The Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) is the second-highest military decoration in India, after the Param Vir Chakra, and is awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea, or in the air.
Provisions are also made that if any recipient of the Maha Vir Chakra again performs an act of bravery as would have made him or her eligible to receive another Maha Vir Chakra, such further act of bravery is recorded by a Bar to attached to the riband by which the Chakra is suspended, and for every such additional act of bravery, an additional Bar is added. Such Bar or Bars may also be awarded posthumously. For every Bar awarded a replica of the Chakra in miniature is added to the riband when worn alone.
In total, for six times the MVC has been decorated twice to a military personnel of India.
In today article we will remember our military heros and their contribution to our nation………..let’s start………
Colonel Chewang Rinchen
He was from Ladakh and the youngest ever recipient of Maha Vir Chakra. He joined Nubra Guards in 1948 at the age of 17 and served alongside with Indian army in the 1947 Indo-Pak war.
He had trained local militia unit of 28 youths and with Indian Army fought at the height of 17000 feet in Nubra valley with enemies. For his bravery, resourcefulness and leadership, he was decorated with MVC.
In 1964 he got permanent commission in Indian Army as a second lieutenant in Ladakh scouts.
He again served in 1971 Indo-Pak war and captured the strategic Chalunka Complex of enemy defences in Partappur sector and won the Battle of Turtuk.
The Chalunka complex was heavily fortified with men, mines, and wire obstacles. But in his inspiring leadership, his men successfully captured it.
Turtuk is a small village in northernmost Ladakh, located only 2.5 km from LOC. Turtuk was under Pakistani control till 1971, it has strategic significance as it is a gateway to the Siachen glacier and Colonel Renchen with his team successfully won Turtuk for India.
For his inspiring leadership role in the war, he was again decorated with a Bar to MVC. In 2019 Defense Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the Col Chewang Rinchen Setu, India’s highest altitude all-weather permanent bridge, in eastern Ladakh just 45 km from the border with China.
Major General Rajinder Singh
He joined British Indian army in 1932 as sepoy and got commissioned in 1938 as a second lieutenant after passing from IMA, Dehradun. He had also served during World War 2.
He opted to join the Indian Army upon the partition of India in 1947. He commanded the 7th Light Cavalry from September 1947 to May 1949.
During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, he displayed outstanding leadership during the advance and capture of Jhangar (Operation Bison). When nobody could’ve ever imagined that the tanks could be deployed at high altitudes, Rajinder Singh led the Indian tanks on the Zoli La and cleared the road to Ladakh during the Kashmir Operation in 1948.
During Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, during he was GOC of the 1st Armoured Division. Under his leadership 1st Armoured Division had participated in world’s largest tank battle i.e. Battle of Phillora.
The Battle of Phillora was a tank battle fought during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. It commenced on 10 September 1965, when the Indian 1st Armoured Division, with four armoured regiments and supporting forces under command, attacked positions in the Sialkot sector held by the Pakistani 6th Armoured Division.
After three days the Pakistanis withdrew with the loss of 66 tanks. The Indians admitted to the loss of 6 Centurions.
For his bravery, leadership and courage in face of enemy, he was decorated with MVC twice.
Wing Commander Jag Mohan Nath
He joined IAF as a pilot in 1950. He was the first person to be decorated with MVC twice, first for his role during the 1962 war and second for his role in the 1965 war.
He was from 106 Squadron of IAF, which was armed with Canberra bombers. His Squadron was involved in strategic Aerial Photographic Reconnaissance missions. Canberra airplanes were used all over the border to survey and update the maps.
Before starting of the 1962 war, his missions proved immensely useful to learn everything about the Chinese military build-up on the Tibetan plateau. He flew numerous reconnaissance sorties all over the Himalayan and Tibetan plateau. He also conducted many sorties over Chinese territories. He was the first person to conclude that China had No Air Force and proper Air Defence System during 1962. According to him, the fate of the India-China War could have been totally different, if India had used its air force.
Also read: China and Wars It Is Likely To Fight
During the 1965 war, his photographic reconnaissance missions provided crucial information about Operation Gibraltar of Pakistan. With his inputs, our army successfully suppressed Pakistani plans. His missions let the army know what was going on, on the other side of the border, how the Pakistanis were progressing.
The unescorted missions, which were in the nature of reconnaissance, entailed flying long distances over the enemy territory and well-defended airfields and installations during daylight. Nath was fully aware of the risk he was running on each of these missions. Still, he chose to undertake the risky missions himself.
