Service No : 2801206X
Place of birth : Sindhudurg Dist (MH)
Service : Army
Last Rank : Naik
Arm/Regt : The Maratha Light Infantry
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Awards : Shaurya Chakra
Martyrdom : May 22, 2016
Naik Gawade Pandurang Mahadev hailed from Amboli village of Sindhudurg district in Maharashtra. Naik Gawade wanted to join the Armed Forces since his childhood and consequently joined the Army at the age of 20 years on September 21, 2001. He was recruited into the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment, a regiment known for its brave soldiers and numerous battle and theater honours. After serving for a few years with his unit, Naik Gawade was later deputed to 41 RR unit deployed in J & K area for counterinsurgency operations.
Kupwara Operation: 21 May 2016
During 2016, Naik Gawade’s unit was operating in the Kupwara district of J &K and was engaged in operations against the militants on a regular basis. During his tenure with 41 RR , Naik Gawade had participated in numerous anti-militancy operations in the higher and treacherous areas of the Kupwara district. A technically sound soldier, Naik Gawade, had developed multiple combat and computer skills in his 15 years of service. Besides being a good hockey player, he was adept in handling sniper rifles and all types of communication equipment. On 21 May 2016, information was received from intelligence sources about the presence of some militants in the Chak Durgmulla area in the Kupwara district. A joint team of Army and J & K police was launched to nab the militants and Naik Gawade was part of the contingent from 41 RR that formed the team.
The team launched the operation as planned and cordoned off the suspected area. Naik Gawade was part of the column which initially located and engaged with the terrorists. Using his battle craft and field craft, Naik Gawade closed into the location and kept directing the rest of the team members to bring down effective fire onto the ultras. While closing in, he was hit by splinters and sustained injuries on his head and face after which he was evacuated to 168 Military Hospital. The militants were heavily armed and the gun battle continued for nine hours, leading to the successful elimination of all five terrorists. However Naik Gawade, who was subsequently shifted to 92 Base Hospital, Srinagar succumbed to his injuries and was martyred.
Naik Gawade was a brave, agile, and battle-hardened soldier, who would volunteer for daredevil missions against the militants in the valley. On May 21, he did what he knew best to take on the highly trained militants. Naik Gawade was given the gallantry award,” Shaurya Chakra” posthumously for his conspicuous courage, fighting spirit, and supreme sacrifice. Naik Gawade is survived by his wife Pranjal and two sons Prajwal and Vedant.