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Air chief leads ‘10-star’ tribute in ‘Missing Man’ formation for fallen Kargil fliers

Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa was accompanied by Air Marshal R. Nambiar and Lt Gen. Y.K. Joshi in paying tribute to air warriors who died during the Kargil war.

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New Delhi: Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa Tuesday led a ‘10-star’ tribute to air warriors who laid down their lives during Operation Safed Sagar of the Kargil war 20 years ago.

As Mi-17 V5 helicopters of the 152 Helicopter Unit flew in the ‘Missing Man’ formation over the Sarsawa Air Force Station in Uttar Pradesh, Dhanoa, a four-star general, was accompanied by three-star generals Air Marshal R. Nambiar, chief of the Western Air Command, and Lt Gen. Y.K. Joshi, commander of the Indian Army’s 14 Corps.

All three officers are decorated Kargil war veterans. Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa was the Commanding Officer of the 17 Squadron, which carried out daring night operations against the Pakistani soldiers and terrorists holed up in Indian territory.

Air Marshal Nambiar was flying the Mirage-2000 during the Kargil battle, and carried out laser-guided bomb attacks on Tiger Hill, which helped the Army capture it.

Lt Gen. Joshi was the commanding officer of the 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, which led operations on Tololing for the capture of Point 5140. Captain Vikram Batra, one of the most famous names associated with Kargil, belonged to the same unit which Lt Gen. Joshi was commanding.

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa along with the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Air Command, Air Marshal R. Nambiar, GOC 14 Corps, Lt. Gen. Y.K. Joshi and the Group Captain, P. Bhola, CO 152 Helicopter Unit. | PIB

Tribute to fallen airmen

The ‘Missing Man’ formation is an aerial salute that IAF personnel accord to fallen comrades. It is an arrow formation, with a gap between two aircraft in the formation depicting the missing man.

On 28 May 1999, Sqn Ldr R. Pundir, Flt Lt S. Muhilan, Sgt R.K. Sahu and Sgt P.V.N.R. Prasad laid down their lives while flying a mission during Op. Safed Sagar.

The timing of Tuesday’s flypast was synchronised with the wreath-laying ceremony at the Station War Memorial. Sharmila Pundir, wife of Sqn Ldr Pundir, laid a wreath at the Station War Memorial while an Advanced Light Helicopter Mk-III showered flower petals.

On Monday, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa and Air Marshal Nambiar had also flown together in the ‘Missing Man’ formation in MiG-21s as a tribute to Sqn Ldr Ajay Ahuja, who was killed during the Kargil conflict.

Also read: What is the ‘Missing Man’ formation IAF chief flew as tribute to fallen Kargil MiG-21 hero


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  1. First tell why the friendly fire incident involving our helicopter day after balakot is not conclusive?

    You were on high alert after our raid, yet lost 6 personnel and one copter to our own air defence apparatus.

    Fix responsibility publicly.

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