This post is dedicated to Flight Lieutenant Parvez Rustom Jamasji, Vir Chakra, for his services in the Bangladesh Liberation war—the man carrying the Phantoms of Chittagong into hell and back!
The Glorious Special Frontier Force, or the commonly named ‘22 Establishment’, for being commanded by Inspector General -Major General Sujan Singh Uban—and it was called into action to fight for the liberation of Bangladesh and fight off the Pakistani occupation. Mostly composed of Tibetan Mustang rebels and guerillas who were turned into one of the best soldiers with Indian army training and American and Bulgarian weapons—these boys were led by Inspector General Sujan Singh Uban himself and Dapon Ratuk Ngawang into action—a man equivalent to the rank of a Brigadier in the SSF, and off went these boys to fight in a war that wasn’t theirs.
A strong Task Force of 3000 SSF troops were created and were planned to deploy them by November, 1971, into the Chittagong Hill Tracts. For this plan—from the state of Mizoram, Inspector General Uban decided to march in a column of SSF troops into Bangladeshi territory, while a few heavy equipments and troops were planned to be taken inside the territory by airlifts!
The problem was—at that time, the SFF had only one helicopter at their disposal, just one single Soviet Mi-4 helicopter, which was manned by this brave man, Flight Lieutenant Parvez Rustom Jamasji.
One of the youngest pilots seeing action—he was commissioned in the Indian Airforce on 16th October, 1965 after completing the 94 Course in the Academy. Being the only pilot, flying the only helicopter for such a glorious band of operatives, Flight Lieutenant Jamasji’s Mi-4 helicopter was turned into a gunship. At first, sandbags were attached to the back of the chopper, along with fixing a belt fed light machine gun, and seeing the chopper being turned literally into a battleship, the Air Chief himself had said these words—
“My God! A nice aircraft has been wasted so mercilessly!”
And now, the same aircraft that had been wasted so mercilessly, is serving as a memory of glory, as a war memorial museum!
Anyways, as the SSF operations began from November, raging havoc in the Chittagong Hill tracts against the Pakistani fortified bunkers and gun positions—marauding the 97 independent Brigade and 2 Commando Battalion of the Pakistani army, Flight Lieutenant Jamasji flew numerous sorties to fly in men and equipment into the hot zones, flying out back with wounded lads of the SSF and bringing them back safely into forward hospitals into Indian territory! He was the only link between the swift airlift and evacuation of the wounded, along with quick delivery of heavy weapons and kit.
And so did the Light machine gun on the chopper provide a strong fire support for the boys, whenever needed!
The SFF was always suffering from a shortage of heavy weapons, and after a considerable amount of successful operations—the SFF was granted the use of 81mm heavy mortars along with a few RCL guns—and all of these were loaded into the overworking chopper of Flight Lieutenant Jamasji, with a stressed pilot Jamasji himself flying into the thick of the action with them, regardless of his safety as he landed his chopper for the boys to get their weapons for the fight!
Flight Lieutenant Jamasji even flew into action carrying the Inspector General himself on board! In the thick of the hills around Chittagong—while on a mission to take the General to the hot zone, he noticed through the radio that his aircraft was at times being detected by enemy aircrafts around, but he evaded them and successfully landed Major General Uban in place and flew back again!
For his dedication in the flying operations—he earned respect and love right from the SSF boys up to Major General Sujan Singh Uban himself! At times, the Major General would even sit and eat together with this young Flight Lieutenant!
And not every time did Flight Lieutenant Jamasji’s chopper come back untouched. The Pakistani ground troops were so frustrated at this gunship that when they used to spot this flying machine—they would open up everything at it, from machine gun fire to mortars!
And at times, Flight Lieutenant Jamasji would return back with his chopper with bullet holes and shrapnel, which were seen to be struck deep into the hull of the Mi-4 gunship! So did once, his chopper had developed a tremendous engine failure right into the heart of the hot zone, loaded with Pakistani troops—but he managed to pull out in time and land back at base!
These gallant actions didn’t escape the notice of Major General Uban himself, so, he decided to recommend this young Flight Lieutenant for a Vir Chakra!
And so did when his recommendation had come forward, the sole pressure on Flight Lieutenant Jamasji for the air operations was relieved as the Special Frontier Force received another Mi-4 helicopter.
The SFF had created history in Bangladesh, almost capturing the city of Chittagong and blocking the route of the Pakistani Army to escape to Burma.
But for this success of the SFF—Flight Lieutenant Parvez Jamasji’s actions had played a vital role as well! So, on the 26th of January, 1972, Flight Lieutenant Parvez Jamasji was awarded the Vir Chakra.
He dedicated a sum total of 20 years to the Indian Airforce, rising up to the rank of Squadron Leader. He retired on the same date he was commissioned on—16th October, 1985, marking exactly 20 years of service.
My salutes to Flight Lieutenant Jamasji for his services for this country!
Source- Phantoms of Chittagong by Major General Sujan Singh Uban and Bharat Rakshak