Awards for 114 HU


A total of 55 Awards are listed.
Vir Chakra : 4 | Shaurya Chakra : 7 | Yudh Seva Medal : 5 | Vayu Sena Medal : 36 | Vishist Seva Medal : 3 |
Vir Chakra
Fg Offr Bartan Ramesh 10948 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 72
Details :

During the operations against Pakistan in December 1971, Flying Officer Bartan Ramesh was serving with a Helicopter Unit. He carried out forty-five successful operational missions, some of which were in the heart of the battle area. During two of these missions he, with complete disregard to his personal safety, evacuated Army Battle casualties from forward Helipads in the Uri Sector in the face of constant shellings by the enemy.

Throughout, Flying Officer Bartan Ramesh displayed gallantry, professional skill and, devotion to duty of high order.

Reference: Gazette of India , 29th July 1972 - No.92 - Pres/72 dated 18th July 1972 

Vir Chakra
Fg Offr Sukhdev Singh Dhillon 11378 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 72
Details :

During the operations against Pakistan in December 1971, Flying Officer Sukhdev Singh Dhillon flew as a pilot in a Helicopter unit and single-handed evacuated 87 battle casualties from the most difficult and hazardous terrain of Kargil sector in complete disregard to his personal safety. He carried out these evacuation missions in the face of heavy ground and air opposition.

Throughout, Flying Officer Sukhdev Singh Dhillon displayed gallantry, professional skill and devotion to duty of a high order.

Reference: Gazette of India , 29th July 1972 - No.92 - Pres/72 dated 18th July 1972 

Vir Chakra
Flt Lt Manvendra Singh 16983 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 26 Jun 88 Announced 26 Jan 90
Details :

Since 1st March, 1988 Flight Lieutenant Manavendra Singh (16983) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of an Operational Helicopter Unit.

Flt Lt Manavendra Singh has to his credit the successful carrying out of over 2000 operational missions and over 1000 sorties to the highest helipad in the hospitable terrain of the Siachen Glacier. Between 26th June and 21st August 1988 on eight separate occasions, at three different helipads on the Siachen Glacier, Flight Lieutenant Manavendra Singh faced the additional challenges due to incessant enemy small arms and artillery. He has faced this grim situation every time with exceptional courage and gallantry. Being a dedicated soldier, he always undertook such missions with unusual enthusiasm in spite of being clearly aware of the inherent dangers.

His gallant conduct has been a source of inspiration to all personnel of his unit besides upholding the great traditions of the Indian Air Force.

Reference: Gazette of India , 28th April 1990 - No.33 - Pres/90 dated 26th January 1990 

Vir Chakra
Flt Lt Bhupinder 21545 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 22 Oct 97 Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Bhupinder (21545) F(P) is on the posted strength of 114 Helicopter Unit Air Force since 25th March, 1996. During this tenure he has flown 380 hours in the inhospitable terrain of Siachen Glacier without any accident/incident.

On 22nd October, 1997 Cheetah Z-1457 force landed at Amar helipad. Consequently, the helicopter had to be recovered from the site, which was at 19,250 ft and also under constant enemy shelling. Flight Lieutenant Bhupinder was detailed as co-pilot in this recovery operation on 24th October 1997, he along with his Captain were landed at Amar helipad. Despite sporadic enemy shelling, he assisted his captain in starting up the aircraft and executing a safe take off, thereby displaying courage and professionalism of a very high order. The aircraft was subsequently flown back to Base camp safely.

On 26th October, 1997, he was detailed as captain for an air maintenance sortie to Bila helipad. While unloading at the helipad, his aircraft came under heavy shelling. His copilot Flight Lieutenant AK Kurian (121730) F (P) sustained a shrapnel injury in the leg, and the aircraft itself suffered debris damage. Flight Lieutenant Bhupinder maintained his composure and quickly carried out a take off. He safely flew the extensively damaged aircraft to Base camp. Post flight inspection revealed heavy damage to main rotor blades, airframe and Perspex.

Flight Lieutenant Bhupinder has, thus, consistently displayed courage and professionalism of a very high order in the face of enemy.

