Vayu Sena Medal Awardee List


A total of 1179 Awards are listed.
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Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Vijay Prakash Nandrajog 13136 F(P)Unit : 7 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 94
Details : Citation Not Available
Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th March 1994. - No.20-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1994 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Ajay Shriniwas Karnik 13140 F(P)Unit : 28 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 94
Details :

Wg Cdr Vijay Shriniwas Karnik was commissioned on 24 Jun 72. He has commanded a MiG-29 Squadron during 1991-93.

His single minded devotion and dedication to operations resulted in evolution of many new tactics including the first Anti Beyond Visual Range Missile tactics which was accepted by Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment for Trials.

Wg Cdr Karnik, a professionally competent officer, was specially selected represent the IAF at Belgium in the prestigious Fighter Weapons Instructors Training Symposium in which all the NATO countries participated.

A direct indicator of his dedication and devotion to duty is the book written by him called "Know your MiG-29". The effort was commended by the CAS and has been approved and published for the operations of MiG-29 aircraft. The book is of great value for the pilots as well as for the engineers of MiG-29.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wg Cdr Ajay Shriniwas Karnik.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th March 1994. - No.20-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1994 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Keshav Gopal Bewoor 13570 F(P)Unit : 20 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 94
Details :

Wg Cdr KG Bewoor was commissioned on 09 Feb 74. He took over the command of a Hunter Squadron on Oct 91 at a critical juncture, when the previous Commanding Officer was seriously injured in an aircraft accident and hospitalized. The tasks at hand included revitalizing the squadron which was without its Commanding Officer for three months, preparation for a colour presentation by the President of India and the Hunter Operations Flying training which was behind schedule.

Wg Cdr Bewoor got down to the tasks at hand systematically worked to ensure that the training of 147 Pilots course finished on schedule. He set a very high standard for the colour presentation ceremony. By personal example and leadership, he motivated the officers and men in revitalizing the squadron and brought up the morale to the highest level.

During his command, the squadron was rated very high by the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection team. The squadron flew a total of 7230 sorties without any accident. The squadron was awarded the Best Fighter Squadron trophy in Eastern Air Command for the year 1992-93.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wg Cdr KG Bewoor.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th March 1994. - No.20-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1994 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Simhakutty Varthaman 13606 F(P)Unit : 11 BRD  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 94
Details :

Wg Cdr Simhakutty Varthaman was commissioned on 09 Feb 74. He is a qualified Flying Instructor and a Test Pilot and has more than 3000 hours of accident-free fighter flying to his credit.

He is qualified on MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-27 aircraft. At the BRD, his task included duties of COO and air testing of aircraft produced after manufacture/overhaul/medium repair/ storage by HAL and BRD. He flew 667 accident free sorties amounting to 470 hours. He rendered valuable help in finalizing five major trials and modifications. Ozar complex consisting of HAL and the BRD has been designated as vital area in the Maharashtra Air Defence Sector of South Western Air Command. Three major Air Defence exercises were conducted at this base. During one of the exercises, Guided Weapons Squadrons were inducted for the first time. Wg Cdr Varthaman, with the help of a few technicians and one technical officer, established a Base Air Defence Centre (BADC) from scratch. He also established Operational Readiness Platform and allied communication system for the exercise. Several successful interceptions were carried out during the exercise.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wg Cdr S Varthaman.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th March 1994. - No.20-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1994 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Pankaj Jaiswal 16232 F(P)Unit : 111 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 94
Details :

Sqn Ldr Pankaj Jaiswal is on the posted strength of a Helicopter unit since 11 May 92.

Late at night on 23 June 92, the unit was called upon to undertake an urgent causality air evacuation mission for Mr. Vincent Venable a member of Indo-British Mountaineering Expedition, who had suffered multiple fractures during the descent and lay immobile on the steep icy slopes at a height of over 18000 feet. Sqn Ldr P Jaiswal with Sqn Ldr PK Sharma as his co-pilot was detailed for this rescue mission. The weather was bad and locating the injured person became very difficult. By persistent effort despite bad weather, he spotted the mountaineers perched on a steep and treacherous slope. By that time, the wind had picked up and menacing dark clouds surrounded the area. The steep slope offered no suitable place to land. Considering the deteriorating weather condition and unpredictable cloud shifts, the pilots took a bold decision to touch down next to the injured man. While one pilot precariously held the machine in place with right ski touching the slope, the other opened the door and assisted Mr. Venable in boarding the helicopter safely.

By sheer dint of courage, professionalism and airmanship of very high order, the seemingly impossible task was made possible. It was a superb display of joint team work requiring extraordinary synchronous co-ordination on part of both the pilots.

For his professionalism and exceptional courage, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Sqn Ldr Pankaj Jaiswal.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th March 1994. - No.20-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1994 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Pravin Kumar Sharma 17465 F(P)Unit : 111 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 94
Details :

Sqn Ldr PK Sharma was commissioned in Jun 84. He is a senior staff pilot on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 14 Feb 91.

Late at night on 23 Jun 92, the unit was called upon to undertake an urgent casualty air evacuation mission for Mr. Vincent Venable a member of Indo-British Mountaineering Expedition, who had suffered multiple fractures during the descent and lay immobile on the steep icy slopes at a height of over 18000 feet. Sqn Ldr PK Sharma with his co-pilot was detailed for this rescue mission. The weather was bad and locating the injured person became very difficult. By persistent effort despite bad weather, he spotted the mountaineers perched on a steep and treacherous slope. By that time the wind had picked up and menacing dark clouds surrounded the area. The steep slope offered no suitable place to land. Considering the deteriorating weather condition and unpredictable cloud shifts, he took a bold decision to touch down next to the injured man. While one pilot precariously held the machine in place with right ski touching the slope, the other opened the door and assisted Mr. Venable in boarding the helicopter safely.

By sheer dint of courage, professionalism and airmanship of very high order, the seemingly impossible task was made possible. It was a superb display of joint team work requiring extraordinary synchronous co-ordination on part of both the pilots.

For his professionalism of exceptional courage, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Sqn Ldr Pravin Kumar Sharma.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th March 1994. - No.20-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1994 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Santosh Suresh Kothari 16788 F(P)Unit : HTS  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 94
Details :

Sqn Ldr Santosh Suresh Kothari is on the posted strength of Helicopter Training School (HTS) as a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) since Jan 92.

On 11 Sep 92, Sqn Ldr Kothari was detailed for an instructional sortie on Chetak Helicopter with a Flight Cadet who was in his ab-initio training stage. The first exercise was a quick stop over the taxy track. The Flt Cdr executed the exercise with Sqn Ldr Kothari flowing on the controls. As the Helicopter was maneuvered to a hover after the exer cise, a sudden and vicious yaw to the left developed. Within a matter of a few seconds, the helicopter rotated on its vertical axis 3 to 4 times, indicating a tail rotor failure. Sqn Ldr Kothari, despite the sudden and vicious rotation, took over the controls and executed an immediate landing. The actions taken by him under these trying circumstances were prompt and correct. Tail rotor failure is a very critical emergency in a single rotor helicopter. In such an eventuality the helicopter rotates viciously without any control. If the pilot had not acted promptly in the correct manner, it would have culminated into total destruction of the helicopter and the loss of invaluable lives. The control of emergency in a most professional and cool manner by the pilot averted a major accident.

For his act of courage and airmanship of exceptional order, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Sqn Ldr SS Kothari.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th March 1994. - No.20-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1994 

Vayu Sena Medal
Flt Lt Katepalli Venkata Sesha Sai 18126 F(P)Unit : Para Training School  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 94
Details :

Flt Lt KVS Sai was commissioned on 06 Dec 85. Within a short span of service, he did more than 2600 hours of accident-free flying and attained the highest instrument rating status of Master Green on the twin engine Helicopter. He had flown more than 800 air maintenance sorties and other missions in the hazardous and inhospitable regions of Siachin Glacier.

