Vayu Sena Medal Awardee List


A total of 1179 Awards are listed.
Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Raghvinder Nath Joshi 15432 F(P)Unit : HTS  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Raghvinder Nath Joshi (15432) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as Helicopter Pilot in the flying branch on 07 Jul 1978. He is an A-2 QFI and holds Cat A/Master Green rating on Mi-8, Mi-17, Chetak and Cheetah helicopters. He was served in Aircrew Examination Board and Air HQ Communication Squadron and has commanded a Helicopter Unit.

Wg Cdr RN Joshi was posted to Helicopter Training School in Apr 98. In his initial appointment as Chief Group Instructor he restructured the training schedule, called for feed back from instructors and student officers, identified weak areas and continuously monitored progress. His deep and personal involvement resulted in the performance of trainee officers showing a continuous upward trend.

In his tenure as Chief Flying Instructor since Nov 98, he has utilised his vast experience in streamlining the flying procedures, standa rdising and computerising phase briefs and manoeuvre briefs. The good flight safety record and high standards achieved by the School, as brought out during inspections, have been largely due to the sustained work put in by him.

As the IInd I/C of the School, Wg Cdr RN Joshi has taken very active part in all activities of the school. His cheerful disposition, sincerity, devotion to duty and positive attitude has been a source of inspiration to the younger generation.

For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Raghvinder Nath Joshi.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Paramjit Singh Mann 15570 F(P)Unit : TTF  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Paramjeet Singh Mann (15570) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned into the Flying Branch of the Indian Air Force on 30 Dec 78. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and has over 3200 hours of fighter flying. He was a member of the erstwhile formation aerobatics team, 'Thunderbolts', and has served three tenures as Flight Commander in different fighter squadrons. He is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College.

Wg Cdr Mann commanded a Hunter Unit for nearly three years. On assuming command, he was beset with two difficulties. The first was the maintenance problems of an aged Hunter fleet and the second was the logistics and administrative impediments due to a widely dispersed technical area. Encouraging in-house solutions and local adaptations, he achieved a high serviceability, touching 100% on a number of days. His leadership and personal involvement were manifest in the efficient accomplishment of tasks and the excellent Flight Safety record that was maintained during his tenure. By ergonomically re-organising his Flight and maintenance Complex, he improved the working environment, thus negating the inherent disadvantage of a widely dispersed technical area. Qualitative improvements in his Airmen's billets by way of provisioning cable TV, curtains and bed-side lamps and the creation of a Recreation room, effectively reinforced the 'one family' feeling among his Unit personnel.

Wg Cdr Mann was also very involved in the induction of the indigenous pilotless Target Aircraft-Lakshya. Even in the nascent stages of induction, he formulated preliminary operating procedures, training schedules and also suggested modifications to the system. As a result of his dedication, the entire spadework is already in place for the operational induction of the new equipment. For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Paramjit Singh Mann.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Shirish Baban Deo 15681 F(P)Unit : 51 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Shirish Baban Deo (15681) Flying (Pilot) took over the command of a frontline fighter squadron on 19 Jan 98. His squadron was the only squadron that carried out operational flying training and other operational commitments simultaneously. Wg Cdr Deo has led the squadron from the front through out his tenure and has flown more than 700 sorties during the period. Having served as DS at Flying Instructors School and Tactics and Combat Development Establishment, he has used his experience and expertise to improve the training standards of the squadron and ensured accident free flying without sacrificing the quality of training.

The squadron has also performed extremely well during all inspection visits. Wg Cdr Deo's professional attitude, exceptional standard in weapon delivery and air combat skills have motivated the squadron pilots to maximise their potential. He has been thoroughly involved in all maintenance-related activities and has ensured the cohesiveness so essential in a combat unit. The Squadron has initiated various welfare and educational assistance schemes for airman's children, which helped in sustaining high morale of Squadron personnel.

For his exceptional qualities of leadership, devotion to duty, dynamism, safety consciousness, dedicated efforts for betterment of service and ability to inculcate professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Shirish Baban Deo.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Umesh Shastri 15698 F(P)Unit : 45 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Umesh Shastri (15698) Flying (Pilot) has been in command of a front line fighter squadron of the Air Force since 10 Mar 97 up to 31 April 2000. He is a highly experienced fighter pilot with over 3400 hours of accident free flying of which 2086 hours are on MiG-21 aircraft. He is a qualified flying Instructor holding A-2 category and is also a Fighter Combat Leader.

During his tenure as Commanding Officer he has always led the squadron from the front. He has ensured good planning and exemplary execution of all tasks assigned to the squadron. The squadron has always risen to every occasion and has acquitted itself with credit in all facets of activity. He has personally led the squadron's formation during the airpower demonstration at Pokharan, Vayushakti-98 as well as Vayushakti-99 and carried out attacks on the assigned targets with impeccable professionalism. During 'Op Safed Sagar' the squadron was the first in SWAC to achieve the feat of 100% serviceability, which speaks volume of his quality of leadership, planning and coordination. The squadron has also weathered through two cyclones, which hit the station in 1998 and in 1999. Through meticulous planning and execution he ensured the dispersion and securing all service equipment and other assets of the squadron, thus saving them from any damage. He ensured a high training status of aircrew and ground crew at all times. This manifest itself on 10 Aug 1999 when an intruding Pakistani Atlantique, a Naval surveillance aircraft was shot down by a section of two aircraft from his squadron.

For his excellent leadership of the squadron through all tasks assigned, for his capabilities and dedication to duty and for leading the squadron by personal example which is in the best tradition of the service, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Umesh Shastri.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Rakesh Kumar Negi 15869 F(P)Unit : 2000 HC Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Rakesh Kumar Negi (15869) Flying (Pilot) is on deputation to United Nations Peace Keeping Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) as Commanding Officer of No. 2000 (Helicopter) Squadron consisting of Mi-8 and Chetaks.

On 07 May 2000, Wg Cdr Negi, while flying over rebel held territory, monitored a distress call from another IAF Mi-8 stating that his aircraft has force landed and the rebels are approaching the aircraft from different directions. Realising the gravity of the situation Wg Cdr Negi, displaying exceptional courage and presence of mind, immediately proceeded to the force-landing site and successfully evacuated the 19 UN personnel and the crew before the rebels could capture them. The daring rescue mission received wide scale appreciation including from UN HQ, New York.

On 15 Jul 2000, Wg Cdr RK Negi led his squadron in a joint air-land operation 'Op Khukri' to extricate 222 beleaguered troops from the inhospitable terrain dominated by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels equipped with anti aircraft weaponry. Undaunted by the heavy odds, Wg Cdr Negi courageously led his squadron from the front and flew 40 missions under extremely challenging terrain, weather and battle conditions. All these missions involved troop induction and redeployment from extremely restricted areas in treacherous weather with cloud touching treetops and under continuous firing from rebels. Throughout the operation, he continued to inspire and motivate his crew by his personal example and was able to get the best of them. Wg Cdr RK Negi was instrumental in the swift success of "Op Khukri".

For these acts of courage and professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Seva Medal' (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Rakesh Kumar Negi.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Anil Khosla 15871 F(P)Unit : 6 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Anil Khosla (15871) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in 14 Dec 79 in the Flying Branch of the IAF and has been the Commanding Officer of a Jaguar squadron since 12 Apr 99.

A highly motivated, diligent and responsible officer, Wg Cdr Khosla has been able to motivate the Unit personnel 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. The operational capability of the Squadron kept on improving under his command and all the tasks given to the Squadron were executed in a professional manner. The Unit under his guidance performed extremely well in every exercise that it took part in and also proved its mettle in the Command Gunnery Meet.

Leading by his personal example, Wg Cdr Khosla has been able to instill confidence, enthusiasm and 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 SWAC and being nominated for best Fighter Squadron of IAF bears testimony to this fact. At the same time, he has always held the welfare of those below him high on 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 Anil Khosla.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Shyam Bihari Prasad Sinha 16053 F(P)Unit : 52 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Shyam Bihari Prasad Sinha (16053) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying Branch on 15 Jun 80. He has 3600 hours of accident free flying to his credit. The officer has held the appointments of Flight commander of a MiG-21 squadron and Chief Flying Instructor at a Flying Training Establishment. He is a Cat-A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor and an Air Force Examiner. He is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College. He has been commended by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Central Air Command and by the Chief of the Air Staff.

Wg Cdr Sinha has been posted as Commanding Officer of a MiG Operational Training Squadron since 07 Dec 98. Operational Conversion Training on fighter aircraft is an unenviable task, given the inexperience of ab-intio trainees. Early in his tenure, Wg Cdr Sinha assessed the demands of this exacting task. Through concerted efforts and effective leadership, Wg Cdr Sinha ensured prompt task completion, enabling MOFT courses to pass out on time. The exceptional flight safety record enjoyed by the squadron, inspite of the intense training environment, speaks volumes of the Commanding Officer's deep personal involvement. Staff Pilot training was also accelerated to ensure 100% operational and instructional clearance. All this was achieved by leading from the front through personal example. Despite the preoccupation of his appointment, the Commanding Officer has held the distinction of flying the maximum number of sorties in his squadron.

Driven by the singular aim of improving aircraft availability, he addressed the issue of a large number of AOGs. Through effective liaison with higher formation and HAL, he accelerated the clearance of his Squadron AOG demands. Effectively utilising his managerial skills and excellent interpersonal relations, he raised the productivity of his technical staff. The end result was a sustained high serviceability, occasionally touching 100%. His genuine concern for his men and his orientation towards morale, resulted in a large number of welfare measures in his Squadron. He has been an exemplary leader.

For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Shyam Bihari Prasad Sinha.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr S Harpal Singh 16071 F(P)Unit : 47 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander S Harpal Singh (16071) Flying (Pilot) has been in command of a front line fighter squadron since 04 May 09.

