Unsung Heroes

Written by Alok Mohan on September 10, 2023. Posted in Uncategorized

Unsung heroes of Armed Forces.

As we are aware, the soldiers in high-altitude regions like Siachen Glaciers, require extensive training, specialized equipment, and a strong support system to overcome the challenges for survival. Soldiers stationed in high-altitude regions like the Siachen Glacier face numerous challenges and difficulties due to the harsh environment. Extensive media coverage of high-altitude conditions for army personnel serves to inform, inspire, and advocate for the well-being of those, who serve in such challenging environments. And ofcourse the soldiers deserve this caring attitude of both the media & authorities.
But, unfortunately most of the general public, is not aware that there are thousands of soldiers, (Unsung heroes) who had worked in more severe conditions, while preparing missiles for equipping ships, missile launchers etc. for war preparedness or during peace time.
if we compare their working environment, with the working conditions in high altitudes, then we shall conclude that these soldiers also deserve same media attention as well as same attention of the authorities,
as they don’t put their own lives at risk, but their coming generations are also subjected to a very high risks.
Unfortunately these jawans have so far ignored
Ofcourse, I do agree the army jawans, working on high altitudes, besides enemy threats, have to face extremely low temperatures, & may contend with frostbite, hypothermiya, altitude sickness, shortness of breath, stress and loneliness & cold-related injuries. The rugged and icy terrains pose physical challenges, making it difficult to move, carry equipment, and maintain footing & may lead to injuries and exhaustion. High altitude regions are also prone to avalanches and landslides, posing a constant threat.
While working conditions in missile fuelling points, where hypergolic propellants like G-fuel (typically unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine or UDMH mixed with nitrogen tetroxide) or Xyledene, di tri ethyl amine and O-fuel (comprising nitric acid and nitrous acid) are handled, are extremely hazardous due to the toxic and reactive nature of these chemicals. These fuels may have very dangerous genetic effects. Although the soldiers are advised to undertake precautionary measures, but it is very difficult to prevent accidental inhalation by the individuals. Especially while fuelling the rockets/missiles.
Here are some key aspects of the working conditions in such environments:
G-fuel, is extremely toxic when inhaled. Exposure to these chemicals, especially through inhalation, can have severe genetic and health effects. Extreme cases, the inhalation, may lead to death.
Here are some genetic effects of the fuel:
1. Mutagenicity: UDMH is known to be mutagenic, meaning it has the potential to cause genetic mutations. Mutations can lead to changes in DNA, which may result in genetic disorders or an increased risk of cancer.

2. Carcinogenicity: Both UDMH and N2O4 have been classified as possible human carcinogens by various health agencies. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals, including inhalation, can increase the risk of developing cancer, which can have genetic implications.

3. Birth Defects: Exposure to toxic chemicals like those in G-fuel, may lead to birth defects of coming generations of the soldiers.
These defects can be genetic in nature and may affect their child’s health throughout their life. G-fuel exposure can also lead to reproductive problems, This can result in infertility or genetic abnormalities in offsprings. Inhaling the toxic chemicals may cause direct damage to DNA, which may result in genetic mutations. DNA damage may be hereditary, meaning it can be passed on to several future generations. Continued exposure to mutagenic and carcinogenic chemicals may lead to genetic instability within cells, potentially causing a cascade of genetic issues over time.
It’s essential to emphasize that inhaling G-fuel or any chemicals used in rocket propulsion is extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
Therefore employment of young soldiers or newly married soldiers by the authorities, should be considered, no less then a crime, punishable under law.
Proper employment, safety measures, protective gears, and protocols should be in place to protect personnel working with these substances. Any exposure should be immediately reported and treated, and individuals working with these chemicals should undergo regular health monitoring to detect and address potential genetic effects and health issues.
However inspite of all these precautions, avoiding these risks, for an individual is highly unlikely. As most of these fuels are highly corrosive, leading to leakages in pipes of fuelling vehicles.
Following is therefore advised:-
1. Armed forces authorities must refrain from employing unmarried or newly married individuals on rocket fuelling jobs/appointments.
(Even when they have to use this as a punitive tool)
2. Leak proof fuelling equipment/fuellers should be used
3. Safety Gear: Personnel working with hypergolic propellants must wear specialized protective gear, including chemical-resistant suits, gloves, goggles, and respirators, to minimize exposure to toxic fumes and contact with the chemicals.

