Siachen Pioneers celebrate Golden Jubilee
The 114 Helicopter Unit (HU), also known as the “Siachen Pioneers”, celebrated its Golden Jubilee at Leh recently. Senior Indian Air Force officers from Air Headquarters, Western Air Command and retired Siachen Pioneers and Army officers from local formations attended the celebrations, which included visit to the Unit operations area and interaction with the unit personnel.
The occasion was marked by the maiden visit of 114 HU Commodore Commandant, Air Commodore P.K. Sharma VM. Also present on the occasion was the previous Commodore Commandant AVM M. Bahadur VM (Retd). He has a distinction of being part of the crew of the first ever helicopter landing in the Siachen Glacier, in a Chetak helicopter, on September 20, 1978. This was a feat that paved way for the Indian Army making its stronghold on Siachen Glacier. The Commanding Officer Wing Commander B.S. Sherawat, VM handed over the Commodore Commandant’s Flag to Air Commodore P.K. Sharma VM.
The unit has been engaged in service of “Operation Meghdoot” for over three decades. It routinely involves landing at the highest helipads in the world, in Siachen Glacier and flying the helicopters to the edge of its flight envelope over a very treacherous terrain marked by uncertain weather. For its courageous deeds, the Unit has earned 62 Gallantry/Presidential.
The unit has been awarded the President’s Standard in 1996, Unit Citation by the Chief of Air Staff in 2004 and a place in the Limca Book of Records for the highest helicopter landing at a density altitude of 25,140 feet. Besides this, the Unit is famous worldwide for its daring rescues of mountaineers and trekkers.