Vayu Sena Medal Awardee List


A total of 1179 Awards are listed.
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Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Madhusudan Banerjee 13400 F(P)Unit : 12 FBSU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

Air Commodore Madhusudan Banerjee VSM (13400) F (P) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 02 June 1973. He has held several important command and staff appointments that include Directing Staff at TACDE, command of a MiG-27 fighter squadron and command of an ADDC. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, a graduate of DSSC and an electronic warfare expert. He was awarded VSM in 1999 for distinguished service. Air Cmde Banerjee has been the Station Commander of a front line flying Station since 26 Dec 2000. In this period, the officer has exhibited top leadership qualities, and with personal motivation and dedication he has ensured a very high state of operational preparedness of the Station. Serviceability state of the aircraft and other technical assets of the Station has perpetually remained high. A striking feature of the officer's achievement has been his ability to achieve results at minimal cost and through ingenious methods and innovative ideas. The Station security, which has always remained threatened due to proximity to Rann of Kutch, has been ensured through well thought out security measures, constant vigil and with the availability of an agile and ready counter force.

The Station had to bear the extra squadron for over an year, post 26 Jan 2001 earthquake, which rendered the neighbouring airfield of Bhuj in a despicable state, necessitating shift of fighter squadron. The Station managed the extra task admirably and sustained the morale of all its personnel at a height level through practical welfare measures and team spirit. The flight safety record of the Station has been noteworthy with all around attention being paid to safe operation through aircrew indoctrination, better time management and sound supervision. On declaration of 'Op Parakraman' the Station ensured smooth induction of additional forces and through proper handling and proactive approach the Station reached the requisite preparedness within the shortest possible time.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Air Commodore Madhusudan Banerjee VSM.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Subramanya Sukumar 14672 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details : Group Captain Subramanya Sukumar (14672) F (P) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 29 Dec 1976 and is presently held on the posted strength of Aircraft and System Testing Establishment, Bangalore Air Force since 01 Jun 2000. He is an Experimental Test Pilot and a QFI with over 3800 hours on 25 different types of aircraft including all the fighter aircrafts in the IAF. He functioned as the Chief Project Manager till 04 Nov 2000 and since the, he ahs been the Chief Test Pilot.

As the Chief Flying Instructor at Bidar from Jun 1977 to May 2000, he flew 990 h. For his untiring efforts and ensuring high quality of training achieved in a time bound manner, he was commended by the Chief of the Air Staff.

He was the Flying Display Director during Aero India 2001. His deep involvement in the meticulous planning and skilful coordination of over twenty types of aircraft from all over the world resulted in flying display of international standard. The quality and clockwork precision with which the flying display was conducted were highly appreciated by all the dignitaries who visited the Air Show, including the Chief of the Air Staff, AOC-in-C Training Command and the foreign participants.

During 2001, ASTE conducted a record number of 48 trials, highest in its history. This included some of the most complex trials conducted at ASTE till date. This was made possible by his hands-on style of management and leadership by personal example. He personally led most of the complex trials such as the ASPJ and CMD trials on different fighter aircraft and ensured very high quality of professionalism and supervision. He inspired and motivated his subordinates to very high levels of commitment and performance. He worked tirelessly, well beyond the commitments of ASTE were conducted in a safe, efficient and timely manner, while maintaining the highest standards of professionalism. ASTE maintained an accident free record during this period.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is please to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Subramanya Sukumar.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Rana Biswas 15009 F(P)Unit : 11 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

Group Captain Rana Biswas (15009) F (P) was commissioned on 10 Jun 1977 in the Flying Branch of the IAF. In 25 years of distinguished service, he has served in frontline transport squadrons of the IAF as a Flying Instructor in various Flying Training Establishments, as the Chief Operations Officer of a flying base and in a staff appointment in an operational Command. Presently, he is the Commanding Officer of one of premier transport squadrons of the IAF.

Gp Capt Biswas's exceptional in flying and airborne instructions were recognized at an early stage in his career. He was instrumental in formulation of Standard Operating Procedures for the HS-748 aircraft. His superlative professional acumen and flying skills have served as a template for his successor. He has served in flying training establishments as a Flight Commander and as a Chief Flying Instructor. The exacting standards that he demanded and extracted from the trainees have stood them in good stead in their professional lives.

The squadron presently commanded by Gp Capt Biswas undertakes the onerous task of maintaining lifeline between the Indian mainland and Andaman and Nicobar islands, with the aircraft operating close to the limits of their endurance and performance. Under close supervision of Gp Capt Biswas, the allotted task has been achieved and, more often than not, surpassed, with all commitments being flown safely, smoothly and with enviable efficiency. The Officer has displayed sterling qualities of leadership, initiative and motivational abilities of an exceptionally high order. Under his stewardship, the squadron was adjudged the "Best Transport Combat Squadron" for the year 2000-2001.

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

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Neeraj Yadav 16399 F(P)Unit : 1 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

Wing Commander Neeraj Yadav (16399) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 11 Jun 1981 and presently posted to a Sqn of AF as a Commanding Officer since 06 Mar 2000.

Wg Cdr Yadav is an outstanding professional who has proved his mettle in various challenging assignments time and again. This was manifested in him being selected to command the premier Sqn of the IAF which had a specialist role of EW apart from AD role. It was recently given the additional role of Ground Attack including highly demanding Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) role. On assuming command, Wg Cdr Yadav deeply involved himself in the task and soon the Sqn achieved the high level of proficiency in Ground Attack (GA), which has come to be associated with this fleet. Under his command, the Sqn can proudly claim to have achieved the unique distinction of being Ops in three varied specialist roles.

An able administrator and keen sportsman, the leadership abilities of Wg Cdr Yadav were amply tested when Sqn was nominated to compete the Best Fighter Sqn Trophy during Vayuspardha 2000-2001. Leading from the front and inspiring his men at all levels, the Sqn outperformed all competitors in a wide array of activities to bag this prestigious award.

Administratively, he has displayed simple yet effective techniques of management to motivate the people. Empathizing with those in need and being firm when the situation warranted has resulted in his deriving the best from the men under his command at all times. His leadership vision has made the Sqn an epitome of hard work and harmony. His emphasis on clean environment has instilled a sense of belonging in the men and voluntary involvement in upkeep of the Sqn environment. This has led to the creation of healthy atmosphere and drastic reduction in acts of indiscipline.

For his dedication and devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Neeraj Yadav.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sanjeev Narayan Deshpande 16559 F(P)Unit : 108 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

Wing Commander Sanjeev Narayan Deshpande (16559) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the IAF on 11 Dec 1981. He has been the commanding officer of a fighter squadron, AF since 10 Jan 2000. Prior to taking over command of the Sqn, he has been the Chief Operations Officer of a frontline fighter base. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor. While he was the Flight Commander, his Sqn had the distinction of being adjudged the best fighter Sqn in WAC, IAF.

Wg Cdr Deshpande has been one of the first in his batch to command a fighter squadron. When he took over the command of the squadron there were 11 U/T ops and or U/T con pilots. Without complaining, he undertook the challenge of upgrading the squadron operational state. With his exemplary leadership, exceptional initiative and dedication in a short span of one and half years, the squadron achieved 100% ops status and ratings in May 2001. With is untiring efforts the squadron had the distinction of making 27 pilots operational by day of which 16 have become operational by night too.

While being the last to rest on his laurels he took upon himself to bring up the ops status of the Sqn in the ops role of valley attacks and high altitude weapon delivery. With his methodical approach, planning, professionalism and perseverance 27 pilots have become qualified in valley attacks and high altitude weapon delivery, which has been appreciated by the AOC-in-C, WAC and CAS. His extraordinary efforts and commendable enthusiasm was evident from the fact that he always led from the front and flew close to 90 sorties in the last two years. These results are noteworthy for they have been achieved without a single pilot error accident and the Sqn averaging over 300 sorites/180 hours per month inspite of poor serviceability before the R-11 engines were replaced by R-13 engines on the aircraft.

Although the effort was on bringing the ops status of the squadron, other fields were not left unattended and the Sqn under his able leadership also won the inter unit sports championship for the year 2000-01.

For his distinguished service and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sanjeev Narayan Deshpande.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Tarun Banerjee 16776 F(P)Unit : NFTC  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

Wing Commander Tarun Banerjee (16776) F (P) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 04 Jun 1982 and presently on deputation to NFTC, ADA since 23 June 1999 as a Test Pilot.

On 06 Jun 2002, he successfully undertook the first flight of the Light Combat Aircraft Technology Demonstrator-2 (LCA TD-2). In a prototype programme, the first flight of the subsequent prototypes is normally done by a Test Pilot who has already flown the previous prototype. However, due to the programme compulsions, the first flight of LCA TD-2 had to be undertaken by Wg Cdr Banerjee, without the experience of flying LCA TD-1.

The LCA TD-2 incorporated several new features, the most notable being the unproven ingeniously developed Head Up Display (HUD). He willingly accepted this programme decision and meticulously planned and executed various prepatory tests on the test rings and the prototype aircraft, facilitating identification and satisfactory resolution of a number of inadequacies. During the prepatory ground runs and taxi tests, the prototype type was repeatedly dogged by profuse hydraulic, lubricating oil and fuel leaks.

Wg Cdr Banerjee did not allow himself to be distracted by these high risk failures. In an unperturbed and most professional manner, he continued to conduct various tests and provided very useful inputs to resolve numerous design inadequacies. Braving all technological risks, he carried out the first flight in flawless manner and all the test objectives were achieved successfully. Thus, by putting his life at risk, well beyond the call of peace time duties, Wg Cdr Banerjee helped in achieving another major milestone in the LCA programme.