Reference: Gazette of India , 15th August 1998 - No.113 - Pres/98 dated 23rd January 1999 

Shaurya Chakra
Wg Cdr Jasminder Singh Kahlon 8190 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 27 Aug 81 Announced 06 Oct 82
Details :

On the 27th August, 1981, Wing Commander Jasminder Sing Kahlon was detailed to extricate the body of one Mr. MASAZUMI KASHI who had died as a result of a fall from the Drung area of Zanskar valley in Ladakh. In spite of the extremely inhospitable weather conditions and at the very great altitude of over 17,500 ft. Wing Commander Kahlon landed his CHEETAH helicopter on the right skid keeping the left skid suspended in the air while his copilot and a guide carried the body from the crevasse and put it into the helicopter, he maintained this position at great risk to his person and the helicopter.

Wing Commander Jasminder Sing Kahlon, thus, displayed conspicuous courage and devotion to duty of a high order.

Reference: Gazette of India , 16th October 1982 - No.43 - Pres/82 dated 6th October 1982 

Shaurya Chakra
Flt Lt Bikram Dev Singh 13573 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 25 Jun 82 Announced 26 Jan 83
Details :

On the 24th June, 1982, information was received about 19 Army personnel had been stranded near INDRAJOT PASS north of DHARMSALA. A rescue aircraft was launched and it was found that the personnel were on a rock at a height of 14500 ft AMSL and on the mountain side with a gradient of 75°. The personnel were surrounded by nearly 10 feet of fresh snow. It was appreciated that no landing could be attempted and winching operation will be required to rescue the personnel. Food, medicines and blankets were dropped at the site and the aircraft returned to base late in the evening. On the 25th June, 1982, Flight Lieutenant Bikram Dev Singh, Flying (Pilot) was detailed to commence rescue operation in Cheetah aircraft fitted with rescue hoist. He reached the site at about 0900 hours. The weather at that time was fair but the wind speeds were of the order of about 40 knots. After a through recce the aircraft was brought to hover 15' above the stranded personnel. Because of the very steep incline and location of personnel, the aircraft had to be hovered leaving very small margin between the rotor and cliff side. Hovering under such conditions of high altitude, strong winds and very difficult terrain is a nightmarish task requiring exceptional skills. The helper was lowered at the site and two Army personnel were hoisted up and taken to YOL. On returning to the site, it was found that the weather had sharply deteriorated. Clouds had rolled in over the area, the visibility had dropped to 100 metres and wind speed had picked up to about 50 to 55 knots. Flt Lt Bikram Dev Singh continued the rescue operation with cool professionalism and in two more trips evacuated in all six personnel. By 1730 hours all stranded personnel had been brought to YOL.

Flt Lt Bikram Dev Singh thus displayed courage, a high degree of professional skill, competence and devotion to duty of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India , 19th March 1983 - No.14 - Pres/83 dated 26th January 1983 

Shaurya Chakra
Sqn Ldr Sadanand Keshav Dixit 12407 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 22 Jul 82 Announced 26 Jan 84
Details :

Squadron Leader Sadanand Keshav Dixit (12407) Flying (Pilot) while on a unit detachment at Leh, was tasked for a search mission on 21st July, 1982.

A party of ten tourists of different nationalities, had started down ZANSKAR river on two rafts from PADAM village. The same day two empty rafts had been spotted at NIMMU, where the ZANSKAR flows into INDUS, and so ten rafters were feared to be in some danger. The ZANSKAR river is, on the average, only about seven feet in width and its valley is extremely narrow with walls of stone rising thousands of feet high from both banks of the river.