General Arun Shridhar Vaidya
General Arun Shridhar Vaidya, served as the 13th chief of Army staff from 1983 to 1986. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Armoured Corps of the British army in 1945. Later on, he joined 9 Deccan Horse.
Lieutenant Colonel Arun Shridhar Vaidya had commanded the Deccan Horse in 1965 in Asal Uttar and Cheema (Punjab) in the operations against Pakistan.
With an untiring effort, he moved from sector to sector with complete disregard for his personal safety thereby inspiring his troops by his personal example. He was instrumental to a large extent in stemming thrusts by enemy armour in the battle of Asal Uttar and later at Cheema and delivered effective blows to the enemy superior tanks.
In the battle, he showed inspiring leadership and remarkable resourcefulness in organising his unit and fighting against heavy odds and inflicted severe casualties on the Patton tanks of the enemy.
During the 1971 war, then Brigadier Arun Shridhar Vaidya was commander of an armoured brigade in the Zafanval sector during the operations against Pakistan on the Western Front. He moved his brigade swiftly to get to grips with the enemy and took the enemy tanks by surprise. He employed his tanks relentlessly and aggressively and helped the division to maintain constant pressure and momentum of advance against the enemy.
In the battle of Chakra and Dehira, the going was difficult due to the deep minefield and terrain. In a cool and confident manner, Brigadier Vaidya undertook the crossing through the minefield. He personally moved forward, disregarding personal safety. Through his inspired leadership, the entire squadron pushed through the lane and quickly deployed itself to meet the enemy’s counter-attacks.
During the battle of Basantar, he again displayed his professional skill and superb leadership. He got his tanks through one of the deepest minefields, expanded the bridgehead, and repulsed a strong enemy counter-attack. In this battle, 62 enemy tanks were destroyed.
For his such indomitable courage and bravery in both of these wars, he was decorated with MVC twice.
Wing Commander Padmanabha Gautam
Wing Commander Padmanabha Gautam was an officer in Indian Air Force. He joined IAF as a pilot in 1953 and served in No. 5 Squadron, No. 16 Squadron, and Jet Bomber Conversion Unit (JBCU) of IAF. Being a pilot he had also participated in many overseas operations like in Congo and Iraq.
During the Indo-Pak War in 1965, then Squadron Leader Gautam was commanding the Jet Bomber Conversion Unit (JBCU) flying Canberra bombers. On the outbreak of the hostilities, he was assigned many difficult and dangerous missions into enemy territory at short notice. He undertook six offensive, tactical and close support missions deep into the enemy territory between 6 and 21 September 1965, notwithstanding the heavy ground fire and Pak Sabre jet attacks.
These missions included reconnaissance into enemy territory, the bombing of Akwal and Gujarat airfields, and strafing of enemy concentrations in Gujarat and Chawinda areas. For displaying exceptional courage, determination, and devotion to duty he was decorated with Maha Vir Chakra.
During 1971 war, he was Commanding Officer of a bomber squadron [No.16 Squadron, Canberras] led many missions deep into enemy territory. Notable among these are two raids on the night of December 5th and 7th, 1971,when he led attacks on Mianwali airfield. On both these occasions he and his formation were met with intense anti-aircraft fire. Despite that, the target was attacked with great precision, at low level, and heavy damage was inflicted.
On other missions, Wg Cdr Gautam carried out rocket and four gun attacks on railway marshalling yards in the Montgomery-Raiwind area with conspicuous success. Through out the period of operations, Wg Cdr Gautam displayed an ability for cool and clear planning, along with unflinching courage, exemplar flying skill and leadership of the highest order in carrying out many hazardous missions. His conduct led him to got MVC for second times.
Brigadier Sant Singh
He was from Sikh Light Infantry and got commissioned in the Indian Army as a lieutenant in 1951. He was decorated with MVC twice, first for his role during 1965 war and second for his role during 1975 war.
During 1965 war, even after ceasefire by both countries, Pakistan army had dug itself in at OP Hill, mined all routes and erected barbed wire meshes.
O P Hill provided a foothold to Pakistan to launch further operations towards the Mendhar sector. They occupied it, when Indian forces vacated the post after the ceasefire.
Even after facing artillery fire and the mines, he led his men to the target by climbing the vertical cliff face. His daring ascent took the enemy by surprise and they were vanquished in close-quarter combat. For his leadership and bravery, he was decorated with MVC in 1965.
He had trained the guerrilla forces of Mukti Bahini to liberate Bangladesh from Pakistan during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. He was called Brigadier Babaji by the fighters. He with his brigade after defeating Pakistani forces had marched into Dhaka, which finally forced Pakistan to surrender.
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