R-Day awards: Five to get Kirti Chakra, Shaurya for 25
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Four army officers — Col GS Sarna, Maj MH Pitambare, Capt Vishal Bhandral and Lt Natrajan Parthiban — and one jawan Havildar Manjit Singh were conferred the Kirti Chakra, all posthumously, by the President on Republic Day.
Col Sarna from the Grenadiers was commanding the 29 Rashtriya Rifles and died in action fighting militants in Baramulla district, J-K last month. Maj Pitambare, a paratrooper from the Special Forces, lost his life fighting militants in Bijbehara District, J-K in November 2006. Capt Vishal Bhandral from the Garhwal Rifles fell in action against militants in September 2006 near Bandipura in Baramulla district, J-K. Lt Parthiban of J-K Light Infantry was killed in an encounter with militants along the LoC in October 2006.
Twenty-five other Army personnel have been conferred Shaurya Chakra, 11 of them posthumously. Seventy-seven army personnel have been conferred Sena Medals. In awards for distinguished services, 19 senior Army officers have been conferred the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, including Army vice-chief Lt Gen Deepak Kapoor, Southern commander Lt Gen Aditya Singh, Western commander Lt Gen Daljeet Singh and DG Military Operations Lt Gen Mohan Pande. The PVSM awardees also include Naval southern commander Vice Admiral JS Bedi, IAF vice chief Air Marshal BN Gokhale and Western Commander-designate Air Marshal Padamjit Ahluwalia.
Other awards include 52 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals, one Yudh Seva Medal to Capt Rama Kant Pattanaik, 123 Vishisht Seva Medals, 41 Sena Medals, 12 Naval Nao Sena medals, 15 Vayu Sena Medals to the IAF and six Tatrakshak meals to Coast Guard personnel.