Vayu Sena Medal Awardee List


A total of 1179 Awards are listed.
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Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Gp Capt Satish Pal Singh 13770 F(P)Unit : 25 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Group Captain Satish Pal Singh (13770-H) Flying (Pilot) is posted as Commanding Officer of a Transport Squadron since 30 Mar 98.

This highly committed Officer in true patriotic spirit motivated his men to work round the clock and ensured that servicing of aircraft was completed well ahead of schedule and that maximum number of aircraft were made available for the tasks of Op Sqn deployment, airlift of army formations, shifting of AD elements, positioning of armament load and augmentation of manpower from far flung places to the theatre of operations. He perceived this requirement well in advance and with keen involvement and correct guidance to maintenance staff ensured that three IL-76s were available and that 100% AN32 were serviceable for all tasks. Accident/ Incident free flying of over 1300 hrs by the Sqn during this period and airlift of 3000 tons and 4500 troops bears an eloquent testimony to his meticulous planning and exemplary leadership.

During 'Op Safed Sagar' the threat of enemy AD Fighters and MANPADS loomed large in the Northern Sector. Displaying exceptional degree of operational orientation he devised procedures to ensure minimum exposure of own aircraft and motivated all aircrews for uninterrupted operations in the Valley despite hostile operating environment and inclement weather. Unmindful of his personal comfort and safety he led the Sqn from the front and flew round the clock not only on the IL-76 but also on AN-32 and logged 70 hrs in just 20 days during the initial phase of 'Op Safed Sagar'. His personal example and unflinching devotion to duty motivated his team towards the singular objective of providing total support for 'Op Safed Sagar' which was a true force multiplier and immensely helped the IAF and the Army in attaining their objective.

For his exemplary leadership, devotion to duty and indomitable courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Capt Satish Pal Singh.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Raghunath Nambiar 16378 F(P)Unit : 7 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Wg Cdr Raghunath Nambiar (16378-R) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a Fighter Pilot in the Flying Branch on 11 Jun 81. He is on the posted strength of Air Force Station Gwalior since 12 May 98. He has flown 1820 hrs of accident free flying on the Mirage 2000 and holds the proud distinction of being the most experienced Mirage-2000 Pilot in the country.

On 24 June 99 this Officer was specially chosen to lead the first ever IAF operational delivery of an LGB. He was tasked to attack Tiger Hill which was defended by hostile enemy SAMs. The attack profile of a LGB requires the aircraft to descend below 2700 ft and exposes it to enemy fire. Despite this danger to his aircraft the pilot willingly descended to the required height and pressed home the attack. His attack on Tiger Hill at an enemy camp located at the peak was a direct hit and destroyed the entire camp. The videotapes of his attack clearly indicate the accuracy of the delivery and its devastating effect on the enemy. It is estimated that this attack was primarily responsible for the low casualty rate that the Indian Army suffered during the capture of Tiger Hill.

For his exceptional bravery, skill, dedication and courage under fire in the face of the enemy, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Raghunath Nambiar.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Mohan Rao 17343 F(P)Unit : 7 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details : Sqn Ldr Mohan Rao (17343-K) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron, since 27 Apr 97. He is the Flight Commander since Apr 99 and is a Qualified Flying Instructor.

Muntho Dhalo Attack: On 15 Jun 99, he was responsible for acquiring the largest enemy camp in the Batalik Sector. He followed up on 16 Jun 99 by leading a two aircraft mission, armed with 6x250 Kg bombs successfully destroying the Eastern side to the camp. This attack was responsible for annihilating the enemy's resolve leading to marginalising of enemy ground force activity. Sqn Ldr Mohan Rao launched this attack undeterred by reports of Surface to Air Missiles having been fired from the camp, with total dedication and devotion to accomplish the assigned task.

LGB Attack by Night: On the night of 0708 Jul 99 Sqn Ldr Rao carried out an attack on the Ridgeline West of Tiger Hill armed with a Laser Guided Bomb. The target location necessitated an attack profiles that would bring his aircraft within the launch envelope of shoulder fired missiles. He struck the target with determination of a rare kind and scored a direct hit as reported by our ground forces.

During the operations, Sqn Ldr M Rao flew 27 operational missions which include ten live bombing missions. Sqn Ldr Mohan Rao displayed immense devotion, involvement and professionalism of the highest order during planning and execution of the missions under hostile conditions. Awareness of missiles being launched at him only motivated him further to decimate the enemy.

For the conspicuous gallantry, valour displayed in the face of the enemy and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Sqn Ldr Mohan Rao.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Vishwas Gaur 17361 F(P)Unit : 108 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Vishwas Gaur (17361-N) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron of the Air Force since 03 May 98.

