Rescue mission

Op Palakkad hero credits alma mater for his achievements – The New Indian Express

Express press service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even hours after the daring rescue operation – ‘Op Palakkad’ – by the Indian Army at Cherad Hill in Malampuzha on Wednesday, Ettumanoor native Lt. Col. R Hemant Raj was enthused by how the teamwork played an exemplary role in saving the life of a youth, R Babu.

Alumnus of Sainik School Kazhakootam (SSKZM), the 36-year-old pays tribute to his alma mater for his achievements, the latest to come as part of a nine-member rescue mission from the Madras Regimental Center, Wellington, Ooty . Hemant and the word “bold” go together, which is even written into his email id. Born in the village of Pathirappally in Alappuzha, he rose through the ranks thanks to his will.

When he joined SSKZM in 1995 at the age of 10, Hemant says he was a weak boy. But by the time he passed out aged 17 in 2002, he had captained the volleyball and gymnastics teams, as well as being a member of the hockey, athletics and cricket teams. .

He also excelled in studies. Hemant recalled that even before he finished his studies, he had already entered the National Defense Academy on his first attempt. It was his father, TK Rajappan, a retired excise inspector, who advised him not to be a topper at SSKZM alone, but to become a versatile cadet.


“So I can proudly say that when our team rescued Babu from the dangerous fissure, across the dangerous face of the rocky mountain, the training I received in my alma mater came to my aid. But I want to humbly say that it was a wonderful team effort of local police, legislator and civilian support that helped us complete the rescue mission.

My school taught me that it is not the number of hours you devote to your studies, but the number of quality hours you devote to your studies that proves to be crucial when planning things” , Hemant told TNIE. Malayalis will never forget the army officer’s exemplary role in the 2018 flood. Footage of Chengannur had gone viral showing his brave efforts to mobilize a team of retired military and local fishermen to bring dozens of people stranded despite their leave to safety.

He was then serving as a major in the 28 Madras Sapth Shakti Command. Hemant, who is the Sports Officer at the RCN Wellington, has proudly made his regiment one of the best in training international sports personnel since taking command two years ago. His parents, Rajappan and CS Lathika Bai, who retired as head nurses of Kottayam Medical College Hospital, his wife, Dr. Theertha, a dentist, and their six-year-old son, Ayan, are all based in Ettumanoor. And they are super proud of his “bold” actions.