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Captain Jerry Prem Raj, VrC, was a commissioned officer in the Indian Army during the Kargil War. He was the officer in charge of India’s fight at Tiger Hill (Point 5140) on 9 July 1999, during which he was severely injured. He died later the same day. Because of his effort in the battle, he was declared a war hero. His body was cremated in his native Thiruvananthapuram. He was awarded the Vir Chakra, the third highest military honor of India that is awarded posthumously.
Capt Jerry Prem Raj was born in Venganoor, near the famous tourist place Kovalam in Trivandrum District of Kerala State. His father is Mr Retna Raj (who worked in the Department of Technical Education, Kerala) and his mother is Mrs Chella Thayee (who worked in the Health Department of the government of Kerala). His brother is Rejinald Pavithran, a retired officer of the Indian Air force.
Raj was commissioned into the 158 Med Medium Regiment (SP) on 5 September 1997. He was a sincere and upright officer with an eye for detail and a pleasant disposition.
He answered the call of duty and rejoined the unit in Operation Vijay under operation Rakshak after voluntarily cutting short his honeymoon. On the night of 6/7 July 1999, he was the Forward Observation Post Officer with two Naga during its assault on Twin Bumps in area Point 4875 (Gun Hill) in Dras Sector. During the assault, while directing the artillery fire onto the enemy positions with devastating effect, he was wounded by enemy sniper fire.
Undeterred, he continued his mission amidst heavy enemy fire, when he was yet again hit by a volley of enemy machine gun fire. Gravely injured, he refused to be evacuated and continued to direct accurate artillery fire onto the enemy till he succumbed to his injuries. His spontaneous action resulted in inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy and in the capture of the objective by assaulting infantry. The exceptional display of raw courage and steely resolve in the face of insurmountable odds earned Captain Jerry the award of a “Vir Chakra” posthumously.
The Vir Chakra citation on the Official Indian Army Website reads as follows :
Gazette Notification: 18 Pres/2000,15-8-99 Operation: – Date of Award: 07 Jul 1999
Citation: On the night of 6th/7th July 1999 during “Operation Vijay”, Captain R. Jery Prem Raj was the Forward Observation Post Officer with 2 Naga tasked to launch an assault on Twin Bumps in area Gun Hill in Drass sub-sector. During the assault, Captain R. Jery Prem Raj searched, sought and identified enemy positions and directed accurate artillery fire onto them with devastating effect.
In this endeavor, he was shot by enemy sniper fire. Undeterred, he continued to bring down effective fire on enemy positions. However he was again hit by a volley of enemy machine gun fire. Though severely wounded, he continued to direct accurate fire onto the enemy until he succumbed to his injuries. By then he had inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy that not only assisted in the capture of the objectives but also helped in minimizing casualties to own infantry.
Captain R. Jery Prem Raj displayed bravery of a very high order and tremendous professional acumen with total disregard to his safety and made the supreme sacrifice.