Service No: 2516683X
Date of Birth: 15 Nov 1997
Place of Birth : Mansa dist, (Punjab)
Last Rank: Sepoy
Unit: 3 Punjab
Arm/Regt: The Punjab Regiment
Operation: CI & IS Ops
Date of Martyrdom : 15 Jun 2020
Sepoy Gurtej Singh hailed from Birewala Dogran village in Budladha Tehsil of Mansa district in Punjab. Son of Shri Virsa Singh and Smt Prakash Kaur, Sep Gurtej Singh was born on 15th Nov 1997. Youngest among three siblings, he was inclined to join the Armed Forces right from his childhood. Eventually, he joined the Army after completing his school education in 2018 at the age of 20 years. He was recruited into 3 Punjab battalion of the Punjab Regiment, an infantry Regiment of Indian Army well known for its intrepid soldiers and numerous battle & theater honours.
After completing his training at the Punjab Regiment Centre, Sep Gurtej Singh was posted to the 3rd Battalion of the Punjab Regiment on 14 October 2019. At that time Battalion was deployed in Northern Glacier at Siachen. During the Siachen tenure, he was deployed at Malaun Post, Bila Complex (Height-18018 feet) and successfully completed his tenure in Northern Glacier.
Operation Snow Leopard: 15 June 2020
During June 2020, Sep Gurtej Singh’s unit was deployed in eastern Ladakh close to the Line of Actual Control(LAC) as part of Operation Snow Leopard. Since early June the tension along the LAC was building up due to construction work in Galwan valley close to the road going from Leh to Daulat Beg Oldie. The Chinese had a serious objection to the construction of a bridge across the Galwan river into the Aksai Chin area. The area held strategic importance to India as well as China as it dominated the road from Leh to Daulat Beg Oldie an airstrip of great military significance to India. There had been many rounds of talks between senior military officials from both sides to diffuse the tensions. On 15 June 2020 night, hectic Chinese activities were noticed across the bridge in Galwan valley and the Indian Army decided to take up the matter with Chinese forces to ask them to respect the LAC and adhere to the position as agreed earlier during the talks.
Considering the gravity of the situation, Col Santosh Babu the Commanding Officer of 16 Bihar battalion deployed in the area decided to lead the negotiations. However, an altercation during the discussion raised the tempers leading to a scuffle. Soon the scuffle turned into a violent clash with the Chinese soldiers attacking Col Santosh Babu and his men with deadly clubs and rods. The Indian soldiers were greatly outnumbered and the Chinese soldiers seemed to be prepared for the attack. As the clashes escalated, Sep Gurtej Singh and other soldiers from 3 Punjab too joined the beleaguered Indian troops to take on the Chinese soldiers. The clashes went on for many hours during which many Indian soldiers including Sep Gurtej Singh got seriously injured. Sep Gurtej Singh, the CO, Col Santosh Babu, and 18 other soldiers later succumbed to their injuries and were martyred. The other brave hearts included Hav K Palani, Nk Deepak Kumar, Nb Sub Mandeep Singh, Nb Sub Nanduram Soren, Nb Sub Satnam Singh, Hav Bipul Roy, Hav Sunil Kumar, Sep Ganesh Hansda, Sep Ganesh Ram, Sep Chandan Kumar, Sep CK Pradhan, Sep Gurbinder Singh, Sep Aman Kumar, Sep Kundan Kumar, Sep Rajesh Orang, Sep KK Ojha, Sep Jai Kishore Singh, and Sep Ankush. Sep Gurtej Singh was a valiant and dedicated soldier who laid down his life at the age of 23 years in the line of his duty. Sep Gurtej Singh was given the gallantry award, “Vir Chakra” on 26 Jan 2021 for his exceptional courage, devotion to duty, and supreme sacrifice.
Sep Gurtej Singh is survived by his father Shri Virsa Singh, mother Smt Prakash Kaur, and a brother.
The citation for the ‘Vir Chakra’ awarded to him reads:-
On 15 June 2020, Sep Gurtej Singh was performing the duties of the scout of his operational patrol and was tasked to establish an observation post. He successfully spotted the enemy troops building up against the Indian troops while establishing the observation post. The faceoff between the two sides turned into a violent skirmish in which the enemy troops attempted to push back the Indian troops. In the ensuing clash, the enemy soldiers used lethal weapons and heavily outnumbered their own troops. he himself got seriously injured however, with utter disregard to his personal safety, he continued to fight the enemy valiantly and also extricated his own injured troops, thereby saving a number of fellow soldiers of his patrol party before making the supreme sacrifice.
In recognition of his act of bravery in face of the enemy, courage, and supreme sacrifice, Sep Gurtej Singh is awarded “Vir Chakra (Posthumous)”.
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