For exhibiting exemplary professionalism and devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Seva Medal' to Wing Commander Tarun Banerjee.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Amit Tiwari 16806 F(P)Unit : Suryakiran  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

Wing Commander Amit Tiwari (16806) F (P) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of IAF on 04 Jan 1982. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and also an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College. The officer was posted to Air Force Station, Bidar on 29 April, 1997 as the Suryakiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) Deputy Leader. Even without any experience in the erstwhile 'Thunderbolts', he quickly completed his syllabus and started performing public displays. He took over the mantle of Suryakiran Aerobatic Team Leader from 17 May 1999. He has led the team members with a keen sense of initiative to develop new manoeuvre for display. Towards this end, synchronous manoeuuvres were just the beginning. This was first display to the general public in Jun 2000 during the Combined Graduation Parade at Air Force Academy. He had successfully led the Team in 53 displays till date. With characteristic drive and administrative skill, he harnessed the limited resources under him to successfully put up a public display every time the team was tasked to perform. This was most evident during the team's display at Aero India 2001, International Fleet Review and their visit to Sri Lanka, where the Team operated overseas for the first time, bringing laurels and honour to the nation and Indian Air Force. Recently the team carried out the display at Hyderabad and kept a crowd of four lakhs enthralled with their immaculate and professional display.

Displaying total commitment and a very high degree of professionalism, Wg Cdr Tiwari believes in leading by personal example and displaying unique determination, steadiness, physical and mental endurance. Despite the very high risk involved in operating from different airfields, Wg Cdr Tiwari has led the tem gallantly without any accidents till date.

For distinguished service and exemplary professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Seva Medal' to Wing Commander Amit Tiwari.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Vipin Indira Padmanabhan 16829 F(P)Unit : 41 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

Wing Commander Vipin Indira Padmanabhan Nayar (16829) F (P) was commissioned on 04 Jun 1982 in the Flying Branch of the IAF. In his distinguished career, he has held several important appointments, including instructional appointments at the NDA and FTEs, Flight Commander, Command Examiner and Air Force Examiner at the Aircrew Examination Board.

Wing Commander Vipin has epitomized professionalism and leadership on many occasions. While in an AN-32 Squadron, he recovered an aircraft and its occupant to safe landing by his remarkable professionalism when it suffered the failure of a critical engine in the Siachen Glacier. For this he was awarded Commendation by the CAS.

The quality of training to his Sqn pilots was instrumental in the Sqn winning the 'Best Transport Sqn' Trophy. In recognition of his commitment, utmost dedication and devotion he was awarded the Commendation by the CAS again in 1999. Wg Cdr Vipin assumed command of a Tpt Sqn in May 2001. Under the able steward ship, the Sqn won the trophy for the 'Best Tpt Sqn' in Western Air Command. With his professionalism, and skilful guidance, he provided exemplary leadership and motiva tion to the Sqn personnel to bring out their best despite manning constraints. The achievements in maintenance practices, innovations in technical eqpt and resources management stand testimony to his commitment to the IAF. Wg Cdr Vipin not only practices 'Service before Self', but also inculcates the same in men he commands.

For distinguished service of exceptional order, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Seva Medal' to Wing Commander Vipin Indira Padmanabhan Nayar.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Thazhathu Pulikunnel Devasia Joseph 16964 F(P)Unit : 18 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

Wing Commander Thazhathu Pulikunnel Devasia Joseph (169464) F (P) was commissioned in the Flying Branch on 29 December 1982. He has maintained an excellent flight safety record throughout his career. He has held the appointment of Air Force Examiner in Aircrew Examination Board. He is presently commanding a MiG-27 Squadron.

Wg Cdr Joseph was assigned the onerous task of commanding one of the only two night strike squadrons of the IAF. During the first year of his commanded, the share of nigh flying done by the squadron rose to 37% as against 30-31% prior to that. This was achieved inspite of long duration detachments for Millennium Vayu Shakti 2001 (MVS 2001) during fair weather period, long adverse weather period from Apr to Sep and recommencement flying for the inexperienced pilots in the squadron. Under his able guidance and supervision, eight pilots upgraded their operational status to Advanced Night Strike (ANS) qualified by Feb 2002. Through his active interaction with technical personnel and through meticulous planning, Wg Cdr Joseph was instrumental in raising and sustaining the serviceability of the fighters in the squadron by approx 20% during Sep 2001 to March 2002. As recognition of its continued superior performance over a prolonged period, the Squadron was selected as the only unit from Eastern Air Command to participate in the MVS 2001 in Jan-Feb 2001 and later in Sep 2001. The performance of the Sqn during the build up to MVS 2001 in Jan 2001 was particularly appreciated in writing by South Western Air Command, which was coordinating the show.

The officer, with his multidimensional initiatives and technological orientation, has effected several innovations. Many of these resulted in technical method simplification and quality enhancement. Some examples being, a wheel spinning device and modification for milking FDR data during super-structure engine ground runs. These innovative technical initiatives brought about higher aircraft availability with lesser man hours cost. In all these, he led from the front, setting personal examples of the highest standards, always keeping the interests of the service foremost. Thus, Wg Cdr Joseph has displayed excellent leadership, professionalism, and personal qualities, which have enabled the Sqn and its personal to achieve all the challenging tasks assigned to them with utmost efficiency and competence.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Wing Commander Thazhathu Pulikunnel Devasia Joseph.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Shreesh Mohan 16966 F(P)Unit : 24 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

Wing Commander Shreesh Mohan (16966) F (P) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the Indian Air Force on 29 Dec 1982. He has over 3400 hours of flying experience to his credit. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, and an Instrument Rating Instructor cum Examiner. He was also part of the initial core group pilots who were trained in Russia on the Sukhoi-30 in 1997. He has been the Commanding Officer of the premier front line Sukhoi-30 Fighter Sqn since 15 May 2000. Having taken over this prestigious Su30 Squadron, Wg Cdr Mohan has led the Sqn from strength to strength with great enthusiasm, selfless motivation and a very professional approach. With his personal example, dedication, passion for excellence and concern for his men, he has consistently inspired the unit to perform exceptionally well. Under his dynamic leadership, the Sqn was adjudged the Best Fighter Sqn in SWAC for the year 2000 and participated in the Best Fighter Sqn competition for the Air Force in 2001. The Sqn has been involved in various operational trials, tactics development, equipment validation and was the forerunner for special missions during the period of 'Op Parakaram' activation in Dec 2001. Through his meticulous and professional approach he has endured that all the tasks assigned to the unit were performed in an unprecedented manner and in keeping with the finest traditions of the IAF.

With his expertise and previous experience, Wg Cdr Mohan has been instrumental in forming a three aircraft formation aerobatic team on the Su-30, leading once again from the front as the leader of the formation, it was for the first time that such a dedicated team was formed on a large and heavy aircraft of a frontline Sqn. He has also led the Sqn for numerous aerobatic and fly-past displays with clockwork precision, on events of national and international importance including Republic Day, International Fleet Review and Air Force Day. His able leadership, professional guidance and emphatic approach have created a very congenial environment, which has helped in instilling strong professional pride and a sense of belonging to the unit. He has ensured a very high standard of overall performance and the Sqn achieved an average plus grading in all fields from DASI in Dec 2001.

For his distinguished service and devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Seva Medal' to Wing Commander Shreesh Mohan

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Anil Tiwari 17160 F(P)Unit : 130 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

Wing Commander Anil Tiwari (17160) F(P) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 28 May 1983 and presently commanding a Helicopter Unit in operational area with effect from 01 Aug 2001.

On 20 Jun 2001 Wg Cdr Tiwari received an SOS message from the Divisional Commissioner that two trucks with ten civilians on board were marooned in middle of Tawi river due to flash floods. Incessant rains in the upper reaches had caused the water level in the river to rise suddenly and submerge half the trucks. The water level was rising continuously and no other surface means to rescue the marooned persons had been possible. The risk of the trucks getting washed away in swift current endangering the lives of the personnel was imminent.

In true traditions of the IAF, Wg Cdr Tiwari took the lead and took charge of the rescue operation. The rescue helicopter got airborne and promptly reached the spot to carry out aerial recce. Analyzing the gravity of the situation and seeing the men huddled over top of the truck, he decided to winch up the marooned. Taking care of the heavy down wash of the helicopter did not disturb the truck or the personnel huddled on top, the helicopter was brought to a high hover the truck cabin. Continuous light drizzle, overcast skies and non-availability of visual clues over the fast flowing river made steady hover a professional challenge. Displaying steady composure and high professional skill, Wg Cdr Tiwari maintained steady hover and lowered the Flight Gunner on to the truck cabin and with precision and composure, one by one, all the ten men were winched up. Finally the Flight Gunner was winched up to accomplish a rescue mission which required continuous winching for about an hour. This operation received wide publicity and kept the flag of the IAF flying high.

For this display of courage, perseverance and professional skill, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Seva Medal' to Wing Commander Anil Tiwari.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Sqn Ldr Biswanath Kar 21831 F(P)Unit : TTF  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

Squadron Leader Biswanath Kar (21831) F (P) was commissioned on 13 Jun 1992. He is on the posted strength of a Hunter Squadron since 01 Dec 1997. His total service flying is 987 hours. He is also dual trained on the Lakshya Pilotless Target Aircraft and is one of the few pilots who is fully operational in flying this aircraft.

On 24 Sep 2001, Sqn Ldr Kar was ferrying a Hunter aircraft from Kalaikunda to Ambala. On reaching overhead Ambala, during the process of burning fuel, his engine flamed out. He tried a hot and cold relight, which were unsuccessful. At the time of the flame out the altitude of the aircraft was 7000 feet and he was not very favourably positioned in relation to the runway. Poor visibility and an unfamiliar airfield were added constraints. Despite these, Sqn Ldr Kar kept his cool and manoeuvred his aircraft to position himself on finals. During the process his ailerons went into manual control. He landed his aircraft at the correct touch down point and at correct speeds.

An engine failure in a single engine fighter would have normally resulted in an ejection leading to the loss of an aircraft, a precious national asset. The exceptional courage and professionalism exhibited by Sqn Ldr Kar, led to the safe recovery of the aircraft.

