Awards for 111 HU


A total of 11 Awards are listed.
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Kirti Chakra
Wg Cdr Sudhir Kumar Sharma 17717 F(P)Unit : 111 HU  Award Date 11 May 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Wing Commander Sudhir Kumar Sharma, Flying (Pilot) is commanding a Helicopter Unit since 05 August 2002.

On 11 May 2004, Wing Commander Sharma was directed to urgently evacuate three members of a mountaineering expedition to Mt Kamet, who were critically injured due to inclement weather. These casualties were at an altitude of 23,260 ft, which is beyond the ceiling of 23,000 ft of Chetak helicopter. Due to their serious injuries, it was impossible to bring them down. Wing Commander Sharma flew in his Cheetah helicopter to the site and on locating the survivors realized that the only option was to land on an unprepared small tabletop sloping area located on an exposed snow covered ledge. Such landing demanded extraordinary courage and exceptional flying skills. Even a slight mishandling of helicopter controls could lead to a catastrophic accident endangering the life of the pilot.

No one in the world had ever attempted landing a helicopter at such a high altitude let alone evacuate casualties from an unprepared, snow bound and sloping piece of ground. Despite the deterring and trying conditions, deteriorating weather, severe turbulence, gusty jet stream exceeding 120 kmph and low margin of power available, Wing Commander Sharma, displaying resolute determination, utmost courage and an utter disregard for his personal safety, landed at the site not once but three times to evacuate the causalities. His courageous act under these near impossible conditions was instrumental in saving the lives of three mountaineers from certain death. The rescue from an altitude of 23,260 feet is the highest ever landing and casualty evacuation by any helicopter and in the process set a world record which has been recognized by Limca Book of World records.

Wing Commander Sudhir Kumar Sharma displayed conspicuous bravery in face of impossible odds, exceptional courage and rescued the mountaineers.

Reference: Notification No. 125 -Pres/2005 dated 15th August, 2005 published in Part 1 Section 1 Gazette of India dated 15th August, 2005.  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt John Leo Dwettz 5707 GD(P)Unit : 111 HU  Award Date Announced 01 Jan 66
Details :

During the operation against Pakistan, Flight Lieutenant John Leo Dweltz, Flight Commander of a Helicopter Unit, flew twenty five offensive, thirty six logistic, twelve casualty evacuation and four reconnaissance sorties within a period of thirty six days. He operated from improvised helipads in difficult terrain with utter disregard to his personal safety. By casualty evacuation, he saved many valuable lives. His supply dropping missions helped to maintain newly occupied picquets. He continued to operate form helipads within the enemy's shelling range and under constant threat of enemy air raids on his airfield without warning.

On 11th September, 1965, Flight Lieutenant Dweltz was detailed to attack a strong hold of infiltrators at Raman Nallah. While he was bombing and strafing the enemy bunkers in a narrow valley, the infiltrators started firing at his aircraft with small arm fire. Undeterred by the enemy fire, he carried out his mission with determination.

On 15th September, 1965, the army report ed strong enemy pressure on some of our posts in Tithwal area and wanted the Air Force to destroy a rope bridge over the Kishan Ganga. The bridge ran through a narrow valley and the area was occupied by Pakistani infiltrators. Flight Lieutenant Dweltz made three runs over the bridge and dropped forty eight bombs on the target. He set fire to both ends of the bridge and caused damage to its center portion, thus severing the lines of communication of the enemy and relieving pressure on the picquets.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 12th February 1966 - No.14-Pres/66 dated 1st January 1966 

Vayu Sena Medal
Flt Lt Lalit Kumar Datta 6506 GD(P)Unit : 111 HU  Award Date Announced 01 Jan 66
Details :

During the operations against Pakistan, Flight Lieutenant Lalit Kumar Dutta, a senior pilot of a Helicopter Unit, carried out eighty one sorties and flew fifty seven hours under very adverse conditions and from quickly improvised helipads, just behind our advancing troops and within the range of enemy's small arms fire.

At a great personal risk, Flight Lieutenant Lalit Kumar Dutta carried out eighteen offensive sorties, bombing and straffing strongholds of infiltrators effectively. He flew twenty five sorties evacuating sick and wounded soldiers, thus many saving valuable lives. He also flew thirty sorties to convey ammunition and essential supplies for sustaining the forward picquets. He operated from an airfield which was under constant threat of enemy air raids without warning.

Flight Lieutenant Lalit Kumar Dutta has displayed a great sense of responsibility, courage and devotion to duty which are in the best tradition of the Indian Air Force.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 12th February 1966 - No.14-Pres/66 dated 1st January 1966 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Premananda Goswami 30082 AUXUnit : 111 HU  Award Date Announced 01 Jan 66
Details :

During the operations against Pakistan, Flight Lieutenant Premananda Goswami, Flight Commander of a Helicopter Unit, flew seventy sorties in a period of thirty six days and completed sixty one hours of flying. He flew twelve casualty evacuation sorties from quickly improvised helipads, just behind our advancing troops and within the range of enemy shells. The hilly terrain was very difficult and treacherous for helicopter operations. Undeterred by these difficulties and dangers, he carried out his mercy missions and saved many valuable lives. He also undertook sixty logistic sorties supplying and dropping ammunition and rations to forward posts at great personal risk. He operated from an airfield which was under constant threat of enemy air raids without warning.