He is a dedicated and hard working officer with sound professional knowledge. During 'Operation Safed Sagar', as Fighter Strike Leader, he was instrumental in the Squadron achieving high operational standards. It was because of his hard work and precise calculations for High Altitude Release (HAR) mode; the Squadron was able to engage all targets successfully keeping the aircraft outside enemy missile ranges. In the absence of tables for HAR mode and varying target height, this was of utmost importance to avoid fratricide. He also understood the difficulties faced by Air Force and Army planners to locate and photograph the enemy targets in rugged mountainous terrain. It was his knowledge of the aircraft systems and innovative suggestion of using Laser Designator Pod for filming the targets that made the operations simpler for the planners. Thereafter, there was no looking back in locating and destroying the enemy targets, making 'Operation Safed Sagar', a complete success. As a Flight Commander he ensured that the Squadron achieved hundred percent success rate in launching the tasked 152 sorties towards 'Operation Safed Sagar'. As professional pilot till date he has flown 26 day and night missions. He showed exceptional courage in face of strong enemy opposition and caused destruction of several important targets. His exemplary courage and devotion to duty has been a source of inspiration and motivations to others.

For his innovativeness, professionalism, exceptional courage and devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Vishwas Gaur.

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

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 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Vishnu Suman Sharma 14490 ADMUnit : 254 SU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Wing Commander Suman Sharma (14490) Adm/FC was commissioned in the IAF as a Fighter Controller on 16 Jun 76 and has been the Commanding Officer of an Air Force Radar Unit since 10 Feb 97. He is an extremely capable and highly qualified Fighter Controller and a Master Fighter Controller.

In the recent past the enemy had stepped up its hostile activities including frequent violations of the Indian air space for purposes of reconnaissance and intelligence. On 10 Aug 99, at 1052 hrs, the Controller on duty on radar picked up an unidentified track inside Pakistan heading towards India 160 km from base 42 km from the nearest point on the International Border. The Controller immediately informed the Sector Director and Wg Cdr Sharma. Considering the significance of the track, Wg Cdr Sharma took personal charge and immediately placed our air defence interceptors on higher alert. The speed of the unidentified aircraft indicated the possibility of a shooting engagement involving risk to Indian life and property. The unidentified aircraft continued several orbits over the IB, in the process intruding into Indian air space twice between 1100 and 1111 hrs. Wg Cdr Sharma directed the air defence interceptors at 1100 hrs to scramble and positioned them in such a manner as to boldly intercept this unidentified aircraft if it carried out any further violation of Indian airspace.

When this hostile aircraft intruded into Indian air space again at 1115 hrs, he ordered the air defence mission to identify the intruder. On being identified as a Pakistan Navy Atlantique maritime reconnaissance aircraft, Wg Cdr Sharma, in a cool and professional manner, ordered the hostile aircraft to be shot down, thus ensuring the sanctity of Indian air space.

Wg Cdr Vijay Suman Sharma displayed courage, immaculate professionalism and extremely accurate and superior controlling of the air defence interceptors, which culminated in a successful execution of a difficult interception at low levels.

For his act of professional excellence and gallantry in the face of hostile enemy action, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Vijay Suman Sharma.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Pankaj Vishnoi 17347 F(P)Unit : 119 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Squadron Leader Pankaj Vishnoi (17347) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since Mar 97. He has flown more than 4600 hrs and is a Type Qualified Flying Instructor.

On 19 May 99, a severe cyclone storm hit near the Kutch coast causing heavy devastation and destruction in the high seas around the coastal areas of Porbandar. A message was received to rescue a country vessel "Al Quasmi" which was incapacitated due to engine problems in the mid seas. Sqn Ldr P Vishnoi was detailed to under take this arduous task to winch out the passengers from the disabled ship to safety. Inclement weather and gusty sea conditions made it harder to achieve this mission. He took off from Porbandar and located the ship after searching relentlessly for an hour in conditions of low clouds and thundershowers. He commenced winching under strong wind conditions and low clouds and was able to pick up five persons. Thereafter the visibility started reducing making it more and more difficult to operate over sea as the waves rose to a height of 3-5 mtrs. Sqn Ldr P Vishnoi continued with the task, with great courage and determination and successfully managed to rescue a total of eight persons after which the wealthier did not permit him further operations.

Sqn Ldr P Vishnoi was also responsible for recovery of the Atlantique aircraft debris which was shot down over the Bundela Rann of Kutch on 10 Aug 99. The task was carried out in a difficult terrain and under very hostile conditions.

For his professionalism and courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Sqn Ldr P Vishnoi.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Prashant Kumar Bundela 21540 F(P)Unit : 45 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Squadron Leader Prashant Kumar Bundela (21540) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the fighter stream on 14 Dec 91 and is posted to a Fighter Squadron in the Western Sector. He has acquitted himself exceptionally during his service, achieving a high level of professional competence. On 10 Aug 99, Sqn Ldr Bundela was the leader of a two aircraft MiG-21 Bis live AD alert mission. After several hours of resolute alert state, at 1100 hrs Sqn Ldr Bundela's mission was scrambled by the radar unit to intercept an unidentified track approaching the international border, North-West of Naliya. After scrambling expeditiously, Sqn Ldr Bundela took his formation to meet the threat and made visual contact with the unidentified aircraft which had crossed the border into Indian airspace and correctly identified the aircraft as a Pakistan Navy Atlantique Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft.