For his professional skill of high order, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Biswanath Kar.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Flt Lt Vishal Gupta. 24169 F(P)Unit : 14 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Vishal Gupta (24169) F (P) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 21 Dec 1996 and is presently held on the posted strength of a Squadron of AF wef 12 Jun 2000. He is Fully Ops on Jaguar with a total of 295 h by day and 20 h by night on type.

On the night of 21 Jan 2002, he was authorized to fly a Medium Level Navigation sortie by moon phase. After a normal take off, on retracting undercarriage, the aircraft started pitching up sharply. All efforts to arrest the pitch up by pushing the stick forward and use of main and standby trimmer failed. To retain control over the aircraft he critically analysed the uncommanded motion of the aircraft, switched off reheats, banked the aircraft adequately to restrict pitch up and managed to level out at 10000 feet. He subsequently remained in turn in order to maintain height. He then started dropping his speed to ensure that level flight could be maintained after lowering of flaps. With the reduction of speed, lowering the flaps and jettisoning of excess fuel, he was able to regain some positive control over the aircraft in level flight. Subsequently, he ascertained that he could fly the aircraft and maintain level flight in landing configuration, with large but manageable stick forces. When fuel was reduced to landing configuration, he was fed into a Ground Controlled Approach (GCA) wherein he aligned himself with the runway well in advance and executed a safe landing. During this process he had to use all his skills to regulate the amount of forward pressure to maintain the glide slope, round out and touchdown.

During investigation, it was revealed that a cross point screw driver was stuck in the tail plane control rods. This physical restriction resulted in the control column getting almost jammed in fore and aft axis, and could only be moved by the force of both hands of the pilot. Faced with a critical situation Flt Lt Gupta kept his cool and took prompt action to retain control over the aircraft that had developed control restriction due to presence of foreign object. Although he had very limited experience by night on type, he displayed exceptional flying skills in overcoming a very serious flying situation. He handled a complex malfunction in a calm, composed and professional manner and thus averted the loss of a valuable asset of the nation.

For an act of courage, exceptional flying ability and presence of mind, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Seva Medal' to Flight Lieutenant Vishal Gupta.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Narinder Kumar Bhoan 14312 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 04
Details : Gp Capt Narinder Bhoan, who got the award for the second time. He was part of the team that was sent to Russia in 1998 to participate in the avionics system development of the SU-30 MKI aircraft, and its tailoring to specific Indian needs. Posted at the Ahmedabad-based south western air command, he was put in charge of a venture of adapting a Russian-made weapon on the Jaguar, a task he completed well in advance of the projected year-long time frame.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Raju Stephen 14689 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 04
Details :

Group Captain Raju Stephen (14689) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the IAF on 29 Dec 1976. He has flown over 4500 h on a variety of aircraft. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and a post graduate from Defence Services Staff College. He has commanded a Care and Maintenance Unit (C & MU) and has been a flying inspector with the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection at Air Headquarters. Presently, he is posted as a Commanding Officer of a transport Squadron (Sqn) since 23 Jul 2001. While Commanding the Sqn, Gp Capt Stephen has met all assigned tasks in a professional manner. He has led his Sqn from the front and has flown numerous drop and landing sorties in the northern sector under the most challenging flying conditions. He deftly managed the resources placed under him to maximise their use and achieve better than expected results. Under his dynamic leadership, the Sqn airlifted the highest tonnage in the history of air maintenance in the northern sector during three consecutive months from Nov 2002 to Jan 2003. This was achieved in spite of constraints of aircrew, aircraft availability and unprecedented bad weather during Jan 2003. The Sqn's excellent performance during 'Op Parakram' on the flight safety front and in exercise 'Geromino Thrust' at Alaska, USA, bears testimony to exceptional leadership qualities and professional competence. He continuously managed his team by keeping them in high morale and motivated to do more with utmost regard to safety in the air and on the ground.

For his dynamic leadership and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Raju Stephen.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Nasib Singh Kadian 15025 F(P)Unit : AEB  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 04
Details :

Group Captain Nasib Singh Kadian (15025) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the IAF on 10 Jun 1977 as a fighter pilot. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor with 4500 h of accident free flying. He has been Flight Commander of a MiG-21 Sqn and Squadron Commander of MiG Operational Flying Training Unit. He commanded a fighter Sqn and Operational Conversion Unit (OCU), wherein, he was instrumental in resurrecting both these units on MiG-21 in a record time. During his tenure of two years as Chief Operations Officer (COO) of a major airbase operating fighters, transport aircraft and helicopters, he was largely responsible for an all-time record airlift of 50,000 ton load for forward area maintenance and ensuring accident free flying. He is an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College.

Gp Capt Kadian took over as Commanding Officer of the Aircrew Examining Board on 29 Jul 2002. It is the custodian of professional excellence of the IAF. He has given a new focus to it's thrust areas. In the last ten months, he has reoriented the examining system to an operational role specific pattern, thereby ensuring high professional standards in the IAF. The amendments in the existing instructions on instrument flying conceived by him would go a long way in enhancing operational proficiency and flight safety. Through his personal involvement and commitment, the Board has undergone a paradigm shift in terms of its working environment, computer cum edit room, computerised auto-generation of question papers, archives and library. He has been responsible for the conceptualisation of a very high-class training infrastructure for conduct of courses by the Board.

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

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Codanda Chitrajit Cariappa 15038 F(P)Unit : AHQ and Comm  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 04
Details :

Group Captain Codanda Chitrajit Cariapa (15038) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the IAF on 10 Jun 1977. He took over command of Air Headquarters Communication Squadron on 16 Aug 2001. The task of the Squadron (Sqn) is to convey the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister within India and sometimes ex-India. The Sqn is also tasked to convey foreign Heads of States and other VIPs within India. The nature of the task demands perfection and a very high degree of professionalism.

On taking over the Sqn, Gp Capt Cariapa initiated measures to enhance professional standards and optimise resources. Using a systems approach, he restructured the B-737 flying training and reduced the conversion time of B-737 aircrew from eighteen months to seven months. His foresight and involvement has resulted in the B-737 flight having as many as 10 Cat 'A' aircrew which is a rare achievement in the history of the Sqn. Similarly, flying training and night flying targets of Avro and MI-8 flight have doubled in a short period through innovative planning.

As the Commanding Officer of a unit that is a 'flag bearer' of Indian Air Force both within India and abroad, the officer has ensured successful execution of more than 2000 VVIP/VIP sorties. Last year, the Prime Minister complemented the Sqn for the flawless execution of his election tour. During the visit of the Deputy Prime Minister to France and Thailand, the Sqn was commended for projecting a high image of the nation. Further, there has been an increase in VVIP/VIP task since September 2002 by as much as 250%. This enhanced task has been achieved successfully primarily due to the professionalism, hard work and meticulous planning of Gp Capt Cariapa.

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

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Ashok Lal 16031 F(P)Unit : 30 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 04
Details :

Wing Commander Ashok Lal (16031) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the IAF on 15 Jun 1980. He took over the command of a MiG-21 Squadron at Air Force Station, Chabua on 27 March 2000. Throughout his tenure of two years and five months, he not only displayed motivation, dedication and tireless zeal, but also demonstrated exemplary supervisory and leadership skills to derive the same from all the unit personnel.

Under the competent guidance of Wg Cdr Lal, the unit has achieved commendable levels in task accomplishment, flight safety, maintenance and administrative aspects. Under his proficient leadership, the unit flew 4231 h of accident free flying. For timely and effective achievement of the given task and achievement of high operational state, the unit was awarded the 'Best Fighter Squadron' trophy in Eastern Air Command in Sep 2001. For the immaculate practices introduced by him and followed at the Daily Servicing Section (DSS), the unit was also recognised as a 'Centre of excellence'.

The all round excellence of the unit under supervision of Wg Cdr Lal was validated during the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection (DASI) visit in Jan 2001. The Unit was assessed as high average in Op (Air), average plus on ground, high average in maintenance aspects, average plus in administration and average plus in activation. He also ensured that very high standards of training are achieved in the Unit. Despite the pressure of the appointment, he has flown 762 sorties/445 h during his tenure.

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

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Ashwani Kumar Nabh 16608 F(P)Unit : 17 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 04
Details :

Wing Commander Ashwani Kumar Nabh (16608) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying branch of the IAF on 11 Dec 1981 as a fighter pilot. He has 5000 sorties of accident/incident free fighter flying to his credit. In 22 years of distinguished service, he has held several important field and staff appointments like Flying Instructor in Air Force Academy and Flight Commander of a fighter Squadron (Sqn). As Flight Commander, he had safely landed a severely crippled MiG-21 trainer. For his professionalism, he received the Commendation by the Chief of the Air Staff of 26 Jan 1999.

Whilst working in the Directorate General of Signals Intelligence, Air HQ, he was instrumental in conceptualizing and development of a futuristic project 'Divya Drishti'. This project being operationalised by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will provide unpreced ented intelligence gathering capabilities for national security planning.

Wg Cdr Nabh took over command of a MiG-21 Sqn on 15 Oct 2001, tasked with 'Reconnaissance' role. During 'Op Parakram', his Sqn was operationally active under most trying conditions in the valley. He displayed unwavering perseverance and foresight to ensure highest operational status of all the pilots in the Sqn by upgrading the tempo of operational training. Now, the Sqn aircrew is fully qualified in all possible operational roles. Leading by personal example and displaying airmanship of highest order, he flew over 400 sorties in last one year. He kept the Sqn technical personnel fully motivated and committed to achieve highest serviceability of aircraft and operational role equipment. The Sqn achieved 100% serviceability in Feb 2002 during the peak of 'Op Parakram' and thereafter maintained it well above 70% throughout year. The Sqn did exceedingly well during all the inspection visits during this period.

