Awards for the year 1999


A total of 174 Awards are listed.
Pages 1 2 3 4
Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Sanjay Bhatnagar 17363 F(P)Unit : 9 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Sanjay Bhatnagar (17363) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron wef 03 May 98. As Senior Flight Commander of the Squadron, he has looked after the planning and execution of flying operations. He has successfully maintained a very high training status of all pilots of the Squadron. This was a vital factor that enabled the Squadron to take part in Kargil Operations at short notice and adapt quickly to the terrain and task in the sector of hostilities.

During the operations he was instrumental in analysing the targets, planning the types of attacks, briefing and motivating the pilots to undertake these missions. He led the juniors by example and from the front by undertaking the difficult missions. He flew a total of 15 missions causing extensive damage to the enemy. He struck an enemy camp during a night mission on 27 Jun 99 at 0230 h at Jubar. Extensive damage was reported by our ground forces and the camp was observed burning till next morning. He displayed extraordinary stamina to work for long hours and carried out his task at the cost of risks to his own life. His meticulous planning, supervision and personal courage ensured that all the missions were launched as per plan and were able to cause maximum attrition to the enemy.

For display of extraordinary courage in the face of the enemy, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Sanjay Bhatnagar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Rajiv Pundir* 17143 F(P)Unit : 152 HU  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Rajiv Pundir (17143-R) Flying (Pilot) was on the posted strength of a Mi-17 Helicopter Unit since 12 May 98.

On 28 May 99, Sqn Ldr Pundir was tasked to fly a live strike against enemy positions at point 5140, located at an inhospitable altitude of 5.1 Kms. While undertaking the mission, Sqn Ldr Pundir was fully aware that the area was infested with missiles and that the only counter measure against the missile was not fitted on his helicopter. Realising the importance of the mission, Sqn Ldr Pundir boldly accepted the challenge and with total disregard to personal safety went ahead with the strike. Having successfully pressed home the attack, during the break away, Sqn Ldr Pundir's helicopter was hit by a Stinger missile. Despite his best efforts to assist control the damaged helicopter it crashed killing Sqn Ldr Pundir and all the crew members.

Displaying a very high level of professional competence and courage, Sqn Ldr Pundir had already undertaken two strike missions in the treacherous terrain of the Dras sub sector. These missions achieved astounding success and were the key to subsequent easy recapture by the ground forces. In his action, Sqn Ldr Pundir displayed exceptional courage and acted in keeping with the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.

For this act of exceptional courage the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Sqn Ldr Rajiv Pundir, Posthumous.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Gurcharan Singh Bedi 17448 F(P)Unit : 51 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Gurucharan Singh Bedi (17448-R) Flying (Pilot) is posted to a Fighter Squadron since 14 Dec 98.

He has since then been working as the senior Flight Commander. When the adopt Precautionary Measures was sounded for the 'Operation Safed Sagar', the Squadron had just returned from a prolonged detachment. The commitment of 'Operation Safed Sagar' required a very high degree of operational preparedness, which involved operations for base as well as Awantipur. By involving himself thoroughly with the maintenance staff, he ensured an extremely high serviceability of aircraft such that not even a single mission was declined for the want of an aircraft. In 'Operation Safed Sagar' he flew a total of 25 missions over the inhospitable terrain in the face of enemy. Never before had the Squadron undertaken a task of this magnitude over such a terrain and altitudes. He involved himself completely in bringing up the training status of the entire Squadron to meet the challenge and achieved it in the shortest possible time. Under his dynamic leadership, the Squadron performed extremely well in all the missions allotted. He contributed very effectively in all the discussions at various forums towards evolving operational tactics. His knowledge on that Fighter aircraft was a great help to the operational planners in the absence of any other operator at base.

For this exceptional act of gallantry, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Gurucharan Singh Bedi.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Dilip Kumar Patnaik 17464 F(P)Unit : 7 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Dilip Kumar Patnaik (17464) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron since Mar 98. He is a Fighter Combat Leader and Deputy Flight Commander of the Unit. Muntho Dhalo Attack: On 16 Jun 99 Sqn Ldr Patnaik undertook a live strike mission on the biggest enemy camp in Batalik Sector. After visually acquiring the target he had to plan an attack profile that would obviate violation of the LoC at the same time inflict maximum attrition on the intruders. He thereafter launched a successful attack on the Western side of the camp which led to the crumbling of the enemy ground activity. Sqn Ldr Patnaik carried out the attack on a confident and well protected enemy with complete dedication and devotion of the highest order.

