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Air Chief Marshal Surendra Kumar Mehra

Service No 4197 Branch F(P)
Date of Birth: 15 Nov 1932
Date Commissioned 22 Dec 1951 Course 56 Course
Service End Retired on 31 Jul 1991 / Died on 08 Dec 2003
Remarks :
Promotions Gazetted
Fg Offr : 22 Dec 1952Wg Cdr : 01 Oct 1968Acting Gp Capt : 01 Jul 1974Gp Capt : 01 Apr 1975
Acting Air Cmde : 01 Jul 1976Air Cmde : 01 Apr 1978Acting AVM : 07 Dec 1981AVM : 07 Dec 1981
Air Marshal : 15 Jul 1985C-in-C : 01 Mar 1987Air Chief Marshal : 31 Jul 1988
Google the Bharat Rakshak Website for : "S K Mehra"
Notes: 1) Ranks shown are substantive ranks at retirement. 2)Branch is at retirement and may not match with branch at Commission 3)Notional seniority is reflected in dates of substantive rank.

Appointments, Postings & Other Service Particulars

DatesRankUnitLocationAppointmentPhoto
18 Oct 1967 - 31 May 1970Wg CdrNo.28 SquadronAdampur/ Tezpur Commanding Officer
01 Jul 1974 - 01 Dec 1976Wg CdrNo.106 SquadronAgra Commanding Officer
01 Jul 1974 - 04 Mar 1976Gp CaptTactics and Combat Development EstablishmentJamnagar Commandant
06 Jan 1975 - 14 Mar 1976Gp Capt33 WingJamnagar Station Commander
- Air CmdeAir Head QuartersDelhi Director (Ops, Offensive)
- Air CmdeAir Head QuartersDelhi Director (Air Staff Inspection)
- 01 Dec 1979Air CmdeEmbassy of India, RussiaMoscow Air Attache
- Air CmdeAir Head QuartersDelhi Director (PO)
24 Dec 1979 - 04 Dec 1981Air Cmde8 WingAdampur Air Officer Commanding
- 31 May 1986AVMAir Head QuartersDelhi Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Operations
01 Jun 1986 - 28 Feb 1987Air MshlAir Head QuartersDelhi Deputy Chief of Air Staff
01 Mar 1987 - 30 Jul 1988Air MshlSouth Western Air CommandJodhpur Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief
01 Aug 1988 - 31 Jul 1991Air Chf MshlAir Head QuartersDelhi Chief of Air Staff
 
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Awards and Decorations


Number of Awards: 3
   
Vayu Sena Medal
Wg CdrSurendra Kumar Mehra4197 F(P)Award Date Announced 26 Jan 1971
Details : Wing Commander Mehra commanded a Supersonic Squadron of the air force for two and a half years. Under his inspiring leadership the squadron maintained a high state of operational readiness and was awarded the Air Force Instrument Rating Trophy two years running. He has an outstanding personal flying record with over 3400 hours of accident free flying on jet aircraft. For years , he has held the highest professional qualifications and has been an examiner on various types of aircraft.

Awarded the Vayu Sena Medal for professional competence and exceptional devotion to duty.

Unit : 28 Sqn
Reference : Gazette of India dated 4th September 1971 - No.53 - Pres/71 dated 26th January 1971
Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Gp CaptSurendra Kumar Mehra4197 F(P)Award Date 26 Jan 1976Announced 26 Jan 1976
Details :

On the night of 22nd/23rd October, 1975, the worst ever cyclone was experienced over Jamnagar airfield. When the cyclone actually hit Jamnagar airfield, its fury knew no bounds. The fierce effects of the cyclone started at about 1730 hours. Within a matter of half an hour, the strong winds damaged the steel electric power pylons. Immediately thereafter, the entire airfield was plunged into darkness. The Station was now faced with a grim situation of extremely wild winds, incessant rains and total darkness. The cyclone continued to build up its fury and started uprooting aircraft picketed in the open.