An articulate professional, Wg Cdr Nabh submitted two well-researched service papers on Pakistan's Combat Tactics. Recently, he presented two papers on contemporary subjects of 'Supervision in Flight Safety' and 'Steps for improving our Reconnaissance Capabilities'.

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

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sharad Tewari 16616 F(P)Unit : 142 SSS Flt  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 04
Details :

Wing Commander Sharad Tewari (16616) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the IAF on 11 Dec 1981. He has over 5000 h of accident/incident free flying to his credit, which includes over 1500 h of instructional flying. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and a graduate of Defence Services Staff College. He has held the appointment of Flight Commander of a Helicopter Unit. During his tenure as Flight Commander, the unit was adjudged the best helicopter unit in Western Air Command. He has been the Chief Operations Officer of a flying Station. Presently, he is the Commanding Officer of a Chetak/Cheetah flight since 17 Aug 2001.

Ever since taking over of the command, Wg Cdr Tewari has strived hard to bring about an all-round improvement in the functioning of the unit. As a result of his dedicated efforts, meticulous planning and personal involvement, the unit achieved 100% serviceability of Cheetah helicopters for over 280 days and of Chetak helicopters for over 75 days. In this period the unit flew over 3000 h without any accident/incident. The unit successfully undertook two mercy missions at a short notice in the high mountainous regions of Bhutan in marginal weather conditions and evacuated three American nationals to safety. Also, in Jul 2002 the unit undertook flood relief with two helicopters ex-Bhita in Bihar. These acts brought laurels not only to the unit but also to the IAF. During surprise inspection by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection (DASI) in Apr-May 2002, the unit was assessed 'high average' in all three disciplines of operations, maintenance and administration. During the Aircrew Examining Board visit in Oct 2002, six out of ten pilots, who appeared, upgraded their flying category/instrument rating. The unit achieved over 90% categorisation status. For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sharad Tewari.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Mathews Mammen 16618 F(P)Unit : MC HQ Flt  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 04
Details :

Group Captain Mathews Mammen (16618) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the IAF on 11 Dec 1981. He is a highly qualified and experienced pilot with over 7000 h of accident free flying to his credit. He is qualified in many operational and instructional roles with the highest Tpt Cat/R 'A' MG. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor/Examiner and is also a graduate of Defence Services Staff College (DSSC). He has been the Commanding Officer of Headquarter Maintenance Command Communication Flight wef 26 Mar 2001.

As the Commanding Officer Gp Capt Mammen has made excellent use of his knowledge and experience in meeting the task allotted to the unit. He has been able to mould and optimally utilise the potential among young pilots and navigators by inspiring them through personal example. He has achieved the synergy between operations and maintenance for safe and efficient utilisation of available aircraft. The unit achieved a very high state of categorisation, high serviceability and flew a total of 2289 h of accident and incident free flying during his tenure.

Gp Capt Mammen displayed exceptional professional ability and mental capacity to deal with the emergency and avert escalation of the emergency into a technical malfunction or material failure of an aircraft which occurred soon after take off with the AOCin-C, Maintenance Command, IAF on board. He thus set a good example of discipline in air and on ground to ensure safe conduct of flying operations without diluting operational efficiency.

Gp Capt Mammen has also made sustained efforts towards overall betterment of the unit. With his zeal, foresight, innovative organisational ability and sustained hard work, he has brought about marked improvement in the work ethos and working environment, which has contributed positively towards achieving the assigned tasks. During the recently concluded Mini Commanders Conference, his unit was awarded the 'Best Unit Support-Function for overall excellence' by AOC-in-C, MC, IAF.

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

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Prashant Nagaraja Kaushik 16783 F(P)Unit : 6 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 04
Details :

Wing Commander Prashant Nagaraja Kaushik (16783) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the IAF on 04 Jun 1982. He has flown over 4000 h without accident of which nearly 2500 h has been on operational aircraft. He is a Pilot Attack Instructor and Qualified Flying Instructor.

He is an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College. He has been a Flight Commander of a fighter Squadron (Sqn) and the Chief Flying Instructor at Air Force Academy. Presently, he is the Commanding Officer of a fighter Sqn since 28 Jun 2001.

Leading by his personal example, Wg Cdr Kaushik has been able to instill confidence, enthusiasm and a sense of professional pride in his Sqn personnel, thus binding them into a strong and potent force. In 2001, the Sqn was nominated for best fighter Sqn of the IAF. During Directorate of Air Staff Inspection (DASI) inspection in Dec 2001, the Sqn was assessed as average plus. The armament scores of the Sqn have consistently remained above average to exceptional. The Sqn, also had the rare distinction of being the first fighter Sqn in ten years to operate from Car Nicobar airfield.

Wg Cdr Kaushik has been able to motivate the Sqn to reach a very high level of performance. The Sqn has a unique dis tinction of having two major operational roles i.e. land strike and maritime strike. Despite constraints of aircrew and assets, the Sqn has executed all tasks in both roles in a professional and noteworthy manner, including participation in six inter-services exercises. Under the leadership of Wg Cdr Kaushik, the Sqn's performance in the long outstation detachment during 'Op Parakram' was creditable. During his tenure, the Sqn has flown more than 2700 h without an accident.

For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Prashant Nagaraja Kaushik.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Michael Fernandez 16967 F(P)Unit : 224 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 04
Details :

Wing Commander Michael Fernandez (16967) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the IAF on 29 Dec 1982. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College. Presently he is the Commanding Officer of a fighter Squadron wef 28 Jun 2001.

A few months into his command, post 9/11, the Sqn mounted live Operational Readiness Platform (ORP) and stayed almost continuously on alert until deployed for 'Op Parakram' in mid-December. While deployed, the squadron participated in every command level exercise in every role from live ground attack missions to Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) Combat Air Patrols to Counter Surface Forces Operations strikes to heavy armament loading exercises and acquitted themselves commendably under Wg Cdr M Fernandez's leadership. All this while the Sqn was also carrying out live ORP. Under his guidance, the unit devised a high altitude release sighting technique to overcome the inherent limitations of the aircraft's gunsight with appreciable results. It was also under his command that the fleet dropped live armament by night for the first time. Though severely constrained in terms of aircrew and technical officer strength, he managed to operate his operational detachments efficiently undertaking all assigned tasks. This included successful operation of a two aircraft ORP from the civil airfield at Ahmedabad on a trial basis. With his leadership and motivational skills he had groups of the Sqn's Tech Flight keenly volunteering to be despatched to the op location, thereby allowing the Sqn's Daily Servicing Section (DSS) personnel adequate rotation to spend time at home base. This did wonders for the unit's morale. He enthused his Sqn members to envision the future and innovate in several areas – the most notable one being the use of the hand held Global Positioning System (GPS) as a combat debrief tool. Besides maintaining a high serviceability state throughout his tenure, an average of 62% for fighters and 74% for trainers, also achieved 100% serviceability in Jan 2003.

In Jan 2003, with no warning, the unit was inspected by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection (DASI), after almost a decade, two changes in location and a change in role. With absolutely no past indications for guidance, Wg Cdr Fernandez led his unit to achieve 'high average' in all the three prongs while the squadron flew every conceivable type of mission, be it air defence or ground attack.

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

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Vivek Ram Chaudhari 16978 F(P)Unit : 28 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 04
Details :

Wing Commander Vivek Ram Chaudhari (16978) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the IAF on 29 Dec 1982 as a Fighter Pilot. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor (QF1) with over 3650 h of accident free flying to his credit. He has been part of the first formation aerobatics team on the Kiran Mk-II, Flight Commander of a fighter Squadron (Sqn) and an Air Force Examiner on all MiG variant and all trainer ac. He is presently commanding a fighter Sqn since 17 Sep 2001.

Wg Cdr Chaudhari assumed command of the Sqn at the time when the IAF was put on high alert. With his initiative, hard work, perseverance and excellent leadership qualities, he brought in transformational changes in the functioning of the Sqn. During 'Op Parakram', his Sqn was tasked to deploy at three locations as per the war plans. With only nine pilots and one trainer ac available, he alternated between the bases so as to complete the revalidation of augmented pilots in record time and become operational at the earliest from all three locations. While carrying out day and night Operational Readiness Platform (ORP) duties, he flew over 150 sorties and took part in all exercises. Being the only QF1 at one base, he also undertook the conversion of three under training pilots. In consultation with Tactics and Air Combat Development and Training Establishment (TACDE), he helped in development of tactics for Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Vs BVR missile engagements and interception of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. While remaining deployed, his Sqn provided Dissimilar Air Combat Training to all the MiG-21 Sqns within the command, thereby enhancing their operational status.

To overcome the constraints of limited ground equipment, which were adequate only for two detachments, he obtained common equipment from co-located fighter Sqns so that his Sqn could operate from five locations on two occasions. He also used the resources of Pechora units for air charging and Nitrogen purity testing resulting in reduced requirements of air cylinders. His Sqn made innovative use of autoloaders for removal of canopy and ejection seat for servicing, thereby saving on frequent ferries to parent base.

Working under constraints of split locations, inadequate communication between them, low manning levels and extended supply lines, he remained ahead of the situations and adopted proactive measures to enhance the output of the unit. By personally moving from one location to another he ensured that he was in constant touch with the entire unit personnel and kept morale of the Sqn high. The Sqn was deinducted after being deployed for thirteen months and was soon inspected by the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection team, without a warning. Wg Cdr Chaudhari led his Sqn to achieve average plus in operations and high average in maintenance activities.

For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Vivek Ram Chaudhari.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Guttikonda Amar Prasad Babu 17714 F(P)Unit : 115 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 04
Details :

Wing Commander Guttikonda Amar Prasad Babu (17714) Flying (Pilot) was commis sioned in the Flying Branch of the IAF on 21 Dec 1984 as a Helicopter Pilot. He has over 5000 h accident/incident free flying in a variety of roles, which include high altitude, instructional and off shore roles. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner on MI-8 and Chetak helicopters. He is an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College. During 18 years of distinguished service, he has held important appointments such as Flight Commander of a Mi-8 Unit and a Chetak Flight in United Nation Peace Keeping Mission in Sierra Leone and Commanding Officer (CO) of Chetak/Cheetah Unit. Presently he is CO of a Helicopter Unit since 13 Aug 2001.

