14 Kargil War Heroes Whose Stories Will Make Your Heart Swell in Pride!

The Kargil War took place within months of India and Pakistan signing the Lahore Declaration to solve the Kashmir conflict amicably. In May 1999, the Indian Army launched Operation Vijay to oust the Pakistani intruders from the Kargil region and reclaim the inaccessible peaks from the enemy’s hold. Our brave soldiers will always be remembered for conquering impossible terrains amidst unfavorable weather and heavy shelling from the enemy. Among the Kargil War heroes, Captain Vikram Batra has become a part of folklore and popular culture. However, there are many more soldiers whose acts of courage, steely resolve and sacrifice during the Kargil War led us to victory.

Read on to know about these brave warriors and Kargil War Heroes below:

1. Captain Vikram Batra

Captain Vikram Batra belonged to the Palampur district of Himachal Pradesh. He joined the Indian Army as a lieutenant in the 13th Battalion, Jammu and Kashmir Rifles (13th JAK RIF). During the Kargil War, his battalion was responsible for capturing point 5140. Captain Batra led his team to capture the peak, which is at the height of 16,962 feet, with no casualties. Then his battalion was assigned to capture Area Flat Top, where Indians and Pakistanis were fighting without any progress, and harsh weather made it difficult for Indians to sustain the hardship. Major Batra, who was seriously injured in the previous battle, decided to lead his men to the difficult peak and engaged in full frontal combat with the enemy. And to save, one of his soldiers got hit by a sniper in the chest. He collapsed and succumbed to his death.

You can read the full story of Vikram Batra’s Bravery here:

2. Lieutenant Manoj Kumar Pandey 

Lieutenant Manoj was a native of Rudra Village in Uttar Pradesh. He joined the 1st battalion of the 11 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army. His battalion was tasked to capture the Jubar, Khalubar and Kukarthaam areas lying in the Baitalik sector. However, one of his significant contributions was in capturing Khalubar Top. As the platoon neared its objectives, it started receiving heavy and intense fire from the enemy. So, he decided to neuter these enemy positions with strategic moves. He first commanded his regiment towards an advantageous position. Thereby, he attacked the enemy from left and right sides.He recovered the first two enemy positions but got hit while he attacked the third one but undauntedly struck the third one too. He directed his men to clear the fourth position using a grenade as he got a fatal injury to his forehead. His daredevil act led to the capture of Khalubar Top. He succumbed to his injuries later. He was awarded Param Vir Chakra for his bravery, leadership and devotion to his duty.

3. Subedar Major and Honorary Captain Yogendra Singh Yadav 

Subedar Major and Honorary Captain Yogendra Singh was from Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh. He was assigned to the 18th Grenadier Platoon of the Indian Army. During the Kargil War, he was part of the Ghatak Force Commando platoon. The platoon was tasked with capturing three bunkers at strategic locations on Tiger Hill in the wee hours of 4 July 1999. They were located at the top of a 1000 feet snow-covered cliff face. Yadav was part of the leading assault team. He climbed the cliff face and installed ropes for others to climb on. Despite many bullet injuries, he continued to climb until he reached the top. He destroyed the first bunker with a grenade. He killed four Pakistani soldiers by continuously firing from his gun in close combat. Despite being hit by 12 bullets, Yadav did not leave the battlefield and continued to neuter the enemy. This inspired the rest of the battalion to move forward and capture the remaining two bunkers. He was awarded the Param Veer Chakra for his bravery and determination in extremely adverse situations. This Kargil War Hero retired from the Army in 2021.

4. Colonel Balwan Singh

Colonel Singh belongs to Haryana. He was commissioned in the 18 Grenadier Battalion of the Indian Army. He was assigned to lead Ghatak Platoon to recapture Tiger Hill by attacking the enemy from an unassuming North Eastern direction attack. They had to climb 16,500 feet to reach the enemy seated at the top. Amid heavy shelling, a snowbound and risky route, the Ghatak Platoon reached the top discreetly. The enemy was taken aback to see them on the top and started firing indiscriminately in a desperate attempt to make them go back. The Indian troops, however, did not back out and completely encircled them. The Colonel was himself responsible for killing four soldiers of the enemy. He was awarded Maha Vir Chakra for successfully capturing Tiger Hill from the enemy. This Kargil War Hero currently serves as the Colone General Staff HP and PH Independent Sub Area Ambala.

5. Saurabh Kalia

Saurabh was from Amritsar, Punjab. He was commissioned into the Indian army months before the Kargil War started. He joined the 4th battalion of the Jat Regiment in Kargil. The army conducted patrols along the Kaksar Langpa area of Kargi in the first and second week of May to see whether the snow had receded to reoccupy the positions there. Kalia was the first Indian officer who reported a massive infiltration of the Pakistani Army from LoC. He took charge of the Bajrang Post at 13,000-14,000 feet in height to check infiltration in the Kaskar region. On 15 May, Kalia and five other officers of the 4th Jat Regiment who were on a routine patrol of the LOC engaged in a heavy firefight with the Pakistani forces across LOC. Kalia and others were overpowered, tortured and killed while he was held captive by the intruders.

6. Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari 

Major Adhikari was from Nainital in Uttarakhand. He joined the 2.Mech.Infantry of the Indian Army. During the Kargil War, he was posted in18 Grenadier as a Major. The Major was responsible for securing the forward spur of the Tololing feature, where the enemy held a strong position. The feature was at a height of 15000 feet from sea level. As the company marched towards the treacherous mountain terrain, the enemy started shelling at it from two mutually beneficial positions. The officer destroyed one of the positions using a rocket launcher and killed the remaining enemy soldiers in close-quarter combat. Then he ordered his medium machine gun unit to fire at the enemy from behind a rocky feature. While the actual assault party was directed to inch closer towards the second enemy position. While inching upwards, he got severely hit, yet he continued directing his unit. He refused to be evacuated and charged at the second enemy base at Tololing. It helped the Indian Army to recapture Point 4590. However, he could not survive the battle. He was awarded the Mahavir Chakra posthumously for his exceptional leadership and bravery on the battlefield.

7. Major Vivek Gupta

Major Vivek Gupta was a second-generation soldier born to Lieutenant Colonel BRS Gupta. He was from Uttarakhand and was commissioned into the Rajputana Rifles Regiment. During the Kargil War, he led the Charlie Company during his regiment’s attack on the Tololing Top in Dras. (On 13 June 1999). Despite heavy firing, they were able to come in close range of the enemy. As they emerged in the open, the enemy attacked the company from all sides. The soldiers were hit by heavy enemy shelling. Major Gupta took advantage of a temporary pause from the other side and fired a rocket launcher at them. And before they could react, he charged at them. But in the process, he ended up getting hit by two bullets. And despite being shot, he killed three Pakistani soldiers. Following his bravery, the rest of his company also attacked and recovered the position from the enemy. However, during the combat, the Major got hit by a bullet again. He succumbed to his injuries. He was awarded Maha Vir Chakra by K.R. Narayanan posthumously.

8. Naik Digendra Kumar (Maha Vir Chakra) (2 RAJ RIF) On 13 June 1999

Naik Kumar was from Jhalara village in Rajasthan. He was a part of the 2nd Battalion of the Rajputana Rifles(2 RAJ RIF). He was a part of Major Vivek Gupta’s company that was assigned to recapture Point 4590 on Tololing Hill in Dras. The enemy had made a total of 11 bunkers. Naik Digendra was commanding the Light Machine Gun Group. It was responsible for capturing the first and last bunker. As they approached the enemy post, they came under heavy fire from the enemy, and Naik got hit on the arm. But with a wounded hand, Naik managed to kill 48 Pakistani soldiers and received 18 bullets in his body armour. His fire helped his company march ahead on the mission and target the enemy in close-range hand-to-hand combat. He received the Maha Vir Chakra for his daring act during the Kargil War. He retired from the army in 2005.

9. Captain Anuj Nayyar

Captain Nayyar was a resident of New Delhi. He joined the 17th battalion of the Jat Regiment of the Indian Army. His regiment was tasked to capture Pimple II peak towards the western slope of peak 4875 which was located in the most dangerous terrain at 15,990 above sea level. The peak was strategically crucial for the forces to advance further. Anuj Nayyar was the second-in-command of the troop. When the enemy injured the Commander, Nayyar got into action and kept the company moving towards its mission. They kept marching forward towards the enemy bunkers in heavy shelling. When the lead team reported the presence of 3-4 bunkers, Nayyar destroyed the first bunker with a rocket launcher and grenades, and he and his team beat the second and third bunkers as well. But when they moved towards the fourth bunker, Nayyar was hit with an army RPG in the chest and died on the spot. Pimple II was eventually captured, but it wouldn’t have been possible without Captain Nayyars leadership and supreme sacrifice. He was one of the most brave Kargil War heroes who placed his nation’s safety ahead of his own life. This victory helped India Capture Tiger Hill and force Pakistan to retreat. He was posthumously awarded Maha Vir Charka for his exemplary bravery in the face of a brief setback (when the Commander was hit).

10. Colonel Sonam Wangchuk

Colonel Wangchuk was born and brought up in the Khakshal region of Leh. He joined the Indian Army as the Second Lieutenant of the 4th Battalion of the Assam Regiment. During the war, he had to carry out an operation to occupy the Ridge Line on LoC. It was a snow-covered, ice-cold region at a height of 5,500 meters from the sea level. During the mission, the enemy, seated in an advantageous position, ambushed the column marching toward the LoC. The Colonel then got his men together, launched a counter-ambush, and raided the enemy positions from all sides. He and his men successfully eliminated the threat. Then they took stock of all the forces along the Chorbat La near LOC and cleared all the infiltration. This was a critical mission to prevent further infiltration by the enemy. It was the first successful operation during the Kargil War, earning the then Major Wangchuk Maha Vir Chakra. He retired from the Army in 2018.