Tiger Hill Attack by Night: On the night of 27-28 Jun 99 at 0230h, Sqn Ldr Patnaik carried out the first ever night Laser Guided Bomb strike on Tiger Hill. Destruction of the target entailed that his attack profile penetrate the launch envelope of shoulder fired missiles. He launched the live strike without regard to personal safety and scored a direct hit as reported by the Army, paving the way for ground forces to capture Tiger Hill.

During 'Op Rakshak' Sqn Ldr Patnaik flew 27 operational missions, which included 9 live bombing sorties in the Kargil sector. Sqn Ltd DK Patnaik displayed immense devotion, involvement and professionalism of the highest order during planning and execution of missions under hostile conditions. Awareness of missiles being launched in that area only motivated him further to decimate the enemy. He displayed conspicuous gallantry and valour in the face of the enemy.

For exceptional devotion to duty the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Dilip Kumar Patnaik.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Ajai Prakash Srivastava 17471 F(P)Unit : 132 FAC Flt  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Ajai Prakash Srivastava (17471-G) Flying (Pilot) has been the Cdr of an FAC Flt since 20 Apr 98. On 19 May 99 when the Unit was tasked to position four ac at Srinagar, in preparation for 'Op Safed Sagar', the responsibility of Det Cdr was entrusted to him.

The task of AB FAC for fighter strikes was assigned to the Unit to overcome the problem of pin pointing enemy target positions on ground. He worked out an innovative idea of lighting up the target with coloured smoke from Arty fire and also carrying an Air Op pilot on board to direct this fire over targets. Missions undertaken incorporating the above were found to be very successful. Sqn Ldr AP Srivastava himself undertook numerous AB FAC missions in Dras, Batalik, Mashkoh areas and was instrumental in guiding fighter strikes over Tololing and Tiger Hill in particular. These missions required extensive and thorough planning on his part in not only avoiding heavy enemy small arms and rocket fire but also staying for as little time as possible in enemy missile range. Along with this he also undertook the training of other pilots so as to enable them to undertake these missions independently in the Tactical Battle Area. He also undertook numerous sorties towards deployment of MOP on LoC. In these demanding circumstances he succeeded in keeping the morale of entire detachment at its peak and brought out the best in them.

For his high standards of professionalism, dedication to his work and exceptional courage in trying circumstances, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Ajai Prakash Srivastava.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Alok Choudhry 18271 F(P)Unit : 17 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Squadron Leader A Choudhary (18271-A) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron. He took over as Flight Commander during Operation 'SAFED SAGAR' after Sqn Ldr A Ahuja was killed in action. Under his able guidance and supervision, the Squadron attained a high standard of professionalism and operational efficiency. His foresight and planning enabled the Squadron to operate at two bases. The air craft and airmen were staggered such that prolonged deployment at Op locations did not affect operational efficiency and the Squadron achieved 100% serviceability. Dur ing operations as the Squadron Pilot Attack Instructor, he was responsible for the calculation of level release parameters for bombs at various altitudes. His accuracy in doing the same and meticulous briefings resulted in the Squadron achieving a high proportion of direct hits on the various targets allotted. Leading from the front, he was actively involved in day as well as low altitude night bombing. He co­ordinated opera tional, administrative and technical aspects facilitating the Squadron to undertake the various roles it was tasked for.

For his hard work, inspirational leadership and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader A Choudhary.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Narender Singh Verma 18298 F(P)Unit : 129 HU  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Narender Singh Verma (18298-S) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit. On 28 May 99 Sqn Ldr NS Verma was detailed to fly as Captain of No 2 helicopter in a four helicopter formation on a live air to ground rocket firing mission.

The target Point 5140 was located on the Tololing ridge in Dras sub sector at 16,500 feet. Enemy positions to be attacked were entrenched in well-concealed bunkers thereby making target acquisition difficult. The target area was heavily defended as the enemy had deployed Stinger Missiles and 37 mm Anti Aircraft Guns in the sector. These weapons posed a grave threat to the slow moving helicopter which was as such operating at the extreme limits of its performance envelope. For the air strike to be effective the helicopter perforce had to fly close to the target whereby it came well within the effective range of the Stinger Missiles. During the attack Sqn Ldr NS Verma's aircraft was fired upon by missiles. Despite enemy fire Sqn Ldr Verma remained undeterred and in the best traditions of the IAF displayed exceptional courage by pressing on with the attack thereby successfully achieving his mission.