Under the command and supervision of Wg Cdr Babu, the unit performed exceptionally well in all spheres of activities. Operationally, the unit flew over 4334 h, averaging 216 h a month, even when the aircraft strength was reduced to only seven helicopters for some time. Initiation of young pilots into operational role has been his strong point. The young officers were encouraged to shoulder the responsibility in operational matters thereby enhancing their confidence and self-esteem. The level of motivation is evident from the fact that 14 upgradations of professional rating were achieved by young officers within a short period of 18 months. To achieve a high operational efficiency, Wg Cdr Babu rationalised and standardised the techniques and tactics for op role pertaining to the terrain and trained all pilots accordingly. He displayed an exceptionally high degree of foresight, planning and motivational skills to obtain maximum efficiency from his men. He led from the front whenever his unit was assigned an important task. He fostered and nurtured an exceptional espirit-de-corps amongst all the ranks, thus bringing out an excellent teamwork to achieve desired objectives.

For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Guttikonda Amar Prasad Babu.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Mayenk Tewari 17719 F(P)Unit : 114 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 04
Details :

Wing Commander Mayenk Tewari (17719) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the IAF on 21 Dec 1984. He is an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College. He was commended by the Chief of the Army Staff in 1994. Presently he is the Commanding Officer of a Helicopter Unit since 21 Jun 2001.

The unit is tasked with air operations in the entire Ladakh sector including the disputed Siachen Glacier where the terrain and climatic conditions are extremely hostile towards helicopter operations. Operations here require meticulous planning and execution as helicopters operate at the extremes of their flight envelope and that too at helipads located in direct line of enemy fire. In these arduous conditions Wg Cdr Tewari has not only flown extensively himself but also imparted extensive flying training to all pilots of his unit. His foresight of conducting single pilot operations in the glacier at some of the world's highest helipads including Amar and Sonam was a great help when the engines of unserviceable ac had to be changed or retrieved at these helipads. Under his leadership, accurate planning and perseverance, stranded helicopters were recovered from these helipads under constant enemy threat. Disregarding the harsh weather and the enemy threat, he undertook these perilous missions of recovering these aircraft in single pilot configuration, saving crores of rupees to the exchequer.

With his continued interaction with the unit personnel, Wg Cdr Tewari has been successful in building a high level of morale in the unit and creating an environment conducive for safe flying. He also took initiative in the upliftment of the unit complex and construction of the unit museum.

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

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Sanjeev Kumar Bhatnagar 18838 F(P)Unit : 114 HU  Award Date 21 Feb 03 Announced 26 Jan 04
Details :

Squadron Leader Sanjeev Kumar Bhatnagar (18838) Flying (Pilot) is posted as the Flight Commander of a Helicopter Unit at Air Force Station Leh since 08 Apr 2002.

On 21 Feb 2003, he was tasked with casualty evacuation from Batagul in Drass sector. On completion of the mission, Commanding Officer of the local army unit requested him to evacuate a patrol of 08 Jawans who were trapped in an avalanche very close to the LOC. He immediately carried out a recce and evacuated all 08 Jawans in two quick and meticulously planned missions in unfavourable weather conditions under the threat of enemy fire.

The patrol was stranded in the open without any shelter close to the LOC. The return route was blocked due to heavy snowfall and avalanches. With limited supplies and deteriorating weather conditions, any delay would have resulted in the loss of precious lives. The rescue was carried out in a calm, prompt and professional manner, despite the high altitude (which degraded the helicopter handling and performance), the narrow valley (which made manoeuvring difficult) and the unprepared and soft sloping ground, which made a landing difficult. Notwithstanding the perils of deteriorating weather conditions, white out conditions and loose snow, which made the task even more hazardous and the omnipresent danger of enemy firing, he gallantly saved the lives of the soldiers. The mission was a display of exemplary courage in the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force. This brave act was well appreciated at all levels by the sister service.

For this act of courage in the face of the enemy, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Sanjeev Kumar Bhatnagar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Sqn Ldr Gopinath Girish Kumar 20179 F(P)Unit : 121 HF  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 04
Details :

Squadron Leader Gopinath Girish Kumar (20179) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the IAF on 14 Jun 1989. He has flown 3600 hrs of accident/incident free flying as captain in varied roles. Presently he is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 06 Sep 1999.

Ever since his arrival in the unit, Sqn Ldr Kumar has been a pillar of strength and an epitome of selfless service in all the facets of the unit functioning. Till date, he has undertaken nine life saving missions from snow bound locations of Himachal hills located above 13500 feet. These include rescue of a Swedish and an Austrian national from Kurgiakh Village on two different occasions and rescue of a Spanish national from Mayar Glacier. In another six mercy missions, Sqn Ldr Kumar saved seven lives. It included rescue and evacuation of two trekkers stranded by an avalanche in adverse weather conditions from Gangotri Glacier, an NCC girl cadet forming part of an expedition to Rudgaira peak and a critically ill lady with post delivery complications from snow bound Hanse village. In all these life saving missions the landings involved were over loose, unprepared, fresh snow bound terrain infested with huge boulders located in narrow valleys. Due to the absence of any clear landing area at these locations, the helicopter had to be maintained in low hover over one spot with one skid touching the slopes and the rotors running to pull in the causalities. The high altitude, inhospitable terrain, lack of ground reference due to white out conditions and limited reserve of power made the task even more daunting, demanding a composed mind, immense mental courage, high degree of concentration and scant regard to personal safety.

With his excellent organizing ability and exemplary discipline Sqn Ldr Kumar not only inspires respect and confidence in the team but also ensures work output of a very high standard. As an effective supervisor in the unit he has been deeply involved in the formulation and execution of Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) role, including various trials on the CSAR under slung net. He has been the pioneer in the planning and successful conduct of the hill training camp undertaken by the unit. Five such camps have been conducted under his supervision in last three years. His methodical approach, excellent practical knowledge and thorough analysis of situations inspire others to follow.

For his consistent exemplary performance and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Gopinath Girish Kumar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Naresh Bhalerao 22908 F(P)Unit : 114 HU  Award Date 05 Apr 03 Announced 26 Jan 04
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Naresh Bhalerao (22908) Flying (Pilot) is held on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 03 Sep 2001.

On 05 Apr 2003, he was tasked with casualty evacuation of Capt AK Chandan of 21 Grenadiers who had been engulfed in an avalanche near Chandan II in OP Meghdoot Sector. He reached the site within minutes and realised that the mission would have to be carried out in full view of 'U – cut', a Pakistani observation post, which could direct artillery and mortar shelling on to him. Realising the gravity of the situation, he instructed No 2 to stay clear while he picked up the causality by touching down on a single skid on an uneven rough surface and immediately set course for Base Camp.

Sqn Ldr Bhalerao displayed exceptional courage, professionalism and decision taking ability while carrying out the mercy mission at 16000 feet, where the handling and performance of the helicopter is seve rely affected. The mission was carried out under continuous threat of enemy fire and further avalanches besides the risk of getting into ground resonance and toppling. Notwithstanding the perils, he gallantly evacuated the casualty and ensured timely medical attention. His actions speak of great dedication, courage and unselfishness, which are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force.

For this act of courage and professional competence, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Flight Lieutenant Naresh Bhalerao.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Mukesh Rawat 17453 F(P)Unit : 117 HU  Award Date 21 Nov 03 Announced 15 Aug 04
Details : Wing Commander Mukesh Rawat (17453) Flying (Pilot) is commanding a Helicopter Unit at Air Force Station, Sarsawa since 05 August 2002.

In the evening of 21 November 2003 the station was tasked to undertake casualty evacuation of 13 civilians stranded in critical conditions due to heavy snowfall across Rohtang Pass at about 14,000 ft. Aborted attempts by civil helicopters earlier had made the task even more daunting. Considering the degree of difficulty, Wg Cdr Rawat was detailed to carry out this mission. The next day, two helicopters got airborne for the mission. An aerial recce of the site was not much of help due to acute white out and turbulent conditions. The combined effect of high altitude, loose snow, lack of visual reference, turbulent wind and dipping low temperature made the task treacherously difficult. He made three attempts to land, which had to be aborted just prior to touchdown due to loose snow creating a snow bowl. Not deterred by this, he decided to make one more attempt. Harnessing his vast experience and after careful analysis of his previous attempts, this time he could make a partial landing, as the loose snow was unable to take the weight of the helicopter. While he skillfully hovered the helicopter with nearly nil reference, the copilot pulled in the first set of casualties. Successive attempts.

With his indomitable spirit, dauntless courage, and scant regard to personal safety, he saved 13 precious lives. For this act of conspicuous courage and selfless service, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Mukesh Rawat.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 13th November 2004 - No.131-Pres/2004 dated 15th August 2004 & AFD2005 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Raskhale Sanjeev Kumar 19037 AELUnit : 114 HU  Award Date 21 Nov 03 Announced 15 Aug 04
Details : Squadron Leader Rakshale Sanjeev Kumar (19037) Aeronautical Engineering (Electronics) is posted as a Senior Technical Officer at a Helicopter unit since 23 September 2002.