Squadron Leader Bundela asked his Wingman to identify the intruder and judged that intruder was engaged in a hostile Reconnaissance/Elint/Probe Mission. Squadron Leader Bundela first tried to instruct the intruder through visual signals to land at the designated Indian Air Base. However, instead of following these instructions, the intruder turned menacingly towards Sqn Ldr Bundela. On establishing the intruder's hostile intentions Sqn Ldr Bundela, keeping his composure under enemy threat, fired an Air to Air Missile at the intruder. The intruder was brought down by the single missile finding its mark. The threat to our air space and hostile action of the enemy was thus neutralized.

Squadron Leader Bundela's gallantry ensured the inviolability and sanctity of Indian Air Space against hostile action by enemy aircraft.

For this conspicuous act of gallantry in the face of the enemy and for displaying professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Prashant Kumar Bundela.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Bar to Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Sqn Ldr Kandarpa Venkata Surya Narasimha Murthy 20136 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Squadron Leader Kandrapa Venkata Surya Narismha Murthy VM (20136) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 30 Jun 97.

On 28 Feb 99, Sqn Ldr Murthy was detailed to carry out air maintenance operations from Kamzwal Detachment, Mizoram. En­route to the Vasitlong dropping­zone, over mountainous terrain, he noted the Port Engine fire warning light coming ON followed by the fire extinguisher bottles operating in the 'AUTO' mode. He took immediate actions to shut down the affected engine and to recover the Helicopter on to a single engine flight. The terrain did not offer any immediate emergency landing round. Displaying considerable presence of mind, and utilising his intimate knowledge of the area, he headed for a field 20 nautical miles away, at Chawngte, where there was scope for safe landing of the helicopter and its subsequent recovery. The field was a level ground of restricted dimensions surround ed by all trees and poles at the edges. A forced-landing on single engine at this field demanded considerable skill, composure and courage. Sqn Ldr Murthy prepared himself and his crew for the task ahead through a comprehensive briefing covering all contingencies. Displaying flawless control and with perfect crew coordination, he carried out a safe single engine landing. There was no damage to the Helicopter.

A dedicated and thorough professional, Sqn Ldr Murthy displayed most remarkable airmanship and effective leadership and saved a valuable Helicopter and precious human lives from possible mishap. In doing so, he has set an inspirational example for others to emulate.

For this act of exceptional devotion to duty in the face of a grave emergency and exemplary airmanship, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Bar to Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Kandrapa Venkata Surya Narsimha Murthy.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt James Sebastian 13385 F(P)Unit : 44 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Group Captain James Sebastian (13385) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 02 Jun 73 in the Flying Branch of the IAF. He is a qualified Flying Instructor and has more than 6000 hrs of accident free flying to his credit. His past assignments include Flight Commander and Commanding Officer of a Transport Squadron.

Gp Capt. Sebastian took over command of a Transport Squadron on 18 Oct 95. He was not type-qualified at that time. The Officer realised that sustained excellence could materilise, only through a total cultural reorientation of his manpower. He also realised that personal example and self-esteem would be an important catalyst in the change. With this objective, through a series of sustained individual and collective interactions, he infused a sense of belonging and cohesion in his personnel and instilled a sense of pride in them. Simultaneously, through meticulous planning, he ensured that the support environment matched and complimented the ethos of excellence he set for his Sqn. Intense efforts toward both, accelerated categorisation and operational role clearances of aircrew, on the job training and classes for ground crew, concerted efforts in maintenance and the dedicated thrust towards works services were all elements of this focus.

Leading by example, Gp Capt Sebastian completed his conversion and categorisation and commenced his operational role qualifications within six months of assuming command of his Sqn. He qualified himself in formation-role and led the Sqn in all major Air Force exercises. He also formulated the operating procedures and necessary training schedules and made his Sqn operational in bombing, a new role assigned to the unit. As a result of his sustained and dedicated efforts, his Sqn was adjudged 'Best Transport Squadron' in EAC for two years consecutively and was declared 'Best Transport Squadron' in the IAF in 1998. The culture of excellence also reflected itself in prompt task completion and exceptional Flight Safety record.

For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain James Sebastian.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Trikandiyur Kollath Venugopal 13598 F(P)Unit : 44 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Group Captain Trikandiyur Kollath Venugopal (13598) Flying (Pilot) was Commissioned on 22 Dec 73, in the Flying Branch of the IAF. He has held the appointments of Flight Commander of two Squadrons, Chief Instructor at Air Force Station Yelahanka and Commanding Officer of a Transport Squadron. He is a graduate of the College of Defence Management.

In Dec 96, during the Aero India Show at Air Force Station Yelahanka, as the Chief Instructor and Co-ordinator of the event, he with his meticulousness, eye for detail and an uncanny ability to optimally utilise the limited human and material resources, worked intensely long hours to make the show a grand success in every sense.

In his present capacity as the Commanding Officer he has taken keen interest in ensuring and achieving an exceptionally high categorisation and Ops Status of the unit. This materialised in an outstandingly successful Battalion Group Drop with exceptional accuracy. He was further instrumental in successfully completing the conversion of six newly posted pilots, two navigators, seven flight signallers and three flight engineers in a record span of seven months against the targeted eighteen months.

