New Delhi: India's youngest recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, Subedar Major Yogendra Singh Yadav, turned 39 on Friday. Subedar Major Yadav took 17 bullets during the Kargil War. He was 19 at that time. Yadav played a significant role in India managing to capture the strategic Tiger Hill.

Yadav was a part of the Ghatak Platoon which was tasked to capture Tiger Hill on the night of July 4, 1999. The platoon was given the responsibility to capture three strategic bunkers on the Tiger Hill. Twenty-one soldiers began a trek towards the Tiger Hill — one of the highest peaks in the Dras-Kargil area of Jammu and Kashmir, where Pakistani infiltrators had entrenched themselves. Yadav was among a group of seven soldiers who got ahead of the rest and reached the top of the Tiger Hill.

The road to the top was steep, snowbound and rocky. Yadav was climbing the high cliff with the help of a rope when rocket fire started from enemy bunkers. Yadav was hit by three bullets in his groin and shoulder. Despite being severely injured, Yadav kept climbing and finished the remaining 60 feet to reach the top of the cliff. Though in immense pain, Yadav crawled to the first enemy bunker and lobbed a grenade, which killed four Pakistani soldiers and halted the enemy fire. This gave the rest of the platoon the opportunity to climb the cliff.

However, this was not all. Yadav continued to fight and destroyed the second bunker too with the help of two comrades. He also engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy and killed four more Pakistani soldiers. By the time the rest of the Indian platoon arrived, Yadav had already neutralised the enemy attack. This gave the Indian soldiers the upper hand and they managed to accomplish one of the toughest missions of the Kargil War — the capture of the Tiger Hill. During the second part of the fight, a few more bullets hit Yadav. Yadav’s heroics were portrayed in the film, Lakshya, by actor Hrithik Roshan.

In August 1999, Yadav was awarded Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration, awarded for displaying exemplary courage during wartime. On January 26, 2006, Yadav received the award from the then President KR Narayanan, becoming the youngest recipient of this honour.

During an interview to DD National, Yadav said, "A soldier is like a selfless lover. With this unconditional love, comes determination. And for this love for his nation, his regiment, and his fellow soldiers, a soldier doesn't think twice before risking his life."

Hailing from Aurangabad Ahir village of Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh, Yadav had joined the Indian Army when he was only 16-years-and-5-months-old. Barely out of high school, Yadav had been in the service for just two-and-a-half years when he was sent to the war field.