Service No: 10456 F(P)

Date of Birth : Aug 27, 1945

Place of Birth : Bombay, MH

Service: Air Force

Last Rank: Flight Lieutenant

UNIT: 220 Sqn, AF

Operation : Op Cactus Lily

Award : Vir Chakra

Date of Martyrdom : Dec 04, 1971

Flight Lieutenant Pradeep Vinayak Apte VrC

Flight Lieutenant Pradeep Vinayak Apte was born on 27 August 1945 in Bombay, Maharashtra to Shri V R Apte . He was commissioned in IAF on 29 Oct 1966. He was Serving in the 220 Squadron IAF during war with Pakistan in 1971. He was a part of operation Cactus Lilly which was a military operation  undertaken between 3-16 December 1971 by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the East Pakistan (current Bangladesh).

 

 

Indo – Pak War 1971

 

On December, 1971, Flight Lieutenant Pradip Vinayak Apte was serving with 220 Squadron which was operating HF -24 Marut a Fighter Bomber aircraft. On 4th December 1971, he was detailed as Number Two on a tactical reconnaissance mission in Naya Chor Umarkot-Dhornaro area. Near Chor he observed enemy vehicle convoys moving towards Dhornaro Railway Station. He immediately went in for a front gun attack and scored direct hits on the vehicles. This mission then flew directly over Dhornaro Railway Station and once again he spotted a goods train being unloaded. He attacked the train despite concentrated ground fire and caused considerable damage. He pressed on with his third attack, but while pulling up his aircraft was hit and damaged by ground fire. He brought the damaged aircraft under control and headed for base, which was about 100 miles. Under compelling circumstances, he abandoned the aircraft but was unfortunately shot down by the enemy guns.

 

He displayed  extreme valour and courage in the face enemy and made the supreme sacrifice and for which he was awarded with Kirti Chakra posthumously.

Citation for the Vir Chakra Awarded to him reads:-

 

During the operations against Pakistan in December, 1971, Flight Lieutenant Pradip Vinayak Apte was serving with a FighterBomber Squadron. On 4th December 1971, he was detailed as Number Two on a tactical reconnaissance mission in Naya ChorUmarkot-Dhornaro area. Near Chor he observed enemy vehicle convoys moving towards Dhornaro Railway Station. He immediately went in for a front gun attack and scored direct hits on the vehicles. This mission then flew directly over Dhornaro Railway Station and once again he spotted a goods train being unloaded. He attacked the train despite concentrated ground fire and caused considerable damage. He pressed on with his third attack, but while pulling up his aircraft was hit and damaged by ground fire. He brought the damaged aircraft under control and headed for base, which was about 100 miles. Under compelling circumstances, he abandoned the aircraft. In this operation, he made the supreme sacrifice.

 

  Throughout, Flight Lieutenant Pradip Vinayak Apte displayed gallantry and determination of a high order.  

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