During the last two years, the squadron, under the command of Wg Cdr Harpal Singh has done 3155 h of accident-free flying. For the past 12 months, the Squadron has had an incident-free record barring two cases of material failure and one of technical defect. DASI visited the Station on two occasions and on both occasions, the Unit performed creditably, getting an overall grading of Average Plus. The Squadron was entrusted with several professional tasks during his tenure such as the formulation of Communication Jamming operating procedures, certain new intercept procedures and air to ground attack procedures, which were carried out in a most professional manner. During 'Op Safed Sagar', the Squadron was tasked with an Air Defence missions in the valley and gave a good account of itself. Throughout the period of Kargil Ops, the Unit operated from two different locations, and met all assigned tasks despite the shortage of manpower and equipment.

The squadron has constantly maintained a high serviceability to aircraft and avionics and achieved 100% serviceability in Aug 99. The squadron has developed software for Flight Data Recorder analysis, which overcomes several shortcomings of the present system.

As a professional, Wg Cdr S Harpal Singh has a wide and varied experience. He has flown all the MiG aircraft on the inventory of the IAF except the MiG-25 and has a total of 2468 hrs of accident free flying. He has led his Unit from the front in all aspects, be it professional, social or on the sports field. The work environment of the Unit has undergone steady change for the better. Under his leadership, the Squadron operated as wellknit team and was adjudged the best fighter Squadron of WAC for the year 1998-99.

For displaying exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander S Harpal Singh.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Balakrishnan Suresh 16206 F(P)Unit : 2 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Balakrishnan Suresh (16206) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 13 Dec 80 in the flying branch of IAF. An accomplished professional, he has over 2200 hours of fighter flying to his credit. He is a Fighter Strike Leader (FSL) with the distinction of two instructional tenures at the Tactical and Air Combat Development Establishment.

Wg Cdr Suresh was appointed the Commanding Officer of a fighter squadron on 24 Aug 98. On taking over command, he faced the twin challenges of low aircraft availability and low operational status of pilots mainly in the op and strike roles. A thorough analysis of the situation revealed that while improvement of role-qualifications was an operational necessity, resources would be hard to come by. Through a concerted and well-focused training effort, he affected a quantum jump in the status of his squadron. The squadron armament results showed a noticeable improvement under his watchful guidance.

Enhanced operational readiness saw his squadron ready and willing to go whenever called upon. He responded promptly during the mobilisation for Op Safed Sagar and the build-up during the Sri Lankan contingency. His squadron accredited itself in exemplary fashion during the annual joint Navy Air exercise off the Eastern seaboard.

The Commanding Officer had to call upon the very best of his managerial skills in juggling scarce aircraft resources. Through close interaction with his maintenance staff, he ensured maximum support for his operations. Meaningful interaction with Wing and Command staff fetched real time solutions for his operational and maintenance problems. At the same time, his humane approach towards his men and their problems resulted in a large number of meaningful welfare measures being instituted for the overall improvement of his unit. For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Balakrishnan Suresh.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Jasjit Singh Kler 16225 F(P)Unit : 127 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Jasjit Singh Kler (16225) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the flying branch on 13 Dec 80. A Qualified Flying Instructor, he has 6800 hours of flying to his credit including 700 hours towards Op Meghdoot. He was specially selected for an instructional tenure in Namibia in 1996. He has been twice awarded Commendations by the Chief of the Air Staff, the first in Jan 90 and the second in Jan 93. In recognition of his professional competence, the officer was selected to conduct the first ever type QFI course on helicopters in 1998.

Wg Cdr Kler commanded a Helicopter Unit for over two years. Shortly after assuming command, the officer was assigned the onerous responsibility of formulating an operating procedure for Air Sea Search and Rescue, a task he executed admirably. He later validated the procedures himself by undertaking twelve missions over the sea.

Wg Cdr Kler realised the enormity of his task towards bringing up the operational status of his Unit. Adverse weather, relative inexperience of his aircrew and seemingly insurmountable maintenance problems, all came in his way. He addressed each issue through a two-pronged strategy. First, he accelerated the categorisation and roleclearances of his aircrews, through a wellfocused training schedule. Through excellent liaison with the Wing and Command, he progressively streamlined his maintenance activities and built up and sustained his fleet of Mi-17s. The net result was a significant jump in the operational capability of his Unit. During his tenure, the Unit flew 4400 hours, airlifting over 5000 MT load, all the while maintaining an unblemished safety record.

Leading by example, Wg Cdr Kler completed his own area-familiarisation and operational role clearances in record time. Through his personal involvement, all operating procedures were reviewed to ensure a safe environment for his relatively young aircrew. The officer's capability was such that he was often called upon to undertake special missions by Command Headquarters.

For exceptional devotion to duty, exemplary leadership and conduct, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Jasjit Singh Kler.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Arun Tillu Samtani 17002 F(P)Unit : 2000 HC Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Arun Tillu Samtani (17002) Flying (Pilot) is the Commanding Officer of the Mi-35 Squadron of the IAF Contingent Sierra Leone-2000 for the United Nations in Sierra Leone.

'Op Khukri', a joint Army Air Force Operation of the United Nations forces was executed to extricate 222 UN Peace Keepers held hostage for more than 75 days by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels at Kailahun in Eastern Sierra Leone. Mi­35 helicopters of the IAF contingent were tasked to provide fire support to own troops at all times from dawn to dusk during this operation.

On 16 July 2000, Wg Cdr AT Samtani was tasked to carry out strike on RUF reinforcements coming through Manowa Ferry to impede the advance of UN troops heading from Kailahun to Daru and suppress the RUF fire at UN ground forces road convoy. Undeterred by the enemy anti aircraft guns and heavy machine guns fire, Wg Cdr AT Samtani attacked enemy positions with rockets and front guns with pinpoint accuracy, inflicting heavy damage on rebel positions. Throughout the period of operation, Wg Cdr AT Samtani relentlessly carried out strikes at RUF positions with clinical accuracy at RUF strongholds of Kailahaun, Giehun, Pendembu and Kuiva that were located along the axis of advance of UN ground forces. Wg Cdr AT Samtani flew eight missions involving 14 hrs of flying in less than two days under extremely adverse weather and terrain conditions and under the threat of continuous firing by the rebels.

For this act of exceptional courage and professionalism, the Hon'ble President of pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Arun Tillu Samtani.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Tejinder Singh Sareen 17138 F(P)Unit : 153 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Tejinder Singh Sareen (17138) F (P) was posted as the Flight Commander of an Attack Helicopter Squadron with effect from 03 May 1998. During his tenure as the Flight Commander this officer involved himself intensely in the operational well being of the Squadron. The Squadron has a peculiar chain of control with the Army, Western Air Command, AOC J&K and the local administration. The tasking, therefore, becomes multi point and places a great strain on the Unit. The Flight Commander, being the pivot, has to deftly manage the man and material resources to meet multi point demands. Wg Cdr TS Sareen managed this very well. With his knowledge of the aircraft he maintained a high serviceability.

During the Kargil war he led the Squadron Detachment in the Valley. For the last six months, the squadron has been manning a detachment of the same place and Wg Cdr TS Sareen has been leading the detachment most of the time. He has also been involved in the trials on the usage of the Attack Helicopter in the Valley with certain modifications. Whenever the Squadron got tasked for the anti-insurgency operations in the Valley, Wg Cdr TS Sareen was in the forefront, which is an ample display of his leadership qualities.

For devotion to duty and professionalism and for being an example to emulate, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Tejinder Singh Sareen.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr George Thomas 17722 F(P)Unit : 2000 HC Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Squadron Leader George Thomas (17722) Flying (Pilot) is posted to the Mi-8 flight of the IAF Contingent for the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone. He is the Flight Commander of the Flight.

Op Khukri, a joint Army Air Force UN operation, was conducted to extricate 22 UN peacekeepers, held hostage for more than 75 days by Revolutionary United Front rebels in Kailahun. The Mi-8 helicopters were tasked to carry out special heliborne operations in support of ground operations. These included insertion and extrication of troops into and from rebel stronghold. The helicopters were required to operate from unprepared sites and confined spaces under constant threat of enemy fire. Sqn Ldr George Thomas, a veteran helicopter pilot, was undeterred. Despite being fired upon on a number of occasions he led 24 missions into enemy territory, under extremely adverse weather conditions, over most inhospitable and thickly forested terrain. Throughout the conduct of this operation, the officer flew all the sorties assigned to him, with courage, enthusiasm and with utter disregard to personal safety.

On 08 Jun 2000, Sqn Ldr Thomas was tasked to escort a UN convoy from Hastings to Rogberi, which was captured by rebels. His task included providing fire cover to the ground column. It involved flying the helicopter at extremely low altitudes over treacherous and thickly forested terrain of Sierra Leone under constant threat of rebel fire. During this mission Sqn Ldr Thomas spotted an ambush the rebels had laid for the convoy. Realising the gravity of the situation, the pilot engaged the enemy while at the same time informing the advancing column of the impeding ambush. The rebels fired 03 rockets at the helicopter. With his exceptional flying skill, he successfully evaded these attacks. Undeterred, he held his position in the area and continued to guide the ground force. This timely action thus prevented the ground forces from suffering heavy causalities due to enemy ambush.

For this act of exceptional courage and professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader George Thomas.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Dharmender Singh 18580 F(P)Unit : 111 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Squadron Leader Dharmender Singh (18580) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 25 Jan 99 and is the Flight Commander of the Unit. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and Unit Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner with 4000 hrs of flying.

