The third anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks has brought a nostalgic moment for the elite NSG as its last commando who was part of operation 'Black Tornado' will be leaving the force.
Brigadier S C Rangi, the Force Commander (FC) of the crack commandos based in Manesar near New Delhi, will exit from the National Security Guard (NSG) on November 28, exactly three years after the day on which the NSG completed its task of eliminating 10 Pakistani terrorists who took Mumbai hostage for over 60 hours in 2008.
Prior to Brigadier Rangi, Commander of the 51 Special Action Group (SAG), Colonel Sunil Sheoran, who along with him flew to Mumbai on the night of November 26 three years back to take on the 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists, left the crack force to join his parent unit.
The deputation tenures of the officers and commandos is for three years in the premier counter-terrorist force.
"I had joined the NSG few months before the Mumbai operation and I am the last to leave. I saw my boys and other officers leaving the force in the last few months," Rangi, who commands both the counter-terrorist and counter-hijack units of commandos based in NSG garrison told PTI.
"It is a nostalgic moment for me to demit this office on a day when we finished the Mumbai operation in 2008. When I look back, I feel fortunate and happy to leave at a time when all the force's components are at their peak," Rangi, an Infantry officer, said.
Sheoran, a Special Forces officer, who has been decorated thrice for gallantry, said it was tough to leave a force where he had "great experiences".
NSG is a purely deputationist force and all its men are drawn from the Army for a stipulated period of three years. This rule has been made to keep the profile of the commando force young and fighting fit.
"All the 400 commandos and officers who undertook the operation are now back to their parent units and keep coming to the 'black cat' family whenever they get time. For us, all operations are the same but the 26/11 Mumbai mission became the most talked about. Its etched in the minds of people because of its sheer magnitude," a senior NSG officer said.
The force lost two of its commandos -- Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Havildar Gajender Singh -- in the operation which brought laurels and the most number of gallantry awards for the NSG in a single operation.