Number Name Branch Died in Service? Picture?

Wing Commander Padmanabha Gautam

Service No & Branch 4482 F(P) (Orig: GD(P))
Date of Birth: 23 Jul 1933 Commissioned: 01 Apr 1953 Course: 60 Course
Service End: Died in Service 25 Nov 1972 (39 Years age) Aircraft Accident Nick Name : Bob
Qualifications Held :
Remarks :
Promotions Gazetted
Fg Offr : 01 Apr 1954Flt Lt : 01 Apr 1958Sqn Ldr : 01 Apr 1964Wg Cdr : 01 Apr 1971
Training and Other Courses Attended
3 JSW (Cadet) - 01 Dec 1951
Badges Qualified
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Plt Offr

Sqn Ldr
Notes:1)Branch is at retirement and may not match with branch at Commission 2)Notional seniority is reflected in dates of substantive rank.

Appointments, Postings & Other Service Particulars

- 01 Aug 1965Sqn LdrJet Bomber Conversion UnitAgra Commanding Officer
- 25 Nov 1972Wg Cdr2 WingLohegaon (Pune) Officer in Charge Flying
16 Aug 1969 - 03 Mar 1972Wg CdrNo.16 SquadronGorakhpur Commanding Officer
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Awards and Decorations

Number of Awards: 3
Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt LtPadmanabha Gautam4482 GD(P)Award Date 06 Dec 1961Announced 26 Jan 1963
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Gautam was one of the pilots operating with the Canberra Unit in the Congo during 1961. On 6 December 1961, he was ordered to attack Kolwezi airfield in Katanga. Despite extremely adverse weather conditions and heavy enemy opposition, he courageously and successfully carried out several attacks on the airfield and completely destroyed the Fouga aircraft which was harassing UN Ground forces. He also shot up three other Katangese aircraft on the field and neutralized other installations around it. Flight Lieutenant Gautam also carried out several other successful missions over Elizabethville in close support of the ground forces operating against the Katangese.

Throughout the operations Flight Lieutenant Gautam displayed commendable courage and devotion to duty in the face of the enemy.

Unit : 5 Sqn
Reference : Gazette of India 26th January 1963 - No. 10-Pres/63 dated 26th January, 1963
Maha Vir Chakra
Sqn LdrPadmanabha Gautam4482 GD(P)Award Date 06 Sep 1965Announced 22 Sep 1965
Details : Squadron Leader Padmanabha Gautam was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 1 April 1953. Squadron Leader Gautam had already seen action in the Congo Operations flying the Canberra bomber of No.5 "Tuskers" Squadron in support of the United Nations Ground Troops. Squadron Leader Gautam was awarded the Vayu Sena Medal for his role in the Congo Operations.

During the Indo-Pak War 1965, Squadron Leader Gautam was commanding the Jet Bomber Conversion Unit (JBCU) flying Canberra bombers at Agra. On the outbreak of the hostilities he was assigned many difficult and dangerous missions into enemy territory at short notice. He undertook six offensive, tactical and close support missions deep into enemy territory between 6 and 21 September 1965, notwithstanding the heavy ground fire and Pak Sabre jet attacks.

These missions included reconnaissance into enemy territory, bombing of Akwal and Gujarat airfields and strafing of enemy concentrations in Gujarat and Chawinda areas. For displaying exceptional courage, determination and devotion to duty he was decorated with Maha Vir Chakra.

Unit : JBCU
Reference : Gazette of India , 1st January 1966 - No.126 - Pres/65 dated 22nd September 1965
Maha Vir Chakra
Wg CdrPadmanabha Gautam4482 F(P)Award Date 05 Dec 1971Announced 26 Jan 1972
Details : Wing Commander Padmanabha Gautam, MVC; VM, Commanding Officer of a bomber squadron [No.16 Squadron, Canberras] led many missions deep into enemy territory. Notable among these are two raids on the night of December 5th and 7th, 1971,when he led attacks on Mianwali airfield. On both these occasions he and his formation were met with intense anti-aircraft fire. Despite that, the target was attacked with great precision, at low level, and heavy damage was inflicted. On other missions, Wg Cdr Gautam carried out rocket and four gun attacks on railway marshalling yards in the Montgomery-Raiwind area with conspicuous success. Through out the period of operations, Wg Cdr Gautam displayed an ability for cool and clear planning, along with unflinching courage, exemplar flying skill and leadership of the highest order in carrying out many hazardous missions. His conduct has been in the finest tradition of the Air Force.
Unit : 16 Sqn
Reference : Gazette of India , 12th February 1972 - No.22 - Pres/72 dated 20th January 1972

Accidents and Incidents: 1

DateAircraft TypeTail NoPilot/CrewUnitRemarks
25 Nov 1972MiG-21 FLWg Cdr Padmanabha Gautam +
8 SqnCr after TO from Pun
The data in the header section of this page comes from the Gazette of India - Click here to see the source
Note: All the data available here is publicly available in the Gazette of India, published by the Indian Government, or from public domain sources, press releases about Awards and Right-To-Information (RTI) Requests. Additionally data shared by veterans is added to the page with permission. No data with respect to serving officers below the rank of AVM is displayed. Information in Gazette of India and Award citations and photographs as released by the Indian Air Force are the only details displayed.