On 21 Jun 2000, a request for casualty evacuation was received from HQ CAC, 1AF. Erin Gushing, a lady member of a US expedition team was suffering from acute appendicitis and high attitude sickness, which had become life threatening. Sqn Ldr D Singh was designated as leader of a two helicopters formation for the evacuation, which was to be effected from close to Sundardunga glacier near the peaks of Nandakot (22510') and Baling (22651'). Unfortunately all attempts made by him to pick up the casualty at higher altitudes on that day were negated due to bad weather. On 22 Jun 2000, after two unsuccessful attempts, Sqn Ldr D Singh's relentless persistence to penetrate the weather was rewarded. Armed with years of hill flying experience, he navigated below clouds and close to the valley bottom to locate the casualty. As he located the site, the approaching weather and rain made the landing site visible only briefly. Using his skill, professional knowledge and maturity he took a calculated risk to make a swift landing to evacuate the casualty, minutes before weather engulfed the helipad with rain. The circumstances required the mission to be completed at all costs. Squadron Leader Singh courageously evacuated the casualty with his brave effort in the face of imminent danger and saved life of a foreign expedition member. His display of courage in adverse and trying circumstances was in keeping with the best traditions of the IAF.

For this act of courage and professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Dharmender Singh.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Pranay Dixit 22726 F(P)Unit : 130 HU  Award Date 06 Feb 99 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Pranay Dixit (22726) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 02 Feb 98.

On 06 Feb 99 an emergency SOS message was received by the Air Force. A team consisting of two French and five Belgian nationals were stranded near Padam area in the Zanskar Valley due to an unprecedented snow blizzard. Hypothermia, an acute respiratory trauma, critically affected several members of the team. The officer was on a detachment at Thoise and was entrusted upon with the casualty evacuation task. On receiving the task, he was airborne within a short time after modifying an aircraft for casually evacuation. The weather was deteriorating fast in the upper reaches of the Zanskar Valley. He flew through the treacherous and unforgiving confines of the narrow snow bound Zanskar Valley and located the site of the stranded trekkers.

Despite whiteout, poor visibility conditions and precarious obstructions, the officer landed at the snow-covered site. The timely rescue saved the perilled trekkers from a near certain calamitous fate. This laudable act of courage and valour was acknowledged by All India Radio, Television and local Newspapers. His display of exceptional courage in averse and trying circumstances was in keeping with the best traditions of the IAF.

For this act of courage and professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Flight Lieutenant Pranay Dixit.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
JWO Valiya Veetil Rajeev 669018 ORUnit : 153 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

669018 Junior Warrant Officer Valiya Veetil Rajeev, Flt Engr is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 12 Jan 1998. He has been flying extensively in the highly demanding and hostile terrain of the Op Meghdoot and Op Rakshak sectors. He is an exemplary airman and a distinguished Flt Engr who has as astute knowledge of various helicopter systems and procedures.

Over a period of three years, JWO VV Rajeev has flown a total of 950 hrs of which 750 were flown in air maintenance sorties in the Siachen Glacier and Kargil sectors. During the month of Feb 2000, repeated enemy firing over Alpha and Jwala DZs in the Op Meghdoot sector brought the dropping missions to an abrupt halt. The forward posts of Indian Army were in dire need of ration and ammunition. JWO VV Rajeev, with his vast experience and excellent knowledge of the topography, volunteered for emergency drops over the DZs. Accurately monitoring engine and rotor parameters, he guided the crew of the helicopter towards the DZ by resorting to terrain masking. This provided reasonable cover and concealment to the helicopter right up to the DZ. The drop was successful and further missions could be carried out due to the confidence instilled by JWO VV Rajeev.

His sound knowledge on all matters pertaining to service flying makes him a very valuable and dependable worker. His thorough professionalism and sense of responsibility has been big motivating factor for his juniors and colleagues instilled by JWO VV Rajeev.

For his dedication to the service and devotion to duty of a high order, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Junior Warrant Officer VV Rajeev.

