Squadron Leader Rajiv Pundir (17143-R) Flying (Pilot) was on the posted strength of a Mi-17 Helicopter Unit since 12 May 98.
On 28 May 99, Sqn Ldr Pundir was tasked to fly a live strike against enemy positions at point 5140, located at an inhospitable altitude of 5.1 Kms. While undertaking the mission, Sqn Ldr Pundir was fully aware that the area was infested with missiles and that the only counter measure against the missile was not fitted on his helicopter. Realising the importance of the mission, Sqn Ldr Pundir boldly accepted the challenge and with total disregard to personal safety went ahead with the strike. Having successfully pressed home the attack, during the break away, Sqn Ldr Pundir's helicopter was hit by a Stinger missile. Despite his best efforts to assist control the damaged helicopter it crashed killing Sqn Ldr Pundir and all the crew members.
Displaying a very high level of professional competence and courage, Sqn Ldr Pundir had already undertaken two strike missions in the treacherous terrain of the Dras sub sector. These missions achieved astounding success and were the key to subsequent easy recapture by the ground forces. In his action, Sqn Ldr Pundir displayed exceptional courage and acted in keeping with the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.
For this act of exceptional courage the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Sqn Ldr Rajiv Pundir, Posthumous.