In wars, various officer martyred at a very young age. They sacrifice their lives for the countries security for the citizens. Today we shall discuss another hero who sacrificed his life for the sake of country at a very young age- 2nd Lt Arun Khetarpal PVC.
Arun Khetarpal, a tall handsome young man of 21 years died fighting off an attack by a brigade worth of Pakistani Patton tanks, himself destroying five tanks in the battle that ended with the destruction of 48 Pakistani tanks in the 1971 war.
A GIST OF HIS LIFE IN EARTH
- This young man was born in a military family on Oct 14,1950at Pune.
- His father M.L. Khetarpal was a Lt Col (later Brigadier) and his great grandfather was in the Sikh army and fought against the British, while his grandfather had served in the British Army during World War I.
- He completed his studies from Lawrence School, Sanawar in Himachal Pradesh and also an all-rounder in academic as well as in sports.
- The motto of his life motto, “Never Give In” and he followed even after becoming an army officer.
- On June 1967 he joined NDA and was belonged to Foxtrot Squadron and was the Squadron CadetCaptain of the 38th Course.
- Later on, he joined the Indian Military Academy and was commissioned into the 17 Poona Horse on 13 June 1971.
- On 17th December 1971, 2nd Lt Arun Khetarpal was cremated near Samba district and his ashes were sent to his family.
BATTLE OF BASANTAR
- It was the time of the Indo-Pak War of 1971 when 17 Poona Horse was assigned to involved in the Battle of Basantar in the Shakargarh sector.
- The objectives of the brigade were to clear the enemy mines to prevent tanks of Poona Horse.
- It was a joint operation by 17 Horse, 4 Horse(Two armoured Regiments), 16 Madras and 3 Grenadiers.
START OF BATTLE
- When Pakistani launched their first counter-attack at Jarpal. on ‘B’ squadron The commander needed reinforcement.
- At that time 2nd Lt. Arun Khetarpal, who was in ‘A’ squadron and was close by, responded promptly, along with the rest of his regiment.
- However, in the exchange, the commander of the second tank Lt Ahlawat got killed.
- After the death of his colleague, he was the only in charge to continue the attack. I
- In the ensuing tank battle, 2nd Lt Arun Khetarpal with his 2 remaining tanks fought off and destroyed 10 enemy tanks.
- Although his tank was hit and caught fire he never abandoned the battle and continued to destroy the enemy tank.
- Seeing the condition of his tank superior officer ordered him to abandon but he refused and said
“No Sir, I will not abandon my tank. My Main gun is still working and I will get these bastards.”
- When his enemy tank was 100 metres away from him , his tank Famagusta received a second hit and it shell entered his tank hitting his stomach and got a hero’s death.
- His tank called “Famagusta” was restored after the war and also preserved in the Armoured Corps Centre and School in Ahmednagar.
- The parade ground at NDA has been named as “Khetarpal Ground” in his honour, while the auditorium and one of the main gates bear his name at the IMA.
- The Housing project of Arun Vihar in Noida was named after 2nd Lt Arun Khetarapal PVC in his honour.
- A statue of 2nd Lt Arun Khetarpal has been made at the Lawrence School, Sanawar in Himachal Pradesh.
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