Flt Lt Sai evinced very keen interest in Sky Diving. The officer carried out 376 jumps. Air Devils' team participated in the first National Sky Diving Championship in 1991 and won both the coveted first position and the Chief of Air Staff Trophy. Flt Lt Sai participated in many prestigious Sky Diving demonstrations throughout the country during the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of IAF. The 'Air Devils' was placed overall second during the National Sky Diving Championship in 1993. On 18 Sep 93, Flt Lt Sai, while preparing the 'Air Devil s' for the National Championship, met with the tragic end during a para descent.

Flt Lt Sai always rose beyond the call of duty and actively participated in adventurous activities and brought laurels to IAF. He displayed courage and determination and was the sheet anchor of the 'Air Devils', wherein he set exceptional standards and was a great source of inspiration.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Flt Lt KVS Sai.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th March 1994. - No.20-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1994 

Vayu Sena Medal
MWO Raghbir Singh Shan 253093 ORUnit : Para Training School  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 94
Details :

MWO Raghbir Singh Shan has been on the posted strength of Parachute Training School, AF since 1966.

During his Chequered tenure of 27 years as PJI, he has creditably trained an incredibly high number of 5800 Paratroopers, 130 NCC cadets and 75 PJIs. His exceptional professional acumen was amply demonstrated, when during OP Pawan, he carried out IL-76 conversion training of 250 Special Task Commando troops of a para battalion, in a single day, thus ensuring immediate readiness of the troops for participation in the Airborne Operations.

MWO has more than 600 incident-free para descents to his credit which he achieved during 1300 hours of flying experience. Highly motivated, the MWO has always been in the forefront for trial jumps of new parachutes. He has been instrumental in induction of various indigenously fabricated parachutes for training and operational roles. He voluntarily carried out trial descents of indigenous High Altitude Parachutes, with airborne container for carriage of heavy arms. He is the first PJI to undertake perilous low level trials of parachutes at High Altitude Dropping Zones and low level parachute trials 500 feet AGL. The MWO even at the age of 49 continues to be in the forefront to undertake trials which demand exceptionally quick reflexes.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to MWO Raghbir Singh Shan.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th March 1994. - No.20-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1994 

Vayu Sena Medal
Cpl Subrata Bose 677436 ORUnit : HTS  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 94
Details :

Cpl Subrata Bose is on the posted strength of Helicopter Training School since May 89.

On 19 Nov 92, Cpl Bose was detailed to proceed to Adoni on detachment for flood relief operations. Besides servicing Helicopter, Cpl Bose was asked by the Captain to assist the crew in winching operations. Cpl Bose readily agreed and was taken on board the helicopter for a winch operation involving the rescue of 44 marooned people, who were stranded on the roof of a kutcha structure.

As the helicopter was manoeuvered over the stranded people, Cpl Bose was winched down to the roof to assist the evacuees in securing themselves onto the winch cable. The villagers were reluctant to be winched up and away to safety, leaving behind their homes and belongings. Moreover, language proved to be the major communication barrier with the villagers. Cpl Bose through sheer perseverance convinced the villagers of the need for evacuation. Time was running out on the endurance of the helicopter besides the fact that the roof on which Cpl Bose and the villagers were standing could have caved in any time. Each of the 44 persons were strapped onto the winch cable securely and evacuated to safety. In true spirit of Air Force traditions, Cpl Bose chose to be the last for being winched up.

For this act of exceptional courage and sincerity, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Cpl S Bose.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th March 1994. - No.20-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1994 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Mukesh Bhandari 13380 F(P)Unit : 26 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 94
Details :

Wg Cdr M Bhandari has been the Commanding Officer (CO) of a MiG-21 Bis fighter squadron (Sqn) since 26 Oct 92.

On 27 Dec 93, Wg Cdr Bhandari was authorised to fly a dual check sortie by night with a trainee pilot in a MiG-21 trainer aircraft (ac). The sortie involved practice circuits, approaches and overshoots from round off height. Round off height for MiG-21 ac is about one meter, at which the pilot reduces the approach angle so as to fly the ac parallel to the runway just before landing. In the third approach, the trainee pilot was asked to fly away after round off for practicing another circuit and approach. As the engine accelerated to 100% revolutions per minute (rpm) a shallow climb was initiated by the trainee pilot. However, after climbing to about 15 meter height, the engine flamed out. Wg Cdr Bhandari immediately took over the controls and handled the situation in a most professional, courageous and cool manner and landed the ac safely on the runway. Considering that it was night and at a height of 15 meters the runway lights are not visible thus denying any visual reference most essentially required for landing the ac, his handling of this grave emergency is laudatory. By his sheer courage and professionalism he was able to avert a catastrophe, which could have been fatal to the occupants and also resulted in the loss of an ac costing approximately three and a half crores. He not only managed to land the ac without any damage but also exercised proper control thereafter and cleared the ac off the runway in order to facilitate recovery of other ac airborne at that time. In keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force, Wg Cdr Bhandari displayed exceptional courage and airmanship in averting an almost certain fatal disaster.

For this exceptional courage the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wg Cdr Mukesh Bhandari.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 17th Sept 1994 - No.146-Pres/94 dated 15th August 1994 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Kalyan Palit 15409 F(P)Unit : 14 Sqn  Award Date 13 Dec 93 Announced 15 Aug 94
Details :

Sqn Ldr K Palit has been on the posted strength of a Jaguar Squadron since.13 May 91. He has been the Flight Commander of this Sqn since Jun 93.

On 13 Dec 93, Sqn Ldr K Palit was authorised to flight test one Jaguar aircraft (ac). While climbing he noticed hydraulic pressure of both systems dropping to zero. A few weeks back, another Jaguar ac on the station had encountered precisely the similar problem and the pilot had to eject because undercarriage could not be lowered to enable the ac to land. Court of Inquiry had been instituted but because of lack of evidence, no answers could be found. Sqn Ldr Palit tried all methods and procedures prescribed in the book, but without achieving any success in lowering the undercarriage. Under such circumstances ejection is mandatory. However, knowing that if he abandoned the ac not only another precious ac would be destroyed but also crucial evidence would be lost, Sqn Ldr Palit, knowing fully well the risk to his own life, very courageously offered to belly land the ac. This was, however, vetoed. Sqn Ldr Palit flew the virtually doomed ac for the next one hour or so trying various methods to lower the undercarriage. Eventually a desperate and nonstandard procedure of shutting off entire DC power supply was suggested from the ground. Sqn Ldr Palit, very courageously, took this action knowing fully well that it entailed the grave risk of failure of ac controls at low level – leaving no margin for a safe ejection. These actions resulted in main wheels of the ac coming down. With barely sufficient fuel for just 3 ­ 4 minutes of engine running time, he executed an excellent flapless landing.

These courageous actions on part of Sqn Ldr Palit saved a valuable ac which provided conclusive evidence and help resolve the affliction that had led to such occurrence on Jaguar ac.

For this act of exceptional courage the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Sqn Ldr Kalyan Palit.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 17th Sept 1994 - No.146-Pres/94 dated 15th August 1994 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Fg Offr Sanjay Malik 20501 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 15 Aug 94
Details :

Flying Officer Sanjay Malik is on the posted strength of a MiG-21 Bis Squadron of Air Force since 01 Apr 91.

On 13 Oct 93 he was authorised to fly a practice interception sortie. During the sortie he observed that the fuel gauge was indicating a rapid loss of fuel. On looking in the rear view mirror he saw a dense white smoke trail. Displaying exceptional presence of mind and maintaining his calm, he recognised it as a massive fuel leak from his aircraft. He also realised that such a fuel leak could lead to his aircraft catching fire and exploding in the air with a possibility of losing his life. In any case his aircraft had soon run out of fuel necessitating an ejection resulting in a definite loss of a valuable aircraft.