On 21 November 2003, a Cheetah helicopter of this unit faced control problems and force landed at an altitude of 17,200 feet near a forward post in the Siachen glacier close to the AGPL. The helicopter remained overnight in glacier and its retrieval very next day was inescapable as further delay would have resulted in oil and lubricants getting solidified and helicopter getting submerged under snow due to bad weather resulting in loss of the entire helicopter worth crores. It was under such circumstances that Squadron Leader RS Kumar volunteered to take on the daunting and challenging task of recovering this helicopter. He landed at the crash site the very next day without any acclimatization, which could have caused him a permanent disability or even death. After required checks and rectification the major task was to get the aircraft started. Starting at such altitude calls for innovation and use of unorthodox measures, something not taught at any training institute or in any manual and required an active and fertile mind. Use of petrol in the fuel filter and blowing of oxygen into the air intakes helped to achieve successful start to aero engine and subsequent retrieval of a fully serviceable aircraft, which was otherwise destined to be a beacon in the glacier. He also displayed exemplary courage by opting to fly back as a passenger in the same aircraft, a tribute to his belief in himself. He was thus responsible for the recovery of the strike helicopter.

For this act of exemplary courage and dedicated professionalism wherein he risked his own life to save an aircraft worth crores to exchequer, the Hon`ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Rakshale Sanjeev Kumar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 13th November 2004 - No.131-Pres/2004 dated 15th August 2004 & AFD2005 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Navin Maranatha Nayar 24035 F(P)Unit : 114 HU  Award Date 24 Aug 03 Announced 15 Aug 04
Details : Flight Lieutenant Navin Maranatha Nayar (24035) flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of an operational Cheetah Helicopter Unit, located at Leh, since 16 July 2001.

On 24 August 2003, he was detailed to fly as number two in a three aircraft air maintenance mission in Op-Meghdoot, Ex-Base Camp to Amar and Sonam, the highest helipads in the world.

In the second shuttle from Khanda helipad to Sonam helipad, while climbing past 18,500 feet, the aircraft suddenly yawed to right, with drop in engine and rotor RPM. Flight Lieutenant Nayar, displaying great presence of mind in identifying the emergency as an engine failure, instinctively lowered the collective to put the aircraft into a state of autorotation. An engine failure at such high altitudes demands prompt actions from a pilot after which any other action is futile. He thereafter, in calm and thoroughly professional manner turned towards the foot tract the only safe landing spot in the crevasse prone, undulating terrain and simultaneously gave the May Day call. He executed a flawless autorotative landing, a feat often unheard of at such an elevation. His exceptional situational awareness, skill and professional handling of the emergency resulted in an absolutely safe landing and both the pilots coming out scratch free from the aircraft. Flight lieutenant Nayar's professionalism was also displayed earlier when he executed a safe landing at Leh airfield during an engine failure on 16 February 2002, with only minor damage to the Oleos. His actions are in keeping with the best traditions of the Indian Air Force and attributes of an Air Warrior.

For this act of exceptional gallantry and exemplary professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Flight Lieutenant Navin Maranatha Nayar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 13th November 2004 - No.131-Pres/2004 dated 15th August 2004 & AFD2005 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Mayanglambam Manimohon Singh 24229 F(P)Unit : 153 HU  Award Date 21 Sep 03 Announced 15 Aug 04
Details : Flight Lieutenant Mayanglambam Manimohan Singh (24229) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of an operational Mi-17 IV Helicopter Unit of the Indian Air Force, since 19 August 2002.

On 21 September 2003, our troops on the LOC in the Gurez sector noticed an infiltration attempt by a band of insurgents. There was an immediate need to encircle the insurgents and seal the escape route before they could mingle with the general populace. The insurgents were heavily armed and known to be equipped with machine guns and even the presence of shoulder fired missiles was not ruled out. The hostile terrain precluded any movement of troops on foot in the required time frame. HQ 15 Corps projected a requirement of undertaking the induction of troops to cut off the escape route for the insurgents. The general terrain in the objective area was heavily forested. Flight Lieutenant MM Singh was detailed to carry out troop induction. He planned the mission in the most professional manner and executed it with meticulous precision.

The mission required troop induction at an unprepared and unrecced area in hostile environment. Flight Lieutenant MM Singh, realizing the grave and imminent danger and requirement of extremely high skills, decided to lead the formation of two helicopters. He flew the mission in extremely turbulent wind conditions and deteriorating weather. The landing site, which was near the line of control, had no protection and there was a constant threat of fire from the terrorists, who were hiding in the vicinity. Despite the lurking danger, he kept the aim of the mission uppermost in his mind and displayed exceptional courage by carrying out two missions at an unsurveyed site on a ridge at an elevation of 13,000 feet on the first day and four more missions the next day in similar conditions. The successful air operations greatly aided the Indian Army in their anti-terrorist operation.

For this act of Gallantry, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Flight Lieutenant Mayanglambarn Manimohan Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 13th November 2004 - No.131-Pres/2004 dated 15th August 2004 & AFD2005 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Shashi Kant Mishra 19570 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 15 Dec 03 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Shashi Kant Mishra (19570) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter unit since 27 April 2003 as Flight Commander.

The unit took part in 'Op Fort William' in Bhutan, during December 2003. On 15 Dec 2003, Sqn Ldr Mishra was tasked to evacuate critically injured Royal Bhutanese Army jawans in the operation against terrorists.

Sqn Ldr Mishra, gauging correctly the urgency and gravity of the situation, acted in a swift and professional manner. He planned and executed the casualty evacuation himself within fifteen minutes of the receipt of the message. Unmindful of the risk involved, he undertook the sortie in hostile terrain and under small arms fire of the militia. His prompt and timely action not only saved the lives of seven critically injured soldiers from Nanglam helipad in Bhutan but also boosted the morale of the soldiers of a friendly country. The professionalism and courage displayed by Sqn Ldr Mishra has enhanced the image of the Indian Air Force.

For displaying courage in hostile conditions, the Hon`ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Shashi Kant Mishra.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Avaneesh Kumar Upadhaya 19893 F(P)Unit : 132 FAC Flt  Award Date 02 Apr 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Avaneesh Kumar Upadhyay (19893) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of 132 FAC Flt AF since 29 April 2003 as Flight Commander. On 02 Apr 04 Squadron Leader Upadhyay was nominated as the Task Force Commander for search and rescue (SAR) of two Jaguar aircrafts of the Indian Air Force. These fighter aircrafts had been reported missing while carrying valley flying in Sonamarg Sector near Srinagar.

Squadron Leader Upadhyay displayed exceptional skill, courage and leadership in ensuring the successful conduct of the missions. He led his team from the front and carried out the first landing at the crash site unmindful of the hazardous weather, inhospitable terrain, intense cold at the dizzying heights of more than thirteen thousand feet on an unprepared snow covered and undulating hill slope.

He carried out 18 gruelling missions in the face of inclement weather. It was due to his exemplary courage, skill and expertise in managing his men and machines that he was able to locate and land at the crash site, induct the ground rescue parties and evacuate the evidence and mortal remains of the Jaguar pilots. Under his guidance the team carried out total 36 missions, flying for a total of 21.45 hrs ensuring successful completion of the rescue mission against the adverse conditions of weather and hazardous terrain.

For this act of exceptional courage and exemplary leadership in the face of adverse and inhospitable environment, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu. Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Avaneesh Kumar Upadhyay.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Manu Chaudhry 19896 F(P)Unit : MONUC  Award Date 29 May 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Manu Chaudhary (19896) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of Indian Air Force Squadron 2004, part of IAF Contingent in Congo since 13 Jul 2003. During this period he has been performing the duties of the Squadron Flight Commander.

A Qualified Flying Instructor with over 4500 hours of flying experience, the officer has consistently displayed a penchant for leading from the front. Since the squadron's induction to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), he has flown over 290 hours and has time and again exhibited willingness for undertaking difficult tasks, when called upon to do so. In the initial phase of the Contingent's induction, he personally reconnoitred the area, selecting helipads for future operations. Most of these helipads were in areas never hitherto visited by UN forces and were controlled by various rebel groups, some inimical to the UN. He also actively participated in Operation Dhanush in May-June 04.

On 29 May 04, following the unrest in the town of Bukavu, Kelehe, a small hamlet on the road from Goma to Bukam was the scene of an ambush laid out by militia in which they killed one UN military observer while another, a lady officer was reported missing. Sqn Ldr Chaudhary was tasked to insert troops to search for the missing military observer. While the Mi-25s fired some rockets to sanitise the area, the Mi-17, captained by Sqn Ldr Chaudhary landed the search party comprising 36 troops, in two shuttles. With little regard to personal safety, the officer landed at the site, which the rebels, armed with rocket propelled grenades and other heavy calibre weapons, could have targeted from a vantage point close by. Had it not been for the search party being inserted in time, the marooned officer would not have been rescued. The missing lady officer was subsequently rescued, albeit badly injured and in a state of shock. In the glorious traditions of the Indian Air Force, the officer planned the mission meticulously and carried it out with the elan and professionalism. that epitomizes the officer's approach to his duty.

For consistently exhibiting courage in hostile environment, the Hon'bie President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Manu Chaudhary.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Kolal Krishnamurthy Venugopal 20459 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date 29 May 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Kolal Krishnamurthy Venugopal (20459) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Aircraft System and Training Establishment (ASTE) since 29 June 1998 as Test Pilot & Chief of Trial Team SARAS.

In Jan 02, ASTE was formally tasked to undertake flight testing of the Saras Light Transport Aircraft (LTA~ pro~ being indigenously designed and developed by National Aeronautics Laboratory (NAL). Sqn Ldr Venugopal, then a test flying instructor at AFTPS was specifically chosen to head the Saras test team on account of his flight test experience a project pilot for evaluating Executive Jets for the Air Force. This was an extremely challenging task as the Saras had a unique rear mounted pusher prop configuration and was the first indigenous LTA programme. With his maturity and personal involvement he was instrumental in finalisation of all the necessary documentation and coï·“ordination with Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) as the team leader. He was directly responsible for finalisation of cockpit man machine interface and safety audit of the aircraft and its systems. He was also instrumental in planning, review, approval and execution of the entire test programme. He oversaw the continuity training and preparation of the other crew members of the team for the demanding task of undertaking the first flight and further evaluation of Saras ac. His dedication and hard work were commended and lauded by all the senior functionaries of NAL and MCA.

