Service No : 5006 F(P)
Date of Birth : December 29, 1935
Place of birth : Secundrabad
Last Rank : Sqn Ldr
Unit : 20 Sqn
Arm/Regt : Indian Air Force
Operation : Op Cactus Lily
Awards : VrC
Martyrdom : December 5, 1971
Sqn Ldr Jal Maniksha Mistry hailed from Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh and was born on 29 Dec 1935. He was commissioned into the Indian Air Force on 08 Oct 1955 at the age of 20 years. He joined the flying stream of the IAF and got trained as a fighter pilot. After completing his flying training, he served with various flying squadrons located at different Air Force bases.
In the year 1970 he underwent the prestigious Defence Services Staff Course (DSSC) at Wellington in Tami Nadu. By 1971, he had put in around 16 years of service and evolved into an ace fighter pilot having expertise in various air operations.
Offensive Air Operation (Indo-Pak War) : 04-05 Dec 1971
During 1971, Sqn Ldr J M Mistry was serving with 20 Sqn, known as “Lightenings” and was based at Air Force Station Pathankot. Immediately after the 1965 War, 20 Sqn. moved to Hindon, its new airbase outside Delhi. The squadron was re-equipped with the F Mk.56A Hunter aircraft and moved to Pathankot airbase in July 1971. Initially the primary role of 20 Sqn was of air defence but later, all Hunter squadrons were prepared for support & offensive operations. As the war broke out in December 1971, No.20 Sqn focused on counter air and interdiction missions, with close air support coming in later part of the war. On 04 Dec 1971 Sqn Ldr Mistry, the senior most pilot of the squadron after the CO, along with Sqn Ldr Bajpai, undertook a mission to attack Kohat, which was at the extreme range of the aircraft. Sqn Ldr Bajpai's Hunter aircraft had some problem to start in time but undeterred Sqn Ldr Mistry took off alone to attack Kohat airfield. He successfully carried out the attack on Kohat airfield and returned safely.
On 05 Dec 1971, Sqn Ldr Jal Mistry and Sqn Ldr Karumbaya were tasked for a mission to attack Sakesar radar complex. Sakesar was the air defence center of the PAF which was instrumental in directing the air defence fighters of the PAF. However Sqn Ldr Karumbaya's Hunter failed to start off in time. Realizing the importance of the mission, Sqn Ldr Mistry decided to fly alone to Sakesar, though IAF strongly discouraged pilots to fly on solitary missions. Sqn Ldr Mistry reached the target and successfully rocketed it. However he was intercepted by a Pakistani Mirage III aircraft flown by Flt Lt Safdar. Sqn Ldr Mistry's aircraft received a hit from the enemy air-to-air missile causing extensive damage to it. The Hunter aircraft eventually crashed and Sqn Ldr Mistry went down with it. Sqn Ldr Jal Maniksha Mistry was a valiant soldier and committed air warrior, who laid down his life in the line of his duty following the highest traditions of the IAF.
Sqn Ldr Jal Maniksha Mistry was given the gallantry award, “Vir Chakra” on 26 Jan 1972 for his outstanding bravery, devotion to duty and supreme sacrifice.
Citation for the Vir Chakra awarded to him reads:-