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Air Marshal Denzil Joseph Keelor

Service No 4805 Branch F(P)
Date of Birth: 07 Dec 1933
Date Commissioned 06 Nov 1954 Course 64 Course
Service End Retired on 31 Dec 1991
Remarks :
Promotions Gazetted
Fg Offr : 06 Nov 1955Wg Cdr : 01 Oct 1974Gp Capt : 01 Apr 1978Acting Air Cmde : 01 Oct 1982
Air Cmde : 02 Jun 1982Air Marshal : 03 Jul 1989
Google the Bharat Rakshak Website for : "D J Keelor"
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

01 Jan 1973 - 01 Apr 1975Wg CdrNo. 4 SquadronTezpur CO
- Gp CaptTactics and Combat Development EstablishmentJamnagar Cmdt
- Air CmdeAir Force Records OfficeNew Delhi AOC
01 Jan 1980 - 01 Jan 1982Air CmdeEmbassy of India, FranceParis Air Attache
01 Jul 1985 - 01 Oct 1986Air Cmde40 WingMaharajpur (Gwalior) AOC
01 Mar 1987 - AVMAir Head QuartersDelhi ACAS (Ops)
- 22 Jun 1991Air MshlAir Head QuartersDelhi IG(FS)
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Awards and Decorations

Number of Awards: 4
Vir Chakra
Sqn LdrDenzil Joseph Keelor4805 GD(P)Award Date 18 Sep 1965Announced 22 Sep 1965
Details :

On the 19th September 1965, Squadron Leader Denzil Keelor was providing fighter escort to Mystere aircraft during a strike mission in the operations against Pakistan. His section of four Gnat aircraft was engaged by four enemy Sabre jet aircraft and the battle was fought at a height of less than 2000 feet from the ground where enemy anti-aircraft guns were also active. Under his guidance, his sub-section leader shot down a Sabre jet aircraft. Thereafter Squadron Leader Keelor himself engaged another Sabre jet and crippled it.

Throughout the operations Squadron Leader Denzil Keelor was a source of inspiration to his pilots and ground personnel. His courage and devotion to duty were in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.

Unit : 9 Sqn
Reference : Gazette of India , 1st January 1966 - No.133 - Pres/65 dated 22nd September 1965
Kirti Chakra
Gp CaptDenzil Joseph Keelor4805 F(P)Award Date 27 Mar 1978Announced 26 Jan 1979
Details : On the 27th March, 1978, while Group Captain Denzil Keelor was flying a combat aircraft at high altitude, its canopy flew off and this exposed him to explosive decompression ad severe wind blast. His eyes, ear-drum and left arm were injured and he experienced great difficulty in controlling the aircraft. Although abandoning the aircraft in the circumstances would have been justified, he decided to recover the aircraft. Under these adverse conditions, wherein he was not able to have a proper view due to wind blast, and that too only with one eye, he brought the aircraft back to base and executed a safe emergency landing.

Again, on 17th May 1978, during a live airto-air sortie, a 23 mm High Explosive shell burst as it left the gun muzzle. Shrapnel damaged the aircraft and caused total failure and a serious throttle restriction. The cone extended fully and the associated engine rumbling and surge gave every indication of engine bearing failure. Without electric instruments and Radio Telephony, Group Captain Keelor had no way of either knowing what had happened or of asking for assistance. Assuming that the engine bearing had failed, he decided to attempt am emergency recovery. With his flying skill and experience, he returned to the airfield, set up a flame out pattern and executed a safe landing. The throttle was stuck at 60% revolutions per minute, and in spite of this he was able to stop the aircraft without damage.

Group Captain Denzil Keelor thus displayed conspicuous courage, exemplary professional skill and devotion to duty of an exceptional order.

Gp. Capt. Keelor who had rich and wide combat experience and the destruction of a Sabre aircraft to his credit, was flying a MiG-21 FL on 27 Mar 78, when due to structural failure the canopy of the aircraft detached and flew off. Gp Capt Keelor felt sudden decompression and loss of control, but managed to fly back to base and execute a safe emergency landing without the canopy. Later on 17 May 78, during firing trials one of the 23 mm Cannon Shells exploded causing extensive damage and total electrical failure to his aircraft. He sucessfully executed another safe landing back at his airbase.

Unit : TACDE
Reference : Gazette of India , 28th April 1979 - No.15 - Pres/78 dated 26th January 1979
Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air CmdeDenzil Joseph Keelor4805 F(P)Award Date 26 Jan 1986Announced 26 Jan 1986
Details : Citation / Details Not Available
Unit :
Reference :
Param Vishist Seva Medal
AVMDenzil Joseph Keelor4805 F(P)Award Date 26 Jan 1989Announced 26 Jan 1989
Details : Citation / Details Not Available
Unit :
Reference :

Accidents and Incidents: 1

DateAircraft TypeTail NoPilot/CrewUnitRemarks
08 Dec 1971MiG-21FLSqn Ldr Denzil Keelor VrC