Squadron Leader Rajiv Pundhir, Flight Lieutenant S. Muhilan

Squadron Leader Rajiv Pundhir, Flight Lieutenant S. Muhilan

The bodies of the four crew members of the MI-17 helicopter gunship that was shot down by an American Stinger Missile in Kargil on Friday will be recovered by the evening, an air force official said today. The four martyrs who died in this crash include:

  1. Squadron Leader Rajiv Pundhir,
  2. Flight Lieutenant S. Muhilan,
  3. Sergeant Raj Kishore Sahu and
  4. Sergeant P V N R Prasad .

Squadron Leader Pundhir, 37, was an avid pilot and had over 3,000 hours of operational flying to his credit. He had flown almost all the helicopters in the IAF fleet and had actively participated in Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka. He was awarded the CAS commendation for his dedication to duty and professionalism in 1988. He is survived by his wife Sharmila and two children, Bhavya (7) and Karan (5). He was born and educated in Dehra Dun.

Flight Lieutenant Muhilan, 27, was considered one of the best shots in rocketry. The officer who had 1250 hours of flying to his credit belonged to Karnataka. He leaves behind a wife, Bina, and a two-year-old son, Dhruv.

Sergeant Sahu, 28, was a flight engineer with 360 hours of flying on the MI-17. An extremely sincere and dedicated flier, he was always willing to undertake any flying mission, the air force said. Sergeant Prasad who was a flight gunner had been awarded a commendation by the AOC-in-C in 1995 for his devotion to duty. He had 1200 hours of accident and incident free flying to his credit. He is survived by his wife Anuradha and a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter Hyndavi

Air Sergeant Pilla Venkata Narayan Ravi, 33 was a dedicated and patriotic young flier. He was born on India's Independence Day, August 15, 1965.

In addition the army today lost a truly valiant officer, Major M Sarvanan of the 1st Bihar Regiment. Major Sarvanan took on the Islamic terrorists head on in hand-to-hand action in the Batalik sector. Leading a company of around 70 to 80 men, his troops encircled around 15 to 20 infiltrators who held a mountain peak and attacked the enemy, claiming five enemy lives. Major Saravan himself did not succumb to his injuries until after he had killed four of the Islamic terrorists.

All of us are immensely proud of the calibre and bravery of these Indian patriots who gave up their lives in an effort to preserve our nation's territorial integrity. We hope and pray for the safety of our 30,000 troops in Kashmir and convey our deepest condolences and heartfelt gratitude to the loved ones of these courageous martyrs.

Courtesy: The sword of Truth - www.swordoftruth.com

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