Service No : SC-00191A

Place of birth : Mahendergarh(Har)

Service : Army

Last Rank : Lt Col

Unit : 9 Mech Inf

Arm/Regt : The Mechanized Infantry

Operation : UN Mission

Awards : Dag Hammerskjold Medal

Martyrdom : April 9, 2013

Lt Col Mahipal Singh

Lt Col Mahipal Singh Pilania hailed from Surehati Pilania village in the Mahendergarh district of Haryana. Son of Shri Ranjit Singh and Smt Janaki Devi, Lt Col Mahipal Singh got selected to join the Army after completing his education. He had the distinction of becoming the first person from his village to join the Army as a commissioned officer. He got commissioned into the 9 Mech Inf battalion of the Mechanized Infantry Regiment, an infantry Regiment well known for its dauntless soldiers and numerous battle exploits.

 

After putting in a few years of service he got married to Ms. Sudha and the couple had a daughter and two sons. By the year 2013, he had put in over 20 years of service and had been promoted to the rank of Lt Col. During his service he served in various operational areas and proved his mettle as a committed soldier. During the Kargil War, he took part in various operations and acquitted himself very well. Later he got selected to be part of the Indian contingent in the UN Peace Keeping Force in Sudan. 

 

UN Operation: 09 Apr 2013

 

During 2013, Lt Col Mahipal Singh was serving with UNMISS (United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan) as part of the Indian contingent. At that time India had about 2,200 army personnel in South Sudan as part of the UNMISS. They were two Indian battalions belonging to 6 Mahar and 9 Mech Inf, out of which one was based in Jonglei and the other was in Malakal, in the Upper Nile, on the border with Sudan. South Sudan had ended decades of civil war with Sudan in 2005 and was transitioning to a peaceful existence, but the civil strife was continuing with many rebels not accepting the peace accord.  

 

The Government forces were battling the rebels in Jonglei, while UN peacekeepers were patrolling between the two sides. On 09 Apr 2013, Lt Col Mahipal Singh was leading a patrol along with a 32-member squad in Jonglei. However as the convoy reached  Gumuruk, it was attacked by the rebels numbering over 200 with automatic weapons. Though the attack was sudden with a numerically superior enemy, Lt Col Mahipal Singh and his men swung into action to give a befitting reply. A fierce gun battle ensued thereafter lasting over an hour. Lt Col Mahipal Singh displayed commendable courage and leadership in neutralizing many rebels. However during the heavy exchange of fire Lt Col Mahipal Singh received a bullet on the right side of his chest, which proved fatal for him. Besides Lt Col Mahipal Singh four other soldiers made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty which included Naib Subedar Shiv Kumar Pal, Havildar Heera Lal, Havildar Bharat Sasmal, and L/Nk Nand Kishor Joshi. 

 

Lt Col Mahipal Singh was a valiant soldier and a gritty officer who led from the front like a true military leader. He was awarded the "Dag Hammarskjold Medal" by the UN for his outstanding courage, leadership and supreme sacrifice. Lt Col Mahipal Singh is survived by his wife Smt Sudha Singh, daughter Jagriti, an officer in the IAF, and two sons RS Pilania an army officer, and MS Pilania. 

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