For this act of exceptional courage the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Narender Singh Verma.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Amanjeet Singh Heer 19521 F(P)Unit : 108 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Amanjit Singh Heer (19521-F) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron since 08 Oct 96.

During the Kargil operations, his Squadron, flying MiG-21 aircraft, was tasked to locate and destroy enemy targets in the hostile glaciated mountainous terrain at an average height of 15000 feet. His innovation of filming the target area with his personal video camera, to detect and subsequently attack enemy targets has been highly successful. He filmed enemy targets after putting in attack regardless of the added danger to his own self. As a result of his ingenuity, courage and innovativeness, the strike Squadron's improved acquisition and accuracy. His films also helped the Indian Army plan their ground operations. This inspired the Air Force to extend his idea to obtain imagery by use of Laser Designator Pods. His courageous and innovative filming optimised air strikes in the operations. As a Strike pilot he flew 19 missions. He has performed the duties of a Flight Commander, Squadron Pilot Attack Instructor and all other tasks assigned to him with complete dedication. With his selfless devotion to duty and hard work, he has been a source of inspiration and motivation for others. He is an asset to the Air Force and a role model to his juniors.

For his professionalism, innovativeness, sincerity, exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Amanjit Singh Heer.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Nitish Kumar 19898 F(P)Unit : 152 HU  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Nitish Kumar (19898-K) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 15 Dec 97.

During 'Op Safed Sagar', the helicopters were tasked for strike mission on enemy strongholds in Kargil & Dras sectors. Sqn Ldr Nitish Kumar was the Captain of our strike missions which targeted Tololing & Tiger Hill on 26, 27 and 28 May 99.

The attack was against heavy odds of terrain, altitude and hostile fire (including Stinger Missiles and small arms). Handling the aircraft close to the limits of its flight envelope called for not only superior flying skills but exceptional courage in view of the prevalent hostile environment. The attack was carried out fearlessly and with precision resulting in considerable damage to the intruders. The success of the attack is also attributed to the meticulous planning and preparation carried out prior to the mission. Non availability of ejection seat or force landing field implied that any hit on the heptr could be critical. Unflinching in the face of risk, he displayed immense courage and fighting spirit and undertook the task with professionalism. His enthusiasm and valour was a major contribution towards boosting the morale of the other crew in the team.

For this exceptional act of gallantry, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Nitish Kumar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Harender Pal Singh 20477 F(P)Unit : 224 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Harendra Pal Singh (20477-R) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron from 12 Dec 97. He has a total flying experience of 1060 hrs and is "Fully Operational" on MiG-23 BN aircraft with 750 h of flying experience on type. He is a highly disciplined and a professional flier. Sqn Ldr HP Singh moved to Air Force Station Srinagar on 18 May 99. He was available throughout the period of Operations "Safed Sagar" and took an active part in the operations. He flew 18 missions over the operational area. During these missions the pilots were under constant threat from enemy interceptors, surface to air missiles and anti aircraft guns. Sqn Ldr HP Singh displayed a very high sense of bravery in the face of enemy by flying all the missions successfully and delivering the bombs on the target with maximum accuracy. He remained enthusiastic and displayed high degree of gallantry while executing the given missions. As a senior pilot, he set an example of courage and dedication for the younger pilots in the Squadron.

For his exceptional courage and gallantry in the presence of the enemy while taking part in 'Op Safed Sagar', the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Harendra Pal Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Shreepad Tokekar 21815 F(P)Unit : 7 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Shreepad Tokekar (21815-F) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron, since 26 Aug 96.

