Service No : 8956 F(P)

Date of Birth : August 31, 1942

Place of birth : Faridabad (Haryana)

Last Rank : Flight Lieutenant

Unit : 5 Sqn AF

Arm/Regt : Indian Air Force

Operation : Op Cactus Lily

Martyrdom : December 5, 1971

Flt Lt S K Goswami

Flight Lieutenant Sudhir Kumar Goswami hailed from Faridabad in Haryana and was born on 31 Aug 1942. He was commissioned into the Indian Air Force on 25 Dec 1964 at the age of 22 years. 

 

He was commissioned in the fighter stream of the IAF and got trained as a fighter pilot as part of 91st Pilots' course. After completing his flying training, Flt Lt SK Goswami served with various flying squadrons located at different Air Force bases. By 1971, Flt Lt SK Goswami had put in about 8 years of service and evolved into a professionally competent fighter pilot having experience in various air operations.

 

Offensive Air Operation (Indo-Pak War) : 05 Dec 1971

 

During 1971, Flt Lt SK Goswami was serving with 5 Squadron known as "Tuskers" which was operating Canberra fighter bomber aircraft. The 5 Squadron was formed at Kanpur on 2 November 1948, under the command of Squadron Leader JRS “Danny” Dantra. Within a couple of months, it moved to Poona (now Pune), which was to remain its base for the next eight years. The Squadron was initially equipped with B-24 Liberators, but on 1 September 1957 under the command of Wing Commander (Later Air Commodore) WR Dani, became the first IAF squadron to be equipped with the B(I)58 bomber-interdictor version of the Canberra.  As the PAF attacked 11 Air Force bases on 03 Dec 1971, the Indian Air Force decided to launch counter offensive operations on the eastern as well as western front. 5 Sqn commanded by Wing Commander (later Group Captain) Man Mohan Bir Singh Talwar was tasked to undertake offensive missions against the targets on the western front. The first raid on the Pakistani air bases took place about 2300 hours on 3 December.

 

The Indian Canberras struck at the air bases at Chander, Sargodha, Mianwali, Rafiqui, Murid and Risalwala. Early next day about 200 sorties were flown by Hunters and SU-7s against these bases and the radar installations at Sakesar and Badin. Later in the day Hunters penetrated as deep as Kohat, Peshawar and Chaklala. These attacks continued on 5 December as well with renewed vigour. Flt Lt SK Goswami was tasked for one such strike mission on Mianwali, airbase on 04/05 Dec with Flt Lt SC Mahajan as his navigator. As planned Flt Lt SK Goswami and Flt Lt SC Mahajan took off in the morning of 05 Dec and reached the target area as per the given TOT (Time Over Target). As the target was important for the enemy, it was heavily defended by the anti-aircraft guns and air defence aircraft. Despite the threat of enemy air defence assets, Flt Lt SK Goswami and Flt Lt SC Mahajan went for the attack. However their aircraft was believed to have been intercepted and shot down by a PAF Mirage. Flt Lt SK Goswami's arrest, along with that of his navigator Flt Lt SC Mahajan was repeatedly announced by Radio Pakistan later that day.  They are presumed to have been taken over as a POW (Prisoners of War). However, successive regimes in Pakistan have denied the existence of Indian POWs in its jails. Presently, Flt Lt SK Goswami's name features on the official list of the ’54 Personnel Missing in Action’. 

 

Flt Lt SK Goswami was survived by his brother Shri SK Goswami.

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