On 22nd September, 1965, he landed at an improvised helipad with ammunition and supplies to sustain the picquet. The enemy started shelling the post. With courage and presence of mind, he took off while the other aircraft was still unloading. Disregarding his own safely, he circled near the enemy positions to divert the fire and attention of the enemy to his own aircraft, in order to give time to the other aircraft to unload its cargo and save it from destruction.

Flight Lieutenant Premananda Goswami displayed courage, determination and comradeship which were in the best tradition of the Indian Air Force.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 12th February 1966 - No.14-Pres/66 dated 1st January 1966 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Birendra Datt Dangwal 4839 GD(P)Unit : 111 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 70
Details :

Squadron Lender Birendra Datt Dangwal has been In Command of a Helicopter Unit from November 1965. He has flown 730 accident free hours including 470 hours on operational commitments. Further, being a qualified Flying Instructor he has also been responsible for conducting the operational training of his pilots. His efforts have enabled the Squadron to fulfill its operational tasks creditably. During the flying in North Bengal in 1968, his unit airlifted supplies and evacuated casualties and marooned people from difficult and inaccessible places. He fulfilled the task by skillful handling of the air and around crew.

Throughout, Squadron Leader Birendra Datt Dangwal displayed courage and devotion to duty.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1970 - No.16 - Pres/70 dated 26th January 1970 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Kodandera Cariappa 5376 F(P)Unit : 111 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 73
Details :

Squadron Leader Kodendera Cariappa Cariappa was commissioned in the Air Force in May, 1957. He did 1000 hours of operational flying before undergoing the Flying Instructors' course in 1963. He stood first in merit in flying at Flying Instructors' School. At the flying training school where he was posted during 1963-65, he flew over 1000 hours and proved himself as an outstanding instructor. During the 1965 operations, while serving in a fighter squadron, he carried out several missions at a great personal risk before he was shot down and taken prisoner of war. Since taking over as Officer Commanding of a Helicopter Unit in February 1969, he devoted himself to the task of bringing the squadron to a high state of operational efficiency and readiness. Under his inspiring leadership, the squadron's pilots have carried out long hours of day and night flying. He has carried out dangerous missions over Mizo Hills and Nagaland areas without regard for his personal safety. He streamlined the administration of the unit which yielded immediate results by way of improved functional efficiency.

Throughout, Squadron Leader Kodendera Cariappa Cariappa displayed professional skill, leadership and devotion to duty.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 23rd March 1974 - No.34 - Pres/74 dated 26th January 1973 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Sudhir Sah 11648 F(P)Unit : 111 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 89
Details :

Wing Commander Sudhir Sah (11648) Flying (Pilot) is the Commanding Officer of a helicopter Squadron since 07 Dec 87. On 29 Jun 88, Wg Cdr Sudhir Sah was tasked for casualty evacuation of Mrs. Kirti Bala Elies, a pilgrim of Kailash Mansarovar yatra from Tukhlaket, the Tibet region of China. However, owing to continuous bad weather till 07 Jul 77 several attempts for the evacuation proved futile. The weather showed slight improvement on 08 Jul 88. By then the pilgrims had started their return journey and Wg Cdr Sah was informed that Mrs. Elias, who was carried on a stretcher, would be crossing the Lipulekh pass, at a height of approximately 17000 above sea level, on the Sino-Indian border at about 1130 hours. Wg Cdr Sah took off in a Cheetah with Wg Cdr NK Upadhayay as his co-pilot and reconnoitered the Lipulekh pass area to find a suitable place to land. However, owing to steep gradient and extremely hostile terrain the helicopter could not be landed. Keeping in view the nature of injuries received by Mrs. Elias, Wg Cdr Sudhir Sah displaying exceptional professional skill and perfect crew coronation and understanding brought the helicopter to hover above the ground. He then asked his coƂĀ­pilot to jump out of the helicopter and help the casualty with the assistance of other pilgrims. Such a task demands thorough competence, skilful handling and above all, courage. Evacuation of Mrs. Kirti Bala Elias is yet another land mark in the history of the Indian Air Force.

For his exemplary courage, selfless devotion to duty and display of exceptional professional skill in the finest traditions of the Air Force, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wg Cdr. Sudhir Sah.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 22nd April 1988 - No.39-Pres/89 dated 26th January 1989 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Gopalkrishanan Sreepal Warrier 12437 AE(M)Unit : 111 HU  Award Date 13 Jul 90 Announced 26 Jan 91
Details :

Flt Lt Gopalkrishanan Sreepal Warrier is on the posted strength of an Air Force Wing since 07 Dec 89 and has been working as Senior Engineer (mechanical).

On 03 Jul 90, one Chetak helicopter flown by Flt Lt MV Rao had to be left behind at Amar post due to engine failure. Change of engine to retrieve the helicopter from Amar post situated at 19000 ft AMSL and pressure altitude of 23000' in the face of random shelling and on the actual line of control, was a challenging task by any standards.

Flt Lt Sreepal volunteered to take upon himself the uphill task of replacing the engine at site. Notwithstanding the adverse weather condition and enemy shelling during the process of changing the engine by the team to successfully do the job which started at 1800 hours on 12 Jul 90 and ended at 0900 hrs on 13 Jul 90. The helicopter was flown out at 1740 hrs on 13 Jul 90.

For his exemplary courage, single-mindedness of purpose, determination and professionalism, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Flt Lt Gopalkrishanan Sreepal Warrier.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th August 1991 - No.3-Pres/91 dated 26th January 1991 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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