Group Captain Mehra the Station Commander Air Force Station Jamnagar personally led a group of his men and physically tried to keep the aircraft on the ground. The aircraft parked in the open were up­rooted from the nose­wheel. It was a gigantic effort to hold the aircraft down to the ground with manual labour. Under the conditions prevailing at that time, it was only by sheer determination of his men under his inspiring leadership that the aircraft were saved from total damage. While his men were engaged in trying to save the aircraft, one of the hangar housing aircraft collapsed. Group Captain Mehra immediately rushed to the scene in drenching rain and ravaging winds. He tried to ensure that after the collapse of the hangar, the aircraft were not damaged any further by loose ground equipment around. Whilst these rescue operations were on, a second hangar also collapsed. It was to the credit of Group Captain Mehra that inspite of mounting odds, he continued to guide personally the rescue operations.

His frequent movement from one scene to another in what truly alarming conditions was done with utter and complete disregard for his own safety and comfort. He had realised that unless he set a personal example, his men would perhaps give up the effort because of sheer frustrating conditions.

Next morning the airfield presented a most pathetic sight. Hangars had collapsed, building roofs were blown­off, aircraft were up-rooted and the airfield was littered with debris all over. By now the water supply had also been denied to the Station. Inspite of his being extremely tired and exhausted from the efforts of the previous night, Group Captain Mehra continued to take immediate actions which were necessary to restore some degree of normalcy in the camp. It was due to his ability and leadership that the personnel and their families at Jamnagar faced this worst ever crisis with a smile. The actual damage to AVSM 1976-77 the aircraft, the most valuable item on the airfield, was very insignificant compared to the conditions experienced during the cyclone.

Group Captain Mehra displayed a very high degree of leaders hip and professional competence to ensure that the damage would be minimal even when he was subjected to a very high degree of stress and strain. Had it not been for him, the damages at Jamnagar would have assumed frightening proportions.

Group Captain Surendra Kumar Mehra, VM has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Unit :
Reference : GoI19760126
Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air MarshalSurendra Kumar Mehra4197 F(P)Award Date 26 Jan 1987Announced 26 Jan 1987
Details :

Air Marshal Surinder Kumar Mahra (4197) F (P) was commissiond in the IAF on 15 Nov 1952. He has held varied command and staff appointments including command of a supersonic fighter Squadron, two operational Bases, Director Air Staff Inspection, Director Personnel (officers) and Assistant chief of the Air Staff. In his outstanding fiying career, he has logged about 4000 hours on fighter aircraft. Under his inspiring leadership the supersonic Squadron which he commanded, achieved a high state of operational readiness and was awarded the Air Force Instrument Rating Trophy twice. In recognition of this achievement, he was awarded VM in 1971

On 22/23 Oct 75 the Air Base which he was commanding at that time, was hit by a cyclone, Air Marshal Mehra with complete disregard of his own safety personally guided rescue operations and saved a number of aircraft form total damage. For his high degree of leadership in minimising the damage he was awarded AVSM in 1976.

A graduate of Air Command and Staff College Course in USA, he has he has held the prestigious assignment of Directing Staff at Defence Service Staff College, Wellington. After a successful tenure as Air Attache in USSR he was posted as Director Operatios (Offensive) and was responsible for formulation of policy planning and contoral of the entire offensive operations of the Air Force. As Director Personnel (Officers) in the rank of Air Vice Marshal his mature and meticulous planning and inspiring leadership led to excellent execution of all the personal mangement functions relating to officers of Air Force, including career planning, promotions and placement. Later as Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations) with his deep understanding of all facets of air operations and dedicated hard work he significantly enhanced the overall operational preparedness of the Air Force.

On promotion to the rank of Air Marshal, he took over as Deputy Chief of the Air Staff at Air HQ. In this assignment he has continued to display qualities of extreme dedication and professional excellence. The smooth induction and absorption of the latest types of aircraft, weapons and sophisticated equipments is mainly attributable to his exception acumen for planning and clear perception of the long term operational requirements of the Air Force.

His continued record of brilliant performance over a career span of 35 years and dedicated contribution in all the appoinments held by him are in the best traditions of the IAF. Air Marshal SK Mehra has thus rendered long and distinguished service of the most exceptional order.

Unit :
Reference : GoI19870126

Accidents and Incidents: 1

DateAircraft TypeTail NoPilot/CrewUnitRemarks
06 Sep 1965MiG-21FBC-818Sqn Ldr Surinder Kumar Mehra
28Dest on ground Adampur by B-57 Pilot Safe