Service No : IC-63013

Place of Birth : Ahmednagar(MH)

Service : Army

Last Rank : Major

Arm/Regt : Army Aviation Corps

Awards : Sena Medal

Date of Martyrdom : 02 Feb 2011

Major Atul Garje, SM

Major Atul Garje hailed from Nandur Nimba village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. He initial schooling was in a local Marathi medium school but he later joined the Sainik school at Satara, where the foundation of his future military career was laid. Besides academics, Maj Garje excelled in sports too and was awarded the Governor’s Gold Medal for his overall performance in the school. Later he joined the prestigious NDA and then IMA Dehradun. He was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery and achieved the distinction of being the first person from his village to become an officer in the Army.


After serving for a few years he topped the Flying instructor course and became the youngest instructor pilot in the year 2010. Besides being a competent pilot, Maj Atul Garje was an excellent squash player and a mountaineer too. A committed soldier and a fine officer he was respected by his peers and juniors as well. He later got married to Ms Harshala and the couple had a daughter in Oct 2010. A die-hard soldier at heart  Maj Atul Garje would often say, “even if I die, my soul will come back to Army”. 


Exercise Vayu Kaushal: 02 Feb 2011


During Feb 2011, Maj Atul Garje’s unit was participating in the war game exercise Vayu Kaushal. As part of the exercise, Maj Atul Garje along with his co-pilot Maj Bhanu Chander were tasked for an air operation on 2nd Feb 2011. As per the plan they took off from Army Aviation Base, Nasik, but soon experienced an aircraft emergency over a built-up area, necessitating an immediate force landing. Maj Atul Garje and Maj Bhanu Chander had only a few seconds to decide the course of action and they decided to maneuver the aircraft away from the built-up area. With exceptional flying skills and utter disregard to their own safety, they maneuvered the helicopter away from civilian habitat and ensured no loss to civilian life and property.


However, in the process of recovery, the helicopter impacted the ground and crash landed. Maj Atul Garje and Maj Bhanu Chander got grievously wounded and succumbed to their injuries. Their courageous action at the cost of their lives not only saved many human lives but also averted a major disaster as various military ammunition stores were located in that area. Maj Atul Garje was a gallant and dedicated soldier who laid down his life in the service of the nation. Maj Atul Garje was given the gallantry award, “Sena Medal” for his exceptional courage, professionalism, devotion to duty and supreme sacrifice. 


Maj Atul Garje is survived by his wife Smt Harshala Garje and a daughter. 

Citation for the Sena Medal awarded to him reads :-


Major Atul Garje and Major Bhanu Chander as part of an Exercise were carrying out flying operation to rehearse Indian Army war plans.  On 02 February 2011 at about 0848 hours, soon after take off from Army Aviation Base, Nasik, the pilots experienced an aircraft emergency over a built-up area, necessitating an immediate force landing. With exceptional flying skills, following the highest traditions of the Indian Army and selflessness, with utter disregard to their own safety, they manoeuvred the helicopter away from civilian habitat and ensured no loss to civilian life and property. In the process of recovery, the helicopter impacted the ground and crash landed which resulted in the loss of their lives.  Unmindful of their personal safety, the officers have displayed indomitable spirit, boundless courage and exceptional degree of professionalism by their valiant act of selflessness in the duty to the nation.

The  batchmates of Major Atul Garje SM have funded & sponsored a well equipped conference hall in his name at the school.

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  • Sandeep M Ghule

    2019at10:15 pm Reply

    Jai Hind!!!


  • Colonel KS Rathore

    2019at5:13 pm Reply

    I am fortunate to be knowing him very closely. I was Atul’s neighbour in 2008 while doing some course at Devlali. One evening I was standing outside my room as I was feeling agitated over some issue. Atul returned back from his Squash practice and could immediately make out that I need help. He started chatting although we were not friends that time. Slowly he manuvered the discussion to my problem, gave me a patient hearing and pepped up my morale. I felt so good talking to him. I think no neighbour these days will chat with you for an hour plus. One of the finest human being, excellent sportsman and an outstanding pilot, Atul you will always be my hero.

  • Col Sukhvinder Nijjar

    2019at8:24 pm Reply

    Proud of Major Atul and you Harsha. Pray God give strength to fulfill your dreams. You are a brave lady. We all stand with you.
    COl Sukhvinder Nijjar

  • Abhishek Chawla

    2019at6:07 pm Reply

    Respect and salute….

  • Shona George

    2019at10:17 pm Reply

    Dear Harshala,
    I met you very briefly in Deolali. Atul was a dear friend and coursemate. All of us who knew him will always be proud of him. An exceptional person, he was good at everything he did. Sad that he left so early. He will always be remembered and missed. God bless him.

  • Pravin Pundlik Borade

    2019at2:55 am Reply

    Respected Madam,
    The location where the crash happened, I reside just 2 houses away from there.
    I was returning from APS and heading towards home after the stallion dropped me. I could see huge crowd nearby my house. I kept moving with my eyes wide open. Many Army men in their fatigues were present at the location. I enquired and came to know about the unfortunate accident and the loss of 2 brave officers. Meanwhile I returned home and in the evening my mother’s friend narrated to us that she was eye witness to the whole accident. She was putting clothes for drying when she could see the cheetah helicopter rotating uncontrollably. But even before it crashed she fainted to ground at the horrifying glimpse. It has been years even today I pass by the same location where our dearest sir breathed his last. We are so grateful to him that he saved our entire neighborhood. No words could heal the wound. But deep respect for him and the other officer still resides in our hearts.
    Jai Hind.

  • Ganesh Balshetwar

    2019at4:55 pm Reply

    We all Ajinkyans love you and miss you a lot Atul. For us you have always been a TOPPER and you will continue to be one.

  • Dr.kirankumar wandhekar

    2019at6:24 pm Reply

    Yes ,he was brave officer ,he was good in academic , sports ,social towards poor & needy people ,He always thinking about nation ;,he was always spirited guy ,we all miss him ,it was big loss to family , freinds ,army & nation .We were considering him to be next chief of army from our batch

  • Kartikswami

    2019at10:31 pm Reply

    जय हिंद मेजर । Proud of you.

    • Nishant Sharma

      2019at9:29 pm

      Salute Sir…want to put my son in NDA after his 12th std…right now he is in 7th. …need some guidance in NDA exam and interview process…
      Can somebody guide…
      Regards Nishant from Bombay..
      9619270740 phone number.

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