11. Captain Neikezhakuo Kengurüse

An army officer and a Kargil War Hero from Kohima, Nagaland, Captain Neikezhakuo Kengurüse was commissioned into the Army Service Corps of the Rajputana Rifles. During the Kargil War, he led the Ghatak Platoon as a Commander. His unit was responsible for evicting the Pakistani soldiers who held machine gun positions at Black Rock Area in Drass. The Commander led his platoon to the 16000 feet high enemy site. He climbed the cliff barefoot with a rocket launcher, killed four Pakistani soldiers, and recaptured the Black Rock Area. He was shot in the abdomen but kept pursuing the enemies until he eliminated them. But his injuries took a toll on his life. He is one of the top 15 Kargil War heroes of our country. He was awarded Maha Vir Chakra for his contribution to the war posthumously.

12. Major Padmapani Acharya

Major Padmapani Acharya was a Kargil War Hero from Odisha. He joined the army as a second lieutenant of the second battalion of the Rajputana Rifles. In the Kargil War, he was mainly the company commander. He was charged with the task of capturing strategic enemy positions. The biggest challenge that he and his platoon faced was that the enemy was heavily fortified, and they came within the target range of the enemy firing, which caused large casualties from the beginning. But the Major kept marching ahead with the reserved platoon. He crawled through steep rocks and launched grenades at the enemy positions. Even though he was severely wounded, he asked his men to keep charging at the enemy and not pay attention to him. He also kept attacking the enemy until he succumbed to his injuries. The attack was successful as the mission objective was fulfilled. He was awarded Maha Vir Chakra Posthumously for his selfless contributions to the Kargil war.

13. Subedar Major Sanjay Kumar

Subedar Major was born in a village near Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh. His application was rejected three times before he made it to the Indian Army. He was inducted as a rifleman in the Indian Army and joined the 13th Battalion of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles. He volunteered to be the battalion’s leading scout to capture the flat area of point 4875. During the attack, he realized the enemy hiding in sangars had a strategic advantage and could create massive destruction with their automatic machine guns. He charged at the enemy and single-handedly killed three intruders but got hit by the enemy too. But despite his wounds, he charged at the second enemy position, and the soldiers left their ammunition behind to flee. He killed them all with their machines. His bravery inspired the men behind him to climb the treacherous peak and neuter the remaining enemy from the Flat Area of the Peak. He was awarded Param Vir Chakra for his bravery. In February 2022, he was promoted to the rank of Subedar Major and is currently posted at National Defence Academy at Khadakwasla in Pune.

14. Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum 

Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum was born in Shillong. He belonged to the 12th Battalion of Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (12 JAK LI). During the war, his battalion was posted in the Batalik sector. It was assigned the mission to capture Point 4812 in the region. The Captain took his men through the vertical stretch of the mountain but upon closing in they realized that the enemy had made their position in interconnected bunkers. The bunkers were made by carving out the rocks. They did not let our soldiers near them for about two hours amidst heavy firing on both sides. The Captain realized that firing was only a loss of time, artillery and manpower. He ran across the fire zone to reach the first enemy position. He threw a grenade into the bunker that killed all six soldiers. Then he went to the second hideout of the enemy and caused massive damage to them by trying to snatch their universal machine gun. The enemy hit him severely, but he fought until his last breath. His courage boosted the morale of our soldiers, who took charge and cleared the position. His bravery led to the capture of Point 4812. He was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra posthumously.

 15. Captain Jerry Prem Raj 

Captain Jerry Prem Raj was from Kerala. He was born and brought up in Venganoor near Kovalam. He was commissioned into the Indian Army on 5 September 1997 into the 158 Medium Regiment (SP). He was a Forward Observation Post Officer of the Naga 2 Battalion during the combat operation. The company was tasked with launching assault attacks on the twin bumps in the Drass sub-sector. During the assault, the Captain accurately identified the enemy positions and directed artillery shelling which caused massive destruction to the other side. He was shot by a sniper. However, he did not stop and continued leading his men to attack and destroy other enemy positions. He again came into the line of fire by the other side. He was gravely wounded but continued to guide his team about the enemy positions until he succumbed to his wounds and died on the battlefield. He was posthumously awarded Vir Chakra.

Kargil War heroes put our nation above themselves and their families. They fought for us while we slept in our homes. They will always be remembered for their indomitable courage and steely resolve that was instrumental in defeating the enemy.

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