Colonel Neeraj Sood was the Commanding Officer of the 18th Rashtriya Rifles Battalion, a unit tasked to fight terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir.
Always the one known to lead from the front, the Colonel acting upon a tip off about the presence of militants in the Kupwara region, got his ''Quick Search Team" together and headed off to take on the terrorists. In the ensuing gun battle, Colonel Sood received a bullet in the head, and succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.
Colonel Sood leaves behind his wife and an 11 year old daughter.
Heading the Quick Search Team was clearly something that COs of a battalion would not do. But Colonel Sood demonstrated rare courage and determination to duty, and in the process upheld the highest traditions of the Indian Army.
I salute this brave soldier who clearly exceeded his brief and in the process made the supreme sacrifice by laying down his life.
His sacrifice should also serve as a reminder to all Indians, of the innumerable sacrifices made by our troops - our officers and men, who guard our Country against hostile elements.
Let us not forget that it is because of their sacrifice that we sleep peacefully every night.
And the next time we see a man in uniform - let us salute him anyway.