Puneet was born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. He was a third-generation Army Officer, his father, Major Pramod Nath Datt, had also served in 1/11GR, because of that he was very keen fond of Gorkhas, and wanted to join the same regiment. He had a very excellent academic career and also had a great interest in sports and other curricular activities. He finished his schooling from Tagore Public School, Jaipur. In 1991, he achieved his childhood dream of joining the Armed Forces, by getting into NDA, the most prestigious institution of the country. In NDA, because of his outstanding performance in academics, military skills, and overall officer like qualities, he was awarded a rank of ‘Cadet Sergeant Major’ for his ‘Echo Squadron’. He won 3 gold medals in rowing throughout 3 years at NDA. After successfully passing the 4 years of rigorous training, he wished to join the 1/11 GR, as it was his father’s parent unit and got commissioned in that. In just 1.5 years of service, he completed the Young Officers Course, Commando Course and Fire Fighting Course.
|April 29, 1973
|Naushera Operation (J&K)
|Date Of Martyrdom
|July 20, 1997
During 1997 the unit was posted at J&K to carry out counter insurgency operations to restore peace in Kashmir, the heaven of earth. On 19th July, strong information came to the unit about some militants hiding in a village in Naushera. A team was made to launch a search operation and to neutralise or grab the militants. The team was led by 2Lt. Puneet Datt. He briefed his team before moving on to the spot. After reaching the spot, they cordoned the suspected building, which was three-storey and also had a compound wall, by 0400 hours. It was quite a difficult operation because the building was situated in a thickly populated and congested area. And with the aim of defeating the enemy, they also have to take care of the civilian property and to keep civilians safe. As the day-light began, the terrorists sensed the presence of their destroyers, and they started firing on the forces. Then firing from both groups started till 3 hours, but without causing casualty on any side. The operation was looking difficult to get success. So he went for a dangerous move and jumped over the compound to move closer to the enemies to get a better vision. There he saw a militant was rushing to escape, he ran towards him and killed him in a close counter. Suddenly there was heavy firing from the enemy side, he ordered his troops to take cover to avoid any casualty. But he rushed on his own and lobbed many grenades on the first floor, from where the fire was coming. He then charged upon the enemy, disregard of his personal safety, and showing utmost courage, he eliminated the last militant also. In between the operation, he was shot 2-3 bullets which caused him fatal injury and he immortalized himself for the country, making himself immortal by giving his sacrifice. He almost single handedly, eliminated the terrorists and didn’t cause casualty on any of his troops except himself. For his sacrifice, he was awarded Ashoka Chakra, India’s highest peacetime gallantry award, which was received by her mother Mrs Anita Datt on 15th August 1997. He was remembered for forever as a very brave officer who laid down his life in the highest tradition of the country.
“A true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”