Sergeant Uday Singh, salute

Lt Gen SR Ghosh (Retd)

AS the Defence Attache in Washington DC, I acquired many telephone calls from Indian youngsters within the US desirous to know how one can be part of the Indian Army. I used to be fairly shocked that these youngsters didn’t need to keep on within the ‘promised land’ however return to India to serve within the army.

One day in 2003, I bought an analogous name from a boy in California which ended up in a really attention-grabbing chat. Uday went on to inform me that he had come to America on a vacationer visa and that a lot in opposition to his mom’s needs, he had bought enlisted in August 2000 into the US 1/34 Armor Regiment (that’s after I first learnt that one may develop into an American soldier with out being a citizen). I quickly found that his father, Lt Col PM Singh, was not solely a great buddy of mine, however that we had been neighbours in Babina when Uday was a bit of child. I informed Uday to attempt for a fee within the US military as they supplied glorious incentives to develop into an officer, however he was insistent on becoming a member of the Indian Army within the footsteps of his father and grandfather.

In September 2003, his unit moved to Iraq. Barely three months later, on December 1, younger Uday, all of 21 years previous, lay lifeless on the battlefield, gone endlessly. He turned the primary Indian within the US military to have been killed in Iraq, dwelling as much as the motto of the First Infantry Division: ‘No mission too difficult. No sacrifice too great — Duty first’.

On December 11, Uday was cremated with full US honours at his hometown Chandigarh within the presence of a big American contingent. In his homage, General James Campbell, Commander of the US Pacific Army, who flew in from Hawaii, stated, “Today, we stand tall as a nation and an army and in our grieving take enormous pride in saluting Sergeant Uday Singh for his noble stance to make the world safer, his sense of honour and commitment and his loyal and faithful service to our country.”

On January 8, 2004, the urn containing Sergeant Uday’s ashes was laid to relaxation at Arlington National Cemetery, Washington DC. Amongst the mourners stood his mother and father, family members and the three Indian Military Attaches in full ceremonial gown. There was not a single dry eye as each mother and father, in very emotional eulogies, spoke of their son, who lived an Indian however died underneath the flag of the United States in one other overseas land. As the seven-member rifle squad fired three volleys in salute and Sergeant Major Henry Sgrecci’s bugle name tailored from ‘Extinguish Lights’ pale away, Brigadier General Mark O’Neill introduced the mother and father with the US flag, citations posthumously awarding Uday Singh the Bronze Star for valour and the Purple Heart and citizenship of the United States.

Today, Grave Number 8,122 in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery is rather like hundreds of different graves of US troopers, besides that the gravestone has a ‘khanda’ as an alternative of a cross and underneath it lie the ashes of Sergeant Uday Singh, the gallant younger soldier from India who couldn’t don stars on his shoulders or the badge of two Lancers, his father’s armoured regiment.

A salute to you, warrior Uday. May you be at peace on the hallowed Hall of Valhalla.

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