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Medal for feat beyond front

A woman major who has climbed the Everest and a junior commissioned officer who reached the boxing quarterfinals in Olympics 2012 were among the 24 awarded military decorations for their feat beyond the battlefield.

The awards were given at an investiture ceremony held at Fort William on Saturday.

Major Poonam Sangwan was among the five officers in an all-woman army team that scaled the world’s highest peak in May 2012.

Naib Subedar Laishram Devendro Singh, 23, from Manipur went down fighting in the quarterfinals in the light-flyweight category against an Irish in the London Olympics of 2012.

Both officers were awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal by Lieutenant General M.M.S Rai, the general officer, commanding-in-chief, Eastern Command, for their “distinguished service of a high order”.

Major Sangwan, a second-generation army officer, thanked her seniors for teaching her to be an army officer “first and always”.

Twenty army personnel, including eight officers and 12 soldiers, were awarded Sena Medal for “gallantry”, while the award for “devotion to duty” was bestowed on four other officers.

Lieutenant General Rai presided over the ceremony and pinned the medals of honour on the uniforms of the awardees. He also gave away the parchment to the VSM recipients on behalf of the President.

The investiture ceremony is held each year to honour the commitment and sacrifice of soldiers in course of their duty to the nation. “These military decorations are awarded to the officers for their devotion and outstanding service to the nation. Even if somebody is scaling the Everest or winning an international championship, they are bringing honour to the country,” said an officer in eastern command.