On 29 May 04, the first Saras Prototype took off on its first flight. First flight of a prototype aircraft is always a high risk proposition. The lack of an engineering test simulator, made the execution of first flight even more challenging. Soon after take off, the crew experienced Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) and angle of attack indication failure, thereby losing vital flight information. Coupled to this, the aircraft experienced mild vibrations due to opening of the refuelling panel in flight. As the Captain of aircraft Sqn Ldr Venugopal maintained his cool and rose to the challenge of having to deal with a serious emergency on a prototype aircraft on its first flight. He exhibited exceptional professionalism and courage in handling the emergency and recovering the aircraft safely.

For displaying professionalism and courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Kolal Krishnamurthy Venugopal.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Randhir Singh 22345 F(P)Unit : 132 FAC Flt  Award Date 02 Apr 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Randhir Singh (22345) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a frontline helicopter unit since 24 December 2001.

Between 02 Apr 04 to 05 Apr 04 Squadron Leader Randhir Singh was entrusted with the task of Search and Rescue (SAR) of two missing IAF Jaguar Fighter aircrafts in Sonamarg sector of J & K. In the shortest time, he reached the expected location and commenced his SAR operations. Gauging the hazardous weather at the location in his Cheetah SAR helicopter vis-a-vis the gravity of the mission, he discounted the risks involved. Even in the inclement weather, intense cold and dizzying heights, he undertook twenty-six missions involving more than eighteen hours of flying. It was only due to his expertise, unflinching courage and determination that he succeeded in locating the crash site and carrying out landings at an un-prepared snow-covered and undulating hill slope at more than thirteen thousand feet Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL).

Utterly unmindful of his personal safety and persisting on with his courageous efforts he kept the success of the mission paramount, while retrieving the mortal remains of the pilots along with other circumstantial evidence, from an extremely hazardous crash site.

