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The Year That Was: 2007
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A Few Good Men

December 17, 2007

I go where my men go,' Colonel Vasanth Venugopal told his mother when she asked him if a colonel should participate in all operations conducted by his men.

Colonel Venugopal laid down his life for our country and we must remember his bravery and ultimate sacrifice.

On July 31, this soldier from Bangalore died fighting terrorists in the Uri sector in Kashmir when he led a pre-dawn operation by the Ninth Battalion of the Maratha Light Infantry.

An army spokesperson revealed how Colonel Venugopal, the Commanding Officer of the 9 Maratha Light Infantry, would be at the heart of any operation at all times to supervise it.

On that fateful night his troops surrounded terrorists in a forest and blocked all their escape routes. Despite being wounded, the colonel and his men engaged the terrorists in a fierce encounter. The daring officer led from the front and helped gun down the terrorists. Tragically, he was hit by a bullet and passed away in hospital.

'He ensured that all eight infiltrators were wiped out even as he laid down his life for the nation. He was a true soldier who was dedicated to the country and his force,' then Chief of Army Staff General J J Singh said after Colonel Venugopal's martyrdom.

In honour of his sacrifice, the nation awarded him the Ashok Chakra, the highest gallantry award granted during peace time.

Text: Vicky Nanjappa. Image: Colonel Venugopal with his family. Photograph, courtesy: Colonel Venugopal's family
Also read: The soldier who became a legend
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