On 26 May 1999, when alert was declared, he rose to his full measure. The unit maintained a very high serviceability state throughout the operations. Every single aircraft was launched on time, often at very short notice and at odd hours and every commitment met with the highest professionalism.

When given a window of opportunity during the two transport seminars held in his tenure, he has shown vision, far-sightedness and brilliance in presenting outstanding papers on Transport Tactical Training and Development Establishment, Airborne Assault Operations and Route Transport Operations. These valuable contributions of his did not go unnoticed and were commended at the highest levels and have already seen the light of day.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Gp Capt TK Venugopal.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Devinder Singh 14284 F(P)Unit : 9 Wing  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Group Captain Devinder Singh (14284) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a fighter pilot on 13 Dec 75. He is an A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor with 4500 hrs of total Flying. A graduate from DSSC who has held important appointments like QFI at Flying Instructors' School, Flight Commander and Commanding Officer of a Fighter Squadron. Presently, he is the Chief Operations Officer of a major flying base.

In the last two years, as the Chief Operations Officer, he set certain major goals for himself and achieved them with distinction. All the Ops commitments given to his station were successfully completed. During his tenure, this base was inspected by the DASI team twice. In both the visits the DASI assessed the operations aspect of the Station as average plus. All this was possible due to his deep involvement and dedication to professional excellence.

Another major achievement of the officer was the computerisation of the air to ground SK Range score data. With his innovative ideas and with the local resources he developed a software programme, which is capable of carrying out a very good analysis of the range scores on various aspects. This programme has been accepted by HQ WAC and is presently in use.

The officer worked very hard during the major exercises i.e. Trishul 98 and Trishul 99. His performance in both the cases was outstanding. During these exercises his base launched the maximum number of sorties, (840 and 909 sorties respectively). All operational aspects were well co-ordinated and well handled.

For the WAC Flight Safety Council Meeting held at his base on 03 May 99, the officer meticulously co-ordinated all the aspects which ensured that the meeting was held in clockwork precision. He put in a lot of effort in beautifying the Base Ops Complex both inside as well as on the outside, which is noteworthy.

For his tireless devotion to duty, professional excellence and innovative ideas Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Devinder Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Perumpillabil Narayanan Radha Govind 15019 F(P)Unit : 220 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Wing Commander Perumpillabil Narayanan Radha Govind (15019) Flying (Pilot) has been the Commanding Officer of a Fighter Squadron since 25 Mar 97. He is an A-2 QFI who has served as an instructor both at Air Force Academy and Flying Instructor School. He has over 4000 h of accident free flying to his credit, having been fully Ops on the SU-7, MiG-23 BN and MiG-27. He is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, and the College of Defence Management.

Wg Cdr Govind, the Commanding Officer of a Fighter Squadron has distinguished himself in many ways. He relocated his Squadron at a new station in a short span without compromising in its operational efficiency. The Squadron was relocated at a place that had been disused for a long time. With his leadership and motivation he set about cleaning up and operationalising the area which now stands out for its cleanliness and operational efficiency. He also implemented an innovative concept of providing spatial identity by providing each aircrew with distinctive work area.

In terms of training, he achieved and maintained near 100% operational status of all his aircrew. In spite of shortage of aircrew he ensured a high percentage of night strike qualified pilots while consistently meeting the allotted flying task.

In the area of maintenance, in spite of constraints of limited technical infrastructure, his unit achieved and maintained a high aircraft and specialist vehicles serviceability. He motivated his unit to achieve the best Ops turn around service timing for two years in a row during Ex-Trishuls 98 and 99. His Unit has also designed and fabricated innovative test rigs, which were highly appreciated by AOC-in-C, HQ WAC during his visit to the Unit.

For his significant contribution is managing a front line Fighter Squadron with his effective leadership, tireless devotion to duty and thirst for excellence, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Perumpillabil Narayanan Radha Govind.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Adiyeri Chevidichi Rajeev 15215 F(P)Unit : 30 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Wing Commander Adiyeri Chevidichi Rajeev (15215) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a Pilot in the Flying Branch on 28 Dec 77. He has 3850 hrs of accident free flying to his credit. The officer has held the appointments of Right Commander and Station Flight Safety and Inspection Officer. He is an A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor, Fighter Strike Leader and a graduate of Defence Services Staff College. He has been commended by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Training Command and by the Chief of the Air Staff.

Wg Cdr Rajeev is posted as Commanding Officer of a Fighter Squadron responsible for ab-initio type training. Operational conversion training of ab-initio trainees on fighter aircraft is an unenviable task. Early in his tenure, Wg Cdr Rajeev assessed the demands of his exacting task. Through concerted effort and effective leadership Wg Cdr Rajeev ensured prompt task completion thus enabling all courses to pass out in time. The exceptional flight safety record, the Squadron enjoyed, inspire of the intense training environment, speaks volumes of the Commanding Officer's deep involvement. Staff pilot training was also accelerated to ensure 100% operational and instructional clearances. His innovative training techniques have been adapted by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection for implementation in other Squadrons. Wg Cdr Rajeev himself reached a personal land-mark of 2000 hrs of accident free flying on the MiG21, which is a most creditable achievement by itself.

Driven by the singular aim of improving aircraft availability for his task, he addressed the issue of a large number of aircraft on ground (AOG). Through effective liaison with higher formations and HAL, he accelerated the clearance of his AOG demands. Effec tively utilising his managerial skills and excellent interpersonal relations he raised the productivity of his technical staff. The end result was a sustained high serviceability, touching 100% at times. His genuine concern for his men and welfare orientation has resulted in a large number of welfare measures in his Squadron.

For exceptional devotion to duty and exemplary leadership the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Adiyeri Chevidichi Rajeev.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Jasbir Walia 15684 F(P)Unit : 6 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Wing Commander Jasbir Walia (15684) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 15 Jun 79 in the Flying Branch of the IAF and has been the Commanding Officer of a Fighter Squadron since 17 Mar 97.

A highly motivated, diligent and responsible officer, Wg Cdr Walia has been able to motivate the Unit to a very high level of performance. The Squadron, during his tenure, has risen from strength to strength, which has been possible as a result of his exceptional leadership qualities. In Nov 97 the Squadron was graded above average by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection (DASI). The Unit has also proved its mettle in the Command Gunnery Meets, winning the first overall position for two years in succession. Wg Cdr Walia ensured that the operational capability of the Squadron kept on improving over this period. Whereas initially there was only one maritime night strike qualified pilot in the Squadron, now the Squadron can boast of nine nights strike qualified pilots and eleven supervisors. Except the newly postedin pilots, all are rated Green and above.

Leading by example, Wg Cdr Walia has been able to instill confidence, enthusiasm and a sense of pride in his men, binding the unit into a strong and potent team of professionals. The Squadron being adjudged the best Fighter Squadron in the Command bears testimony to this fact. At the same time, he has always held the welfare of those below him high in his priority by taking personal interest in the problems pertaining to the personnel and has been able to keep the morale of the personnel high.

For his professional capability and devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Jasbir Walia.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sanjib Kumar Bhattacharya 15702 F(P)Unit : 128 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Wing Commander Sanjib Kumar Bhattacharya (15702) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned into the Flying Branch of the IAF on 15 Jun 79. He has more than 6000 hrs of accident free flying to his credit. An A-2, QFI he has been Flight Commander of a Helicopter Squadron, an examiner with the Air Crew Examination Board and Chief Operational Officer of a flying station. He has also been on deputation to the Namibian Defence Forces.

Wg Cdr Bhattacharya was posted as Commanding Officer of a Helicopter Unit since 01 Feb 97. Driven by an objective orientation of operational excellence, he embarked on the transformation of his Unit in all spheres of activity. Through total involvement and concerted efforts he brought up the categorisation status of his unit to enviably high standards. He ensured operational role clearance of all eligible aircrew. Through close interaction with the maintenance staff he ensured a high level of serviceability. All tasks allotted to the Unit were executed most efficiently, economically and on schedule throughout his tenure of two years. His Unit boasts of the best tonnage per hour in the Indian Air Force.

Wg Cdr Bhattacharya always led from front. He himself flew 650 hrs during a twoyear period, a very creditable achievement considering other compelling demands on him as a Commanding Officer. He displayed extra ordinary courage in taking on difficult assignments himself. The airlift of seven tons of badly needed Foam Compound from Chabua to Digboi to fight the Oil Refinery fire and the daring dusk time airlift of critically injured school children form Tawang to Itanagar are examples in courage and leadership set by him. Both these missions were undertaken during adverse weather and extremely poor visibility conditions.

Wg Cdr Bhattacharya has motivated his personnel through sincerity of purpose and intensity of his convictions. Through meticulous planning and single-minded devotion he achieved and maintained his target of operational excellence throughout.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sanjib Kumar Bhattacharya.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sunil Bijlani 16087 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Wing Commander Sunil Bijlani (16087) Flying (Pilot) has been commanding a Helicopter Unit since 24 Nov 97. He is a QFI with over 3700 hrs of flying experience on Mi-8, Chetak and Cheetah helicopters.

On 18 Aug 98 a group of outgoing Mansarovar Yatris was decimated during a massive landslide at Malpa village in UP hills. Wg Cdr Bijlani was designated the Type Force Commander (Chetak/Cheetah) for 'Op Blue Angels' in support of disaster relief of Mansarovar Yatris at Malpa and Ganji. On 20 Aug 98 he led a detachment of four helicopters to Dharchula. Two attempts were made by him to penetrate the weather and land at Malpa on 21 Aug 98 but were not successful. However, on 22 Aug 98 in the second attempt he entered the narrow gorge between clouds, which were a few hundred feet above the valley floor and successfully carried out a landing at the semi-prepared and slushy helipad, thus clearing operations from Malpa by other pilots. Thereafter, he personally carried out fiftyeight sorties towards this operation, which involved airlifting survivors, decomposed bodies, passengers and supplies to and from Malpa. Apart from carrying on his flying duties he was also required to liaise with the civil administration, relatives of the yatris and the Press resulting in smooth flow of information. His dedicated professionalism and leadership ensured completion of an accident/incident free flying task resulting in evacuation of 37 dead bodies, 15 casualties and 119 passengers. As the Commanding Officer he was also able to sustain very high level of morale of all pilots and ground crew at Dharchula operating under difficult conditions to bring out the best in all Air Force personnel. His personal example, leadership and close co-ordination not only helped the civil administration in successful conduct of relief operations but also elevated the image of the Service through the Press.