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

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Sridhara Panicker Radha Krishnan Nair 16040 F(P)Unit : 44 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Group Captain Sridhara Panicker Radhakrishnan Nair (16040) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 15 Jun 1980. He is commanding the only strategic airlift squadron of the IAF since Mar 03. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor. His past appointments include Flight Commander of one of a premier transport squadron and Chief Operations Officer of an active base. He has over 6700 hours of accident free flying. As FIt Cdr, he has been in the forefront of path breaking landing trials to high altitude forward area airfields in Ladakh sector by night. This new found capability to mobilise men and material to mifitady sensitive and inhospitable terrain by night has added to the combat potential of our forces. During Ex-Safed Sagar, his meticulous planning and personal flying effort found him worthy of being 'Mentioned in Despatches'. He was instrumental in the Squadron being adjudged the 'Best Transport Combat Squadron' for two years in succession. On taking over command, he was given the onerous task of relocating the squadron. Due to his farsightedness, methodical approach and immaculate planning, the move was completed ahead of schedule, whilst continuing to remain operational and undertaking all commitments during the entire move. Despite manpower constraints, he maintained a sharp focus on training and steadily built up the training team. He converted 37 aircrew on type and also achieved high operational status in a relatively short period. As team leader and captain of the first aircraft which took part in Ex Cope Thunder in USA in the year 2003, he displayed sterling qualities of leadership and thorough professionalism which brought accolades to the IAF. It was his brainchild to pioneer a flight to the North Pole, set an endurance record by IL-76 aircraft and circumnavigate the globe. These three records and the exceptional performance during the exercise have found a place in the glorious history of the IAF. Also, the transpolar capability he established, has added a new dimension to the strategic reach of the IAF. On his return from Alaska, he once again spurred his team to achieve exceptional standards and win the 'best Transport Combat Squadron' trophy of the IAF. For his exceptional devotion to duty and leadership, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Group Captain Sridhara Panicker Radhakrishnan Nair.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Shouvik Roy 16088 F(P)Unit : 78 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Group Captain Shouvik Roy (16088) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 15 Jun 1980. He is Commanding Officer of the first Flight Refueller Aircraft (FRA) squadron of the IAF since 16 Dec 02. A Qualified Flying Instructor with more than 7000 hours of flying experience in multifarious roles, he has held several important appointments that include Instructor at Flying Instructors School, Chief Flying Instructor at Basic Flying Training School arid Commanding Officer of South Western Air Command Communication Flight. As the first Commanding Officer of the squadron with newly acquired force multiplier aircraft, he had a series of arduous and challenging tasks ahead of him. Leading from the front and working tirelessly for long hours much beyond the call of duty, Gp Capt Roy ensured that the squadron was fully operational with its role in the shortest possible time. This involved extensive coï·“ordination with various Fighter Squadrons, Stations, Command HQ and Air HQ to be followed by sorties of long duration with a variety of fighter aircraft. With his inï·“depth knowledge and sound professionalism he formalised various operating procedures, which are being regularly practiced to exploit the immense potential of the FRA. While expanding the scope of FRA utilisation, he has effectively dovetailed the training of newly inducted aircrew. His relentless efforts have added the midï·“air refuelling capability, which the IAF was proud to showcase during the Air Force Day and also on the Republic Day. His professional competence, administrative acumen and leadership qualities make him a role model for everyone to emulate. For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Group Captain Shouvik Roy.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Sunil Jayant Nanodkar 16555 F(P)Unit : AHQ  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Group Captain Sunil Jayant Nanodkar (16555) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the fighter stream of the IAF on 11 Dec 1981. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor with 3800 hours of flying. He is also a graduate from the Defence Services Staff College. He has successfully commanded a Jaguar Squadron. Presently, he is Director of Operations (Offensive) at Air HQ since Jul 2003ï·“ On being appointed as the Director of Operations (Tactical) in Jul 2003, apart from monitoring the training and operational status of all the offensive aircraft fleets of the Indian Air Force, he was assigned the task of leading the team of air warriors to participate in a multinational exercise in Alaska, United States of America. This involved activities from initial planning of operations, maintenance, logistics and administrative requirements for a first ever fighter deployment outside India. The exercise entailed deploying six Jaguar aircraft, two IL-78 Flight Refuellers and two IL-76 heavy lift transport support aircraft across four continents, at a distance of 20000 kilometers from the homeland. He took on the challenge and meticulously planned the training of participating forces and their deployment to and from Alaska. Coordinating activities of transport, flight refueller and fighter aircraft away from homeland was a complex task and could only be achieved due to his foresight analytical approach and thorough planning. Having successfully and safely executed this exercise, a template has been put in place for the Indian Air Force to follow in any such future endeavour. This has also resulted in projection of cutting edge operational capability before the developed Air Forces. While undertaking this additional responsibility, he continued to closely monitor the upgrade programmes of two major fighter fleets along with their induction in the operational units. For his professionalism and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Group Captain Sunil Jayant Nanodkar.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Hemant Narayan Bhagwat 16423 ADMUnit : Para Training School  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Hemant Narayan Bhagwat (16423) Administration/Para Jump Instructor is on the posted strength of Paratroopers Training School, Air Force since 23 Aug 1999 and has been performing the duties of Chief Instructor (Cl). Wg Cdr Bhagwat has been an impetus and a driving force for all the paratroopers of PTS. In Jul 2002, Paratroopers Training School was given a challenging task ta evaluate efficacy of live para jumps from a height of 300 feet, using the GQ-8 low level parachute. Hitherto, no Indian had jumped from a height below 500 feet because, should the main parachute malfunction, para descent from 500 feet does not give the jumper any time to deploy his reserve chute. Accepting this demanding and high-risk challenge as Chief Instructor of the school, Wg Cdr Bhagwat worked out a systematic trial method and supervised its successful execution. Keeping in with the highest traditions of the IAF, and unmindful of his personal safety, on 29 Jul 2002, Wg Cdr Bhagwat became theï·“firstï·“ ever Indian parachutist to jump from a height of 300 feet.. He successfully demonstrated to other trial team members, the efficacy of the parachute descent from this ultra low level. Wg Cdr Bhagwat exhibits exemplary courage and undertakes the specialized job with a high degree of dedication. His efforts enabled the PTS to achieve a new landmark of 38,897 jumps during the year 2003-04, adequately adhering to the safety parameters. Besides being a Para Jumping Instructor par excellence with over 2000 parachute descents to his credit, including in excess of 1400 free fall jumps, as Chief Instructor of Paratroopers Training School, Wg Cdr Bhagwat has contributed significantly to enhance the quality of para training being imparted by the school. For displaying exceptional professional courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Hemant Narayan Bhagwat.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Nayani Harish 17135 F(P)Unit : 3 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Nayani Harish (17135) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the flying branch of the LAF on 28 May 1983. He is commanding Officer of a frontline fighter squadron since 05 Dec 2002. Wg Cdr Harish took over command of the Squadron at a critical juncture when the squadron was in the process of inducting the Bison aircraft. At that time, the fleet was beset by teething problems and frequent snags with an overall serviceability in the region of 30%. Utilizing his experience as a Test Pilot and technical knowledge of the aircraft and its systems, he responded to the clarion call and dealt with the problem at hand with professionalism. With commendable foresight and clarity of thought he adopted a proï·“active approach and kept higher formations informed of the problem and suggested viable solutions. As a result of his untiring efforts, the serviceability state of the squadron improved drastically and presently stands at an average of 70%. The induction of the Bison aircraft ushered in advanced systems and weapons into the service. With sustained involvement and determination, Wg Cdr Harish formulated sound standard operating procedures and checklists to effectively utilise the aircraft as a weapons system. A large number of pilots were successfully converted onto the type and were distributed to other Bison squadrons to propagate the knowledge and training thus gained. The success and high professional standards displayed by the squadron in various exercises at national as well as international level stand testimony to the professionalism and dedication of the officer. The officer also formulated a detailed Air Test Proforma to be followed for the Bison aircraft. For his professionalism, dedication and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu. Sena Medal to Wing Commander Nayani Harish.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sreekumar Prabhakaran 17318 F(P)Unit : Suryakiran  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Sreekumar Prabhakaran (17318) flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 22 Dec 1983. He is on the posted strength of Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) as Commanding Officer since May 2002. He has led the SKAT with distinction, carrying out a total of 56 displays in all corners of the country and abroad. He ensuredï·“ that the team was highly motivated at all times. Leading the nine member aerobatic team, he displayed confidence, precision and flying skills of the highest order. He ensured that the team always practiced thoroughly before each display and subsequently operated at its best during the displays. Their aerobatic displays have helped greatly in motivating the youth in all parts of the country towards joining the Indian Air Force. The SKAT display during Exercise VAM SHAKTI over Pokharan on 14 Mar 2004 was also highly appreciated by both Indian and foreign spectators. During February ï·“ March 2004, he led the SKAT on its maiden visit abroad to participate in the Asian Aerospace Air Show at Singapore from 24ï·“29 February 2004. The ferry flight to and from Singapore required detailed planning and coordination with various agencies in different countries. This was meticulously done under the leadership of Wg Cdr Prabhakaran, and the SKAT maintained their planned schedule immaculately. During the Air Show at Singapore, the team lead by him carried out five aerobatic displays, while one display each was carried out at Bangkok and Yangon on the way to/from Singapore. All these seven displays were carried out meticulously and with precision in front of thousands of spectators. With their breathtaking displays, the SKAT brought laurels to the country and to the Indian Air Force. For the leadership and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Sreekumar Prabhakaran.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr S Hari Krishnan Nair 17338 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander S Hari Krishnan Nair (17338) flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 22 Dec 1983. He is the Commanding Officer of a Helicopter Unit since 16 Jun 2003. Immediately after he took over, the unit was reï·“tasked to create a formation display team [Sarangs] with a view to perform before international audience at Singapore during Asian Aerospace 04. To accomplish this task five additional pilots were posted in to fill in the cockpit vacancies. Considering the short time available, it was a major task to convert these pilots and train them to perform a world class formation display. In addition, the degree of difficulty of the assigned task was not known since Indian Air Force was attempting such a venture for the first time and there are very few helicopter display teams in the world. Notwithstanding these limitations, he undertook the challenge in his stride. Wg Cdr Nair carried out immaculate planning regarding the airlift of five helicopters from Bangalore to Singapore and back. He accompanied the helicopters with a small team of technicians to ensure complete safety during the move. At Singapore the aircraft were built up in a record two days time, ready for the air show. The air show was at a foreign base, over sea and restricted airspace. In addition, stringent aviation regulations were imposed by the host country as per their procedure. He modeled the air display to suit all the conditions and ensured perfect display, which drew appreciation from A foreign dignitaries, international media and the general public. The entire exercise went through without even an incident. The performance was applauded by the press and other participants. As a special gesture, the US MoD sent a note of appreciation to Air HQ on the team's performance. Appreciation of other foreign military heads was also conveyed personally to the Chief of the Air Staff during his visit on the inaugural day of the Air Show. For his exceptional devotion to duty, initiative and performance, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander S Hari Krishnan Nair.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sandesh Prabhakar Wagle 17710 F(P)Unit : 104 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Sandesh Prabhakar Wagle (17710) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 21 Dec 1984. He has more than 5400 hours of accident free flying to his credit. He is Commanding Officer of a frontline Attack Helicopter Squadron since 30 Jun 2003. Wg Cdr Wagle took over the command of the Squadron at a crucial juncture when the Sqn aircraft were being modernized with State of the Art equipment. His leadership and motivation were manifested in the smooth and speedy absorption of the high technology in the squadron. With the successful integration and assimilation of the cutting edge technology, the IAF can now boast of operating one of the most lethal Attack Helicopters in the world. The squadron was beset by various maintenance problems when tools and testers from the squadron were sent to Congo to support the maintenance requirements of the UN mission there. Wg Cdr Wagle became the driving force behind various inï·“house solutions and innovations to overcome these deficiencies and yet sustained a very high serviceability of aircraft, often reaching 100% for sustained periods. The Sqn performed exceptionally during all inspections including three inspections by the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection team and the squadron was declared the Best Combat Helicopter Squadron of the IAF. For his exceptional devotion to duty and inspiring leadership, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sandesh Prabhakar Wagle.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Umesh Rakhra 18071 F(P)Unit : 24 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Umesh Rakhra (18071) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 06 Dec 1985. He has a total flying experience of 1700 hr on type and a cumulative flying experience of 3760 hr. He has been and Commanding Officer of a frontline fighter Squadron since Sep 2002. As Commanding Officer, Wg Cdr Rakhra dedicated himself in achieving high operational status of the squadron. He was trained on type aircraft in Russia in 1997. He has been personally involved in conducting the training of more than 70 pilots of this type. As a lowï·“level aerobatics display supervisor, he had flown more than 225 lowï·“level aerobatics display sorties and trained three pilots in this role. He was the member of close formation aerobatics team on type in 2001. He is also the instrument rating examiner on type. During "Op Parakrarn" Wg Cdr Rakhra ensured high state of Op capability of the Sqn and the Sqn was the forerunner in execution of special missions related to the "Op Parakrarn". He produced Ops aircrew. on time to meet the requirements of the fleet. Under his command the Sqn has been the steppingï·“stone for induction and has performed exceptionally well inspite of manpower constraints created due to routing of aircrew and ground crew to other Sqns. The Sqn has gone on to fly 12500 accident free hours in the period under consideration. He put in concerted efforts in maintaining the equipment deployed at Op locations at all times and the Sqn still continues to be on 12h standby since Op Parakram. Under his able guidance and leadership the Squadron has moved to a new location at a short notice, which required considerable coordination and planning. For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Umesh Rakhra.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sanjay Anand Kunte 18073 F(P)Unit : 127 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Sanjay Anand Kunte (18073) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 06 Dec 1985. He is the commanding officer of a helicopter unit since 05 August 2002. In Jun 03, Eastern Air Command (EAC) was tasked with preparing for 'Op Fort William'. This included coordinating the joint planning and training of a large number of army troops and aircrew of the three helicopter units of EAC. It also involved formulating innovative tactics especially with Night Vision Goggles (NVG). Being the only NVG supervisor in EAC, Wg Cdr Kunte singleï·“handedly took on the task of imparting NVG training to pilots of EAC. His farsightedness, flawless planning and eye for detail were instrumental in his being selected as Task Force Commander for the operations. He planned and executed training of 3600 troops and 60 aircrew at various locations in the Northï·“East. He played an important role in formulating the appreciation and detailed plan of action for the operations. During the actual deployment phase of the operations, Wg Cdr Kunte displayed very high degree of professionalism and coordinated the move of units and execution of the plan in an absolute flawless manner, which was appreciated by the Chief of Army Staff and Headquarters of Royal Bhutan Army. This resulted in the Air Force and Army gaining immense goodwill of the Bhutanese authorities. For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sanjay Anand Kunte.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Kishore Kumar Khera 18256 F(P)Unit : 14 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Kishore Kumar Khera (18256) Flying (pilot) was commissioned on 07 Jun 1986. He is Commanding Officer of a fighter Sqn with effect from 07 Jul 2003. Wg Cdr Khera was selected to lead the Jaguar team for participation in Exercise Cope Thunder in Alaska, USA from 07ï·“30 Jul 2004. The team was expected to take part in this multinational exercise involving eleven countries. A total of fifteen Jaguar pilots, two engineering officers and sixtyï·“five technicians from five different squadrons and three Jaguar bases were placed under his command for this purpose. He integrated all personnel selected for the mission into an efficient and well trained team. The training was carried out in a very systematic fashion spread over six phases from Feb 04 to May 04 making optimum use of available resources. The aircrew training involving inter revalidation, inter variant conversion, AAR qualification, ILS/VOR and TACAN training was executed in a professional manner. The team performed creditably during the exercise and kept the IAF flag ï·“flying high. The most significant part of preparation was maintenance planning for the mission. This was the first time that the IAF was deploying its combat aircraft for an exercise abroad and planning had to cater for all contingencies in terms of spares, support equipment and optimal utilization of all available resources at hand. This led to realization of afl set objectives, and flawless execution of the mission as planned. For his professionalism and exceptional devotion to duty, the HonIle President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Kishore Kumar Khera.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Mohan Gupta 18562 F(P)Unit : 37 Wing  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Mohan Gupta (18562) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 06 Dec 1986 in the IAF He is posted as a Chief Operations Officer at Air Force Station Car Nicobar with effect from 23 Jun 03. On 08 Oct 03, at 0925 h, he received a message that the Adventure Expedition at the Galathea river in the Great Nicobar Island was more than 18 hours overdue. Reacting to an emergent situation he immediately tasked the Base Helicopter Unit to launch the rescue helicopter. Ensuring no delay, the helicopter was airborne within thirty minutes of the receipt of the message with Wg Cdr Gupta as captain. On landing at Campbell Bay, even though limited details of the expedition were available with the local Detachment Commander, he and his crew worked out the possible route taken by the expedition members. He then took off for the rescue with emergency rations and medical supplies. He ensured that a proper briefing was carried out for effective and optimum crew utilisation. The entire route was in a hilly terrain with dense foliage, which made ground observation very difficult. Through initially no results were achieved he persisted with the search, effectively utilizing each member of his crew to finally spot the team twelve kilometers from their planned RV point. The team was in a deep narrow valley with tall trees ranging from 25 to 100 meters height on either side. This precluded a landing. He assessed the situation and decided to winch up the personnel. Variable winds and limited tip clearance of only five to ten meters made the task extremely demanding and challenging. Displaying a very high level of flying accuracy, concentration and crew resource management in this environment, all the fifteen members were successfully winched up. They were provided initial nourishment and brought back safely. For his exceptional devotion to duty and professional acumen in executing the rescue mission, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Mohan Gupta.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

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