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Village boy to Balakot hero: Meet Squadron Leader Pankaj Arvind Bhujade


New Delhi, Aug 15: Squadron Leader Pankaj Arvind Bhujade, one of the winners of this year's Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) for his role in the Balakot air strike, initially studied in a village school in Vidarbha in Maharashtra and went on to become a frontline fighter pilot of the IAF.

Bhujade is among the five pilots who have been awarded the Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) for their role in bombing a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp at Balakot in Pakistan in February.

File phtoto of Balakot Air Strike

IAF fighter jets had bombed the JeM camp in Balakot on February 26, nearly two weeks after the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel.

The defence ministry on Wednesday announced the winners of the Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) and other military awards on the eve of Independence Day celebrations.

Bhujade is a fighter pilot from Nagpur, according to a press release issued by the PRO of the defence ministry here.

Complete list of 132 Gallantry Awards approved on Independence Day eve

He was born in village Madheli under Warora taluka of district Chandrapur in the Vidarbha region, the release said.

He did his schooling up to 5th standard in the Zila Parishad (ZP) School in Madheli and later joined the Sainik School at Satara in western Maharashtra, it said.

Subsequently, he qualified for the Pune-based NationalDefence Academy, which he joined in 2003. He got commissioned in the Indian Air Force in 2007, the release said.

His parents are based in Nagpur, it added.

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