New Delhi. 15 August 2023. Flt Lt Pradeep Murugan (36071) Meteorology/ Garud is on the posted strength of a Garud Flight as the Commanding Officer deployed in Op Rakshak with a batallion of Rashtriya Rifles (RR). On 30 May 2022, during Op Chak Rajpura, based on a specific intelligence input regarding presence of terrorists, a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) was planned and the team was launched in a built up area of Pulwama district. Flt Lt Pradeep Murugan led the Guard Squad from western direction and cordoned the target area by 1700 hours. A total of 12 houses were taken inside the cordon. After initial cordon was established the terrorists fired on the cordon party of Garuds and tried to break down the cordon. Flt Lt Pradeep Murugan along with his team immediately retaliated with pin point, effective and heavy volume of fire, and foiled the escape attempt of terrorists. After the initial fire from the terrorists the target house was identified and the cordon was shifted towards the target house.

3. Flt Lt Murugan tactically placed the Garud Light Bullet Proof Vehicle (LBPV) amidst the heavy threat in front of the target house in between the high volume of fire with LMG mounted on it. The entire search team took position near the vehicle in close range to the target house which resulted in failure of multiple escape attempts by the terrorists. At approximately 0400 hours on 31 May 2022 the held up terrorists rushed towards East of the target area by lobbing a grenade with an attempt to break the cordon and opened heavy volume of fire towards Garud search team. At this critical juncture, sensing the ensued grave danger, Flt Lt Murugan immediately rose to the occasion and showing immense courage, sensible professionalism, excellent and realistic execution, left cover and engaged the terrorists from close range of 30 to 40 metres while eliminating him. The slain terrorist was later identified as category C of Lashkar-e-ToibaTanzeem.

4. For this act of exceptional professionalism and courage, Flt Lt Pradeep Murugan is awarded with the Vayu Sena Medal.