Captain R Jerry Premraj was an artillery officer. He was working in 158 Med Regt(sp) in Kargil. During first year degree he was selected in Indian Air Force as an aircrafts man in 1990. He joined Indian Air Force in 02 Feb 1990 before attaining the age of 18. In Indian Air Force he joined as an instrument fitter. His basic training was at Jalahalli, Bangalore. After two years of training he was posted in 7 wing Ambala. From Ambala he was sent for maintenance conversion flight training of jaguar aircraft at Gorakhpur. Up to 1996 he was working in Ambala. Meanwhile he completed his degree from Kakatiya University in sociology in one sitting. He cleared CDS and was selected as an officer in Indian army. He had undergone training in OTA Chennai and was commissioned as an artillery officer in Indian army on 5th Sep 1997. While joining army he was corporal in Indian Air Force with seven years of service. He was posted to 158 Med Regt at Meerut after training. While working at Meerut he was sent for Young Officers’ course
22nd April 1999 Captain Jerry Premraj married Praseena. He had done reservation on 3rd June 99 in Rajasthani exp to go back to Meerut. He was planning to take Praseena along with him. But on 30th May a telegram came from his unit, stating that his leave is cancelled and report for duty immediately. At that time he was at Mettur his relative’s house. He was going to Ooty on honeymoon trip. He did not go to Ooty. He cancelled his honey moon trip and came back home. Meanwhile his Commanding Officer called up and told him not to bring his wife Praseena. So he cancelled his wife’s ticket. He cancelled his reservation and preponed his journey to 3rd June. On 3rd June 1999, he went to Meerut. At Meerut there were only reserve people since his unit is already moved to Drass sector. He was sent to his unit in Drass sector from Meerut. From there he was attached to 2 Naga Regt. Mean while he was promoted to the rank of Captain.
He was Forward Observation Officer to 2 Naga. On 7th July 1999 at point 4875 (twin bumps) while effecting accurate artillery fire he was hit on the shoulder by an enemy sniper. He saved the life of two of his subordinates. 17 enemy soldiers were killed on that morning. He refused to be evacuated and continued to give effective artillery fire. Again he was hit on the shoulder and head (total 5 gsw). He breathed his last at about 4’o clock on this day 17 years back. He was awarded Veer Chakra posthumously.
His brother Reginald Pavithran shared few words on his brother with us.
“Jerry was younger to me by three years. At 6 months of age he won healthy baby show in our village. He was very healthy at that time. He was having long hair. He was looking like a girl at that time. During his school days he was a very good cricketer. He was a fast bowler and an all rounder. In his captaincy their team won the cricket tournament in 10th standard. He was very good in studies. He studied in Malayalam medium but was very good in English. During his school days he was the student secretary of Indira Priyadarshini Science Centre at our village. Under his leadership this centre organised science exhibitions in the school. He was very God fearing also. He was active in Sunday schools also. He was a very good artist and was very good in pencil sketch. He was a very good cartoonist. From childhood he was fond of army. He appeared for NDA but could not clear. Then he tried to join navy as a sailor. But in medical he was rejected. Then he joined Air Force as an airman. But he was not satisfied with it. He was very brave. He was very adamant to become an army officer. He had only one aim. He tried very hard to accomplish his aim and finally achieved it. He was very competitive. Jerry and me together brought many trophies and prizes to our home in various competitions.
Although he was younger to me by three years, we were like friends not brothers. Before taking an important decision he will have a consultation with me. He was happy to take my guidance before taking an important step. He was fond of Mohanlal films. He was adept in storytelling. After seeing a film he will explain the story in such a way that I will not have to see the film again. He was a lovable person. His love, affection and care for others was unparallel. He was very social and jolly person. Once u got a chance to talk with him, I bet u will never forget him. He was such a fantastic guy.
He was killed in action on 7th July 1999. His body was brought home on 11th July (coffin was not opened)He was cremated at Venganur by the side of our house with full military honours. We have constructed a memorial for him before the first death anniversary. Now for the last 16 years we are conducting a prayer meeting at his memorial on Jul 7. We have constructed a church nearby in his memory. We have been born and brought up together. Since the coffin was not opened, I am not able to believe till now that he is no more. His smiling face is still in my mind. I feel like I have lost my right arm. Life will never be the same again. Now wherever I go people love, care and respect me on behalf of him. I like to be known as Captain Jerry’s brother. I feel blessed and honoured to have a brother like him.”