Service No : IC-51669P
Date of Birth : December 1, 1973
Place of birth : Delhi
Service : Army
Last Rank : Captain
Unit : 9 (I) R&O Flt
Arm/Regt : Army Aviation Corps
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Martyrdom : January 30, 2001
Capt Rajesh Garg hailed from Delhi and studied from Bal Bharti Public School, New Delhi. Later he joined Hans Raj college in Delhi University for pursuing his graduation. However he got selected for the prestigious NDA and left the college to follow his dream of donning the Army uniform. He was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery, an important combat support arm of the Indian Army. He later got selected for Helicopter flying training and was transferred to the Army Aviation Corps. After serving for sometime, he got married on 02 October 2000 to an officer from the Army Ordnance Corps. By the year 2001, he had been promoted to the rank of Captain and had developed into a professionally competent Helicopter pilot.
Chetak Helicopter Crash: 30 Jan 2001
During Jan 2001, Capt Rajesh Garg was serving with 9(1) Recce and Observations Flight belonging to the Army Aviation Sqn based in J&K. The 9(1) R&O Flt was operating Chetak helicopters, a single-engine helicopter, powered by an Artouste - III B turbo shaft engine. The helicopter had a range of 500 kilometers and a top speed of 185 kilometers per hour. Seven people, including two pilots, could be transported in the single-engine helicopter. The Chetak helicopter was versatile and was being used for different purposes ranging from commuting, cargo transport as well as for casualty evacuation and search and rescue operations. On 30 Jan 2001, Capt Rajesh Garg as a co-pilot was tasked with one such air mission along with Major Sanjay Lochub as his Captain. The mission was to fly as an escort helicopter to the chopper carrying the Northern army commander Lt Gen HM Khanna.
Capt Rajesh Garg and Sanjay Lochub also had on board with them, Brig Raman Sehgal, Military Secretary to the GoC-in-Chief, Northern Command, and para commandos Ptr Pavan Carpenter & Ptr Sunil Shashtri. Capt Rajesh Garg and Major Sanjay Lochub took off as planned at noon of 30 Jan 2001 to the 25 Division sector in Rajauri. However on the way near the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, the Helicopter faced an emergency situation. The area was considered to have some of the most difficult terrains in the country, throwing unexpected challenges to the pilots. The mountains and the rapidly changing weather conditions caused a huge number of air mishaps and casualties. The Chetak Helicopter presumably developed a serious snag that the pilots could not rectify in time. Capt Rajesh Garg and Major Sanjay Lochub were experienced pilots with substantial flying experience but they apparently did not get adequate time to bring the aircraft under control. Consequently, at around 1350 hrs, the aircraft crashed at the Sanjichhat helipad near the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine. The helicopter got engulfed in flames which proved fatal for the pilots Capt Rajesh Garg and Major Sanjay Lochub as well as for the passengers Brig Raman Sehgal, Ptr Pavan Carpenter and Ptr Sunil Shashtri. Capt Rajesh Garg was a valiant soldier and a competent pilot, who laid down his life in the service of the nation.