Fg Offr S Malik, with utter disregard to his own safety and with great courage and fortitude remained with the aircraft. Assessing the situation that the nearest airfield Bhuj was not available, he imme diately turned towards base i.e. Naliya Airfield which was still 80 km. away. He made a quick calculation of available time (eight minutes) before his engine would flame out. This entailed returning to base which was approximately seven minutes away. He planned a straightin direct approach towards this, he promptly accelerated to 950 kmph speed, declared his emergency and coolly sought assistance of the local radar to position his ac directly on final approach. Despite risk to his life, he handled the emergency in an exceptionally professional manner­notwithstanding his limited total service flying experience of only 570 hours and carried out a successful landing. On landing, the fuel available in his aircraft was for one minute's flying only, indicative of the grave emergency he had handled. In handling the grave emergency, Fg Offr S Malik displayed exceptional courage in keeping with the best traditions of the Indian Air Force. Safe recovery of ac provided vital evidence during investigations, which would go a long way in instituting remedial measures for future.

For exceptional devotion to duty the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Fg Offr Sanjay Malik.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 17th Sept 1994 - No.146-Pres/94 dated 15th August 1994 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Shyamal Kumar Banerjee 10941 F(P)Unit : 49 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 95
Details :

Group Captain Shyamal Kumar Banerjee was commissioned as a pilot in the flying branch on 04 June 1967. He has held the appointment of Flight Commander at Elementary Flying School Bidar, the Chief Flying Instructor at Transport Training Wing Yelahanka and Deputy Director Air Staff Inspection at Air Headquarters. As an experienced Qualified Flying Instructor he assumed the command of an AN-32 Squadron on 29 Jun 92, three months after a fatal Cat I accident in which both the Flight Commander and Navigation leader were killed.

The Squadron aircrew categorization state and the operational clearance state for different roles were low. With his untiring efforts, unflinching determination and perseverance, he tackled this task in an exemplary manner. Under his close supervision, 25 pilots, 13 navigators and 09 Flight Engineers upgraded their aircrew category/Instrument rating. Also 10 pilots and 08 navigators achieved fully operational status. In addition, three Qualified Flying Instructors were cleared for the instructional duties in air maintenance role and two pilots were trained to perform the duties of Right Hand Seat Check Pilot. The aircraft serviceability state of the Squadron improved. The average night flying effort of the Squadron and the average tonnage per hour for air maintenance sorties also increased.

Group Captain SK Banerjee has to his credit 7600 hours of accident free flying. Under his leadership the Squadron has been adjudged the Best Transport and Helicopter Squadron of EAC for two consecutive years 1992-93 and 1993-94. For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Gp Capt Shyamal Kumar Banerjee.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 1995 - No.99-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1995 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Sudhir Asthana 12202 F(P)Unit : 32 Wing  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 95
Details :

Group Captain Sudhir Asthana was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force. He is a qualified flying instructor with an A-2 Category and was deputed to Govt. of Iraq in 1980 for instructional duties. He is a fighter combat leader of repute and has commanded a MiG-21 Squadron. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College and has done a successful tenure in Directorate of Personnel (Officers) at Air HQ. Gp Capt Asthana has to his credit over 3200 hours of accident free flying.Gp Capt Sudhir Asthana took over as Chief Operation Officer of a major flying Wing in January 1993. The Wing has six flying units – all equipped with different types of aircraft and two Missile squadrons, each of them also with different equipment. Coordinating their activities, monitoring their training and planning and executing their integrated flying training is an enormous task. Inspite of limited resources, he ensured near perfect environment for flying which was conducive to good operational training. This was amply proven when Directorate of Air Staff Inspection inspected the Station where the standard of preparedness of Base Air Defence and Air Traffic Control were assessed as Above Average.

The base which is co-located with Command Headquarters has a large number of dignitaries and teams visiting the Station. Flying displays have to be organised at a very short notice involving participation of large number of aircraft of different types, missiles and radar units which require minute and fool proof co-ordination. He planned and coordinated these displays in such a fashion that highlighted the professional standard of IAF. His contribution in the field of flight safety have also been significant and has resulted in major reduction in number of accidents and incidents at the Station.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Gp Capt Sudhir Asthana.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 1995 - No.99-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1995 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Vrittamani Srinivasaiyangar Govindarajan 12232 F(P)Unit : Para Training School  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 95
Details :

Group Captain VS Govindarajan was commissioned on 20 December 1969 in the flying branch of IAF. He has been a Flight Commander, Chief Flying Instructor and Senior Flying Training Officer in the Training Command. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College.

Gp Capt VS Govindarajan was appointed the Commanding Officer of Paratroopers' Training School (PTS) on 08 December 1992. He was tasked to conduct trials and evolve a procedure for day formation by AN-32 aircraft (ac). He carried out trials within a short period of one month and also trained the supervisors of other units so that the first new formation para drop exercise by day could be carried out in April 1993 at a high altitude dropping zone in Northern Sector.

In June 1993 he was tasked to conduct trials for night close formation on AN-32 ac. Within one month he succeeded in evolving a detailed procedure and ensured requisite modification of the aircraft. In July 1993 he successfully flew as section of six aircraft in a new night formation profile.

In Feb 94 he was appointed type force commander for conducting a large scale Army airborne assault exercise by night. The safe and successful conduct of the exercise was due to the highest leadership qualities displayed by Gp Capt VS Govindarajan.

Under Gp Capt VS Govindarajan's leadership, the Akash Ganga skydiving team of PTS won the National Sky Diving Championship Trophy in 1993. The first ever Indian Combat Freefall Course was conducted in 1994. Para Jumping Instructors of PTS achieved a record freefall from 28,500 feet for the first time.

For exceptional devotion to duty the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Gp Capt Vrithamani Srinivasaaiyangar Govindarajan.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 1995 - No.99-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1995 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Gurcharan Singh Bhogal 12504 F(P)Unit : AFA  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 95
Details :

Group Captain Gurcharan Singh Bhogal was commissioned in the IAF on 19 December 1970. He has over 1300 hrs of accident free flying to his credit. He is also an A-2 flying instructor with over 1000 hrs of instructional flying, and has been an Air Force Examiner. A graduate of Defence Services Staff College he has served as Directing Staff at this prestigious Institution.

Gp Capt Bhogal was posted to the Air Force Academy (AFA) as Chief Instructor (Flying) in March 1993, where he has been responsible for the supervision and conduct of all flying training at the Academy. This task is extremely challenging as it involves conduct of flying and ground training in six different syllabi. This enormous task involves close and direct supervision to ensure the highest quality of flying training amounting to 18,000 hours per year, which is the maximum flown at any IAF Station. In addition Gp Capt Bhogal has personally supervised training and standardisation of a large number of flying instructors.

Induction of women trainees into the flying branch resulted in increased quantum of flying at AFA. Gp Capt Bhogal was asked to introduce simultaneous mixed flying of Kiran and HPT32 aircraft in order to increase availability of ac and achieve optimum utilisation of manpower and ac resources. Gp Capt Bhogal worked ceaselessly to revise orders and procedures with great care and deliberation to ensure that mixed flying is carried out in a very safe environment. The Academy was awarded the Best Flying Training Establishment and the best Flight Safety Trophies of Training Command for the year 1993.

For exceptional devotion to duty the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Gp Capt Gurcharan Singh Bhogal.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 1995 - No.99-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1995 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Shiv Kumar Bhan 12510 F(P)Unit : 1 Wing  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 95
Details :

Group Captain Shiv Kumar Bhan was commissioned in the IAF in the fighter stream on 19 December 1970 and has over 2750 hrs of flying to his credit. He is a Fighter Combat Leader and has successfully undergone Higher Air Command Course. He has commanded a Fighter Squadron, has been on the staff of Tactics and Combat Development Establishment and Directorate of Air Staff Inspection and has also served as Flying Instructor in Iraq.

He was posted to Air Force Station, Srinagar as the Chief Operations Officer (COO) on 12 Apr 93. As COO, the Officer involved himself in an exemplary manner to resolve numerous problems of air operations of multiplicity of aircraft roles in demanding times in the Valley. Toshe Maidan Air to Ground Range, which had remained closed for the last five years, was re-activated within a record time. The officer brought the operational status of the Station to a high standard in a short time.

