Service No : 9101356H
Place of birth : Samba Dist(J&K)
Service : Army
Last Rank : Havildar
Unit : 1 Para (SF)
Arm/Regt : The Parachute Regiment
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Awards : Shaurya Chakra
Martyrdom : March 23, 2009
Hav Rakesh Kumar Sharma hailed from Dadui village in Samba district of Jammu & Kashmir. He had the inclination to serve in the Armed Forces since his younger days like many youngsters of his village. Consequently, he joined the army after his initial schooling and was recruited into the Parachute Regiment, an elite infantry regiment well-known for its awe-inspiring dare-devil operations. Later he got selected to join 1 Para (SF) through a rigorous selection process and got trained as a commando. By the year 2009, Hav Rakesh Kumar had put in sufficient years of service and had evolved into a dedicated and disciplined soldier.
Kupwara Operation: 23rd March 2009
During 2009, Hav Rakesh Kumar’s unit was deployed in the Kupwara district of J & K and was engaged in operations against the terrorists on a frequent basis. Based on the information received from the intelligence about the infiltration attempt by some terrorists in the Kupwara district, the security forces decided to launch a search and destroy operation on 21 Mar 2009 under the leadership of Major Mohit Sharma. Hav Rakesh Kumar was made part of the assault team that was tasked with this operation. Maj Mohit Sharma and his team of commandos reached the suspected area as planned and soon made contact with the infiltrators. Soon a fierce gun battle ensued with a heavy exchange of fire. The operation continued for the next day too and on 22 March, Hav Rakesh Kumar and few other soldiers were tasked to observe and dominate a track leading to dense Haphruda forest near the area of an ongoing operation.
After some time, Hav Rakesh Kumar and his comrades observed some suspicious movement and swung into action. On being challenged, the terrorists fired at the troops indiscriminately. In the following exchange of fire, Hav Rakesh Kumar sustained injuries. He soon succumbed to his injuries and attained martyrdom fighting for his motherland. The operation that commenced on 21 March 2009 continued for several days and eventually, the troops managed to eliminate many militants and made the operation successful. A large cache of arms and ammunition was recovered that included 17 assault rifles, four under-barrel grenade launchers,13 AK magazines, 207 AK ammunition, 19 UBGL grenades, two grenades, two global positioning systems, one Thuraya radio set, and Indian currency notes.
Besides Hav Rakesh Kumar, the other brave-hearts who sacrificed their lives during the operation included Nk Manoj Singh SC and Hav Bhakare SA, SM. In addition to these brave-hearts, five soldiers laid down their lives during the operation on 21 Mar which included Maj Mohit Sharma AC SM, Hav Sanjay Singh SM, Hav Anil Kumar SM, Ptr Shabir Ahmad Malik KC and Ptr Nater Singh. Hav Rakesh Kumar was given the gallantry award, “Shaurya Chakra” for his commendable courage, leadership and supreme sacrifice.