During 'Op Rakshak' on 15 Jun 99 he was responsible for picking up enemy camp at Muntho Dhalo and was part of the formation which carried out a successful strike on the target. On 24 Jun 99 he carried out a direct attack on enemy fortification at Tiger Hill with 6 x 250 Kg bombs. He was the only pilot to have carried out a direct attack on Tiger Hill. The attack was highly successful as reported by own ground forces. On 08 Jul 99 he led a two aircraft mission against enemy camp site located at point 4388 and again achieved a direct hit. Post sortie film analysis indicated that the target was totally destroyed. This attack broke the back bone of enemy logistics supply to Tiger Hill and Muskoh Valley and was largely responsible for the enemy to bid a hasty retreat in these sectors. During this strike Surface to Air Missiles were fired at the other member of the formation. This did not deter him from carrying out attacks with pinpoint accuracy on enemy targets. On subsequent days he followed up with repeat attacks on enemy camp sites located along the Valley with a high degree of accuracy.

Flight Lieutenant Tokekar flew a total of 24 missions in the Kargil sector of which eight were live bomb strikes. He displayed immense devotion to duty, involvement and professionalism of the highest order during planning and execution of missions despite encountering hostile response from the enemy.

For exceptional devotion to duty the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Flight Lieutenant Shreepad Tokekar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Subramaniam Muhilan* 22739 F(P)Unit : 152 HU  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Subramaniam Muhilan (22739-A) Flying (Pilot) was on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 15 Feb 98.

On 28 May 99, Flt Lt Muhilan was tasked to fly a live strike against enemy positions at point 5140, located at an inhospitable altitude of 5.1 Kms. While undertaking the mission, Flt Lt Muhilan was fully aware that the area was infested with missiles and that the only counter measure against the missile was not fitted on his helicopter. Realising the importance of the mission, Flt Lt Muhilan boldly accepted the challenge and with total disregard to personal safety went ahead with the strike. Having successfully pressed home the attack, during the break away, Flt Lt Muhilan's helicopter was hit by a Stinger Missile. Despite Flt Lt Muhilan's best effort to control the damaged helicopter, it crashed killing Flt Lt Muhilan and all his crew members.

Displaying a very high level of professional competence and courage, Flt Lt. Muhilan had already undertaken three strike missions in the treacherous terrain of the Dras sub sector. These missions achieved astounding success and were the key to subsequent easy recapture by the ground forces. In his action, Flt Lt Muhilan displayed exceptional courage and acted in keeping with the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.

For this act of exceptional gallantry, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Subramaniam Muhilan, Posthumous.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Gaurav Chibbar 22926 F(P)Unit : 223 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Gaurav Chibber (22926-T) Flying (Pilot) was on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron, AF, since 01 June 98. Before coming to this Squadron, he was a Fully Ops Pilot on the Jaguar aircraft with numerous qualifications; like Photo recce and EW. His transformation from a Strike Pilot to an Air Defence Pilot, flying a Russian aircraft for the first time, in such a short duration, is truly praiseworthy.

Flight Lieutenant Chibber was the youngest MiG-29 Pilot taking part in the Kargil Operations. He performed admirably in carrying out 29 missions which included Area CAP, Tied Escorts and CRC missions by day and night. As a young leader he led many of these missions ensuring the strike aircraft achieved their objectives unhampered by enemy air opposition. Despite having only 100 hrs on type he made noteworthy contribution towards the success of operations in this sector. In one mission he handled the aircraft radar systems optimally to search and acquire two enemy F-16 aircraft, warding off a possible threat, enabling our strike force to destroy their designated target.

Flight Lieutenant G Chibber had a very good rapport with the airmen and his warm and friendly nature had kept the morale of the men high. In this high pressure situation he had been an asset to the Squadron, admirably performing his duties. He had shown great keenness and involvement in all activities.

For this dedication to duty, perservance and professionalism beyond the call of duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Flight Lieutenant Gaurav Chibber, Posthumous.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Kambapatti Nachiketa 22930 F(P)Unit : 9 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Kambampati Nachiketa (22930) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron of the Air Force since 13 Sept 97.

On 27 May 99, he was authorised to fly as a wingman in a two aircraft live rocket firing mission over enemy camp during Op "Safed Sagar". During the sortie, after successful attack, he noticed that aircraft engine had flamed out. His height above the hilly terrain was less and it warranted abandoning of aircraft by resorting to ejection. Instead, he controlled the aircraft promptly, jettisoned the external loads and carried out an auto relight of the engine. Now since the aircraft was losing height and Auto Relight was taking time, he ejected only as a last resort.

On ejecting, he found himself in enemy territory. On seeing enemy troops approaching him, he fired at them and in the mean time took all precautions to hide and destroy all the confidential information that he had with him.

