Book written by Pritpal Singh Tuli.

Website Credits : Thakur Dalip Singh & Namdhari Sangat


ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ

Air Vice Marshal T.P. Singh Chhatwal- Sikhs The Supreme

Tejinder Pal Singh Chhatwal, the then Wing Commander, wrote a golden chapter in the anals of history of the I.A.F. on July 25, 1984 when he set a 'WORLD RECORD' for high altitude operations, which has not been equalled by anyone so far, by undertaking 42 sorties in one single day, by Soviet made helicopter M.I.8, airlifting more than 23 tons of load to the forward posts at Siachin to a besieged garrison, during 'Op Meghdoot'. This was a matchless example of helicopter operation. He accomplished the job against the obvious heavy odds of Siachin and in the midst of enemy firing. Earlier this record was for 20-25 flights. Risking his life, he continued operation from 7.00 am to 7.15 pm without taking any break, though he kept on changing his co-pilots. Due to The Mighty Sikhs / 158 his daring feat, the Indian Army could capture a post of strategic importance.

Again on 25th July setting his 2nd WORLD RECORD (otherwise 3rd world record of flying on the highest altitude after earlier two records - one in 1948 by Air Commodore Baba Mehar Singh and 2nd in 1981 by Wg. Cdr. Sadhu Singh Gill) he flew the helicopter at altitudes higher than 5.7 kms. i.e. about 18500 ft. for which it was not meant, for over an hour at 5-10 metres above the ground level for which helicopter had no facilities, to accomplish another daring task of filming the entire Siachin Glacier. It was a great surprise to its Soviet manufacturers as well as to the world. To fly from a distance of only 5 to 10 mtrs. from the ground level at such a height was again a unique task and ANOTHER WORLD RECORD. This write up is available in the Airforce Museum at Leh. These above 'World Records' and daring feats, in which he exhibited professional competence, acumen, courage and devotion to duty of an exceptional order, earned him SHAURYA CHAKRA on 26th January 1985 and entry in the Guinness Book of World Records and Limca Book of Records. As per Limca Book, this record is till date unbroken and unchallenged. On 26th January 1993, Mr. Chattwal was honoured with ATI VISHIST SEWA MEDAL (AVSM). Earlier too he was awarded VAYU SENA MEDAL on 26th January, 1984 and commendations by AOC-in-C, IAF on 26th January 1978 and commendations by CAS, IAF on April 1st, 1978.

He also had a great role in the 1971 war with Pakistan. He was the FIRST to land in DHAKA. He was selected for the Senior Defence Management Courses in 1990. He retired on 31st Dec. 2004. But the other side of the coin is very gloomy. It is alleged that in spite of seniority and merit this great achiever and hero of I.A.F., was denied the promotion to the rank of full Air Marshal by forging his annual confidential report and he was degraded from point nine to point five. The facts were The Mighty Sikhs / 159 discovered during the proceedings of a writ petition in the Hon'ble Delhi High Court and accordingly the verdict was given in his favour. The Times of India reported on Dec. 18, 2003, "HC finds out that Air Vice Marshal TS Chhatwal's ACR was fudged." Further it says, "Justice Vijender Jain and Justice RC Jain read the confidential report and observed that a case should be registered against the Defence Secretary who should be sent to Jail". But even then the govt. denied the promotion to Mr. Chhatwal and approached the Supreme Court wherein his case is still pending for the last many years.

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