Air Defence Regiment that became the ‘saviours’ of Ambala
and Sirsa airfields by shooting down two B-57 bombers of
Pakistani Air Force during 1971 operations is fifty now.
Raised in March 1951 at Jalandhar by Lt Col P S Chittiappa in
the form of a Territorial Army anti-aircraft regiment, the 126
Light Air Defence Regiment has had an eventful journey from
its birth to the golden year of its existence.
This regiment was born
to be the best demonstrating outstanding professionalism and
devotion to duty. Within few years of raising this regiment
was awarded the coveted Chief of Army Staff Trophy on being
adjudged the best Territorial Army Regiment of the Indian
Army. The trophy was presented by the then Prime Minister of
India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru at an investiture ceremony held
at Red Fort.
has the unique distinction of participating in all the
operations since its raising. For the gallant action of saving
the airfields of Sirsa and Ambala in 1971, this regiment won
one Sena Medal and one Mention-in-Despatch. In the year
1973 the ‘TA’ feathers were shed and the unit was re-organised
into a regular outfit of the Indian Army.
In Punjab, the unit
helped the civil administration in the peaceful conduct of the
first post-militancy elections. The Topchis excelled to
earn COAS Commendation Cards for two officers and praise from
the state government. The regiment can rightfully boast of the
role it played in the Siachen sector and during
counter-insurgency operations in different parts of Jammu
& Kashmir. The contributions made by this regiment in
ensuring 'safe skies' in the forward areas merit a special
mention. The recent achievements of this regiment have been
recognised with one Mention-in-Despatch and nineteen
Commendations from the COAS and GOC-in-C Northern Command. The
regiment has also been awarded "Unit Appreciation"
by the GOC-in-C, Northern Command this year.
-Col Shruti Kant