Once A Prisoner Of War In Pakistan's Custody, This War Hero Is Now Indian Air Force Pilot
The unsung hero
One, who has the passion in flying, cannot be happy if his/her wings are clipped. Such is the case of Kambampati Nachiketa, a Kargil war hero, who had served as a Flying Lieutenant at the Indian Air Force and now flies transport aircraft. Despite his story of immense bravery and courage, he remains to be an unsung hero of our country. Kambampati was a part of No.9 Squadron in the IAF and had also been a Prisoner of War (PoW) in Pakistan’s custody during the Kargil operations.
He knew Pakistanis would catch him
He was a part of the operation launched in Batalik sector in May 1999. He was carrying out an attack on enemy camps in MiG-27 fighter jets armed with 80 mm rockets. While carrying out a second attack, the engine of his jet “flamed out” and went dead in mid-air. He tried to restart his Tumanskii turbojet engine, but all his attempts went in vain. It was too late and the jet was heading a terrain to crash. With no option left, Nachiketa was compelled to eject and he knew very well, once he landed, Pakistanis would come to catch him. He landed and lost his consciousness, and within half an hour he found himself ambushed by Pakistani soldiers. He took out his firing pistol to fire a few rounds at them, but he was captured soon. He was ruthlessly tortured in the custody of Pakistani army in Batalik sector before he was rescued by a senior official in Pakistan army who asked the Jawans to back off and behave like a gentleman. Nachiketa was repatriated to India in June 1999 by the Red Cross in Pakistan through check post at Wagah border. After his return to India, he won the Vayusena Medal.