During an Air Defence exercise conducted in the valley in July 1993, the officer exercised direct control of operations at Srinagar and Awantipur. Besides being the Base Air Defence Officer for both the bases, he controlled the entire operations in a safe and realistic manner. It was only due to his vision and correct analysis of likely threats that he could bring in realism in the exercise thus enhancing the potential of all operational elements involved. Similarly, during heavy snowfall in February 1994, he worked vigorously to clear the entire runway and aircraft operating area. This resulted in resumption of commercial flights within two days and by fighters within four days. The officer was instrumental in meticulous planning, excellent coordination and precise execution of Special Heliborne Operations in connection with 'Amarnath Yatra' in August 1994 which was highly appreciated by J&K State Govt.

For exceptional devotion to duty the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Gp Capt Shiv Kumar Bhan.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 1995 - No.99-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1995 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Pradeep Kumar Mulay 12935 F(P)Unit : 125 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 95
Details :

Group Captain Pradeep Kumar Mulay was the Commanding Officer of a helicopter Squadron (Sqn) from February 1992 to October, 1993.

During his tenure as CO the Sqn performed exceptionally well in all the fields. The Sqn maintained high aircraft serviceability with a clean flight safety record.

Gp Capt Mulay motivated the personnel of his Sqn by working effectively and efficiently. The Sqn performed very well when inspected by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection in Feb 93 by obtaining an assessment of Average Plus. Further, the Sqn achieved the distinction of winning the trophy of front gun team event in Command Gunnery Meet, 1992-93 in helicopter stream.

The Sqn carried out each and every task assigned and performed well. Forward Area Re-arming Refuelling Point trials were carried out in area of operations of an Army Corps successfully under his able guidance and professional knowledge. It was under his able Command that the Attack Helicopters carried out air to ground firing in Mahajan Range for the first time. Sqn added one more feather to its cap in Oct 93, when it was judged as the best helicopter unit in Western Air Command.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Gp Capt Pradeep Kumar Mulay.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 1995 - No.99-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1995 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Jasbir Singh Panesar 13370 F(P)Unit : 15 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 95
Details :

Wing Commander JS Panesar was commissioned as a pilot in the fighter stream in Jun 1973. He was one of the few officers who were selected to go to France to convert on to Mirage 2000 aircraft. He is a Fighter Combat Leader, a graduate of Defence Services Staff College and an expert on electronic warfare in which he has made significant contributions. He has over 3200 hours of accident free flying to his credit.

Wg Cdr Panesar has successfully completed two years in Command of a MiG-21 Bis Squadron. The Sqn operated safely and efficiently on detachment from Naliya when the parent Base was closed for seven months for runway resurfacing. This was possible due to Wg Cdr Panesar's ability to motivate the aircrew and technical staff and to mould them into an effective team. The Sqn was able to improve aircraft serviceability during his tenure.

Wg Cdr Panesar has also been a Fighter Combat Leader for the last 11 years. He took keen interest and played an active role in the training of young pilots and for inculcating in them the finer ingredients of combat flying. With ceaseless efforts and with his exemplary leadership, he brought about significant elevation of the operational (Op) capabilities of the Sqn by upgrading the Op status of many pilots. His Sqn won the team bombing trophy in the Inter Squadron Weapons Meet 1993. For exceptional devotion to duty the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wg Cdr Jasbir Singh Panesar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 1995 - No.99-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1995 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Selvaraj Raj 13575 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 95
Details :

Wing Commander Selvaraj Raj was commissioned as a pilot in the fighter stream on 09 February 1974. He has held the appointment of Flight Commander of MiG-21 Squadron (Sqn) and was specially selected to go to the then USSR. On return he successfully held the appointment of Flight Commander of MiG29 Sqn. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College. His last flying appointment was that of Air Force Examiner with Aircrew Examining Board. He is an A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor.

He was detailed for Pechora Missile Course, in which he was assessed as 'Exceptional'. He took over the command of a Pechora squadron on 31 March 1992.

His achievements, individually and that of the Squadron, established his professionalism and leadership qualities. He was specially selected as Directing Staff for a missile upgradation course at Tactics & Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE). He enhanced the unit's operational capability by relocating combat flights at better sites. He put up a detailed paper projecting certain weaknesses in Air Defence for which action has been taken at the highest level.

For exceptional devotion to duty the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wg Cdr Selvaraj Raj.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 1995 - No.99-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1995 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Mohinder Pal Singh Gill 13604 F(P)Unit : 31 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 95
Details :

Wing Commander Mohinder Pal Singh Gill was commissioned as a fighter pilot on 22 December 1973. A Qualified Flying Instructor and a Fighter Combat Leader, he commanded a MiG-23 BN Squadron (Sqn) from Oct 92 to Sep 93. He is also an alumni of Defence Services Staff College. Wg Cdr MPS Gill took over command of Sqn after the tragic loss of previous Squadron Commander in a fatal flying accident. The morale of the Sqn was low. However, Wg Cdr MPS Gill, with great perseverance and skill rejuvenated the squadron. After taking over he paid special emphasis on raising the operational standard of the Sqn. Due to his efforts the Sqn enjoyed a very high operational status. Under his able guidance the squadron prepared for an exercise wherein the performance of Sqn came up for praise from every quarter including the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command who flew with the Sqn. During the Command Gunnery Meet 92-93, the squadron did extremely well overall, particularly in bombing and won the overall championship for the year. During Air Staff Inspection in March 1993 the Sqn was assessed as 'Average Plus' in flying and 'Above Average' in ground subjects. The Sqn was declared the best fighter Sqn in Western Air Command for the year 1992-93. These achievements were possible due to Wg Cdr Gill's exemplary leadership, professional competence, and organisational ability. During his tenure the aircraft serviceability was also sustained 75% despite many restraints faced due to the shortfall in aeroengines and other spares.

For exceptional devotion to duty the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wg Cdr Mohinder Pal Singh Gill.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 1995 - No.99-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1995 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Arup Raha 13910 F(P)Unit : 47 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 95
Details :

Wing Commander Arup Raha was commissioned as a fighter pilot on 14 December 1974. He has served as an instructor at both Flying Instructors School and at Tactics and Combat Development Establishment (TACDE). He is currently an Examiner for awarding instrument rating on MiG-29 aircraft. Trained in Russia, he has contributed immensely towards operational utilisation of the MiG-29 aircraft. He is also a graduate of Defence Services Staff College.

Wg Cdr A Raha was appointed the Commanding Officer of a MiG-29 Squadron (Sqn) in June 1992. On taking over Command, he faced the problem of poor operational status of aircrew and lack of supervisory pilots, compounded by reduced flying effort due to lack of spares. With thorough planning and sustained effort, within a period of one year his squadron achieved fully operational status for all aircrew. The Sqn currently boasts of 10 supervisors and 10 Trainer Captains with 100 percent instrument rated status which is an exceptional achievement.

Wg Cdr A Raha ensured a very high serviceability state of aircraft despite the nonavailability of critical spares from Russia. The officer's exceptional professional competence has helped in evolving sound operational tactics for the MiG-29 aircraft in Air Defence role. The current tactics for the aircraft in intercept role were formulated by him. He has flown more than 700 h/1250 sorties on MiG-29 aircraft, possibly the highest in the IAF. He has to his credit 3300 hrs of accident free flying.

For exceptional devotion to duty the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wg Cdr Arup Raha.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 1995 - No.99-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1995 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Pramod Kumar Roy 14100 F(P)Unit : 107 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 95
Details :

Wing Commander Pramod Kumar Roy was commissioned as a helicopter pilot in the Flying Branch on 11 July 1975. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and has held the appointments of Flight Commander at Mi25 and Mi-35 Helicopter Squadrons. He has also been co-opted at tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) for conducting Helicopter Combat Orientation Course and Attack Helicopter Course. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College.

Wg Cdr PK Roy has been commanding a Mi-8 Helicopter Unit since 10 October 1992. He is an 'A' Master Green Pilot and has also been appointed as Command Examiner on Mi-8 Helicopter. He has flown over 4200 hours on all the Helicopter types in the IAF.

