Helping victims in Turkey, Indian Army’s medical team was deployed in Korean War too

During the Korean War, India supported the UN Security Council Resolutions and deployed Army medical unit

New Delhi: The 60 Para Field hospital has garnered appreciation from the world over for its selfless service to earthquake survivors of Turkey and Syria.

This is not the first time that the medical unit is in the limelight. Affectionately called ‘angels in maroon berets’, the 60th Parachute Field Ambulance unit treated more than 200,000 people between 1950 and 1954.

During the Korean War (1950-53), India supported the UN Security Council Resolutions and deployed an Army medical unit; the 60th Parachute Field Ambulance, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel AG Rangaraj.

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The unit disembarked at Pusan on November 20, 1950, and was initially deployed at Pyongyang on November 29, 1950.

It was then divided into two sub units; the ‘Forward Element’ grouped with 27 British Brigade and the “Administrative Element” located at Daegu to assist the Korean Army Hospital and also treat civilians.

The Forward Element was in the thick of action including a major airlift, “OP TOMAHAWK” with the 8th US Army from 23 to 31 March 1953 in the area of Munsan that involved linkup with the 3rd Division US Army and later countering a massive enemy offensive on 22 April 1953.

The unit came under the command of the 28 British Brigade on 01 July 1951 with the formation of the Commonwealth Division. It then participated in a series of operations named, “Operation Commando and Operation Killer”, until 23 August 1953.

The unit comprised 627 personnel, suffered 03 fatal and 23 non-fatal casualties during the deployment and treated over 222,324 patients including civilians during the Korean War.

The unit was also awarded citations from the US and South Korean Army Chiefs and commendations from their parent formation, 1st Commonwealth Division.

On their return to India, 60 Para Field Ambulance was awarded with the President’s Trophy by President Dr Rajendra Prasad on 10th March 1955 at Agra, the first one of its kind and the only one to date.

The unit was also awarded twenty-five Mentioned-in- Dispatches.

Colonel Rangaraj was awarded a well-deserved Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) for his leadership during Operation Tomahawk.

Carrying on the tradition, the Indian Army medical unit showcased its undying will to serve humanity in the light of a natural disaster – earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria on Monday.

Under ‘Operation Dost’ India has sent six planes carrying rescue personnel, essentials and medical equipment for earthquake relief efforts to Turkey and Syria.

The Indian army’s field hospital set up in Turkey’s Hatay to provide assistance to the earthquake-affected people, started functioning on Thursday.

“The army field hospital in Iskenderun, Hatay, Turkiye has started functioning with running Medical, Surgical & Emergency Wards; X-Ray Lab & Medical Store,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted on Thursday.

The army field hospital has been set up under India’s ‘Operation Dost’ to provide assistance to Turkey’s earthquake-hit people.

Jaishankar, sharing photos of the facility on Twitter on Wednesday, wrote: “This field hospital in Hatay, Turkiye will treat those affected by the earthquake. Our team of medical & critical care specialists and equipment are preparing to treat emergencies.”

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