Squadron Leader Ravinder Nath Bhardwaj

In December 1971 during the Indo-Pak war, Squadron Leader Ravinder Nath Bhardwaj headed a fighter-bomber squadron at Bareily. The squadron leader was an officer of distinction and had been decorated with the Vayu Sena Medal for impressive flying skills.

From the 5th of December, Bhardwaj led his men in a series of sorties to strike at strategic enemy military installations, deep in Pakistan. In thier first attack on a well-defended enemy airfield the squadron set a heavy transport aircraft on fire. Two days later, they carried out another successful raid on a power station.

But the mission in the Chhamb area on 10th December was a criticla one. As the squadron swooped down on the enemy positions, they were hit by heavy ground shelling. Soon enemy Sabre jets appeared and engaged them in a pitched air battle. Bhardwaj led the other pilots following him out of danger, but returned to the battle himself. One of the Sabres was shot down and crahed into Indian territory. Bhardwaj put several Pakistani tanks and troops out of action. Only then did he return with his badly-scarred aircraft to the base.

Squadron Leader Bhardwaj was decorated with the Mahavir Chakra for his gallantry and devotion to duty.

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