During his tenure, the unit was declared the best helicopter/transport unit of command for the year 1993. The unit also bagged the Gunnery Meet trophy for Rocket firing team. Air Staff Inspection Team on their inspection visit in April 1994, assessed the unit as 'Average Plus' in all spheres of activity. He carried out four night exercises with Army as the Type Force Commander. In addition, as the VVIP/VIP helicopter flight of command, the unit has flown dignitaries like the President of India, Chiefs of Army Staff of Bangladesh and Thailand, etc. The crowning achievement of the unit during Wg Cdr PK Roy's tenure has been completion of over 11,000 hours of accident free flying.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wg Cdr Pramod Kumar Roy.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 1995 - No.99-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1995 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Sanjay Dattatraya Patki 16429 ADMUnit : Aerial Delivery Research   Award Date Announced 26 Jan 95
Details :

Sqn Ldr Sanjay Dattatraya Patki has been posted to Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE) Agra, as a Free Fall qualified parachute Jump Instructor since 29 Jul. 91.

He has been actively involved with development projects on personnel and aircrew parachutes and related safety equipment. He has undertaken live jump testing of indigenous Parachute Automatic Opening Device. He did first live jump trial with (PTA-M) parachute Tactical Assault Main on 28 April 92, which has been developed by ADRDE as a low level parachute for induction in Army. Thereafter, he progressed technical and user trials with PTA-M involving low level jumps at 600 ft and jumps at high altitude. On 14 Aug 93, he did first live jump trial with indigenous Ram Air (9 Cell) Free Fall Parachute. He has to his credit a total of 448 parachute descents inclusive of 311 Free Fall Jumps.

ADRDE has developed Seat MK-10 Aircrew Emergency Parachute for HPT-32 aircraft. Airworthiness authorities suggested that live jump trial be undertaken with Seat MK-10 parachute before final approval. Due to small size of parachute (24 ft Dia), high rate of decent and unusual position (being seattype), carrying out free fall jump with Seat MK-10 parachute was a high risk mission. Sqn Ldr SD Patki volunteered to undertake this challenging task.

On 21 September 1993, he successfully carried out the first ever live jump trial with Seat MK-10 aircrew emergency parachute. This trial was the first of its kind in the country. This live jump by Sqn Ldr SD Patki would boost the confidence amongst future users.

For exceptional devotion to duty the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Sqn Ldr Sanjay Dattatraya Patki.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 1995 - No.99-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1995 

Vayu Sena Medal
MWO Shanmugam Ayyangar 249290 ORUnit : Air HQ and Comm  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 95
Details :

Master Warrant Officer Shunmugam Ayyanar, Flight Engineer was enrolled as an engine technician on 25 June 1962. He converted as Flight Engineer in January 1973 and since then he has been working as a flight engineer in various helicopter units and Air HQ Communication Squadron.

Master Warrant officer Ayyanar is one of the most experienced Flight Engineer on Mi-8 helicopter with 7800 flying hours to his credit. He has been holding aircrew category 'A' since 1987. He has experience of flying missions like air maintenance, special heliborne operations, casualty evacuation, flood relief, air lift of VVIPs etc. in entire length and width of country. His impressive incident free flying record includes over 1800 hours in air maintenance, more than 600 hours for flood relief and casualty evacuation and over 1700 hours in helilift of VIPs. During 'OP PAWAN' as the senior most flight engineer, he carried out his job in an extremely exemplary manner. He flew more than 300 sorties during 'OP PAWAN', many of them under fierce firing from LTTE gunmen.

For, exceptional devotion to duty the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Master Warrant Officer Shunmugam Ayyanar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 1995 - No.99-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1995 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sgt Jatindra Nath Pradhan 695654 ORUnit : 119 HU  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 95
Details :

695654 Sergeant Jatindra Nath Pradhan, Flight Gunner is on the posted strength of a Mi-8 Helicopter Unit of Indian Air Force since 14 Dec 93.

On 22 Jul 94, Sgt Pradhan was detailed as the second Flight Gunner for rescuing the occupants of a truck that had been stranded in the middle of Kalisindh River which was in spate.

One of the two occupants of the truck had earlier been washed away in the turbulent, surging flood waters. The ill-fated truck lay almost submerged some 75 m from the nearest bank with the water level just below the roof. The cascading waters were shaking the truck violently, making for a very precarious unstable perch. The truck was just 10 feet way from a cataract where the foaming and swirling water was threatening to wash it away any moment.

Despite the frightening circumstances, Sgt Pradhan descended via the winch to the top of the truck to rescue the sole survivor. He did so knowing that he would have to wait on the truck in its perilous position, till the winch was lowered a second time. Having secured the helpless survivor Sgt Pradhan awaited his turn with great fortitude knowing fully well that at any moment he himself could be washed away. Thus, in keeping with the best traditions of the Air Force, Sgt Pradhan risked his own life to save another.

For exceptional courage, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Sergeant JN Pradhan.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 7th October 1995 - No.184-Pres/95 dated 15th August 1995 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Arun Gurunandan Katre 11852 F(P)Unit : MOFTU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Group Captain Katre assumed Command of MiG Operational Flying Training Unit (MOFTU) on 09 November 1992. Immediately, he set about improving training standards by streamlining Operational, Maintenance and Administrate functions with emphasis on Flight Safety. MOFTU is a training institution with the time bound task of converting young fighter pilot onto front line jet aircraft. Despite the constraints of bad weather, the limited experience of the young fighter pilot trainees and the use of aging MiG-21 aircraft, Gp Capt Katre carried out his task with flair and determination. He not only set the finest example himself but was able to motivate his personnel to achieve the very highest standards of efficiency. Under his command, the unit flew over 14,000 sorties and completed all the tasks set before it. Gp Capt Katre himself flew 600 accident free sorties in addition to all this manifold duties and responsibilities. He thus exhibited exemplary qualities of leadership. On many occasions the officer was assigned additional responsibilities which he discharged with verve, alacrity and diligence.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain AG Katre.

Reference: Gazette of India , 9th March 1996 - No.23 - Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Satish Kumar Sofat 12207 F(P)Unit : 8 FBSU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Group Captain Satish Kumar Sofat was commissioned on 20 Dec 69 as a fighter pilot. He has held the appointment of Flight Commander of a Jaguar Squadron, Commanding Officer (CO) of a Jaguar Squadron and staff officer in Operations Branch at HQ Western Air Command. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College and Higher Air Command Course.

Group Captain SK Sofat was appointed CO of Air Force Station, Awantipur in J&K on 18 Oct 93. Immediately on taking over, he was given the challenge of increasing the activation of the base with Fighter Squadron detachments from two to 10 in a year. The security problems were studied by him and the security organisation was restructured to meet the task. He ensured that 10 separate Fighter Squadron detachments were able to operate from his base per year. Thus, the task given to the base was achieved without any extra cost. In addition to increasing the operation potential of the base, he also undertook additional tasks of repair and modifications in airfield lighting system, communication facilities and electrical support systems. All these tasks were achieved without any addition in manpower or other resources.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain SK Sofat.

Reference: Gazette of India , 9th March 1996 - No.23 - Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Amul Kapoor 13378 F(P)Unit : 32 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Group Captain Amul Kapoor was commissioned as a Flying (Pilot) on 02 Jun 73. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, a Fighter Combat Leader and an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College and College of Defence Management.

Gp Capt Amul Kapoor took over the command of a MiG-21 Squadron (Sqn) in Apr 93 after a tragic accident in which his predecessor had lost his life. Through very careful handling of all the personnel he was able to put back the Sqn into the right frame within a short period. Aircraft serviceability of the Sqn increased from 58% to 72%, a state which has been maintained for the last four months. This is highly commendable and laudable. The motivation, inspiration and confidence instilled by Gp Capt Kapoor in his officers and men resulted in the Sqn being graded highly satisfactory by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection and 'Above the Average' by Aircrew Examining Board during their respective inspections. The Sqn also did extremely well during the Command Armament meet by winning the rocket firing team event and one individual event trophies.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Amul Kapoor.