Despite his valiant attempt to escape at high altitude without acclimatization he was overpowered by a large number of enemy personnel and taken prisoner. He resisted all attempts of harassment and torture both physical and mental and refused to divulge even a single piece of military information. Flight Lieutenant K Nachiketa did his very best to save a valuable aircraft while flying over enemy infested area and later when confronted with the enemy, acted with great courage and determination in keeping with the best traditions of the Air Force.

For these acts of exceptional courage in the presence of the enemy, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Flight Lieutenant Kambampati Nachiketa.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Fg Offr Rajpal Singh Dhaliwal 23535 F(P)Unit : 17 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Flying Officer Rajpal Singh Dhaliwal (23535-A) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron with effect from 13 May 96. He is a two aircraft leader with 756 hrs of total flying experience. He was actively involved in the operations conducted during Operation 'SAFED SAGAR' and performed flawlessly. His Squadron was tasked for the night strike role over target area from 27 Jul 99 onwards. The profile of these attacks was such that it required accurate and skilful flying in the valley by night at one km above terrain level. Enemy resistance in the form of anti aircraft artillery and low level quick reaction missiles was also present. With mere 46 hours of night flying, no prior exposure to night strikes and limited Valley flying experience, Flying Officer Dhaliwal flew a total of four successful missions in these demanding circumstances. In all of these missions, he accurately delivered his weapons and was also able to visually sight the impact points. Flying Officer RS Dhaliwal has just about four years of commissioned service that makes him one of the youngest pilots in the history of the Indian Air Force to have taken part in night strike operations.

For his exceptional courage, determination and devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Flying Officer Rajpal Singh Dhaliwal.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Rajesh Walia 21858 Unit : 224 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Rajesh Walia (21858-G) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron from 16 Aug 93. He has a total flying experience of 1018 h and holds a "Fully Ops" category on MiG-23 BN aircraft with 340 hours of flying experience on type. During Op "Safed Sagar", Flt Lt R Walia moved to Air Force Station Srinagar along with his Sqn. He was available throughout the period of Operations.

On commencement of the operations, engaging targets in the Kargil sector, using the conventional modes of attack may have resulted in more losses than the IAF suffered. In this demanding situation, Flt Lt R Walia, using his ingenuity came up with an innovative new method of attack. This mode of attack and release parameters proved highly successful and was extensively used by all the Squadrons involved in Op "Safed Sagar". Flt Lt R Walia's ingenuity was, therefore, a major contributor to the phenomenal success of the IAF in Op "Safed Sager". Besides this contribution, Flt Lt R Walia flew a total of 19 stories during the operations both by day as well as by night. He displayed thorough professionalism on ground and exceptional courage while executing his missions in the presence of enemy air and ground threat.

For his display of exceptional bravery, ingenuity and professionalism during Op 'Safed Sagar', the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Flight Lieutenant Rajesh Walia.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Ashish Gupta 22121 Unit : 14 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Ashish Gupta (22121-B) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron with effect from 31 Mar 97 and is presently working as a Squadron pilot.

Flight Lieutenant Ashish Gupta is fully operational on T-75 and Jaguar aircraft. He is a 4 aircraft Leader and Trainer Captain by day. He is rated as 'Green'.

During 'Op Vijay' Flt Lt Ashish Gupta flew a total of 16 photo reconnaissance missions. These sorties have been flown over the enemy held area in Kargil, Mushkoh and Batalik sectors at altitudes ranging from 1500' to 10,000' AGL. Mission planning and execution was done in an exemplary manner and he was able to get vital information of the enemy locations due to his professional approach, accurate flying and filming of the enemy targets. Based on these photographs the exact location of the enemy was revealed and these could therefore be attacked successfully through aerial bombardment and artillery fire. This resulted in reducing the number of causalities of our infantry while advancing to recapture these areas.

His thorough professionalism and flying ability coupled with dedicated planning and preparation resulted in a very high success rate for these missions, which, in turn helped our air and ground forces to achieve their objectives.

For his exemplary mission planning and execution of the requirement, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Flight Lieutenant Ashish Gupta.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sgt Pilla Venkata Narayana Ravi Prasad* 695490 ORUnit : 152 HU  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

695490-A Sergeant Prasad Pilla Venkata Narayana Ravi (Flight Gunner) was on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 20 Jun 98.

