Service No : 28471 F(P)
Place of birth : Pune, Maharashtra
Last Rank : Wing Commander
Unit : 43 Sqn AF
Arm/Regt : Indian Air Force
Martyrdom : June 3, 2019
Wg Cdr Ganta Mahendra Charles hailed from the Pune district in Maharashtra. After completing his school education, he joined the prestigious National Defence Academy as part of the 175th Course. He was commissioned into the flying branch of Indian Air Force in June 2005. Wg Cdr G M Charles got trained as a transport pilot and gained proficiency in flying various types of transport aircraft. By 2019, he had been promoted to the rank of Wing Commander and had developed into an ace pilot with expertise in various air-operations.
AN-32 Crash (Indo-China Border): 3rd Jun 2019
During Jun 2019, Wg Cdr Ganta Mahendra Charles was serving with 43 Sqn AF based in Air Force station Jorhat in Assam. The Sqn was operating AN-32 twin-engine turboprop transport aircraft and was undertaking various air operations including critical logistic support operations for the army troops deployed in far-flung and inaccessible areas of the Northeast. On 3rd Jun 2019, Wg Cdr G M Charles along with his 7 other crew members was tasked for an air support operation. The crew members of the aircraft included Sq Ldr H Vinod, Flt Lt Mohit Garg, Flt Lt Sunit Mohanty, Flt Lt Ashish Tanwar & Flt Lt Rajesh Thapa, Warrant Officer KK Mishra and Sergeant Anoop Kumar S. As per the assigned task, the aircraft was to take off from Jorhat IAF base and land at Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh.
Flying in the area with a stretch of deep valleys and high mountains demanded a very high level of flying skills and Wg Cdr G M Charles had the requisite experience and professional expertise to undertake various air operations in the area. As planned the aircraft with 8 crew members and 5 passengers took off from Jorhat at 12:27 pm and lost contact with ground control at 1 pm about 33 minutes after takeoff. The aircraft eventually crashed and the wreckage of the aircraft was found near Pari hills close to Gatte village, 16 km north of Lipo in Arunachal Pradesh, at an elevation of 12,000 feet. The wreckage was recovered 8 days after the crash following a massive rescue operation launched by the security forces. Besides the employment of the Indian Army, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the state police forces, IAF deployed a fleet of Sukhoi-30, C-130J, AN-32 aircraft, MI-17 and ALH helicopters for the rescue operation. Unfortunately Wg Cdr Ganta Mahendra Charles and all other crew members could not survive the crash and were martyred. Wg Cdr Ganta Mahendra Charles was an accomplished transport pilot and a committed air warrior who laid down his life in the line of his duty.
Wg Cdr Ganta Mahendra Charles is survived by his wife Smt Sonal Charles and daughter.