Reference: Gazette of India , 9th March 1996 - No.23 - Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Sashi Prakash Ojha 13394 F(P)Unit : 52 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Group Captain SP Ojha was commissioned in the IAF as Flying (Pilot) on 02 Jun 73 and has since flown over 3000 hours on SU-7, MiG-25 and MiG-21 ac. He is a Fighter Combat Leader, Qualified Flying Instructor and a graduate of Defence Services Staff College.

GP Capt SP Ojha took over the Command of a MIG-21 (BIS) squadron based at Air Force Station, Srinagar on 26 Sep 93. Within two months of taking over the Command the squadron was inspected by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection and the squadron's performance was graded as highly satisfactory. This can be attributed to his professional competence, resourcefulness, leadership and administrative skill of a high order. Subsequently, during his Command, the squadron has been inspected twice by Aircrew Examining Board. The squadron performed very well during these inspections.

A very good flier, who despite adverse climatological and security environment and very frequent detachment commitments has been able to motivate the officers and men under his Command and maintained a high state of Operational preparedness. The squadron won the Western Air Command's 'Best Squadron of Year 1994' Trophy.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain SP Ojha.

Reference: Gazette of India , 9th March 1996 - No.23 - Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Punnoli Iruppattil Muralidharan 13579 F(P)Unit : AHQ  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Group Captain PI Muralidharan was commissioned as a fighter pilot on 22 Dec 73. He has flown over 2700 hours of flying on MiG-21 and MiG-23 variants. He is a Pilot Attack Instructor and a Fighter Combat Leader. He is an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College. After coveted appointments such as Directing Staff at the Tactics and Combat Development Establishment and Flying Inspector with the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection, he commanded a MiG-23 MF air defence squadron from Jan 93 to Nov 94.

In November 1994 the Air War Strategy Cell was formed at Air Headquarters with the primary task of evolving an Air Power Doctrine for the IAF. Gp Capt Muralidharan was one of the three officers specially selected for this job. The task was to be completed in a period of only four months as compared to two to three years taken by certain other Air Forces to write their doctrines. Gp Capt Muralidharan was able to translate his arduous effort and originality into formulation of the IAF Doctrinal manual within the stipulated time frame. Evolution of a doctrinal manual was a long-felt necessity and Gp Capt Muralidharan has been instrumental in making IAF Doctrine a reality. The manual would provide valuable impetus to all practitioners and students of air power in this country.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain PI Muralidharan.

Reference: Gazette of India , 9th March 1996 - No.23 - Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Atul Saikia 13585 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Group Captain A Saikia was commissioned as a fighter pilot on 22 Dec 73. He has held the appointments of ADC to the President of India and Staff Officer to the Air Officers Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern and South Western Air Commands. He was selected to undergo Systems and Safety Management Course in USA. He is an A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor and has been an instructor at Flying Instructors' School. He has 3200 hrs of incident/accident free flying to his credit.

He was appointed Commanding Officer of a MiG-23 BN Sqn in Jul 93. Under his command, the Squadron has carried out record number of hours of accident/incident free flying. Inspite of non-availability of critical spares, good serviceability was maintained. During this period the Sqn was tasked to participate in various Fire Power Demonstrations and trials at Pokhran and Ahmednagar Ranges. These were carried out with surgical precision and were well appreciated by all. During the Command Armament Meet 94 the Sqn was adjudged overall runners up. During Directorate of Air Staff Inspection he was graded exceptional in three missions and Above the Average in the fourth one. Owing to his initiative, the Sqn carried out six innovations/modifications at the unit level with local resources utilising crashed aircraft equipment resulting in the reduction of man-hour requirement.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Atul Saikia.

Reference: Gazette of India , 9th March 1996 - No.23 - Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Praveen Chander Chopra 10883 F(P)Unit : 48 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Group Captain PC Chopra is posted as Commanding Officer of an AN-32 Squadron since Aug 92. He is an A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor and has over 7,400 hrs of accident free flying. Gp Capt PC Chopra had an instructional tenure in Iraq and was Chief Flying Instructor at Flying Instructors School, and Chief Instructor at Air Force Station, Yelahanka. The officer was selected for the first batch to USSR for training on AN-32 aircraft and was subsequently responsible for the initial conversion and Operational training of many AN-32 pilots. He had been instrumental in the formulation of Standard Operating Procedures and had evolved techniques for initial AN-32 operations in the Eastern Sector. The officer is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, and has also held the appointments of Command Examiner on Kiran and AN-32 aircraft.

As a Commanding Officer he is carrying out extensive training and operational flying in the Siachen Glacier and the unit flew more than 12,000 hours accident free. He successfully completed three major airborne assault exercises during his tenure, which were meticulously planned and flawlessly executed.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain PC Chopra.

Reference: Gazette of India , 9th March 1996 - No.23 - Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Anil Gupta 13242 F(P)Unit : 18 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Group Captain A Gupta commanded a MiG-27 Squadron from May 93 to Feb 95. As the Commanding Officer, Gp Capt Anil Gupta displayed good leadership qualities. He involved himself in the training of pilots and achieved a very high standard in air to ground armament training and in air combat. In the Command gunnery meet the squadron bagged the winner's trophy in bombing team event and the overall champion's trophy. Directorate of Air Staff Inspection during their visit in Aug 94 assessed the Squadron as highly satisfactory. The squadron has achieved all this with an accident free record during his tenure.

Gp Capt Anil Gupta's professional ability, be it in air or ground, has been a source of inspiration for all his subordinates. Despite numerous outstation detachments the motivation level of all personnel has been of a very high order.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Anil Gupta.

Reference: Gazette of India , 9th March 1996 - No.23 - Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Krishna Kumar Swaminathan 13251 F(P)Unit : AHQ  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Group Captain KK Swaminathan has been on the posted strength of Air Headquarters since 27 Sep 94. He has flown over 2600 hours on Mirage-2000 and MiG-21 variants. He is an A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor and a Fighter Combat Leader. In 1984, he was specially selected to train on Mirage-2000 aircraft in France. In 1989 he was selected to attend the Defence Services Command and Staff College in Bangladesh. He has been a Directing Staff at the Defence Services Staff College and the Commanding officer of a MiG-21 Squadron prior to taking over his present appointment.

Gp Capt Swaminathan is the founder Director of the Air War Strategy Cell, having been specially selected for the task of evolving an Air Power Doctrine for the Indian Air Force (IAF). This was a pioneering task since the IAF did not have a written doctrine. Gp Capt Swaminathan applied himself to the task and produced a draft of the doctrine in the specified time frame of four months, which is highly commendable. The doctrine manual has since then been scrutinised at the highest levels of the IAF and has won accolades. This manual would come out in print soon. The Air War Strategy Cell under the able leadership of Gp Capt Swaminathan submitted the doctrine paper in the specified time frame, which is at par with the doctrines of the major Air Forces of the world.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain KK Swaminathan.

Reference: Gazette of India , 9th March 1996 - No.23 - Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Vaidynathan Babu 13386 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Wing Commander V Babu was commissioned in the Air Force on 02 Jun 73. An alumnus of Defence Services Staff College, he was appointed Commanding Officer of a Mi-8 Helicopter Unit on 26 Apr 93. As the Commanding Officer he flew over 840 hours in two years towards VVIP commitments, flood relief operations and training of young pilots. There were 23 upgradations in pilots' Categorisations and instrument ratings. He made the unit operational in all the roles envisaged for the Mi-8 Helicopters. In May 94 the Unit was assessed highly satisfactory by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection team.In an exercise conducted by South Western Air Command in Dec 94 for assessing Mi-8 Helicopter Units in their operational roles, the Unit performed creditably and won the Best Helicopter Crew Trophy. One of the noteworthy achievements of Wg Cdr V Babu was the airlifting of more than 80 tonnes of relief supplies by flying 28 sorties in four days despite the inclement weather during floods in Orissa in Sep 94. This was done by one helicopter with judicial fuel management to carry maximum load.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Vaidyanathan Babu.