Squadron Leader Dixit took off from Leh at about 1500 hours for this challenging mission of mercy with full knowledge of the hazards. By the time he reached the Indus/Zanskar confluence, the sun had already dipped beyond the western ridges, causing dark and deceptive shadows. This coupled with strong winds and turbulence, made his task of search, nearly impossible. The narrowness of the valley and fading light compelled him to descend to about 100' over the rapids of the Zanskar, which, in itself, is a hair raising task, even under the best of conditions. This endeavour of flying the machine, battling the against the heavy odds and searching for survivors was a daring display of professional efficiency and bravery of the highest order. Undaunted by these, Squadron Leader Dixit continued the search. After 30 minutes of continuous scanning of the wing swept dark valley, he noticed a movement on the right bank of the river. The stranded persons were perched on a steep and rocky slope. When all attempts to land near the party failed, a precarious landing on a rocky spot, on the opposite bank was executed. Contact was established with stranded persons and it was established that all of them were unharmed, though without food and clothes. Two survival packs were given to them to enable them to tide over the night and helicopter returned to Leh. On the 22nd July, 1984, Squadron Leader Dixit was airborne at first light to commence evacuation. An engineer party was taken along to attempt bridging the river to bring the persons to the left bank. However, it was soon realized that the make shift bridge would not work out and it was decided to pick up the persons in a low hover over the slopy right bank. Executing a steady hover on a steep slope at high altitude and in a strong winds is tremendously demanding task which made the operations more difficult by people climbing in the rear. A total of three trips were made in a similar fashion till all ten tourists were safely landed at Leh.

Squadron Leader Sadanand Keshav Dixit thus displayed bravery, indomitable courage and exceptional professionalism.

Reference: Gazette of India , 24th March 1984 - No.25 - Pres/84 dated 26th January 1984 

Shaurya Chakra
Sqn Ldr Rajendra Singh Tandon 9432 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 21 Feb 83 Announced 26 Jan 84
Details :

Squadron Leader Rajendra Singh Tandon (9432) Flying (Pilot), was a member of first Air Force team that participated in the second Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica in 1982-83.

He volunteered to take on the responsibility of off-loading the entire equipment for the expedition from the ship. He organized the off-loading and worked untiringly for more than 24 hours at a stretch to ensure that over 40 tons of material was offloaded in the shortest possible time. At the base camp, he organized and executed the various administrative tasks with a great sense of purpose, responsibility and efficiency.

He carried out various reconnaissance trips on foot and open snow-scooter in sub zero temperature to select a site for preparation of a skiway. For this purpose, he traversed through the hazardous terrain full of dangerous hidden cracks and crevasses with total disregard to his personal safety. His courage, dedication and zeal contributed a great deal in achieving the task in a short span of ten days in a totally alien environment and severe climatic conditions.

On the night of 18th February, 1983, a severe snow storm struck the base camp and the blizzard lasted for two days trapping four members of the expedition in their damaged hut. The base camp was ravaged and a large number of scientific and other equipment were either blown away or damaged. On the 21st February, 1983, at 0400 hours, a rescue mission was launched from the ship. Squadron Leader Rajendra Singh Tandon volunteered for the rescue mission. The ship's bow could be brought to the shelf of the ice for a very short period of time. With total disregard for his personal safety and displaying bravery of high order, Squadron Leader Tandon jumped from the ship on to the shelf and proceeded on foot to the base camp where he rescued the trapped members and salvaged most of the scientific equipment and the precious data they had gathered.

Squadron Leader Rajendra Singh Tandon thus displayed courage and selfless devotion to duty.

Reference: Gazette of India , 24th March 1984 - No.25 - Pres/84 dated 26th January 1984 

Shaurya Chakra
Sqn Ldr Krishan Pratap Narain Singh 11023 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 05 Jun 83 Announced 26 Jan 84
Details :

Squadron Leader Krishan Pratap Narain Singh (11023) Flying (Pilot) was detailed to carry out a rescue mission on 5th June, 1983, of an NCC Expedition stranded due to severe blizzard near Devachen Peak in Himachal Pradesh. Squadron Leader Krishan Pratap Singh located Cadet Shankar Thakuri and Naik Mohammad Shaffi in a steep snow covered terrain at an altitude of 17,500 feet. Exercising extreme caution and displaying remarkable flying skill and daring he managed to land the helicopter on a small flat ground in 45 knots cross wind conditions and thus rescued the injured Cadet Shankar Thakuri. Squadron Leader KPN Singh's decision to land the helicopter at 17,500 ft. on unprepared ground in extremely adverse weather conditions thus resulted in saving precious life and bringing up the morale of other expedition members.