For exceptional devotion to duty during flying operations in adverse weather, terrain and leadership qualities of high order, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sunil Bijlani.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Vidya Sagar Bharati 16611 F(P)Unit : 105 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Wing Commander Vidya Sagar Bharati YSM (16611) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 11 Dec 81 in the Flying Branch of the IAF. For his distinguished service during the IPKF Ops in Sri Lanka he was awarded YSM in 1989. He has held appointments of Flight Commander of two operational units and is presently Commanding a Helicopter Unit since 29 Jun 98. He is a QFI and a graduate of Defence Services Staff College.

The recent unprecedented floods in U.P. and Bihar left lakhs of people marooned and helpless. The State Administration sought immediate help of the Air Force. Wg Cdr Bharti's unit was tasked to provide relief and succour to the victims. With meticulous planning and foresight he led the three months long flood relief operations on a war footing. Under his dynamic leadership the unit airlifted 521528 Kgs of relief material and 342 personnel. The relief operations brought appreciation and laurels from all around and especially from the Government of U.P. The Prime Minister himself greatly lauded this effort during his visit to the Station.

Wg Cdr Bharti ensured very high aircraft serviceability and availability during the entire operations and capped it with 100% serviceability by flying all the helicopters on unit's strength on culmination of the relief operations.

For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Vidya Sagar Bharti.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Sqn Ldr Rajiv Kumar Narang 20456 F(P)Unit : 114 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Squadron Leader Rajiv Kumar Narang (20456) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit. During his tenure he has flown 135 hrs in the unforgiving terrain of Ladakh and Siachen Glacier.

On 14 Aug 98, Sqn Ldr RK Narang was detailed as captain for an ITBP communication sortie in Sub Sector North. On the return leg after crossing Sacer-La Pass, he experienced an engine failure at an altitude of 17800 ft. Sqn Ldr RK Narang maintained his composure and reacted correctly to the emergency and was able to retain the rotor rpm, which is vital for a successful autorotative landing. Displaying the highest standards of captaincy, he utilised his co-pilot to pick up the only available landing spot in that rocky terrain. The execution of the autorotative landing was such that the helicopter touched down with near zero speed and hardly any impact, though it rolled over subsequently due to the rocky terrain. After landing, disregarding his personal safety, he helped his passenger to escape before leaving the damaged aircraft himself.

Sqn Ldr RK Narang not only displayed exceptional standards of professionalism but also an ability to think and react calmly, quickly and correctly in a critical emergency.

For his exemplary airmanship, composure, presence of mind and professionalism of a very high order in the face of a grave emergency, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Rajiv Kumar Narang.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Sqn Ldr Chandan Sharda 21026 F(P)Unit : 8 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Squadron Leader Chandan Sharda (21026) Flying (Pilot) was authorised to fly an air test sortie on 04 Aug 98 on fighter aircraft. During the descent from 11 Km at 6.5 Km he experienced a loud bang and ducked down instinctively. Soon he realised that the right side upper bubble of the canopy had shattered and he had been hit by a chunk on Perspex on his head. He quickly throttled back to idling rpm and descended to 2 Km with airbrakes out, simultaneously dropping speed to 400 Km/h IAS. During the descent he realised that his visor had broken free, there was blood on his shoulder and blood splattered on the rear view mirror which had also been shattered. He had suffered deep cuts on his cheek and forehead and the bleeding was obscuring his vision. Due to the high noise level in the cockpit, R/T was ineffective, necessitating a U/S R/T recovery. To obviate further injury from loose corners of the shattered canopy he attempted to jettison it, which failed to lift free from the railing. During the base leg turn the canopy finally lifted free and a safe landing was made.

Squadron Leader C Sharda has displayed a high degree of courage and acted gallantly with a composed frame of mind even in an injured state, thereby saving a valuable aircraft.

For devotion to duty in recovering the aircraft in a difficult situation, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Chandan Sharda.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Flt Lt Sandeep Soti 22343 F(P)Unit : 114 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Sandeep Soti (22343) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit from 03 Mar 97. He has flown a total of 967 hrs during his tenure in this Unit of which 632 hrs were flown in the Siachen.

Flt Lt Soti has been an extremely hard working Pilot. He has flown on many occasions in the face of enemy firing to the shell prone posts of Amar and Sonam. He has had close shaves with enemy shells on numerous occasions. Displaying nerves of steel he kept flying to the threatened posts relentlessly. Composed and determined, Flt Lt Soti continued giving his best with added enthusiasm and dedication. His courage in the face of the enemy and professional approach were source for inspiration for others.

In May 98, he carried out a spectacular evacuation of pilots, off a hover, from Amar (at an altitude of 20,000 ft) under heavy enemy firing. He was also a part of the recovery team which was inducted to Amar in Oct 97 to retrieve a battle damaged Helicopter. His contribution towards the war effort in the Siachen has been significant.

For this exemplary devotion to duty and professionalism of a very high order, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Flight Lieutenant Sandeep Soti.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
WO Narayan Chandra Ghosh 613179 ORUnit : Para Training School  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details : 613179 Warrant Officer Narayan Chandra Ghosh GTI/PJI was enrolled as ground training instructor on 08 Nov 72 in the Indian Air Force. WO N C Ghosh has been on the posted strength of paratroopers training school, airforce 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 N C 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 airforce sky diving team 'Akash Ganga'. 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 Narayan Chandra Ghosh.
Reference:  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Prakash Eknath Patange 17706 F(P)Unit : 142 SSS Flt  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 00
Details :

Squadron Leader Prashant Eknath Patange YSM (17706) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 20 Apr 98 and is presently its Flight Commander.

On 22 Oct 99, the unit was tasked to evacuate 16 mountaineers (Foreign nationals) from Linghsi Makan in Bhutan, trapped at an altitude of nearly 15,000 feet due to heavy snowfall. They were suffering from high altitude sickness and were desperately short of food and supplies. The marginal weather and the forbidding snow bound mountainous terrain made the task of rescue extremely difficult and daunting. To get to the trapped group, a pass at 17500 feet had to be negotiated. This required skillful handling of the helicopter since the machine would be close to its operational limits.

After meticulously planning the entire operation Sqn Ldr Patange took-off for the location in a very short time. On locating the survivors he realised that the only option was to land on a small makeshift clearing, located on an exposed ridge, which itself was under more than four feet of snow. Such landing would demand exceptional flying skills and extra ordinary courage, since even a slight mishandling could lead to a catastrophic accident. Unmindful of personal danger he landed at the makeshift site not once but eight times to evacuate all the mountaineers to safety. His efforts saved 16 lives on that day. In executing the mission Sqn Ldr Patange ignored the grave danger to his life and lived up to the true traditions of the IAF.

Sqn Ldr Patange was involved in a similar rescue of two Dutch mountaineers suffering from severe high altitude sickness in Bhutan Himalayas on 08 Oct 99. His bold and courageous actions on both occasions have brought accolades and praise for the country and the Indian Air Force from the Royal Govt of Bhutan and heartfelt gratitude from evacuated foreign nationals.

For his act of courage and professionalism, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Prashant Eknath Patange.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 30th December 2000 - No.150-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Kailash Gurao 21573 F(P)Unit : 118 HU  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 00
Details :

Squadron leader Kailash Gurao (21573) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 22 Feb 99. On 01 Nov 99 he was detailed to fly the Raksha Mantri (RM) and two other VIPs for a reconnaissance sortie over the cyclone ravaged areas in Orissa followed by a landing at Paradip. After the recce was over Paradip, Sqn Ldr Guaro apprised the minister of the risk of landing at an unsecured and unprepared helipad. However, as desired by the RM, a landing was executed on an unprepared site.

After the departure of RM, the crowd started getting disturbed and restive, forcing Mr. Navin Patnaik, Minister of Mines and Minerals, who had earlier deplaned, to rush to near by building to seek shelter from the angry mob. Part of the crowd by then, turned violent and some of them threatened to burn the helicopter and assault the passengers. Sqn Ldr Gurao decided to start the helicopter and await arrival of the RM. The Flight Gunner, along with the available policemen was detailed to guard the tail rotor during the start up. On seeing Mr. Navin Patnaik being manhandled by the mob, Sqn Ldr Gurao along with his crew pulled him safely inside the helicopter. By then the crowd started pelting stones and some even tried to board the helicopters. At this stage, Sqn Ldr Guaro immediately took-off to ensure safety of the VIPs. After the crowd had dispersed he picked up the gunner from a low hover. Subsequently, Sqn Ldr Gurao located the Raksha Mantri at the Paradip Port jetty. He immediately maneuvered the helicopter into the confined space, executed a landing and returned to Bhubaneshwar with the RM.

This mission of safely retrieving the helicopter as well as rescuing the VIPs from mob frenzy in a difficult and volatile situation bears testimony to Sqn Ldr Guaro's extraordinary courage and professional skills. His actions saved the Raksha Mantri and his entourage from possible physical harm. The presence of mind shown by him at the time of the crisis is extremely praiseworthy.

For his act professionalism and extraordinary courage in the face of a challenging situation, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Kailash Gurao.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 30th December 2000 - No.150-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Rajat Saha 22374 F(P)Unit : 114 HU  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 00
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Rajat Saha (22374) Aeronautical Engineering (Mechanical) is on the posted strength of 114 Helicopter Unit since 18 Aug 98. He is the Senior Technical Officer of the unit.

As Senior Technical Officer, Flt Lt Rajat Saha has displayed a deep sense of professional commitment. Many snags peculiar to the high altitude flying in 'Op Meghdoot' sector were effectively resolved by his initiative and involvement. With his professionalism and persistent efforts he has maintained a very high state of serviceability of the Cheetah helicopters operating in the battle zone of Siachen Glacier.

On 21 Sep 99, a Cheetah helicopter of the unit had an engine surge and flame out at Amar helipad, which is located at the AGPL at 19000 feet height. The post is under regular enemy fire by Mortar, Artillery and HMG. On 22 Sep 99, Flt Lt Saha willingly got inducted to Amar Post along with the Deputy Flt Cdr of the unit, to work out the modalities for recovering this helicopter. As this post is located on a narrow ledge, covered with ice and undulating surface, changing an engine there was extremely demanding and risky. Under consistent enemy fire, unmindful of danger to his life, he checked out the engine for its condition physically and carried out two ground runs. With application of his sound professional knowledge, Flt Lt Saha rectified the engine and gave his consent for flying out this helicopter from Amar helipad. Not only did he clear the helicopter for flying but also insisted to travel as a passenger, thus displaying exceptional courage and sense of responsibility. Flt Lt Saha has done proud to the Indian Air Force and the nation by recovering a costly machine from the highest helipad in 'Op Meghdoot' area in the face of enemy fire, disregarding the danger to his life.

For his dedication, professionalism and courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Flight Lieutenant Rajat Saha.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 30th December 2000 - No.150-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Motilal Nalluri 13911 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Group Captain Motilal Nalluri (13911) Flying (Pilot) has been functioning as the Chief Test Pilot (CTP) of Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), Air Force since Jun 99. He earlier served in ASTE from Dec 85 to May 88, where he was actively involved in indigenous weapon integration trials on the MiG-21 and MiG-23 BN as also on AEW TOP aircraft for baseline flight and thrust derivatives.

As CTP he has supervised and monitored as many as 52 flight trials, of which 44 were completed in 1999. This was a quantum leap from 17-flight trials completed in the previous year. Most of these trials were of a very complex nature involving large-scale integration of state-of-the art equipment, systems and weapons on contemporary aircraft, in order to substantially enhance the strike and avionics capability of the IAF. He personally conducted a number of high-risk flight trials himself. In addition to the trials, the officer has been deeply involved with a number of ongoing projects to upgrade aircraft in service. He has also provided useful inputs for the LCA and ALH programmes.

The officer's contribution in enhancing the punch and reliability of aircraft and system in the IAF is noteworthy, as is his undivided dedication and devotion to duty.

For his devotion to duty and yeoman contribution to Flight Testing, the Hon'ble President, is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Motilal Nalluri.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Manmohan Sud 13945 F(P)Unit : AHQ and Comm  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Group Captain Manmohan Sud (13945) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a fighter pilot on 15 Feb 75. He converted to transport aircraft in Sep 76. He is posted as Commanding Officer of Air Headquarters Communication Squadron since 01 Jan 1999.

Gp Capt Sud has flown over 7700 accident free hours in his career on nine different types of aircraft including Dakota, AN12, AN-32 and B-737 in various roles. This includes VVIP role, air logistics in northern and eastern sector and bombing role on AN12 aircraft. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor with 1850 hours of instructional experience. He achieved exceptional category and instrument rating 'A/MG' in 1989 on AN-12 and has been a Type Examiner.

The professional skills of Gp Capt Sud are regularly put to test in the demanding environment of VVIP flights undertaken by the squadron. Personally he has flown 506 hours in the present tenure including 261 hours on VVIP/VIP commitment. The squadron has contributed to projecting the Indian Air Force as a professional and competent force amongst the service and civilian dignitaries. As Commanding Officer, Air Headquarter Communication Squadron, he has displayed leadership qualities in all operational and administrative spheres.

He had the computerisaton of the flying, admin and technical data of the Squadron completed. On the flying side he has ensured that available flying hours are optimally utilised to achieve the highest standards and turn over the aircrews as required by the service. In the technical sphere he has ensured monitoring of spares, technical manpower and training requirements of each trade on the three types of aircraft that the Squadron holds. He has also ensured computerisaton of the flying administration and technical data of the Squadron. He has also commanded the Air Force Day Parade 2000.

For his dedication to duty, professional competence of a high order and leadership qualities, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Manmohan Sud.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Inder Singh 14082 F(P)Unit : 18 Wing  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Group Captain Inder Singh (14082) Flying (Pilot) has been functioning as the Chief Operations Officer of an Air Force Base in the western sector since 12 Apr 99. Within a few weeks of taking over this appointment the Base was faced with a war like situation with Operation Safed Sagar. Apart from ensuring speedy launch of the local fighter squadrons to their Op locations he personally supervised the induction of over forty fighter aircraft of four different types. The Herculean task of loading and offloading men was handled under his supervision in an exemplary manner. With little regard to personal comfort he relentlessly ensured that the task on hand was completely expeditiously.

On taking over as Chief Ops Officer, Gp Capt Inder Singh voluntarily took up the task of office computerisation and automation on war footing. With his knowledge and experience he motivated and guided his subordinates to achieve a systemic IT network within 'operations' that included daily flying programme, weather forecasts, e-mail and web sites among others.

Both, on and off work, with his energetic attitude and management skills, Gp Capt Inder Singh has cohesively bonded officers of all branches working under him to achieve synergetic results.

For his devotion to duty, dedication to service and consistent results, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Inder Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

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