Reference: Gazette of India , 9th March 1996 - No.23 - Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Tejender Pal Singh Gill 13767 F(P)Unit : 3 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Wing Commander TPS Gill has been in command of a MiG-21 Squadron (Sqn) since 27 Dec 93. Immediately on taking over command of the sqn, Wg Cdr Gill set out to uplift the Operational, Technical and Administrative potential of the unit. The sqn has performed extremely well in the Command Armament meet held in 1994-95 and is a very strong contender to win the overall trophy.

In spite of shortage of supervisors he maintained a high level of supervisions in flying training and ensured that all pilots achieved their various operational status in the shortest possible time. The flight safety record of the unit has also been good with no pilot error accidents/incidents in the last one year. Three of his pilots have been commended for their timely and apt actions in dealing with in flight emergencies which saved precious aircraft. He motivated the sqn personnel to maintain aircraft serviceability of more than 70%. In the last three months the serviceability of the sqn has been 77%.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander TPS Gill.

Reference: Gazette of India , 9th March 1996 - No.23 - Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Vijay Kumar Bali 13787 F(P)Unit : 20 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Wing Commander Vijay Kumar Bali has been in command of the only Hunter Squadron (Sqn) since 31 May 93. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and a graduate of Defence Service Staff College. The officer has over 2600 hours of accident free flying to his credit. Wg Cdr Bali has been responsible for operational conversion and training of newly commissioned officers on Hunter aircraft prior to their posting to front line fighter Sqns. During financial year 1994-95, the Sqn under his command flew 4976 sorties without any accident/incident, averaging 414 sorties per month. In Oct 94, the Sqn reached its zenith when it flew 615 sorties, which was the highest effort achieved by the Hunter fleet in the previous five years. The squadron successfully completed three operational Training courses, all well ahead of schedule. The aging Hunter fleet faced serious constrains involving constant maintenance, lack of adequate spares and poor product support. Wg Cdr Bali ensured an exceptionally high average serviceability state of 75.2% during FY 1994-95. In Oct 94, the Sqn achieved 100% serviceability on four consecutive days.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Vijaya Kumar Bali.

Reference: Gazette of India , 9th March 1996 - No.23 - Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Raj Kumar Beniwal 13789 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Wing Commander Raj Kumar Beniwal was commissioned as a fighter pilot on 01 Jun 74. Wg Cdr Beniwal is a thorough bred professional who has more than 3600 hrs of accident free flying. An A-2 Flying Instructor, he has held the appointments of Instructor in Flying Instructors School, Flight Commander of MiG-23 BN Squadron and Staff Officer to Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Central Air Command. He is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College. He assumed the Command of a MiG-23 BN squadron on 27 Sep 93.

Wg Cdr Beniwal, improved the service ability and utilisation rate of aircraft towards better output in terms of quantity as well as quality. The Sqn flew 100% task on fighters and trainers by flying more than 3500 sorties on fighter and 700 sorties on the trainer during the last two years. A total of 13 young pilots upgraded their operational status and 10 pilots their instrument rating. The Squadron was adjudged 'Best Fighter' Sqn in WAC in 1993. He led his team to win the Rocket Trophy in team event during Armament meet of Command in 1994.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Raj Kumar Beniwal.

Reference: Gazette of India , 9th March 1996 - No.23 - Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Harbhajan Singh Sandhu 15428 F(P)Unit : 153 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Wing Commander Sandhu was on the posted strength of a helicopter unit operating in 'Op Meghdoot' since May 93. He had been posted as Flight Commander, after successful completion of the Air Staff Course. He was tasked to plan and execute the air maintenance task in 'Op Meghdoot' area and ensured that his was always completed inspite of large number of variables.

Wing Commander Sandhu is a pioneer in Siachen operations having operated on the glacier in 1984. He utilised his previous experience to good effect in the present tenure. He has flown a total of over 622 hours in 'Op Meghdoot' area. As a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) he also imparted the knowledge to the other pilots of the unit. Being the only QFI during the first year of his tenure, he had the added responsibility of training and clearing the pilots for operations in Siachen. He also undertook the first-ever night flying trials at Thoise airfield. Wg Cdr Sandhu has accident-free flying of over 3900 hours and his rich experience has always been a source of inspiration to the other pilots.

For displaying exceptional courage and devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander HS Sandhu.

Reference: Gazette of India , 9th March 1996 - No.23 - Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Anup Kishore Prasad 15566 F(P)Unit : 107 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Wing Commander Prasad is on the posted strength of a Mi-8 helicopter Unit of Indian Air Force since 02 May 93.

On 13 Jul 94, he was authorised to ferry a Mi-8 helicopter from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur. After ten minutes of flying, he experienced severe vertical vibrations which increased suddenly in amplitude and frequency to a level where control of the helicopter itself was likely to be lost. Both the pilots were required to use their combined force to keep the helicopter under control.

Wing Commander AK Prasad with a cool mind carried out an in-flight check that revealed that a landing was possible only at about 100 Kmph speed. In bushy sandy terrain with loss of the aircraft almost a certainty, Wg Cdr AK Prasad displayed exceptional courage and quickly made a decision to land on a field touching down at high forward speed. Thereafter, he manoeuvered the helicopter on ground with deft reflexes to prevent it hitting the trees and managed to stop the aircraft safely.

Wing Commander AK Prasad displayed exceptional courage in keeping with the highest tradition of the IAF in handling the emergency which resulted in saving the machine and valuable lives.

For exceptional courage, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander AK Prasad.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th March 1996 - No.23-Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Ramaswamy Raju Srinivasan 16234 F(P)Unit : 114 HU  Award Date 27 May 94 Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Squadron Leader Raju Ramaswamy Srinivasan was the Flight Commander of a Helicopter Unit (HU) from Apr 93 to Feb 95. He has flown more than 800 hours in the inhospitable terrain of Siachen Glacier and has to his credit more than 350 landings at the highest operational helipads of the world. Additionally, he also has over 1000 landings on the treacherous Siachen Glacier.

Sqn Ldr Srinvisan was to the fore when the unit was tasked for the induction of snowmobiles to five posts in May 94. Not airlifting the snowmobiles would have meant abandoning the post which would have been a major set back in OP Meghdoot. Realizing the gravity of the situation Sqn Ldr Srinivasan undertook these missions personally. He flew 10 sorties with undrslung snowmobiles between 27 and 31 May 1994. On two of these missions the posts came under continuous barrage of artillery shells. Inspite of the imminent danger, he kept cool and had the mission requirements foremost in his mind which he executed successfully.

For displaying exceptional corage and devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Squadron Leader RR Srinivasan.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th March 1996 - No.23-Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Kandarpa Venkata Surya Narasimha Murthy 20136 F(P)Unit : 109 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Murthy is on the posted strength of a Mi-8 helicopter unit since Dec 94. He had joined the unit immediately after completing ab-initio training on Mi-8 helicopter and his experience on Mi-8 helicopter is very limited.

On 14 Mar 95, Flt Lt Murthy was detailed for a continuation training sortie on a Mi-8 helicopter. During the second circuit, on approach, just as he was coming to hover, he experienced total loss of directional control and the aircraft yawed uncontrollably to the left and turned through 450 degrees. Flt Lt Murthy, under this critical situation, put the helicopter down by taking prompt and correct action with no damage to the helicopter. On touch down, Flt Lt Murthy ordered the flight engineer to shut down the engines, which was executed without delay. He ordered the flight gunner, flight engineer and co­pilot to vacate the helicopter. Flt Lt Murthy abandoned the helicopter only after ensuring that the rotors had stopped so that no damage to the aircraft could take place.

It was discovered to be a case of tail rotor control failure which is a very critical and serious emergency in any helicopter and can result in disaster. Flt Lt Murthy displayed exceptional degree of professional skill and courage in tackling the grave emergency situation.