Squadron Leader Krishan Pratap Narain Singh displayed exceptional professionalism, dedication and courage of a high order, beyond the call of duty.

Reference: Gazette of India , 24th March 1984 - No.25 - Pres/84 dated 26th January 1984 

Shaurya Chakra
Flt Lt Samir Riaz Kagdi 23771 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 04 Jul 00 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Sameer Riaz Kagdi, was on the posted strength of a helicopter unit since 08 Oct 1999. He was an extremely professional flier and a matured officer, who gained the status of glacial captain in Op Meghdoot in a record time of five months. During his short stay of nine months, he flew 350 hours, including 225 hours on the Glacier. On several occasions he flew through enemy shelling to drop supplies to tactically crucial posts at the world's highest helipads. On 04 July 2000, Flt Lt SR Kagdi was detailed to fly as a captain to Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO). While flying to DBO, 05 nm short of Goshen, his helicopter experienced collective pitch lever failure and started descending rapidly. He handled this unusual and grave emergency in an extremely professional and competent manner. He selected the most suitable force landing field available and put down the helicopter with only cyclic control. He sustained grievous spinal injuries and fractures during landing. Unmindful of his excessive pain, his accurate and logical analysis of the emergency brought out the factors which gave the Court of Inquiry the requisite direction and made it possible to determine the cause of the failure and instituting remedial actions, thus preventing further recurrence. Flt Lt SR Kagdi succumbed to his injuries and died on 16 July 2000 in Command Hospital, Chandigarh.

Flt Lt SR Kagdi exhibited thoroughbred soldierly attitude, exceptional professional courage and gallantry in face of an unusual grave and emergency and made supreme sacrifice in the best traditions of the Air Force.

Reference: Notification No. 130-Pres/2001 dated 15th August, 2001 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 9th February, 2002. 

Shaurya Chakra
Sqn Ldr Shantanu Basu 22947 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 11 Apr 07 Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

On 11 April 2007, Squadron Leader Basu was detailed for an air logistic sortie to Amar helipad located on the Siachen Glacier, as the leader in two aircraft formation. Flying over this vast frozen ice mass entails flying in the extremes of climatic conditions over exceedingly inhospitable terrain.

The sortie was uneventful till final approach. On short finals, an overshoot had to be initiated as tail winds were encountered. The helicopter experienced a sudden loss of power and height after crossing the helipad. Sqn Ldr Basu maintained his cool in the unusual emergency and handled the situation in a competent manner displaying a high degree of professionalism. He asked his copilot to keep a close check on the engine parameters and initially tried to recover the aircraft by reducing the power demand smoothly. The engine jet pipe temperature (JPT) also shot up. Unfortunately, the JPT failed to respond to the emergency actions by the pilot and the aircraft contintued to lose height. He therefore took the highly courageous decision of attempting to force land across the Actual Ground Position Line. However, due to the absence of a suitable force landing field in the harsh, snow bound and sloping terrain, the helicopter crashed having no chance of survival of the crew.

Squadron Leader Shantanu Basu displayed exceptional courage and gallantry in the face of imminent death in dangerous circumstances beyond the call of duty.

Reference: Notification No. 164-Pres/2007 dated 15th August, 2007 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 17th November, 2007. 

Yudh Seva Medal
Fg Offr Ajai Prakash Shrivastava 17471 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 26 Jan 88 Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

Flying Officer Prakash Srivastava has been on the posted strength of one of the Helicopter units of the Air Force since 11 Dec. 84. He has been involved with “OPS MEGHDOOT" since then.

Flying Officer Srivastava has flown 950 sorties connected with “Ops Meghadoot" in a relatively short span of two years and nine months in the unit. During the month of September, 1987, he accomplished 120 hours of operational flying over the glacier.

