Service No : IC-51655
Birth Place : Delhi
Service : Army
Last Rank : Colonel
Unit : 18 RR/8 Raj Rif
Regiment : The Rajputana Rifles
Award : Shaurya Chakra
Date of Martyrdom : 22 Jun, 2010
Colonel Neeraj Sood hailed from Delhi but grew up in different places as his father Mr Prabhu Sood, served in Military Engineering Service (MES). Younger of the two siblings, Col Neeraj had the inclination to join the Armed Forces since his younger days. served for several years in Kashmir. Besides his deep interest in the Army life, Col Neeraj was a keen sportsman too. During his school days, he proved himself to be a good athlete and would often win prizes in races and other track events. He joined the Army on 22 Dec 1992 and was commissioned into the Rajputana Rifles Regiment, an infantry Regiment well known for its gallant soldiers and numerous battle exploits.
By 2010, Col Neeraj had put in about 18 years of service and developed into a battle-hardened soldier and an officer par excellence. During this period he served in various challenging operational areas including 8 years in J & K. After serving for many years with his parent regiment, Col Neeraj was deputed to serve with 18 RR battalion and became its commanding officer. By June 2010, Col Neeraj had already completed nearly 5 years in J & K area and was due for a transfer.
Kupwara Operation: June 2010
During 2010, Colonel Neeraj Sood’s unit was deployed along the LOC in the Kulgam sector in the Kupwara district of J & K. The LOC in that sector was very volatile and active where the enemy often resorted to unprovoked firing. It needed to be monitored and guarded by the security forces by employing armed patrols on a continuous basis. On the night of 21st Jun 2010, Col Neeraj Sood had received the information about the militants entering into the unit’s AOR(Area of responsibility). As the commanding officer of the unit he immediately planned a counter-insurgency operation and formed two teams to take on the militants. Having realized the critical nature of the operation, Col Neeraj decided to lead the operation himself along with other officers.
Col Neeraj Sood along with his team reached the suspected area in the forests of Saiwan village in Kupwara district, around 100 km from Srinagar. Soon the troops made contact with the militants, who fired at them on being challenged. The militants using automatic weapons fired indiscriminately at the soldiers to break the cordon and flee. However, Col Neeraj continued to direct his troops to foil their attempt by using the thick foliage of the jungle to flee. But during the fierce gun battle, Col Neeraj got hit by a gunshot on his head and was seriously injured. He was shifted to the military hospital but he later succumbed to his injuries and was martyred. Col Neeraj Sood was a valiant soldier and an outstanding commanding officer who led his men from the front like a good military leader. He was given the gallantry award, “Shaurya Chakra” for his exceptional courage, leadership, camaraderie, and supreme sacrifice.
Col Neeraj Sood is survived by his parents, wife Preeti Sood, daughter Mishika and elder brother Shri Pankaj Sood.
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