Indian Army

Two Stories Of Bravery From Special Frontier Force (SFF)

There are many stories of bravery displayed by SFF soldiers but most of them are in oblivion. Below are the two stories of Shaurya Chakra awardees from SFF, which are available in open source.

You must be aware that Shaurya Chakra is awarded for valour, courageous action, or self-sacrifice while not engaged in direct action with the enemy. It may be awarded to civilians as well as military personnel, sometimes posthumously.

1. Jigmey Namgyal Bhutia (SFF)

Jigmey Namgyal Bhutia has conquered Mount Everest twice.

Bhutia wanted to climb Everest since childhood. His interest grew because of the frequent school trips he had to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI). Bhutia dropped out of school and joined the army in 1983. He went on to complete his basic course in mountaineering from Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi, in 1992 and an advanced course from HMI in 1997.

Nurturing the desire of walking the route opened by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary 50 years ago, the 35-year-old Naik Subedar of the Special Frontier Force of the army realized his dream by scaling the peak from the southeast route on May 24, 2001.

He was accorded the Shaurya Chakra for gallantry by the President of India for this achievement.

 Jigmey Namgyal Bhutia receiving Shaurya Chakra from Dr Kalam on Independence day 2001

In 2003, he took on the peak once again and stood atop the summit on May 26. This time he followed the northeast route.

Below is the citation:

2. Zampa (SFF)

Zampa enrolled in the SFF when he was nineteen years old.

In 1988, Zampa (SFF) was posted at Ladakh. One day, he was suddenly called for a rescue task at the glacier — an army soldier (Rinzin) had fallen through ice cracks when a group was there to retrieve packages dropped from helicopters.

“It was 300 feet deep. Someone attempted to retrieve the body but failed. And others didn’t dare to go down. So they called me saying I had rock climbing training. But everyone else had the same training as well. Anyway, I agreed and went down. It was very scary.

At the bottom, I saw his hand propping up like a blade of grass from the bed of snow. It was frozen when I touched it. I checked his pulse and there was none. I pulled from his collar, but his head was stuck to the ice. After much effort, I managed to pull his body out and tied it to the rope. Halfway through, as the men above pulled us, the rope got stuck to a block of ice. Exhausted and unable to communicate, I blacked out for a few seconds. Luckily, I managed to detach the rope and got rescued. The medics tried everything but the fallen army soldier was dead.”

But for his act of bravery, Zampa was awarded the Shaurya Chakra.

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Akash Raj

Cracked IAS Prelims, AFCAT, CDS, NDA multiple times. 12th Time SSB Repeater. Youtuber at Military Mantra. Also, run a philanthropic venture called Super Dream Foundation to help kids at Orphanages in Bangalore.

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