By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: The real action heroes are here. To get honoured for their valiant efforts that fetched glory to the Nation. Fearless and raring to go, these men have got fame to Karnataka as well, in their missions - be it at Siachen, Assam or Jammu and Kashmir.
In Bangalore to receive the prestigious Gallantry Awards (Sena Medal) during the Investiture Ceremony, these bravehearts spoke to Express on their transformation from boys to men of guts. The daredevils had one message in common – a clarion call on Army Day – to all the sons of soil in Karnataka: “Come and join the Indian Army. We are there for you.”
Major Madhusudan B S holds a Masters in Bio-Technology from Bangalore University and was a lecturer before joining the Army. Inspired by his father, a banker, Madhu graduated his skills as a Scout and later in NCC, before reaching his dream destination. An operation in April, 2010 is the high-point in his career so far, when he took on a militant group in Manipur head-on.
“An ambush was laid to flush out the militants. God is great and the mission was safe. I had earlier eliminated many militants during various operations. But, this one was close. Seeing death from very close quarters. We fired at them with AK-47s. We had gone there to win and we won,” says Madhu, from Bappujinagar in Bangalore. A native of Coorg, Madhu wants more men from Karnataka to join the Army. “The privilege and esteem is more. It is an excellent profession. Give a try, come what may. I am the lone Kannadiga officer in my Artillerymen Battalion,” he said.
K B Lava is an instructor with the Commando School in Belgaum. Sixteen years into Service, Lava is from 19 Karnataka Battalion and was influenced by his NCC teacher Capt Devaiah to join the Army. It took five attempts for Lava to finally make it. “The 5th one was crucial and I was already 21 then. I knew I will and I am proud of my decision,” Lava said.
In Jan 2010, while serving in Assam, Lava's team received an information on an insurgent hiding in a house. “He jumped out of the house and fired at me straight. My life is precious and he was a goner in seconds. I love the religious harmony in the Army. I am already talking to youngsters in Coorg to join the Army,” Lava, whose father is a farmer, said.
Major Rajiv Shankar hails from Thirvananthapuram and now posted at the Army Service Corps Supply Depot in Bangalore . An NDA product, his is a rare case, considering that he is part of a logistic unit of the Army and not combat. This Sunday he will be receiving his second Sena Medal and he has already two Mention in Despatches to his credit. He took on the LeT militants in the Valley in a counter-terrorism operation. “We moved in based on inputs. I am the hunter and got on with the kill-task with no second thoughts,” says Rajiv, who is a fourth-generation solider from his family to Serve the Army.
Remembering Cariappa: Army Day is celebrated on January 15 every year to mark the first Indian taking over the command of the Indian Army of Independent India. It was on this day in 1949 that Lieutenant General (who became Field Marshal later) K M Cariappa took over as the first Commander in Chief of Army from General Sir Francis Butcher, who was the last British Army Chief.
Big boss checks in: Lieutenant General A K Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Headquarters Southern Command of Indian Army touched down at HAL Airport on Saturday on an official three-day visit to Bangalore. An alumnus from National Defence Academy, he was commissioned into the 7th Light Cavalry on 17 Jun 1973. A key think-tank of Indian Army, Singh was earlier Director of the General Perspective Planning, responsible for all future strategies, development of long-term perspective and plan formulation. “Singh commanded the 7th Light Cavalry, an Armoured Brigade during ‘Op Parakram’ which he converted to first T-90 Brigade of the Indian Army and prestigious 31 Armoured Division. He was Commanding General of Strike 1, the main deterrence force of the Army,” sources told Express.
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