Service No : 25107 F(P)

Date of Birth : November 2, 1975

Place of birth : Mumbai(MH)

Last Rank : Wing Commander

Arm/Regt : Indian Air Force

Operation : CI & IS Ops

Awards : Kirti Chakra

Martyrdom : June 25, 2013

Wing Commander Darryl Castelino KC

Wg Cdr Darryl Castelino hailed from Mumbai in Maharashtra and was born on November 2, 1975. Son of Shri Herald Castelino and Smt Leena Castelino, he had a strong desire to join the armed forces right from his childhood, which grew along with his age. He grew up in Santa Cruz in Mumbai, and was a student of Holy Cross High School, Kurla (W), Mumbai. Eventually he got selected for the IAF and was commissioned on 20 June 1988 at the age of 22 years. He got trained as a Helicopter pilot and passed out as part of 161st Pilots' Course.  After completing his training, he served in varous Air Force bases operating different types of Helicopters. After serving for few years, he got married to Ms Jyoti in the year 2013 and the couple was blessed with two children, son Ethan and daughter Angelina. 


In fact, his mother Smt Leena was initially against his joining the defence forces, but over the years, his heroic deeds made her proud of her only son. He would regularly call her up and describe what he was doing, and she would proudly narrate the same to her neighbors, without actually realizing the dangers his job posed. Besides being a passionate flyer, he was a family man and would try to spend time with the family as much as he could. During Christmas, he would return home and often play the Santa for kids. By 2013, he had put in around 14 years of service and had been promoted to the rank of Wing Commander (On 20 June 2011). By that time Wg Cdr Darryl had evolved into a professionally competent Helicopter pilot with substantial experience in various air operations. 


Mi-17 Helicopter Crash: 25 June 2013
On 25 June 2013, Wg Cdr Darryl along with the captain and Crew of the Mi-17 helicopter was tasked to move essential supplies and National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) teams to Kedarnath, located at an elevation of over 11000 feet and rescue stranded pilgrims from Kedarnath during the return sorties. Inclement weather, frequently drifting clouds and poor light conditions prevalent in the unforgiving terrain of the narrow valley led to frequent delays in the operations and this made their task extremely demanding. Realizing the gravity of their task and the criticality of the evacuation of some of the stranded pilgrims, Wg Cdr Darryl and his crew volunteered for the critical mission and got airborne in the first available window of opportunity to position his helicopter at Guptakashi. 
During the return leg from Kedarnath to Guptakashi, the aircraft impacted on the steep slopes of the valley and crashed. The weather was so bad at that time that it took a long time for rescue teams to reach the crash site. On that day the helicopter carried out three sorties which were undertaken under deteriorating weather conditions. During these three sorties, they successfully saved 80 precious lives. For this act of conspicuous courage, professional competence and successful execution of a risky mission to save precious lives in hostile weather conditions. Besides Wg Cdr Darryl, the other martyred brave hearts during the operation included  Flt Lt K Praveen, Flt Lt Tapan Kapoor, JWO Akhilesh Kumar Singh and Sgt Sudhakar Yadav. Wg Cdr Darryl was given the nation’s second highest peacetime gallantry award, “Kirti Chakra” for his outstanding courage, devotion to duty and supreme sacrifice.

Wg Cdr Darryl, who laid down his life for his country during the Uttarakhand flood relief operations, was a dedicated professional who was undaunted by obstacles. But unfortunately, this brave hero had a tragic end as his body was unrecognizable and DNA samples had to be used to identify his body. The nation will ever remain grateful for his selfless service and supreme sacrifice.


Wg Cdr Darryl Castelino is survived by his wife Smt Jyoti, son Ethan, daughter Angelina Castelino and sisters Smt Sheryl & Smt Meryl.

  • If you find any information that is incorrect or inappropriate or have additional information about the soldier that can be added to his memorial site, please contact us by using the tab given below.
  • Megha Kashinath hegde

    2023 at 3:38 pm Reply

    I reside at Vakola, Santacruz east, Mumbai and recently noticed a chowk has been name after Wing commander Mr. Darryl Castelino and that’s when i got intrigued to search for him and learn about his heroic acts… I am so proud to be an Indian and so proud of the mother’s who send their sons to keep our motherland safe …. RIP and a salute to him and his family.

  • Yash saksena

    2023 at 3:39 pm Reply

    We miss you Darryl uncle and thank you for everything and to ethen also by Yash saksena son of wg Cdr saksena

  • Glorie Matthew

    2023 at 3:51 pm Reply

    I salute your heroism and sacrifice. We shall forever remain indebted to you for your service to the nation. Jai Hind

  • Wg Cdr C Naganathan .

    2023 at 3:51 pm Reply

    Miss you Darryl. Fond memories of Yelahanka.

  • Ravi Shankar Kumar

    2023 at 3:52 pm Reply


Post a Comment