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Squadron Leader Rajiv Pundir was born on 28th April 1962 in Dehradun. He completed his schooling at St. Joseph’s Academy in Dehradun and later joined the National Defence Academy (NDA). He was commissioned into the IAF on 29th May 1983.  

Service Number 17143 
Place of Birth Dehradun 
Rank Squadron Leader 
Unit 152 HU AF  
Award Vayu Sena Medal 
Date of Martyrdom 28th May 1999 

In 1993, Squadron Leader Rajiv was serving with the No. 152 squadron Helicopter Unit. In May 1999, a large-scale planned infiltration by militants had been detected in Uri, Batalik, and Drass sectors in J&K. IAF also undertook air operations to assist the Army. On 28th May, Squadron Leader Rajiv was flying as a co-pilot of a Mi-17 helicopter during an attack mission against ground positions strongly held by Pakistani infiltrators in Drass. Squadron Leader Rajiv repeatedly carried out air attacks but unfortunately, his helicopter got hit by a US-made Stinger missile. The aircrew had no time to take any emergency action. The helicopter crashed and valiant air warrior Squadron Leader Rajiv along with Flight Lieutenant S Mulihan, Sergeant Raj Kishore, and Sergeant PVNR Prasad lost their lives.    

Squadron Leader Rajiv was awarded ‘Vayu Sena Medal’ posthumously for displaying immense courage .

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