experienced pilots of the Indian Air Force. After his selection, he underwent training as a cosmonaut at YURI GAGARIN CENTRE in the USSR, where he applied himself with total devotion and dedication and won acclaim from Soviet Space experts. Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma completed a most arduous training schedule, with distinction and with exceptional professionalism.
|Reference:||Gazette of India, 19th May 1984 - No.57 - Pres/85 dated 7th May 1985|
|Cpl||Jyoti Prakash Nirala 918203 OR||Unit : 13 Rashtriya Rifles||Award Date 18 Nov 17||Announced 26 Jan 18|
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Corporal Jyoti Prakash Nirala was a specialist weapon operator in the IAF Special Forces Detachment. He was attached with 13 Rashtriya Rifles Battalion, under the aegis of 'Op Rakshak' in Jammu & Kashmir for active counter insurgency operations. On 18 Nov 17, based on specific tech intelligence, an offensive was launched jointly by the Garud detachment and 13 RR in Chanderger village of Bandipora district in J&K. The Garud detachment covertly approached the target house where the suspected terrorists were hiding and laid a close quarter ambush. Cpl Nirala, displaying exceptional battle craft, positioned himself close to the approach of the hideout, thus cutting off all possibilities of an escape by the insurgents. Laying this ambush itself at such close quarters demanded a very high degree of courage and professional acumen.
While the detachment laid in wait, six terrorists hiding in the house, rushed out, shooting and lobbing grenades at the Garuds. Cpl Nirala, disregarding personal safety and displaying indomitable courage, retaliated with effective lethal fire and gunned down a category 'A' terrorist named Ubaid Alias Osama Jungi (nephew of LeT commander Zaki Ur Rehman Lakhvi). Readjusting his position to protect his colleagues and preventing other terrorists from escaping, Cpl Nirala killed one more category `A+' terrorist, named Mehmud Bhai (LeT North Kashmir commander) and injured two others. In this violent exchange of fire, Cpl Nirala was hit by a volley of small arms fire. Despite being critically injured, the Corporal continued retaliatory fire. Subsequently, he succumbed to fatal gunshot wounds received in the fierce encounter, which resulted in the killing of alI six dreaded terrorists.
For this act of most conspicuous bravery, pre-eminent valour and supreme sacrifice, Corporal Jyoti Prakash Nirala has been awarded Ashok Chakra (Posthumous).