On 16th March, 1999, Lieutenant Deepak Singh Pathania as Team Commander of the Marine Commando detachment combined with 10 Para (SF) was deployed for OP Rakshak in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir during a night raid on a militant’s hide out in the dense forest of Boban Wastar. The raiding Team was split into Assault and Support Groups and the officer had personally led the Assault Group of flushing out the militants from their hideouts.
As the Assault Group moved towards the militant’s hideout, it came under heavy fire from the militants. Lieutenant Pathania immediately directed his team to drop on the ground for cover and in a rare display of raw courage and dazzling speed he engaged the militants with a burst of AK-47 fire. Astounded by the officer’s instant counter offensive, the militants were taken aback and in that spur of the moment, the LMG operator of the militants was shot dead by Lieutenant Pathania’s volley of bullets. Another militant was also killed by this Assault Group.
Appreciating that the Assault Group was still vulnerable to enemy’s fire, the officer directed the Support Group to open up another flank for attack on the militants. This apt and timely tactical move not only saved the Assault Group of any casualties but also, forced the militants to retreat into the adjoining nallah. To prevent their escape, he directed his Assault Group to keep the militant engaged with high volume of fire. Undeterred by the intense exchange of fire above him, he then stealthily crawled towards the nallah to personally engage the militants.
On reaching the nallah, in a rare display of indomitable courage and dazzling speed, he gunned down two Afghani militants in a dare devil close quarter encounter. Immediately thereafter, the third militant came charging towards Lt. Pathania to avenge the killing of his comrades. Displaying commendable presence of mind and unparalleled tenacity, the officer killed the approaching militant at a point blank range with an accurate head shot.
Thus, during the encounter Lieutenant Deepak Singh Pathania not only saved the Assault Group, by displaying sheer grit, indomitable courage and conspicuous braver, but also killed for hardcore Afghani militants.