Reference:  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Rajesh Isser 16968 F(P)Unit : 128 HU  Award Date 11 Jun 00 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details : Wing Commander Rajesh Isser (16968) Flying (Pilot) is commanding a helicopter unit in the Eastern Sector since 17 May 1999. On II Jun 2000, East Siang district was inundated by flash floods causing wide spread devastation. Three helicopters were launched {or the rescue task and Wg Cdr Isser was to coordinate these ops at Passighat. Wg Cdr Isser personally flew numerous missions and was able to evacuate 46 people from rooftop, treetop, small eroding islands and a capsized boat by rope ladders and winching. This involved hovering over the swirling and ferocious Siang River in poor visibility conditions and heavy rain. A total of 76 people were rescued from the swirling water. Thereafter, he searched for a capsized ferry, which was finally located after an hour of search. The ferry and Its 98 occupants were stuck In the middle of the river, with some of the passengers stuck waist deep in quick sand. He was personally responsible for rescuing 58 people, while others were rescued by the second helicopter pooled in for the task. With his untiring efforts he also coordinated relief operations in East Siang, Yinkiong and Annini district. A total of 2800 marooned people on either side of the Siang were rehabilitated to their homes between 12 Jun 2000 and 26 Jun 2000. He personally flew more than 70 sorties to evacuate more than 1600 persons cut off from their homes entailing operations from riverbeds, hillside and unprepared areas. On 24 Jun 2000 some survivors were spotted from a helicopter on a cut off island. Wg Cdr Isser took off within minutes of the SOS call and winched up 47 people to safety from the swirling waters of the Deopani River. This involved flying in a narrow valley, inclement weather and poor light conditions in late evening. For displaying exemplary professionalism, zeal and courage beyond the normal call of duty, the Hon'ble President Is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Wind Commander Raiesh Isser.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th January 2002 - No.123-Pres/2001 dated 15th August 2001 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Gulbag Singh Padda 18303 F(P)Unit : 112 HU  Award Date 24 Aug 00 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details : Squadron Leader Gulbag Singh Padda (18303) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a helicopter unit since 25 May 1998. He is a Fully Ops staff pilot of the unit. On 24 Aug 2000 the unit was tasked to launch two helicopters for flood relief in Hyderabad. Sqn Ldr Padda, along with his crew, got airborne from Yelahanka at 1300 hrs within an hours notice. Information was received that approximately 150 persons were stranded atop a building, which was mid stream in Musi river. The river was in full spate and had damaged the foundation, which could have led to collapse of the building. Lives of 150 persons were in danger if they were not evacuated before night fall. After reaching Hyderabad, Sqn Ldr Padda got airborne for the rescue mission nearing the sunset time. On reaching the spot he found that the building was surrounded by tall obstructions and winds were gusty. Considering the gravity of the situation he decided to winch up the people from the rooftop one by one. The helicopter was made to hover at 5-7 meters, the only reference being a small portion of parapet of the building roof. Sqn Ldr Padda winched up 127 adults and 15 infants In a little more than 1.45 hrs. The task was completed in eight shuttles without refueling. Sqn Ldr Padda displayed tenacity of purpose and professionalism under very demanding situation. For displaying a high degree of courage and professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Gulbag Singh Padda.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th January 2002 - No.123-Pres/2001 dated 15th August 2001 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Sanjeev Sharma 20489 F(P)Unit : 127 HU  Award Date 23 Jun 00 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details : Squadron Leader Sanjeev Sharma (20489) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted Strength of a helicopter unit since 11 Oct 1999. On 23 Jun 2000, an emergency message was received from the Deputy Commissioner, Tezu District that the lives of more than 100 people were at stake as the Lohit river had risen to dangerous levels inundating large areas. Also, a bus carrying 42 passengers was stranded on a remote Island. Unless rescued immediately, all 42 people were likely to perish. The weather was marginal with Incessant drizzle, low clouds and poor visibility. Sqn Ldr Sharma immediately swung into action. Using his skill he negotiated adverse weather to reach the site. Displaying a keen sense of professionalism and skills he winched up five people who were perched on the roof of the bus. Thereafter, displaying his Indefatigable spirit, grit and determination, Sqn Ldr Sharma flew 12 sorties rescuing 141 people including six infants from various marooned villages. The rescue operation was so well planned and efficiently executed even in trying circumstances that the casualties were landed at Tezu Aircraft Landing Ground even before the District Administration could reach there. This daring operation enhanced the image of the IAF among the people of the region. For his act of daring rescue of flood ravaged people and displaying courage under trying circumstances, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Sanjeev Sharma.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th January 2002 - No.123-Pres/2001 dated 15th August 2001 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Amitabh Sharma 21015 F(P)Unit : 128 HU  Award Date 11 Jun 00 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details : Squadron Leader Amitabh Sharma (21015) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a helicopter unit since 22 Sep 1997. On 11 Jun 2000, Siang District of Assam was hit by flash floods, submerging several villages. Sqn Ldr Sharma was detailed at short notice to carry out flood relief operations In the affected areas. On reaching the affected area he found helpless people clutching on to tree tops and jutting roofs amidst the raging Bramhaputra river. Even as incessant rain and dwindling light made the task of rescuing these hapless villagers increasingly difficult, Sqn Ldr Sharma courageously took up the task of winching these people to safety. The shifting debris of trees and houses, washed away by the ravaging flood waters, posed a grave threat to rescue operations. Displaying exceptional professionalism and commitment to duty, Sqn Ldr Sharma stuck on to the hazardous task. By the end of the day, till light conditions deteriorated making further operations Impossible, he succeeded In rescuing 31 lives. He continued with his mission the next day and flew to safety 40 persons stranded on a steamer stuck in the middle of the Brumhaputra river. Sqn Ldr Sharma handled an extremely hazardous and risk prone task in a professional and cool manner. In handling the task entrusted to him, Sqn Ldr Sharma displayed exceptional courage and devotion to duty, which was in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force. For this act of exceptional courage and professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Amitabh Sharma.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th January 2002 - No.123-Pres/2001 dated 15th August 2001 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Amit Singh Gaharwar 22982 F(P)Unit : 114 HU  Award Date 03 Oct 00 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details : Flight Lieutenant Amit Singh Gaharwar (22982) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength o( a helicopter unit operating in Op Meghdoot area since 05 Apr 1999. He has flown a total of 620 hrs during this tenure. On 03 Oct 2000, Fit Lt Gaharwar was the leader of a formation airborne for air maintenance in Op Meghdoot area. After taking off from Kumar post, he noticed that the No.2 helicopter was not in visual contact. He promptly turned left and started looking for his No.2. He descended down and scanned the expected route till the last known position of No.2. Due to formidable and disguising terrain, he could not locate the crash site but he left no stone unturned in search for his No.2. Because of low fuel he was compelled to return to Base Camp. However, displaying commendable presence of mind, he activated Army Aviation helicopters at Base Camp by relaying a message through an airborne helicopter. Within 15 minutes, he again got airborne from Base Camp in search of his No.2, taking a medical officer and his kit along. On reaching the crash site located by the Army Aviation helicopter, who were hovering nearby, Fit Lt Gaharwar quickly assessed the situation and realised that time was running out. Not finding suitable place to land the helicopter nearby, he hovered at the crash site and dropped his co-pilot directly at the crash site. Hovering there in strong wind with rotor tips only a little distance away from menacing boulders, Fit Lt Gaharwar displayed professional skill of the highest order as well as profound concern for his buddy helicopter crew. Later on Fit Lt Gahaiwar landed near the crash site and walked over 100 m with Inc medical officer in an attempt to retrieve Fit Lt VK Murthy. It was an extremely difficult task to walk 100 m, unacclimatised, at an altitude of 15000' without oxygen. Fit Lt Gahaiwar not only reached the crash site, but also broke through the helicopter structure to pull out Fit Lt VK Murthy. This Herculean effort by Fit Lt Gaharwar at the altitude left him hypoxic, but still disregarding his own physical condition, he put Fit Lt Murthy in the Army Aviation helicopter. Fit Lt Gaharwar co-ordinated with various agencies and mounted a search and rescue operation involving four helicopters and ground search party at a short notice under extreme conditions of sub-zero temperatures and inhospitable terrain. For his display of keen sense of responsibility, professionalism, espirit de corps and the courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry} to Flight Lieutenant Amit Singh Gahaiwar.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th January 2002 - No.123-Pres/2001 dated 15th August 2001 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Ravi Chandrashekhar Pathak 23746 F(P)Unit : 114 HU  Award Date 03 Oct 00 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details : Flying (Pilot) Flight Lieutenant Ravi C Pathak (23746) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a helicopter unit operating in Op Meghdoot area since 25 Oct 99. He has flown 290 hrs during his tenure in this unit. On 03 Oct 2000, Fit Lt Pathak was to fly as co-pilot in No. I aircraft of a formation for air maintenance sorty in Op Meghdoot area. Till Camp-111 post, the sortie was uneventful. After No. I took off from Kumar, he did not receive any RT call from No.2, which was contrary to the briefing. Realising something was amiss, No. I turned back to look for No.2. Fit Lt Pathak performed his duties as a co-pilot admirably and assisted his Captain In locating the position of No.2, which had unfortunately crashed. There was no safe landing space close to crash site. Realising the gravity of the situation, he quickly unstrapped and jumped out of hovering aircraft without giving second thought about the dangers involved. He jumped from 10 feet and walked to the crash site, which was full of boulders. It was an extremely difficult task to walk on that terrain, unacclimatised, at an altitude of 15000 ft, without any oxygen, in sub-zero conditions. He promptly analysed the situation and checked the condition of both the injured pilots. After finding no pulse in Fit Lt VK Murthy, he straightway gave attention to Fit Lt R Sharma and marshalled the army helicopter to a safe place for a low hover. He along with medical officer put Fit. Lt Sharma into the hovering helicopter. Thereafter he jumped into the hovering aircraft to get some help from the nearest post. After receiving the message that Fit Lt. VK Murthy still had some pulse he landed at a safe place near the crash site and dropped captain and medical officer and took off single pilot to Kumar post for help. He analysed the situation and the gravity of time limitation, which became handy in rescuing Fit Lt Murthy on time. For displaying a keen sense of responsibility, professionalism and courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Flight Lieutenant Ravi C Pathak.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th January 2002 - No.123-Pres/2001 dated 15th August 2001 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
WO Kailash Chandra Das 641288 ORUnit : 127 HU  Award Date 24 Aug 00 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details : 641288 Warrant Officer Kailash Chandra Das Flight Gunner Is on the posted strength of a helicopter unit since 25 May 1998. He is a Flight Gunner insfauctor. On 24 Aug 2000 WO Das was detailed for flood relief operations in Hyderabad City. Approximately 150 people were stranded atop a submerged building. Flood waters had damaged the foundation of the building and it was likely to collapse. Immediate evacuation of the victims was necessary to save their lives. On reaching the spot at about 1645 hrs, WO Das prepared for winching operation. On instructions of the captain he guided the helicopter to manoeuvre at the required spot. Less than two hours were available to evacuate the marooned people before sunset. To save time during the rescue operation WO Das physically pulled in the rescued passengers from the cargo compartment door. His physical effort led to fatigue but due to his strong will he continued and winched up 127 adults and 15 children in about one hour and forty-five minutes. Warrant Officer Das displayed a high degree of professional competence, courage and strong will. His selfless action enabled 127 adults and 15 children to be saved. The Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Warrant Officer Kailash Chandra Das.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th January 2002 - No.123-Pres/2001 dated 15th August 2001 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
JWO Sunil Kumar Singh 679540 ORUnit : 128 HU  Award Date 12 Jun 00 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details : 679540 Junior Warrant Officer Sunil Kumar Singh, Flight Gunner is on the posted strength of a helicopter unit since 30 Jun 1997. On II Jun 2000 he was detailed to fly as Fit Gunner for flood relief operations at Pasighat. During these operations, he winched 31 people up from rooftops and handled the situation In a calm and professional way. He expertly guided the pilot to hover the helicopter in between tall trees and other obstructions. While winching up people he kept working beyond the point of physical exhaustion. On one such occasion, he had to almost hang out of the aircraft to grab hold of an 11 year old unconscious girl who was slipping out of the man hoist while being winched up. On 12 Jun 2000 he was detailed to fly as Flight Gunner for a rescue mission involving 100 passengers marooned on a steamer in the middle of the Bramhaputra river. While the aircraft was hovering just above the ground he humped out into 2 feet quick sand disregarding personnel safety to help the people board the aircraft. 56 people were rescued in two sorties that day, During these rescue operations JWO Singh has displayed courage, exceptional devotion to duty in ensuring rescue of all people even at the cost of his personal safety. He has set a personal example worthy of emulation. For this act of exceptional courage and gallantry, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Junior Warrant Officer Sunil Kumar Singh.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th January 2002 - No.123-Pres/2001 dated 15th August 2001 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Cpl Ashim Sarkar 709483 ORUnit : 110 HU  Award Date 24 Aug 00 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details : 709483 Corporal Ashim Sarkar Instrument Fitter 709483 Corporal Ashim Sarkar, Instrument Fitter is on the posted strength of a helicopter unit since 27 Mar 1997. He is a qualified Instrument Fitter. On 24 Aug 2000 Cpl Sarkar volunteered to proceed for flood relief operations in the city of Hyderabad. The operations involved winching people from top of a building, which is in the midst of flooded stream and in danger of collapsing. Cpl Sarkar, on being instructed by the Captain and briefed by the Flight Gunner, readily volunteered to undertake a task of saving the lives of marooned people, though it involved a risk to his own life. In the true tradition of a soldier, C-pl Sarkar, unmindful of his personal safety on being winched down on to the building firstly soothed the nerves of the distraught people and at the same time controlled the people by assuring- them of positive rescue if they followed his instructions. Inspite of not being trained for the task he maintained his composure and executed a task, which at the best of times requires absolute professional expertise and individual skill. Cpl Sarkar skillfully and efficiently carried out ground operations in the face of danger to his own life, thereby ensuring a large number of valuable lives being saved. For his exemplary courage and selfless devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Corporal Ashim Sarkar.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th January 2002 - No.123-Pres/2001 dated 15th August 2001 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Air Cmde Gurdip Singh Kochar 13149 F(P)Unit : BFTS  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Air Commodore Gurdip Singh Kochar (13149) F (P) has been the Commanding Officer (CO) of Basic Flying Training School (BFTS) since 12 Apr 99. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College and was CO of a MiG 27 Squadron and Chief Operations Officer of a Fighter base. Air Cmde Kochar has consistently achieved exemplary standards of flying training in BFTS. With his dynamic and proactive leadership he has personally set high standards for his instructors to emulate. The Flying Training Establishment's (FTE) track record of accident free flying during his tenure bears testimony to his untiring efforts. By sheer hard work, zeal and personal example, he has not only succeeded in motivating and moulding his team of Flying Instructors into a well knit professional body to achieve the basic aim of Stage -I flying training, but has also achieved high standards in the end product, worthy of emulation by succeeding courses. During his tenure at BFTS, Air Cmde Kochar has taken significant steps to improve the working environment and living conditions of the trainees. Under his able guidance and involvement the School achieved an average serviceability of 86% during the year 2000 on HPT-32 aircraft. The School also achieved 100% serviceability during the year for a period of 52 days. This serviceability record was better than other FTEs. A policy decision was taken at the beginning of his tenure to train only officers at BFTS. He executed the task of converting the Flight Cadets Mess into an Officers Mess in the shortest possible time, with personal involvement. He has been responsible for giving the entire Flight Complex a face-lift and has set up a Computer Laboratory within the Flight Complex, which is extensively used by all instructors and trainees. As a result, all ground training lectures and phase briefings are conducted on computers and lesson plans are available on computer. For exceptional devotion to duty, hard work and enthusiasm, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Air Commodore Gurdip Singh Kochar.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Air Cmde Vikas Krishnarao Yajurvedi 13248 F(P)Unit : FIS   Award Date Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Air Commodore Vikas Krishnarao Yajurvedi (13248) F (P) was commissioned in IAF as a fighter pilot on 23 Dee 72. He is an A2 QFI and FCL, who has served on staff of Tactics And Combat Development Establishment (TACDE). He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College and Higher Air Command Course. He commanded a MiG 23 Squadron, and also served as Chief Operations Officer (COO) at an Air Force Station, operating fighters. Air Cmde Yajurvedi was appointed as Commanding Officer (CO), Flying Instructor's School (FIS) and COO Air Force Station Tambaram on 23 Jun 99. Despite the hectic schedule and work content on the ground, he has flown 340 hrs of instructional flying in the last 20 months, a notable achievement. Under his dynamic leadership, the School re-inducted the Kiran aircraft and carried out a smooth and efficient change over to a new training pattern including Kiran and HPT-32 aircraft. The School has flown a total of 12,373 hrs of accident free flying in 20 months of his tenure. FIS was awarded the Flight Safety and Maintenance trophy in the year 2000. Despite the marginal strength of staff pilots, time bound tasks of three Qualified Flying Instructor's Courses were completed on time with a distinct improvement in the quality of training. Specifically, he introduced an innovative 'Situational Awareness Programme' in flying training, thus contributing significantly towards enhanced flight safety. Under his able guidance, the School has employed resources of digital video domain of the multimedia to evolve innovative training methods and also put up an excellent audio-visual show on the Air Force Day. Notwithstanding his hectic schedule, the officer contributed significantly towards flight safety by way of his articles for safety journals. Under his guidance, the School has put up study papers on 'Accident Proneness in Aircrew and Remedies' and 'Situational Awareness Programme' to bring about higher levels of safety and efficiency. As the COO of the station, he has ensured a safe flying environment for the intense flying by FIS and the transit aircraft movements that exceed 100 per quarter. Starting operations from a newly activated transport aircraft dispersal, setting up a well furnished rest room for the branch personnel, thorough revision of various orders, guidance on vegetation and deer clearance are the other notable achievements. For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal' to Air Commodore Vikas Krishnarao Yajurvedi.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Ravinath Gururaj Burli 14667 F(P)Unit : AFS Jamnagar  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Group Captain Ravinath Gururaj Burii (14667) F (P) was commissioned as a Pilot in the IAF on 29 Dee 76. In 24 years of distinguished service, he has held several important appointments that include Directing Staff at Flying Instructors School, Flight Commander of a Jaguar Squadron, Directing Staff at Tactics And Combat Development Establishment (TACDE), Commanding officer of a Jaguar Squadron, Directing Staff at Defence Services Staff College, Chief Operations Officer (COO), and Commandant of TACDE. He is a graduate of Royal Air Force Staff College (UK) and has undergone Fighter Strike leaders course. Chief of Air Staff twice awarded him commendation, in the years 1992 and 1994. Jamnagar has one of the busiest airspace of the IAF, due to the presence of Air-to-Air and Alr-to-Ground ranges, and TACDE. Planning, controlling and co- ordinating of such large amount of flying, varying from flying by fighters and helicopters to advanced exercises by TACDE, is a Herculean task. As the COO, Gp Capt Burii has lead by example in ensuring a high level of operational efficiency. He meticulously planned and co-ordinated the Exercise Vayu Spardha- 2000, which demanded long working hours and was intensive with high workload during the conduct. He measured up to the expectations and provided excellent leadership In co-ordinating the Exercise to a very successful fruition. All other exercises and Op detachments at the Base were accorded similar professional involvement to ensure that the aims arc achieved. In the aftermath of the earthquake of 26 Jan 2001, Gp Capt Burii ensured the prevalence of a safe operational environment, round the clock for days together, that was required to efficiently tackle the mammoth task of providing support to relief operations. Through his experience, knowledge, leadership and hard work, Gp Capt Burii provided a very motivating inter-disciplinary influence on operational, maintenance and administrative environment of the Station. For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Ravinath Gururaj Burli.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Chetan Bali 15708 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Wing Commander Chetan Bali (15708) Flying (Pilot) Wing Commander Chetan Bali (15708) F (P) was commissioned as a pilot In the Flying Branch of the IAF on 15 Jun 79. He has held several key field appointments including Chief Flying Instructor at AF Station Bidar, Station Flight Safety and Inspection Officer at AF Station Gwalior and Flight Commander of a Mirage 2000 squadron. He Is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College and has also served on the staff of Flying Instructors School. He was appointed as the Commanding Officer of a MiG-21 combat squadron on 12 Oct 98. The Squadron at that time had 10 under training pilots. Through his exceptional initiative and drive, he took up the challenge of upgrading the squadron's operational state. His perseverance and dedication bore fruit on 05 Aug 2000 when the squadron achieved the rare distinction of 100% operational pilots' status. Under his command a total of 30 pilots attained operational status which itself is a great achievement. He has gone a step further by operationalising the squadron in the specialist role of valley attacks and high altitude firing. In doing so, he has led from the front by flying more that 850 sorties during his tenure. Although he has been responsible for one minor incident attributable to overzealousness, overall he has an accident- free flying record of 4340 hours on single engine aircraft. For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Chetan Bali.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Rakesh Anand 15873 F(P)Unit : SAC  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Wing Commander Rakesh Anand (15873) F (P) was commissioned on 19 Dee 79 in the Hying Branch of the Indian Air Force. He is currently posted at Southern Air Command where he has worked with single-minded devotion to prepare Carnicobar airfield for fighter operations. He has been closely supervising all sea flying activities during the Air Force- Naval exercises which has resulted in successful culmination of these exercises without a single accident/incident. He has commanded a Jaguar Squadron and has flown more than 5,000 hrs in his flying career spanning 20 years. He also has the distinguished achievement of having flown 2,000 hrs on the Jaguar aircraft. He is an A2 Instructor and has trained a large number of flying branch officers who in turn have displayed impeccable Flight Safety record. Wg Cdr Anand's personal Involvement and untiring devotion had enabled the squadron to achieve a very high degree of professional excellence. During his tenure, the squadron successfully undertook Op validation trials of the Griffin Laser Guided Bomb and the Jupiter Long Delay Fuse. Various other novel concepts such as Blind Bombing by night and weapon delivery under flare lit conditions were also validated. He led the squadron from the front during various exercises like Vayushakti, Akraman, Gujra) and so also during Op Sated Sagar. Further, while faced with a grave in-flight emergency resulting in one engine flame out and extensive airframe damage he displayed exceptional presence of mind and flying skill by recovering this crippled aircraft safely. Under his guidance, innovative ideas like fuel catch rig and drop tank stands were successfully put to practice. In the sphere of administration, he ensured an extremely healthy working environment. In spite of a number of commitments, a marked improvement in the Squadron morale and discipline were noticed during his tenure. His efforts also resulted in the Squadron being adjudged as the Champion Squadron in Central Air Command Exercise Ekiavya 99-2000. For his exceptional devotion to duty, personal example and ability to motivate all those under him, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Rakesh Anand.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria 16026 F(P)Unit : 5 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Wing Commander Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria (16026) Flying (Pilot) Wing Commander Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria (16026) F (P) is the Commanding Officer (CO) of a Jaguar squadron since May 99. He is an A2 Qualified Hying Instructor, Pilot Attack Instructor, Experimental Test Pilot and a graduate of Defence Services Command and Staff Course, Bangladesh. He has 3940 hrs of flying to his credit with over 900 hours of instructional flying and 400 hours of test flying. He has flown 380 hours as CO. He is an outstanding officer with exceptional professional knowledge and flying skills achieved through sheer hard work and dedication. Using his analytical mind and vision he devised a method for carrying bombing from the Jaguar aircraft using Global Positioning System (GPS). This was especially relevant for the bombing role of Jaguar aircraft in Op Safed Sagar. Even though the squadron was not tasked for Op Safed Sagar, the Jaguar GPS modification itself was carried out with significant contribution from him. The squadron also carried out trials on GPS anti-jamming measures. In acknowledgement of his capabilities, the squadron was also tasked to carry out ground adaptation of Matra Magic II air-to-air missile on Jaguar aircraft, a task which would, normally have been that of Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment. The squadron is presently standing by to proceed with firing trials of the same missile. Wg Cdr Bhadauria was also detailed to give operational and user inputs to the design and development agencies carrying out Navigation and Weapon Aiming Sub System (Nav WASS) Jaguar upgrade of the IAR Under his leadership, the squadron has also submitted valuable papers on utilisation of Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS), and night formation flying. During the period of his command the squadron has flown 4500 accident free hours. The squadron has also made serviceable and flown all aircraft on its establishment thereby achieving 100% serviceability. For his exceptional devotion to duty, commitment and dedication to service, high level of professional knowledge, and leading his squadron by example to achieve the highest standards of the [AF, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Nalin Kumar Tandon 16030 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Wing Commander Nalin Kumar Tandon (16030) Flying (Pilot) Wing Commander Nalin Kumar Tandon (16030) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 15 Jun 80 as a fighter pilot. In 21 years of distinguished service, he has held several important appointments, which include Senior Flight Safety and Inspection Officer of a Fighter Base and Chief Flying InstnJctor of a Training Institute. He is an A2 Qualified Flying Instructor and a graduate of Defence Services Staff College. The Officer has over 4000 hours of accident free flying on single engine aircraft to his credit. As the Chief Flying Instructor at Air Force Academy, Dundigal, he performed creditably and ensured that all the Pilot Courses completed their task well ahead of their scheduled time. For maintaining very high standards of training, he was commended by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command and by the Chief of Air Staff in 1999. Wg Cdr Tandon took over the Command of a MIG-21 Squadron on 21 Jun 99 when 'Operation Safed Sagar' was at its peak. He exercised complete control over the situation and speared the Squadron through the rest of the operation with great dynamism. During his tenure as Commanding Officer, the Squadron touched the heights of glory. The Squadron was inspected twice by Aircrew Examination Board, and once by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection. In all the inspections the Squadron performed extremely well and was rated very high each time. The excellent performance of the Squadron has been appreciated at all levels, and the Squadron was recommended for the best fighter Squadron from Western Air Command for the year 2001 - 2002. After 'Operation Safed Sagar', the Squadron was tasked to carry out winter operations from Srinagar airfield after a gap of 15 years. Wg Cdr Tandon showed great dynamism and handled the task of winter operations in a most professional manner. Ever since, the Squadron has been operating in the Srinagar valley during winters. Under his able leadership, the Squadron also pioneered the live firing at Kharbuthang Field Firing Range; a high altitude range located in extremely hostile and difficult terrain. While according very high priority to the operational readiness of the Squadron, he never lost sight of morale and welfare of the Squadron personnel. For exceptional devotion to duty and leadership of the highest order, the Hon'bic President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Nalin Kumar Tandon.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Ajay Kukreja 16774 F(P)Unit : 48 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Wing Commander Ajay Kukreja (16774) F (P) was commissioned in the flying branch of the IAF on 04 Jun 82. He is an A2 Qualified Flying Instructor, with over 8000 hours of flying. He has served as a flying instructor at the Air Force Academy and the Flying Instructors School. He has been the Training Officer / Flight Commander of operational transport squadrons for the past four years. The officer has dedicated himself to the cause of aircrew training thereby considerably improving the operational status of flying units. In the aftermath of Bhu) earthquake, leading by example, he motivated the squadron aircrew and maintenance staff ensuring round the clock relief operations by AN-32 aircraft. He achieved the distinction of landing the first AN-32 by night at Thoise in Jan 2000. With innovative planning and sustained effort he was instrumental In achieving a marked increase in supply drop tonnage by AN-32 in the Siachen Glacier without any increase of resources. Wg Cdr Kukreja was the Type Force Commander for major combat exercises in Feb 2000 and May 2001. The officer displayed remarkable foresight and professionalism as he meticulously planned for the selection of route, timing action at constant speed and co-ordination of the activities of all four sections of AN-32. Braving marginal weather, he ensured a safe and accurate drop by 18 AN-32 aircraft in close formation by night. Working till 2 - 3 A.M. during the planning and work-up phase, to resolve various flight safety issues and co-ordinate plans before the next mission, have been the hallmarks of this Type Force Commander. For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Ajay Kukreja.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Arvindra Singh Butola 16789 F(P)Unit : 114 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Wing Commander Arvindra Singh Butola (16789) F (P) is on the posted strength as the Commanding Officer of a Helicopter Unit, since 14 Jun 1999. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, an Experimental Test Pilot and a graduate of Defence Services Staff College. He has more than 5200 hrs of accident/incident free flying to his credit, out of which 428 hrs have been flown in Ladakh and "Op Meghdoot" sectors of operation In the last 18 months. His Unit is the only Cheetah helicopter Unit operating in Ladakh sector. This extremely difficult area of operations, Includes the "Op Meghdoot" sector in the Siachen Glacier which has the world's highest helipads. Operations in these areas require very high levels of skill, professionalism and courage. Wg Cdr Butola has not only ensured inculcation of a high level of professionalism In the Unit personnel, but has also led from the front, setting an example for the entire unit under the most adverse and challenging situations. In addition, he has displayed the highest levels of flying skill, professionalism, management skills and leadership while commanding the unit. Apart from maintaining his unit in the highest state of operational preparedness, Wg Cdr Butola has taken initiative and keen interest In all the responsibilities assigned to him with infectious zeal and enthusiasm. True to the motto of "Service before Self", he is always ready to shoulder any responsibility, disregarding his personal requirements and comfort. He has always displayed a very high level of maturity and dedication towards the service. Wg Cdr Butola has not only displayed exceptional professional aptitude but has also been an epitome of sincerity and dedication to the service. In recognition of his exceptional professionalism and devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Arvindra Singh Butola.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Rajiv Kumar Mendiratta 16799 F(P)Unit : 2 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Wing Commander Rajiv Kumar Mendiratta (16799) F (P) was commissioned as a fighter pilot on 04 Jun 82. He Is presently the Commanding Officer (CO) of a MiG 27 Squadron. He is a Fighter Strike Leader, with over 2200 hrs of accident free fighter flying. On taking over command of a Squadron on 16 Oct 2000, he faced the daunting task of upgrading the operational status of inexperienced pilots in the basic strike role, alongwith progressing more experienced pilots In the specialised maritime strike role syllabus. With his meticulous planning and judicious use of the ever-scarce aircraft and other resources, he accomplished the task with uncommon competence, efficiency and dedication. Today, the Squadron has an excellent training status, with 10 pilots qualified in its specialist maritime strike role. Also, all pilots, except those posted in recently, have achieved operational status. The squadron was also selected to represent Eastern Air Command in the Air Force level competition, Exercise Vayu Spardha'. In tandem with their routine of training, they geared up for this task also, without compromising on the operation, maintenance and administrative aspects of the squadron, with Wg Cdr Mendiratta leading from the front. The fitting tribute to his leadership, ingenuity, foresight and planning came in the form of the prestigious trophy for the The Best Combat Squadron of the Indian Air Force', which was presented to his squadron by the Chief of Air Staff, on Air Force Day. For exceptional devotion to duty and military leadership of a very high order, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Rajiv Kumar Mendiratta
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Vinod Rangabhashyam 16811 F(P)Unit : AFS Bhuj  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Wing Commander Vinod Rangabhashyarn (16811) F (P) is held on the posted strength of Air Force Station Bhuj, since 02 May 1999. He is the Chief Operations Officer (COO). On 26 Jan 2001 a major earthquake devastated the station at 0846 hrs, causing extensive damage to buildings and houses causing loss of lives and property. Wg Cdr Rangabhashyam's house was also damaged. Unmindful of his personal losses and the welfare of his family, he immediately commenced action as the COO of the station. The Air Traffic Control having collapsed fully and the Base Ops being unsafe for carrying out the operations, the Operational Control Centre was set up at the tarmac, which was manned round the clock. The entire station was plunged into darkness and all the communication lines were unserviceable. It was under such adverse conditions that Wg Cdr Rangabhashyam supervised the operations successfully. Receiving relief aircraft, both national and international, exceeding 1000 by the 25th day, looking after the off loading and dispersal of the relief material, successfully co-ordinating the activities of evacuation of families and casualties, was an extremely difficult task in such adverse circumstances. The calm and collected manner In which he carried on through the aftermath of this nature's fury is praiseworthy. The vision, positive approach and attitude shown by the officer, have won accolades not only to the Station but also to the IAF by large. For his exceptional devotion to duty) qualities of leadership, professionalism, and untiring efforts in successful execution of the relief operations, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Vinod Rangabhashyam.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Nagarajan Venkatramanan 16999 F(P)Unit : 43 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Wing Commander Nagarajan Venkataramanan (16999) F (P) was commissioned In the IAF as a transport pilot In the flying branch on 29 Dee 82. His experience as transport pilot spans over 6674 h of accident free flying hours, which includes 3600 h as captain. He operated initially on HS-748 aircraft wherein he held a Category/Instrument Rating of A Master Green, and Right Hand Seat Captain Pilot on type. This Included a tenure in Air HQ Communication Squadron, wherein he had extensively flown VIPs including visiting dignitaries with a thorough professional touch. Sincere, polite, correct in attitude towards seniors, colleagues and juniors he has a pleasing personality and interacts very well with all personnel. Wg Cdr Venkataramanan was posted to an AN-32 Squadron on 21 Feb 2000 on completion of Air Staff Course at Defence Services Staff College. Within a short time he completed the conversion on type AN-32 Aircraft. He applied himself with his usual thoroughness, dedication and sense of commitment, which enabled him to become competent professionally and functional as Flight Commander. He is an asset to the squadron, in that he has been able to plan both squadron task and training of pilots, by instructing them himself with great patience and care. The Categorisation State of the squadron and role accomplishment has improved appreciably. During the recent earthquake Incident In the state of Gujarat, Wg Cdr Venkatramanan took active part. He ceaselessly flew over 45 hours during day and night and under trying conditions. He motivated his crew and performed as a team, in varying conditions of environment and difficult operational situations. He displayed high standards of professionalism with dedication and without compromising Flight Safety at any stage. Thus he has been able to set exemplary standards for juniors to emulate. For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Nagarajan Venkataramanan.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Yogendra Rajora 17327 F(P)Unit : 127 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Wing Commander Yogendra Rajora (17327) F (P) was commissioned in IAF as helicopter pilot on 22 Dee 83. He is a Test Pilot and has flown more than 4800 h of flying of which more than 900 h has been in "Op Meghdoot" and "Op Rakshak" sectors. During his flying in "Op Meghdoot" sector he was involved in some of the highest airdrops undertaken by Mi-17 helicopters. While flying in the Srinagar valley his helicopter was shot at by the militants and damaged. However, he showed great presence of mind and recovered the helicopter safely from a forward helipad. As a test pilot also he has been involved in a large number of projects. He was also involved in the Mi-35 upgrade project while serving as the flight commander of an Attack Helicopter squadron. He has been in command of a Mi-17 Helicopter Unit since 15 May 2000. During his tenure he has always been leading from the front. He was Involved In a number of flood relief missions in Arunachal Pradesh, often flying in adverse and Inclement weather. In these missions he has rescued almost 400 people mainly from remote and inhospitable sites. Despite erratic flow of spares, he has ensured that the unit maintains a high serviceability. As a result the unit has been able to undertake all assigned tasks with a high degree of reliability and safety. At the same time the training of all personnel, including aircrew, has progressed at a fast pace. The unit has flown more than 2200 hours and airlifted over 2100 tons of load since he assumed command of the unit. This also includes airlift of six bulldozers to helipads at elevations ranging from 1700 to 2400 meters. All this has been made possible due to his total involvement and professional approach, which has resulted in execution of these tasks with total safety. For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President Is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Yogendra Rajora.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Anil Kumar 18790 F(P)Unit : 18 Sqn  Award Date 08 Mar 01 Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Squadron Leader Anil Kumar (18790) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a MiG-27 Squadron since 03 May 1998. On 08 Mar 01 Sqn Ldr Anil Kumar was authorised to fly as one of the two attackers in a group combat mission involving four MiG-27 aircraft. At the end of the second situation, while disengaging the afterburner, Sqn Ldr Anil Kumar found that it did not switch off, and that the throttle was stuck in the minimum afterburner position. Despite his best efforts, RPM could not be reduced below 100%. Applying his excellent knowledge on the aircraft systems, Sqn Ldr Anil Kumar selected the relight switch to "ON" position, which helped reduce RPM to 85% - 87%. Such a combination of emergencies is neither mentioned in any publications, nor has happened before. Thereafter, while executing the approach to landing, the aircraft continued to accelerate beyond permissible threshold speeds. Having methodically analysed all available options, Sqn Ldr Anil Kumar operated the low-pressure fuel shut off lock at a speed of 450 km/h on short finals to switch off the engine and landed the aircraft safely. The permitted threshold speed is 370 km/h, beyond which ejection Is mandatory. Thus, Sqn Ldr Anil Kumar handled the entire hitherto unseen multiple emergencies with courage, in a very calm, composed and professional manner, and recovered a crippled aircraft without any damage from a situation, which would have necessitated ejection. For his exceptional act of courage and professional display in recovering a crippled aircraft with multiple emergencies, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Anil Kumar.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Subhash Palakuzhiyil John 20155 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date 09 Apr 01 Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Squadron Leader Subhash Palakuzhiyll John (20155) F (P) is on the posted strength of ASTE, Air Force since 20 May 2000 as Rotary Wing Test Pilot. In Apr 01, he was detailed to undertake flight trial of a special type of warhead over Pokharan Range. The warhead, along with its rocket motor and associated electronics, was housed in a Warhead Test Vehicle (WTV), which In turn was mounted on a 500 kg carriage plate attached to the helicopter with cables. The trials involved vertical lift of the WTV, under-slung from a Mi-17 helicopter, from a special pit. Thereafter, the WTV was to be carried and dropped from a height of four km over the designation target, for the assessment of its functioning. On 09 Apr 01, while carrying the WTV target area, its rocket motor fired prematurely, when It was still attached to the carriage plate. This resulted In the shearing-off of the retaining bolts of the carriage plate. The recoil due to the rocket motor exhaust gases made the carriage plate whip-up, into the under surface of the helicopter, resulting In the helicopter going into an uncontrolled flight, with damage to the helicopter's under surface. Sqn Ldr John valiantly faced the emergency and brought the helicopter under control. He also calmed the crewmembers and onboard observers. He, thereafter, directed the chase helicopter to locate the point of impact of the live warhead. He went on to direct the ground controllers and bomb disposal team to the point of impact so that damage on ground could be minimised and the live bomblets disposed of. He did all this, while (lawlessly carrying out his immediate task of keeping his damaged helicopter under control, and recovering it to the nearest helipad. For this act of exceptional courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Subhash Palakuzhiyil John.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Ichettira Iyappa Kuttappa 20758 F(P)Unit : 15 Sqn  Award Date 21 Apr 01 Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Squadron Leader Ichettira lyappa Kuttappa (20758) F (P) is on the posted strength of a MlG-21 Bis Squadron, since 24 Jul 2000. On 26 Jan 01, Bhuj was engulfed by a devastating earthquake. Sqn Ldr Kuttappa quickly set about collecting implements to initiate rescue work and commenced the task of breaking into the debris along with some other officers and airmen. Unmindful of his own safety and despite an injury, Sqn Ldr Kuttappa continued to work towards rescue even as mild tremors continued. On 21 Apr 2001, he was authorised to lead a two aircraft strike mission, While at low level, he experienced a bird hit on the starboard wing leading edge. The control rod for that aileron broke and the aircraft rolled viciously to the right. As he countered the roll with opposite aileron, the aircraft pitched up sharply. He brought the aircraft under control with the stick deflected almost fully to the left and forward. Despite taking all laid down actions, the aircraft could be controlled only down to a speed of 450 km/h, still well above the maximum speed permitted for landing. Flying the aircraft under these conditions was itself extremely difficult and landing It was impossible. Sqn Ldr Kuttappa, however, did not give up. He decided to jettison the external fuel tanks and armament pods and carried out a low speed check: He could maintain control down to a speed of 380 km/h In the landing configuration, albeit with maximum stick deflection and leaving no safety margin. In this situation Sqn Ldr Kuttappa would have been fully justified In ejecting from his stricken aircraft yet, displaying exceptional courage and presence of mind and at great risk to his own life, he recovered the aircraft safely. For this act of gallantry, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Ichettira lyappa Kuttappa.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Anindo Sur 23208 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 08 Oct 01 Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Flight Lieutenant Anindo Sur (23208) F (P) has been on the posted strength of a Jaguar Squadron since 03 May 99. On 08 Oct 2001, during a practice sortie by night, the undercarriage lowering system of his aircraft malfunctioned. On selecting the undercarriage down, none of the three wheels came down. Repeated attempts as per the stipulated emergency drill proved futile. Subsequently, on emergency selection, the nose and port wheels lowered, but the starboard wheel continued to remain up. At .this stage, the Navigation Attack System of the aircraft failed, resulting in loss of head up display attitude indication, followed by cockpit misting. The undercarriage emergency warranted an ejection by the pilot. Fit Lt Sur, however, chose to attempt alternate methods to save a valuable aircraft. He increased speed and subjected the aircraft to high 'g' forces. Initial attempts proved unsuccessful. However he persisted with his efforts and finally his perseverance paid off. The undercarriage *D' door that had jammed was prised open due to sustained 'g' forces, and the starboard undercarriage also came down. The aircraft was recovered uneventfully thereafter. Faced with multiple critical emergencies by night, in a single pilot aircraft, this young officer with limited experience displayed extraordinary courage and presence of mind to recover his aircraft from a grave situation, when ejection seemed inevitable. Subjecting the aircraft to high 'g' forces at night could have led to disorientation and loss of control. For this act of exceptional courage, presence of mind in handling critical multiple emergencies, and recovering a valuable aircraft under extremely difficult conditions, the Hon'ble President is please to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Flight Lieutenant Anindo Sur.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Fg Offr Sachin Mehta 25658 F(P)Unit : 15 Sqn  Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Flying (Pilot) Flying Officer Sachin Mehta (25658) F (P), is on the posted strength of a MiG 21 Squadron from 01 Jul 2000. .On 26 Jan 01, an earthquake at Bhuj razed many buildings to the ground. Fg Offr Mehta volunteered to carry out rescue work In an area outside the AF Station. Using only the most basic rescue equipment and displaying immense courage and presence of mind, he worked day and night for the first 72 hours to rescue no less than six survivors. Using the implements available Ingeniously and with imagination, he was able to reach some survivors even deep inside the rubble. With his 'never say die' attitude, he motivated other officers and airmen working with him into putting in their best even at great personal risk. Even as chances of finding people alive receded after the fourth day, Fg Offr Mehta continued to work zealously towards extrication of dead, their identification and performance of last rites. For demonstrating superlative courage in the face of a natural disaster and for his untiring rescue efforts, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Flying Officer Sachin Mehta.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Ashutosh Chaturvedi 18635 ADMUnit : AFS Awantipur  Award Date 22 Oct 01 Announced 15 Aug 02
Details :

