Place of Birth : Ambala, Haryana
Service: Air Force
Last Rank : Sqn Ldr
Unit : 154 HU AF
Date of Martyrdom : 27 Feb 2019
Sqn Ldr Sidharth Vashisht hailed from Hamidpur village in Naraingarh block of Ambala district in Haryana. Son of an Ex-serviceman Jagdish Kasal, he was youngest and the only son among four siblings. Sqn Ldr Sidharth Vashisht was a fourth-generation officer as his great grandfather, grandfather and father too served in the armed forces. Of his two maternal uncles, who served in the IAF, the younger one, Wg Cdr Vineet Bharadwaj, also lost his life in a MiG 21 crash in February 2002. Sqn Ldr Sidharth nursed the dream of joining the Air Force since his childhood taking inspiration from his uncles.
Sqn Ldr Sidharth completed his schooling from Shivalik Public School in Chandigarh and later got graduated from DAV College, Chandigarh. After graduating, he pursued his dream and got selected to join the Air Force through the Combined Defence Services Examination. and joined the Air Force. He was commissioned in the IAF in the flying branch in June 2010 and got trained as a Helicopter pilot. Soon Sqn Ldr Sidharth Vashisht gained proficiency in flying skills and proved his mettle in various operations including the rescue operations during Kerala floods in 2018.
By 2019, Sqn Ldr Sidharth had put in about eight years of service in the IAF and evolved into an ace helicopter pilot having expertise in various air operations. Later in July 2018, Sqn Ldr Sidharth Vashisht got posted to 154 Helicopter Unit based at the Air Force base in Srinagar. His unit was operating MI-17 transport helicopter, extensively used for air transport and logistics operations. Sqn Ldr Sidharth Vashisht got married to an Air Force officer Aarti Singh in 2013, and the couple had a son, Angad.
MI-17 Air Crash: 27 Feb 2019
During Feb 2019, Sqn Ldr Sidharth’s unit was operating from the Air Force base at Srinagar and was responsible to undertake air transport and logistics operations in support of the Army as well as IAF operations in J & K. On 27 Feb 2019, Sqn Ldr Sidharth along with his co-pilot Sqn Ldr Ninad Mandavgane and four other crew members including Sgt Vikrant Sehrawat, Cpl Pankaj Kumar, Cpl Deepak Pandey and Cpl Vishal Kumar Pandey were tasked for an operational mission. The crew after having gone through their preparatory checks got ready to take off as per the operational plan.
The aircraft took off as planned at 1000 hrs but soon after flying for nearly 10 minutes crashed in an open field near Garend Kalaan village in Budgam district about 10 km from the Srinagar International Airport. The helicopter broke into pieces and caught fire which made it impossible to save the crew members. All six valiant air warriors could not survive and laid down their lives in the service of the nation. Sqn Ldr Sidharth Vashisht was a committed air warrior and an officer par excellence who displayed grit, determination, and devotion to duty during every operation he was assigned.
Sqn Ldr Sidharth Vashisht is survived by his wife Sqn Ldr Aarti Singh, son Angad, parents and three sisters.
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