Service No : 10503 F(P)
Date of Birth : November 25, 1943
Place of birth : Mumbai (Mah)
Last Rank : Flt Lt
Unit : 43 Sqn AF
Arm/Regt : Indian Air Force
Operation : Op Cactus Lily
Martyrdom : December 17, 1971
Flt Lt Joaquim D’Souza hailed from Mumbai in Maharashtra and was born on 25th Nov 1943. Son of Shri JS D'Souza, he was commissioned into the IAF on 29 Oct 1966 at the age of 22 years. He was commissioned in the flying stream of the IAF and got trained as a transport pilot. After completing his flying training, Flt Lt Joaquim D’Souza served with various flying squadrons located at different Air Force bases.
By 1971, Flt Lt Joaquim D’Souza had put in about 5 years of service and evolved into a professionally competent transport pilot having expertise in various air operations. As the war clouds gathered in the later part of 1971, Flt Lt Joaquim D’Souza's Squadron moved to its operational location and got involved in thick of operations.
Indo - Pak war (Air Operation) : 17 Dec 1971
During 1971, Flt Lt Joaquim D’Souza was serving with 43 Sqn, known as “Ibexes” with Wg Cdr KC(Koka)Sharma as its Commanding Officer. 43 Squadron of the Indian Air Force was formed at AF Station Jorhat in Eastern Sector on 20 Jan 1958 and was equipped with C-47 Dakota aircraft. As the war broke out on 03 Dec 1971 with Pakistan, the Squadron operated from various Air Bases and undertook numerous air missions. Though the 1971 war got over on 16 Dec when the Pakistani forces surrender en mass, border skirmishes in some pockets and air support operations were continuing. Flt Lt Joaquim D’Souza was tasked to undertake one such air operation on 17 Dec 1971. The assigned task was an air support mission on Mohanbari- Moriganj axis in the eastern sector.
Besides Flt Lt Joaquim D’Souza as a captain, the other crew-members included Fg Offr S Nandi as co-pilot, Plt Offr R B Umralikar as Navigator and Flt Sgt H Thakur as Flight Engineer. The air-crew carried out their pre-flight checks and took off in their Dakota aircraft (BJ-622) as planned on 17 Dec 1971. The flight was uneventful in the beginning but later developed some technical snag which made the aircraft uncontrollable. Despite the best efforts of the Flt Lt Joaquim D’Souza and other air crew members, the aircraft crashed over Machuka area. Flt Lt Joaquim D’Souza and other crew members Flt Lt S Nandi, Plt Offr R B Umralikar, and Flt Sgt H Thakur could not survive the crash and lost their lives. Flt Lt Joaquim D’Souza was a valiant soldier and committed air warrior, who laid down his life in the line of his duty.