Squadron Leader Ashutosh Chaturvedi (18635) Adm/FC is on the posted strength of Air Force Station, Awantipora since 22 Feb 2000. The officer is NSG trained and has been performing the duties and responsibilities of Station Security Officer, O i/c QRT.

On 22 Oct 2001, at 1330 hrs, four Pakistani terrorists belonging to Laskar-e-Toiba, who were armed, attacked the main gate of the Air Force Station, Awantipora. Their aim was to gain access inside the Air Force Station and create havoc by destroying Aircraft, Missile Complexes and to create panic amongst personnel and their families. The terrorists were armed with AK-47 assault rifles and high explosive hand grenades.

On being informed about this attack, Sqn Ldr Chaturvedi immediately swung into action and alerted all the concerned personnel including QRT and reached the site instantly. He positioned himself strategically at the right flank and moved towards the main gate amidst heavy fire and explosions to control the situation. He directed the fire power at the required places and also initiated the necessary action for securing help from BSF and Army for strengthening the security and cordoning off the area for further security. At the very risk of his own life, he relentlessly continued to direct the firepower and guide the people in action on to the terrorists till all of them were killed. Had the terrorists gained access inside the station, it would have been catastrophic for the Air Base. For planning, training, directing and taking active part in an anti terrorist action that was so sudden and unforeseen, Sqn Ldr Chaturvedi displayed exceptional courage and acted in the best traditions of the Air Warriors of the Indian Air Force. For this act of exceptional courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Seva Medal' (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Ashutosh Chaturvedi.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 16th November 2002 - No.145-Pres/2002 dated 15th August 2002 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Cpl Bhushan Kumar Prashar 735702 ORUnit : 2214 Sqn  Award Date 22 Oct 01 Announced 15 Aug 02
Details :

735702 Corporal Bhushan Kumar Prashar IAF/P is on the posted strength of Air Force Station, Awantipora since 06 Aug 2001.