4. Ventilation: Fuelling points require excellent ventilation systems to remove toxic fumes and gases released during the handling and fuelling processes.

5. Chemical Compatibility: Extreme care is taken to ensure that equipment, materials, and tools used are compatible with the hypergolic propellants to prevent chemical reactions or fires.

6. Training: Workers must undergo extensive training in handling hazardous chemicals, emergency procedures, and safety protocols. They must be well-versed in the properties of the fuels they are working with.

7. Strict Procedures: Precise procedures are followed for mixing and fuelling rockets. Any deviation from these procedures can lead to accidents.

8. Controlled Environment: Fuelling points are usually controlled environments with limited access to authorized personnel only to prevent accidents and unauthorized access.

9. Emergency Response: Well-equipped emergency response teams are stationed nearby to deal with any chemical spills, fires, or accidents that may occur.

10. Monitoring: Continuous monitoring of air quality and chemical concentrations is crucial to detect leaks or releases promptly.

11. Remote Handling: In some cases, remote handling systems or robotics are used to reduce the risk to human operators.

12. Strict Regulations: Stringent regulations and safety standards are enforced at missile fuelling points to ensure the safety of personnel and the surrounding environment.

Overall, working in missile fuelling points with hypergolic propellants is a highly specialized and dangerous job that demands rigorous safety measures, extensive training, and strict adherence to protocols to prevent accidents and minimize risks to personnel and the environment.

The media often provides coverage of the challenging conditions faced by army personnel stationed in high-altitude regions like Siachen, but neglect these unsung heroes of Armed forces. Here are some reasons for extensive media coverage, for such soldiers:

1. Human Interest Stories: The extreme conditions, sacrifices, and dedication of soldiers in such harsh environments make for compelling human interest stories that capture the public’s attention.

2. National Pride: Media coverage highlights the bravery and resilience of the soldiers, fostering a sense of national pride and respect for these soldiers. Media coverage often emphasizes the safety and well-being of soldiers, drawing attention to the need for adequate resources and support for troops by the authorities.

Stories about the struggles of these soldiers as regards their risks, may evoke empathy and support from the public, leading to discussions about improving their working conditions. Media coverage may also hold governments accountable for ensuring the welfare of their troops, pushing for better equipment, better facilities, and improved policies as regards soldiers’ employment.

Alok Mohan

The admin, Alok Mohan, is a graduate mechanical engineer & possess following post graduate specializations:- M Tech Mechanical Engineering Production Engineering Marine engineering Aeronautical Engineering Computer Sciences Software Engineering Specialization He has authored several articles/papers, which are published in various websites & books. Studium Press India Ltd has published one of his latest contributions “Standardization of Education” as a senior author in a book along with many other famous writers of international repute. Alok Mohan has held important positions in both Govt & Private organisations as a Senior professional & as an Engineer & possess close to four decades accomplished experience. As an aeronautical engineer, he ensured accident incident free flying. As leader of indian team during early 1990s, he had successfully ensured smooth induction of Chukar III PTA with Indian navy as well as conduct of operational training. As an aeronautical engineer, he was instrumental in establishing major aircraft maintenance & repair facilities. He is a QMS, EMS & HSE consultant. He provides consultancy to business organisations for implimentation of the requirements of ISO 45001 OH & S, ISO 14001 EMS & ISO 9001 QMS, AS 9100, AS9120 Aero Space Standards. He is a qualified ISO 9001 QMS, ISO 14001 EMS, ISO 45001 OH & S Lead Auditor (CQI/IRCA recognised certification courses) & HSE Consultant. He is a qualified Zed Master Trainer & Zed Assessor. He has thorough knowledge of six sigma quality concepts & has also been awarded industry 4, certificate from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation Knowledge Hub Training Platform  He is a Trainer, a Counselor, an Advisor and a Competent professional of cross functional exposures. He has successfully implimented requirements of various international management system standards in several organizations. He is a dedicated technocrat with expertise in Quality Assurance & Quality Control, Facility Management, General Administration, Marketing, Security, Training, Administration etc. He is a graduate mechanical engineer with specialization in aeronautical engineering. He is always eager to be involved in imparting training, implementing new ideas and improving existing processes by utilizing his vast experience.