On 28 May 99, Sgt Prasad was tasked to fly in a live strike against enemy positions at point 5140, located at an inhospitable altitude of 5.1 Kms. While undertaking the mission, Sgt Prasad was fully aware that the area was infested with missiles and that the only counter measure against the missile was not fitted on his helicopter. Realising the importance of the mission, Sgt Prasad boldly accepted the challenge and with total disregard to personal safety went ahead with the strike. Having successfully pressed home the attack, during the break away, Sgt Prasad's helicopter was hit by a Stinger Missile. In the ensuing crash Sgt Prasad was killed along with the other crew members.

Displaying a very high level of professional competence and courage, Sgt. Prasad had already undertaken three strike missions in the treacherous terrain of the Dras sub sector. These missions achieved astounding success and were the key to subsequent easy recapture by the ground forces. In his action, Sgt Prasad displayed exceptional courage and acted in keeping with the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.

For this act of exceptional courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Sergeant Prasad Pilla Venkata Narayana Ravi Posthumous.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sgt Taposh Ghosh 699103 ORUnit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

699103 Sergeant Taposh Ghosh, (Flight Engineer) is on the posted Strength of a Helicopter Squadron. He is a U/T Ops Flight Engineer with limited flying experience. On 07 Sep 98 he was detailed to fly a General Handling sortie. Around 30 minutes into the sortie while the helicopter (Mi-25) was in a left turn, it suddenly went out of control and descended rapidly. The aircraft hit the ground in an uncontrolled state form a height of approximately 500m. During this time, Sgt Ghosh kept cool and monitored the flight parameters closely. After the aircraft impacted, the pilots, though conscious, were trapped inside their cockpits. At this stage, though bleeding profusely from his right forearm, Sgt Ghosh maintained his wits and realised that the engines were still running. He took prompt action and reached into the cockpit from behind the pilot's seat and switched off engines and other electrical switches. He noticed that both pilots were in a state of shock and were injured. He managed to pull them out of the cockpit to a safe distance.

In the above accident, Sgt Ghosh displayed professional competence of the highest order and remained calm and collected in a grave emergency. He not only averted a major fire by his timely action but also saved the lives of two pilots.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sgt Raj Kishore Sahu* 729917 ORUnit : 152 HU  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

729917-K Sergeant Sahu Raj Kishore (Flight Engineer) was on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 24 May 97.

On 28 May 99, Sgt Sahu was tasked to fly in a live strike against enemy positions at point 6140, located at inhospitable altitude of 5.1 Kms. While undertaking the mission, Sgt Sahu was fully aware that the area was infested with missiles and that the only counter measure attaints the missile was not fitted join his helicopter. Realising the importance of the mission, Sgt Sahu boldly accepted the challenge and with total disregard to personnel safety went ahead with the strike. Having successfully pressed home the attack, during the break away, Sgt Sahu's helicopter was hit by a Stinger Missile. In the ensuing crash Sgt Sahu was killed along with the other crew members.

Displaying a very high level of professional competence and courage, Sgt Sahu had already undertaken three strike missions in the treacherous terrain of the Dras sub sector. These missions achieved astounding success and were the key to subsequent easy recapture by the ground forces. In his action, Sgt Sahu displayed exceptional courage and acted in keeping with the best traditions of the Indian Air force.For this act of exceptional courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Sergeant Sahu Rajkishore, Posthumous.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Ashminder Singh Bahal 16208 F(P)Unit : 18 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Wing Commander Ashminder Singh Bahal (16208-K) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Fighter Wing as Senior Flight Safety and Inspection Officer since 03 May 1998.

On 31 Aug 98, one fighter aircraft lost control during overshoot and crashed very close to the Control Tower. The aircraft collided with two other stationary aircraft parked on the dispersal and exploded. All the three aircraft were soon engulfed in fire, with flames rising to a height of 5 to 10 meters.

On receipt of the emergency call, Wg Cdr A S Bahal arrived at the scene of accident within a minute and assumed full charge of the crash fire fighting and rescue operations. Braving all odds and with total disregard to his own safety, he directed the fire fighting operations from very close proximity even as aircraft debris was being thrown around with minor explosions. The fire was brought under control within six to seven minutes at a time when the other two aircraft were spilling fuel. The fire and heat were so intense that even the shoes of the officer were charred.

His personal example motivated the crash crew and other airmen who were gathered around to carry out the fighting operations with gusto, despite danger to life. Wg Cdr Bahal motivated the men in fighting the fire keeping with the finest traditions of the Air Force.

For this act of exceptional gallantry, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wg Cdr Ashminder Singh Bahal.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
WO Krishan Singh Dhillon 668396 ORUnit : 152 HU  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

668396L Warrant Officer Krishan Singh Dhillon Flight Engineer is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit of the Indian Air Force since 01 Aug 97.

During Op 'Safed Sagar', the helicopters were tasked to undertake strike and Casevac missions on enemy strongholds in the treacherous terrain of Kargil and Dras. WO Dhillon took part in OP 'Safed Sagar' and flew 146 sorties from May till July 99 including missions on targets that were Tololing, Tiger Hill and Pt 5140.

The aircraft was exposed to a high degree of risk, not only due to enemy fire but also due to aircraft operating on the fringes of its flight envelope. This called for an alert monitoring of parameters and perfect crew co­ordination. WO Dhillon, a Cat 'A' Flight Engineer, displayed professionalism and remained composed in the face of heavy risk. His confidence and enthusiasm was infectious and was a morale boosting factor for the Flight Engineers of other aircraft in the team. His professional competence, initiative and zeal was a fine example for the junior Flight Engineers to emulate. He was aware that the missions were fraught with danger and that any hit on the heptr would not give him a chance of escape or force landing in that terrain. Yet his enthusiasm and fighting spirit did not diminish as he participated in repeated missions.

For his exceptional act of courage, in the face of the enemy, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Warrant Officer Krishan Singh Dhillon.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
WO Narain Chandra Ghosh 613179 ORUnit : Para Training School  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

613179 Warrant Officer Narain Chandra Ghosh GTI/PJI was enrolled as Ground Training Instructor on 08 Nov 72 in the Indian Air Force.

WO NC Ghosh has been on the posted strength of Paratroopers Training School, Air Force since 08 Feb 82 and has been performing duties of Parachute Jump and Free Fall Instructor. WO Ghosh is one of the pioneers who have earned the distinction of carrying out 1089 parachute jumps, without an incident or injury, which includes 879 Free Fall Jumps and 210 static line jumps. He has jumped from 13 different types of aircraft using 12 types of parachutes. He is also a qualified Combat Free Fall Instructor. Due to his immense experience and skill he has participated in Malaysian Armed Forces Open Parachuting Championship held in Malaysia in May 95.

WO Ghosh has jumped from the highest altitude that is 30,000 feet AGL. This is an Indian record. It should not be out of place to mention that jump from such a high altitude demands extreme physical fitness and very high professional standards. He is also the founder member of Indian Air Force Sky Diving Team 'Akashganga'. He has participated in innumerable demonstrations put by the team at various places to mark important national events.

He is an expert in discipline of canopy formations, which includes making the Tricolour Stack and landing them inside stadia and restricted drop zones.

He has been part of the pioneer team of three who for the first time in the history of Indian Parachuting carried out Relative Work and Canopy Relative Work formation during the Night Free Fall. For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Warrant Officer Narain Chandra Ghosh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde J S Sandhu 10139 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde S K Sharma 10829 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt P Banerjee 11159 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt P K Kuruvilla 12269 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt R K Mohan 12489 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt R Yadav 12809 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt K Rajaram 12933 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt T P D Mathew 13039 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt Jyoti Narayan Burma 13219 ADMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt A Kumar 13225 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt M Banerjee 13400 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt C N Ranganath 13471 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt J N Rampal 13700 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt J Neri 13711 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Wg Cdr P K Naithani 13876 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Wg Cdr V K Gupta 13907 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Wg Cdr V M Upadhyay 14055 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Wg Cdr Tarun Bhattacharya 14356 AELUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Wg Cdr P S Roy 15097 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Wg Cdr A K Basu 15320 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Wg Cdr Srikrishna 15427 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Wg Cdr A Bhakoo 15689 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Wg Cdr S Singh 15808 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Sqn Ldr Manvendra Singh 16983 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Sqn Ldr M K Dixit 17205 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
Sqn Ldr A S Grover 17504 Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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Vishist Seva Medal
WO Gaya Prasad 271994 ORUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
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