On 22 Oct 2001, at 1330 hrs. four Pakistani terrorist belonging to Laskar-e-Toiba who were heavily armed, attacked the main gate of Air Force Station, Awantipora. Their aim was to gain access inside the Air Force Station and create havoc by destroying Aircraft, Missile Complexes and to create panic amongst personnel and families. The terrorists were armed with AK-47 rifles and high explosive hand grenades.

At that time of attack, Cpl Prashar was on duty as Desk NCO i/c at the Main Guard Room. On hearing the attack at the Main Guard Room he immediately informed all concerned through wireless. He took a strategic position just outside the Main Guard Room and crawled upto BSF LMG post and opened fire towards the terrorists. He continued to direct the others around the post to fire towards the terrorists and displayed a high degree of professional maturity in the whole operation. He held on the post till the time of the enemy was eliminated and neutralized. Had the terrorists gained access inside the station it would have been catastrophic for the Air Base. But for this act of bravery and devotion to duty, this stupendous work would not have been a success. Cpl Prashar displayed exceptional courage and acted in the best traditions of the Air Warriors of the Indian Air Force.

For displaying conspicuous valour and risking his life while eliminating the terrorists, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Seva Medal' (Gallantry) to 735702 Corporal Bhushan Kumar Prashar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 16th November 2002 - No.145-Pres/2002 dated 15th August 2002 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Nk Reji Polackel Thankappan DSC10 290225 ORUnit : AFS Awantipur  Award Date 22 Oct 01 Announced 15 Aug 02
Details :

10290225 Naik Reji Polackel Thankappan DSC is on posted strength of Air Force Station, Awantipora since 13 Oct 2001.

On 22 Oct 2001, at 1330 hrs. four Pakistani terrorist belonging to Laskar-e-Toiba who were heavily armed, attacked the main gate of Air Force Station, Awantipora. Their aim was to gain access inside the Air Force Station and create havoc by destroying Aircraft, Missile Complexes and to create panic amongst personnel and families. The terrorists were armed with AK-47 rifles and high explosive hand grenades.

Naik Thankappan was performing the duties of Guard Commander at the Main Guard Room. He reacted to hostile attack spontaneously and alerted the DSC guards for taking offensive action. He reached the LMG post and directed heavy firepower towards the terrorists. He guided the direction of firepower of his jawans for neutralizing the enemy power at the very risk to his own life. He displayed a keen sense of supervision of his men and showed exceptional courage at the scene of action. Had the terrorists gained access inside the station it would have been catastrophic for the Air Base. In an attack that was so sudden and unforeseen, Naik Thankappan showed considerable foresight and bravery in the entire episode of the battle against the terrorists.

For this act of exceptional courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Seva Medal' (Gallantry) to Naik Reji Polackel Thankappan.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 16th November 2002 - No.145-Pres/2002 dated 15th August 2002 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Nk Jhagru Ram DSC 10 388580 ORUnit : AFS Awantipur  Award Date 22 Oct 01 Announced 15 Aug 02
Details :

10388589 Naik Jhagru Ram DSC is on the posted strength of Air Force Station, Awantipora since 19 Mar 2000.

On 22 Oct 2001, at 1330 hrs four Pakistani terrorist belonging to Laskar-e-Toiba who were heavily armed, attacked the main gate of Air Force Station, Awantipora. Their aim was to gain access inside the Air Force Station and create havoc by destroying Aircraft, Missile Complexes and to create panic amongst personnel and families. The terrorists were armed with AK-47 rifles and high explosive hand grenades.

Naik Jhagru Ram was on duty SLR DSC post at the right side of Main Guard Room. Amidst heavy hostile firing, he positioned himself strategically on the right flank and directed the firepower towards the terrorists. He was close to the enemy fire but unmindful of the risk to his life, he incessantly directed his firing and held on to his post very courageously till all the terrorists were killed. Had the terrorists gained access inside the station it would have been catastrophic for the station. Naik Jhagru Ram displayed a high degree of soldierly professionalism and maturity in combating the terrorists.

For this act of exceptional courage and bravery, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Seva Medal' (Gallantry) to Naik Jhagru Ram.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 16th November 2002 - No.145-Pres/2002 dated 15th August 2002 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sep Ganga Singh DSC 1 450795 ORUnit : AFS Awantipur  Award Date 22 Oct 01 Announced 15 Aug 02
Details :

1450795 Sepoy Ganga Singh DSC is on the posted strength of Air Force Station, Awantipora since 15 Mar 2000.

On 22 Oct 2001, at 1330 hrs. four Pakistani terrorist belonging to Laskar-e-Toiba who were heavily armed, attacked the main gate of Air Force Station, Awantipora. Their aim was to gain access inside the Air Force Station and create havoc by destroying Aircraft, Missile Complexes and to create panic amongst personnel and families. The terrorists were armed with AK-47 rifles and high explosive hand grenades.

At the time of attack, Sep Ganga Ram was the resting guard at the DSC post situated on the right flank of the Main Guard Room. He reacted to the situation in a soldierly manner and alerted the other resting guard while taking position at the SLR simultaneously. He directed the fire power at the third terrorist whom he could sight from his post. He relentlessly continued to direct the firepower and guide the people available at the right flank giving them direction for intensifying the firing till the time he realized that all the terrorists were killed. He displayed exemplary foresight in perceiving the threat to the base as he was the soldier providing direction to the firepower required to kill the terrorist. Had the terrorists gained access inside the station it would have been catastrophic for the Air Base. Sep Ganga Singh displayed exceptional bravery, exemplary courage and foresight during the action against the terrorists.

For displaying conspicuous valour and risking his life while eliminating the terrorists, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Sepoy Ganga Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 16th November 2002 - No.145-Pres/2002 dated 15th August 2002 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Rajesh Kumar 15187 F(P)Unit : 7 Sqn  Award Date 02 Aug 02 Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

Wing Commander Rajesh Kumar (16770) F (P) is the Commanding Officer on a Mirage-2000 Sqn since 26 Mar 2001. he was commissioned on 04 Jun 1982 and has over 3500 hrs of accident free flying including 1000 hrs on the Mirage2000. He is an A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor who has been on staff of Flying Instructors School as well as Aircrew Examining Board.

During 'Ops Parakaram' on 02 Aug 2002, the Sqn under Wg Cdr Rajesh Kumar was tasked with destroying enemy position on the Line of Control. Intelligence had reported infiltration of enemy troops across the LOC taking up positions overlooking own ground forces. There was very limited time available for planning and real time intelligence was lacking. The target was located at high altitude very close to our own troops and was defended by enemy Surface to Air Missiles. A very precise attack was needed to prevent fratricide. When the mission was flown the target area was partially obscured due to clouds and smoke from enemy fire.

Despite the constraints of time, intelligence, difficult terrain and target being partially obscured Wg Cdr Rajesh Kumar successfully led and executed the attack on the LOC. He acquired the target and effectively carried out a LGB attack, while under enemy fire, destroying the enemy bunkers on the LOC. Accurate weapon delivery by him also greatly assisted the other members in formation to acquire the target. Success of the mission facilitated recapture of territory by own ground forces without any friendly casualties. His attack also demonstrated to the enemy the capability of the IAF and will act as a deterrent against any such intrusion in the future.

For exceptional courage under fire and leadership shown, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Rajesh Kumar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 22nd March 2003 - No.43-Pres/2003 dated 26th January 2003 

Bar to Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Raghunath Nambiar 16378 F(P)Unit : 1 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

Wing Commander Raghunath Nambiar (16378) F (P) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 11 June 1981 and is presently held on the posted strength of ASTE, AF wef 24 Dec 2001. Prior to this, he was on deputation to NFTC, ADA from 23 Aug 1999 to 24 Dec 2001 as a Test Pilot. He participated in "Ops Vijay" and was awarded VM (G) for exceptional bravery, skill and courage.

He was standby pilot to undertake the first flight of the Light Combat Aircraft Technology Demonstrater-1 (LCA TD1). He carried out a number of engine ground runs, low and high speed taxi runs as preparation to fly the prototype. He along with the main pilot completed extensive simulator flying on the Real Time Simulator (RTS) and evaluated the control laws of the Quadruplex Digital Fly-by-Wire system. He followed this phase with in-depth evaluation of the redundancy management algorithms and avionics interface at the hardware­in­loop simulation facility known as the "Iron Bird". By the time the pilot in loop simulation ended on the Iron Bird Wg Cdr Nambiar and his teammates had uncovered 11 software deficiencies. These were rectified and fly-by-wire system was cleared for flight. He flew six flights on LCA TD1 from flight Nos. 6-12. Prior to the engine ground run phase Wg Cdr Nambiar played a leading role in the evolution and evaluation of the cockpit warning philosophy. Man machine interface aspects received the benefit of his vast flying experience on the Mirage 2000.

He flew the chase Mirage 2000 for the first six flights of LCA TD1. His presence in chase aircraft considerably boosted the confidence of the test pilot flying the LCA and enhanced flight safety.

From the fourth prototype onwards a new avionics standard cockpit is planned to be flown. Wg Cdr Nambiar has contributed in large measure to the evolution of this avionics standard. Cockpit Display symbologies, Up Front Control Panel (UFCP) for the HUD and ergonomics were the areas in which he worked assiduously for two years.

For this remarkable dedication, sincerity and enormous professional contribution to the crucial early phase of the flight test programme of the LCA, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Bar to Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Raghunath Nambiar, VM.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 22nd March 2003 - No.43-Pres/2003 dated 26th January 2003 

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