On 21 Sep 87, Flying Officer Srivastava was on duty at the Base Camp for an immediate requirement at one of the posts in the forward area which was under heavy enemy fire. He immediately flew his machine to the heavy fire prone area and provided all possible support to the affected soldiers at the post. His task included troop induction, supply of communication and rations of the brave soldiers at the post, which is at an elevation of 19,250 feet and an average surface temperature of -10ºC to -15ºC. During his relentless part-icipation in operation VAJRA SHAKTI lasting six days, the pilot under took 51 sorties to this area of operation. On these days he flew from sunrise to sunset oblivious of his own personal manner. In this limited area of operation, where at least eight of mind and undertook the mission with commendable leadership and courage. Neither the enemy artillery shelling, nor flying fatigue or high altitude or sub - zero temperatures could interfere with his will and determination to complete the assigned mission.

For his exceptional devotion to duty and exemplary leadership and courage in the face of enemy artillery fire, the President is pleased to award Yuddh Seva Medal to Flying Officer Ajai Prakash Srivastava.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1988 Number: 

Yudh Seva Medal
Fg Offr Ajay Massand 17730 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 26 Jan 88 Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

Flying Officer Ajay Massand has been on the posted strength of one of the Helicopter units of Air Force with effect from 09 Dec 85. He has been participating in OPS MEGHDOOT for the past two years.

Flying Officer Massand has a total of 1320 hours of service flying to his credit. He has flown 720 sorties towards Ops Meghdoot in a relatively short span of one year and ten months in the unit. During one month, he did 104 hours of operational flying over the glacier.

On 23 Sep 87 when Flying Officer Massand was called upon to perform duty at the base Camp for an immediate requirement at one of the posts at a towards area which was under heavy enemy fire, he immediately took the decision of flying his unarmed machine to this heavy fire prone area and provide all possible support to our affected soldiers at the post. His task included troop induction, supply of ammunitions and ration to brave soldiers at the post which was at an elevation of 19,250 feet and an average surface temperature of -12ºC to -15ºC. During his relentless participation in operation 'VAJRA SHAKTI' which lasted for six continuous days, the pilot undertook 48 sorties to this particular helipad which was under heavy enemy shelling. On these days he flew from sunrise to sunset oblivious of his own fatigue and completed whatever task was assigned to him in an exemplary manner. In this limited area of operation where at least eight helicopters were operating at a time, the pilot maintained his presence of mind and undertook the mission with exemplary leader ship and courage. Neither the artillery shelling from enemy nor flying fatigue or high altitude or sub-zero temperatures could deter him from achieving the assigned mission.

For his exceptional devotion to duty and exemplary leadership and courage in the face of enemy artillery fire, the President is pleased to award Yuddh Seva Medal to Flying Officer Ajay Massand.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1988 Number: 

Yudh Seva Medal
Wg Cdr Mahendra Goli 12238 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 26 Jan 91 Announced 26 Jan 91
Details :

Wg Cdr Mahendra Goli is posted as Commanding Officer of one of the Air Force Helicopter Units since 17 Jul 89.

The Unit's operational task is primarily in the Siachen Glacier where helipads are in the region of 19000 ft to 23000 ft density altitude. The helipads are exposed to frequent enemy shelling and the Cheetah helicopter flies in most inhospitable terrain on extremes of flight envelop.

Wg Cdr Goli immediately after taking over the unit, involved himself in the operational training of U/T pilots who were declared fully operational in the shortest possible time to undertake Air Maintenance task at Amar, Sonam and Zulu, the most difficult helipads in the Glacier. The officer has 5830 hrs of accident/incident-free flying record to his credit.

On 03 July 90, one Cheetah helicopter force-landed at Amar helipad at an altitude of 19,000' above MSL. The helicopter required an engine change without which it was not possible to retrieve the helicopter. It also necessitated taking an engine (wt 200 kg) to Amar whereas the normal load as per SOP vary from 25 Kgs to 75 Kgs during the season. Wg Cdr Goli master minded the whole exercise of transporting the serviceable engine, change and fly the helicopter out of Amar at the earliest. Probably this was the first time after an engine change a helicopter has been flown out from 19,000' (23,000' density altitude).

