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Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon

Service No 10877 Branch F(P)
Name : Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon Rank Flying Officer
Date of Birth: 17 Jul 45
Date Commissioned 04 Jun 67 (97 Course) Service End Died in Service 14 Dec 71
Remarks :
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Awards and Decorations
Number of Awards: 1


Param Vir Chakra
Fg Offr Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon 10877 F(P) Award Date 14 Dec 71 Announced 26 Jan 72
Details :

FLYING OFFICER Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon was a pilot of a Gnat detachment based at Srinagar for the air defence of the valley against Pakistani air attacks. In accordance with the international agreement dating back to 1948, no air defence aircraft were based at Sirinagar, until the outbreak of hosti- lities with Pakistan. Flying Officer Sekhon was, therefore, unfamiliar with the terrain and was not acclimatised to the altitude of Srinagar, especially with the bitter cold and biting winds of the Kashmir winter. Nevertheless, from the outset of the war, he and his colleagues fought successive waves of intruding Pakistani aircraft with valour and determination, maintaining the high reputation of the Gnat aircraft. On 14th December 1971, Srinagar Airfield was attached by a wave of six enemy Sabre aircraft. Flying Officer Sekhon was on readiness duty at the time. However, he could not take off at once because of the clouds of dust raised by another aircraft which had just taken off. By the time the runway was fit for take-off, no fewer than six enemy aircraft were overhead, and strafing of the airfield was in progress. Nevertheless, inspite of the mortal danger of attempting to take off during an attack, and inspite of the odds against him. Flying Officer Sekhon took off and immediately engaged a pair of the attacking Sabres. In the fight that followed, at tree top height, he all but held his own, but was eventually overcome by sheer weight of numbers. His aircraft crashed and he was killed. In thus, sacrificing himself for the defience of Srinagar, Flying Officer Sekhon achieved his object, for the enemy aircraft fled from the scene of the battle without pressing home their attack against the town and the airfield. The sublime heroism, supreme gallantry, filying skill and determination, above and beyond th call of duty, displayed by Flying Officer Sekhon in the face of certain death, set new heights to Air Force traditions.

Unit : 18 Squadron 
Reference : Gazette of India , 29th January 1972 - No.7 - Pres/72 dated 20th January 1972

Accidents and Incidents: 1

DateAircraft TypeTail NoPilot/CrewUnitRemarks
14 Dec 71 Gnat E-257Fg Offr Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon* 18 SD by F-86 Srinagar 0750 Hrs

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