Saviour of Srinagar
flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon

It was flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon's heroic sacrifice in the nation's service during Indo-Pak war of 1971 that won the Indian Airforce its first Param Vir Chakra.

On December 1971, Flying Officer Sekhon arrived in Srinagar, with other pilots of the Gnat detachment. They had very little time to familiarize themselves with the hard terrain and the harsh winter. Despite this the Gnats successfully beat back several Pakistani air raids.

On the 14th December, six Pakistani Sabre jets attacked Srinagar airfield. They hovered over the airfield, shooting at targets and preventing the Indian aircraft from taking off. Flying Officer Sekhon however took off in his Gnat and engaged to Sabres in a bitter fight. He hit one directly and st another ablaze. But he was then attacked simultaneously by the four other Sabres, who surrounded him on all sides. Out numbered, he was shot down and killed, but his struggle was not in vain. The Sabre jets, unable to press home their attack on the town and its airfield, immediately retreated.

India honoured this young and valiant martyr with its highest honour for gallantry- the Param Vir Chakra.