For his exceptional courage and devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Flight Lieutenant KVSN Murthy.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th March 1996 - No.23-Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Bhupinder Singh Subhlok 13795 F(P)Unit : 117 HU  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 96
Details :

Wing Commander Bhupinder Singh Subhlok was commissioned on 07 Dec. 74 in F (P) Helicopter stream. At about 1400 hours on 5th September, 1995 an emergency message was received for immediate evacuation of men stranded on an island in the area engulfed by the fast rising Beas river near Tihra Sujanpur. On receipt of the message Wg Cdr Subhlok who was commanding 117 HU Chetak/Cheetah Helicopter Unit, got airborne in a Cheetah helicopter. He was followed by Sqn Ldr A Gode in a Chetak helicopter. On reaching the site, they could spot 6 men huddled on a tiny island with no way of escaping. Time was at a premium as water was rising rapidly threatening to engulf the survivors. The local condition precluded rescue by winching. The lead helicopter flown by Wg Cdr Subhlok first made an approach and pulled in 3 survivors. This act of saving lives in the face of imminent danger to the aircraft and the lives of the aircrew has been in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force.

For the act of exceptional courage, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wg Cdr Bhupinder Singh Subhlok.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 30th November 1996 - No.92-Pres/96 dated 15th August 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Ravi Krishnan 13807 F(P)Unit : 119 HU  Award Date 19 Jun 96 Announced 15 Aug 96
Details :

Wing Commander Ravi Krishan (13807) Flying (Pilot) is Commanding a Helicopter Unit since 28 Mar 93. He has got 6200 hours of total service flying, out of which 3200 hours are on type.

Consequent to cyclone storm hitting Saurashtra area on 17 Jun 96, a request was received from Civil authorities on 19 Jun 96 to rescue three seamen from a sinking barge in the Gulf of Kutch. Existing weather was not fit for this rescue operation, but following the highest tradition of the Air Force, Wing Commander Ravi Krishan as a commanding officer decided to lead from the front and took on this task.

Surface winds were exceeding 70 kmph, incessant rain had reduced the visibility and the sky was covered with 6 Octa of low clouds at 90 mtrs AMSL & the sea was very choppy. Inspite of these unfit and dangerous conditions, not caring for his own safety and beyond the call of duty, Wing Commander Ravi Krishan displayed exceptional courage to undertake the mission.

After getting airborne, a thorough search was carried out in poor visibility and the seamen were spotted. Hovering itself in the prevailing adverse weather conditions was an impossible task. In addition, carrying out winching operation to rescue three untrained civilians, panicking to get to safety, ignorant of winch limitations was a mission which required extreme courage, skill, devotion and coordination. Wing Commander Ravi Krishan, without caring for his own safety, not only flew his helicopter in these dangerous conditions as the captain of the aircraft, but also led his team in an exemplary manner. This resulted in successful winching operations rescuing the seamen from a certain disaster, which would have certainly led to their loss of life. This act of gallantry above and beyond the normal call of duty displayed by him speaks volumes of his exceptional courage and professionalism.

For this act of exceptional gallantry, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Ravi Krishan.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 30th November 1996 - No.92-Pres/96 dated 15th August 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Philip Jacob 15725 F(P)Unit : 122 HF  Award Date 04 Jun 96 Announced 15 Aug 96
Details :

Squadron Leader Philip Jacob (15725) Flying (Pilot) is the Flight Commander of a Helicopter Unit and is on the posted strength of AF Base Port Blair w.e.f. 30 Apr 95. He has over 1000 hours of flying experience on type.

At 2230 hours on 04 Jun 96, an SOS was received from INS Valsura. A rescue boat, a sailing boat with seven sailors was missing since 1830 hours and was believed to have been swept way by the receding tide into the Gulf of Kutch. More critically, one of the occupants who attempted to reach the shore was believed to be stuck in the marsh. The new rising tide would drown this officer and therefore a prompt reaction was critical to the success of the mission.

On being detailed, Squadron Leader Philip Jacob was airborne within an hour. In addition to the regular complement of aircrew, using his ingenuity; he carried two more technicians and improvised equipment, which may have been required to recover the officer from the marsh. The weather conditions were not favourable for SAR mission of this sort at night. The winds were in excess of 40 kmph and blowing into the just rising moon, which affected the minimum speed for search and visibility. Also due to the sea spray the search had to be done at 20-25 mtrs, for the landing lights to be effective.

After having reasonable ascertained the absence of officer in the marsh, search was shifted towards the water line and the sea. After a search of over an hour, the drifted boat was located with six survivors on board and a Motorola set was handed over to the survivors from a low hover. Contact could not be established even on this set with the boat. Now, it becomes imperative to winch up one of the survivors to ascertain the whereabouts and well being of the rest of the crew. Therefore one of the survivors was winched up into the helicopter, with whose help the rest of the survivors were later recovered.

In flying this highly demanding mission in unfamiliarly conditions over the sea at mid night, compounded by extremely strong winds and poor visibility, Squadron Leader Philip Jacob has exhibited a strong sense of commitment and responsibility above and beyond the call of duty. Further an exceptional display of skill and professionalism, resulted in the safe and successful conduct of the mission in turn fostering a tremendous spirit of inter service cooperation.

For the act of exceptional courage, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Philip Jacob.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 30th November 1996 - No.92-Pres/96 dated 15th August 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Anand Gode 16231 F(P)Unit : 117 HU  Award Date 05 Sep 95 Announced 15 Aug 96
Details :

Squadron Leader Anand Gode was commissioned on 13 Dec 80 as Flying (Pilot) in Helicopter stream.

At about 1400 hours on 5th September, 1995 an emergency message was received for immediate evacuation of men stranded on an island in the area engulfed by the fast rising Beas river near Tihra Sujanpur. On receipt of the message Wg Cdr Subhlok who was commanding 117 HU Chetak/Cheetah Helicopter Unit, got airborne in a Cheetah helicopter. He was followed by Sqn Ldr A. Gode in a Chetak helicopter. On reaching the site, they could spot 6 men huddled on a tiny island with no way of escaping. Time was at a premium as water was rising rapidly threatening to engulf the survivors. The local condition precluded rescue by winching. The lead helicopter flown by Wg Cdr. Subhlok first made an approach and pulled in 3 survivors. This act of saving lives in the face of imminent danger to the aircraft and the lives of the aircrew has been in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force.

For the act of exceptional courage, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Sqn Ldr Anand Gode.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 30th November 1996 - No.92-Pres/96 dated 15th August 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Fg Offr Subroto Chaki 22521 F(P)Unit : 29 Sqn  Award Date 10 Jul 96 Announced 15 Aug 96
Details : Flying Officer Subroto Chaki (22521-L) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a MiG-21 squadron of the Air Force since 22 Aug 94.

On 10 Jul 96, he was authorised to fly a procedures sortie. At an altitude of 6 km, all of a sudden he felt vicious longitudinal jerks accompanied by wild fluctuations of engine parameters. The pilot maintained his cool, reported his emergency on RT and throttled back to reduce the oscillations. Initially the engine did not respond to throttle reduction. On further throttling back, the engine flamed out. Pilot successfully relit the engine. On opening throttle to prove the engine, violent fluctuations recurred and on reducing throttle the engine flamed out again. The pilot relit the engine a second time. He left the throttle at idling this time, correctly analysing that if he advanced the throttle, the same cycle of violent fluctuations and flame out would occur. The pilot executed a flawless landing with the throttle at idling rpm knowing fully well that the engine could malfunction at any time.

After the engine failed the second time, the pilot had an option to eject as minimum power required for a safe recovery was not available. It was a dangerous situation, as after that he would not have had the minimum parameters required for a safe ejection. However disregarding personal safety he, very gallantly chose to recover the aircraft. It was by exercising sound judgment and exceptional flying skill that he landed the aircraft safely Flying Officer S Chaki not only saved the aircraft worth many crores but also provided vital evidence for investigations which would go a long way in instituting remedial measures for the future. In handling the emergency he displayed extraordinary courage and acted in keeping with the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.

For this act of gallantry, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Flying Officer Subroto Chaki.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 30th November 1996 - No.92-Pres/96 dated 15th August 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr R K Plakkot 16835 F(N)Unit : Air HQ and Comm  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details : x
Reference:  

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