|Sena Medal (Gallantry)|
|Sqn Ldr||Ajit Ramanathan 21252 F(P)||Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit||Award Date 01 Jul 04||Announced 26 Jan 05|
|Details :|| |
Wg Cdr Ajit Ramanathan SM was commissioned on 15 Jun 91 and was on the posted strength of 153 Helicopter Unit. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, Instrument rating Instructor and Examiner and has over 5200 hours of flying to his credit. He is alumni of the prestigious National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla.
On the afternoon of 01 Jul 04, then Sqn Ldr Ajit Ramanathan was on a check sortie involving helipad ops in the 'Romeo' sector in J&K. While returning from the mission, he received a radio transmission from an Army aviation helicopter, requesting for a casualty evacuation of the Commanding Officer of 16 Maratha Li who was seriously wounded in an encounter with ANEs from Sekhlu helipad. Even though the attempt made by the Cheetah helicopter had been unsuccessful due to inclement weather, Sqn Ldr Ajit was not deterred. He immediately took stock of the situation and in spite of limited fuel and deteriorating weather conditions, turned back towards Sekhlu. Although he could not penetrate the weather the first time, rather than abandon the mission, he landed at Rajouri, ready to make another attempt as soon as possible. At the first window of opportunity, he took off for Sekhlu. The presence of extremely inclement weather and failing light conditions in the tricky hilly terrain of Romeo sector made the task extremely demanding. With his determination and high degree of skill, he was able to safely land the helicopter at Sekhlu.
The casualty arrived at the helipad after sunset. The weather report of the area was showing a deteriorating trend, with destination Udhampur reporting a weather warning for rain and thundershowers. While most factors were against, he was not dissuaded from his resolve to go ahead with the evacuation. He finally took off with the casualty on board 25 minutes after sunset. He now flew through the same restrictive conditions further worsened by the darkness. The hill shadows and presence of rain and clouds severely constrained the visibility, making flying extremely difficult. The presence of thunderstorm and rain made spotting and landing at Udhampur airfield, an extremely demanding task which was achieved safely with utmost professionalism.
The officer's act of selfless courage of flying his helicopter through difficult terrain and in deteriorating weather and poor light conditions, not only saved the life of a Commanding Officer, but also helped in boosting the morale of the ground forces. For having displayed flying skill, airmanship of exceptional order, courage and valour then, Sqn Ldr Ajit Ramanthan was awarded the Sena Medal (Gallantry) on 26 Jan 2005.
Note: Officer evacuated: Col AS Chahal, SM , then CO, 16 Maratha Light Infantry
|Reference:||Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture|