Place of birth : Batala, Punjab
Service : Army
Last Rank : Gunner
Unit : 62 Med Regt
Arm/Regt : The Regiment of Artillery
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Martyrdom : February 6, 2022
Gunner Gurbaj Singh hailed from the Massanian village of Batala district in Punjab. Like many youth in Punjab, he was inclined to join the Armed Forces since his younger days. He eventually joined the Army after completing his school education. He was recruited into the 62 Med Regt of the Regiment of Artillery, an important combat support arm of Indian Army.
Avalanche (Indo-China Border): 06 Feb 2022
During 2022, Gnr Gurbaj Singh's unit 62 Med Regt was deployed in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh near the Indo-China border. The AOR(Area of Responsibility) of the unit spanned over remote rugged mountainous terrain with extreme weather conditions, especially in the winter season. The unit troops were deployed on various forward posts and often undertook patrol to monitor the area in between the manned posts. The area, located at an altitude of 14,500 feet, witnessed inclement weather with heavy snowfall in the first week of Feb 2022. The area also recorded 90 mm rainfall between January 1 and February 8—more than 20% excess than normal. Also, heavy snowfall often blocked the roads and hampered the movement of troops which necessitated frequent clearance operations. Gnr Gurbaj Singh was part of one such patrol cum snow clearance team on 06 Feb 2022.
As the troops were traversing through the planned route in the Chume Gyater area near Yangtse, closer to the China border, a horrific avalanche struck them. The magnitude and suddenness of the avalanche did not give any time to Gnr Gurbaj Singh and his comrades to take any evasive actions. As a result, Gnr Gurbaj Singh and six other soldiers got trapped under tons of snow. A massive rescue operation was launched by the army and specialized equipment too were airlifted to aid the search. After searching for nearly two days, the rescue team eventually managed to locate the bodies of the soldiers on 08 Feb 2022, but by that time they had lost their lives owing to prolonged exposure to extreme cold conditions. Besides Gnr Gurbaj Singh the other brave hearts included Hav Jugal Kishore, Rfn Arun Kattal, Rfn Akshay Pathania, Rfn Vishal Sharma, Rfn Rakesh Singh and Rfn Ankesh Bhardwaj. Gnr Gurbaj Singh was a brave and committed soldier, who laid down his life in the line of his duty.