For his high professional standards, deft planning, exceptional imagination, devotion to duty and exemplary bravery, the President is pleased to award Yuddh Seva Medal to Wg Cdr Mahendra Goli.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1991 Number: 

Yudh Seva Medal
Flt Lt Chandra Singh 17325 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 26 Jan 91 Announced 26 Jan 91
Details :

Flt Lt Chandra Singh has been on posted strength of one of the Helicopter Units in Air Force since 20 Jun 88.

In his short service career of 6½ years, this young and keen flier has carried out 2550 hours of accident/incident free helicopter flying.

During his tenure in the unit, Flt Lt Chandra Singh has flown over 2400 sorties exclusively in the Siachen Glacier, to the highest helipads in the world like Amar, Sonam and Zulu, where the density altitude ranges from 18000 ft to 23000 ft. Operations to these helipads which are in very close proximity to enemy locations is invariably similar to war like conditions due to frequent enemy shelling/fire.

He had undertaken around 2400 hazardous missions to deliver vital supplies like ammunitions, rations, medicines and evacuating serious casualties to/from our highest helipads under heavy enemy shelling and at times in adverse weather conditions.

In recognition of his exemplary courage and exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Yuddh Seva Medal to Flt Lt Chandra Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1991 Number: 

Yudh Seva Medal
Wg Cdr Dilip Dinkar Mandpe 13937 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 26 Jan 95 Announced 26 Jan 95
Details :

In August 1992 Wing Commander Dilip Dinkar Mandpe as Commanding Officer of a helicopter unit was tasked to undersling a snow scooter to one of the forward posts at an altitude of 16,700' AMSL. If the snow scooter had not been airlifted the post would have had to be abandoned in winter and this would have meant a great setback to Op Meghdoot. Realising the gravity of the situation Wg Cdr Mandpe undertook the sortie personally and accomplished the mission successfully.

During this period Wg Cdr Mandpe has flown over 350 captain hrs evacuating several causalities and carrying vital stores in the Siachin glacier under trying conditions and constant threat of enemy small arms fire, artillery shelling and the surface-to-air missiles. The most notable casualty evacuation carried out by Wg Cdr Mandpe was on 08 Apr 1993 when the Air Force was asked to evacuate five casualties from Sonam post. Under adverse weather conditions and visibility just 500 meters, Wg Cdr Mandpe successfully brought out the casualties in two sorties.

In addition to this impressive effort, he has been instrumental in imparting operational training and undertaking clearance of the unit pilots in the 'Op Meghdoot' area. His personal involvement has ensured a very high percentage of unit pilots being fully operational in this area.

For distinguished service of high order in 'Op Meghdoot' area of operations, the President is pleased to award the 'Yudh Seva Medal' to Wg Cdr Dilip Dinkar Mandpe.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1995 Number: 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Arvind Dalaya 4025 GD(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 01 Jan 66
Details :

Squadron Leader Arvind Dalaya has been commanding a Helicopter Unit operating in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh area since December, 1963. He was given the task of forming a new unit, with only a couple of trained aircrew and technicians. He also had to undertake major commitments in the area, since his was the only Helicopter Unit there. He successfully completed all the commitments assigned to him and also raised the operational standard of the unit.

In June, 1964, he was asked to evacuate casualties among members of Nanda Devi expedition. He personally flew the helicopter and successfully evacuated the casualties.

In June, 1965, when one of the helicopters of his unit had force-landed at a height of 15,000ft. in the Karakoram mountains, he led a team of technicians to the scene of accident and retrieved the damaged helicopter after changing its engine.

During the recent operations against Pakistan in Sialkot sector, he led sorties in the forward areas to bring back our Army battle casualties in spite of enemy aircraft activities in the vicinity. Squadron Leader Arvind Dalaya has set a fine example of leadership and devotion to duty.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Flt Lt Subhash Madanmohan Hundiwala 6351 GD(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 01 Jan 66
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Subhash Madanmohan Hundiwala has been a helicopter pilot in Ladakh since November, 1963. Since then he has flown 430 hours on operational sorties in that area. In spite of hazards of flying over difficult and mountainous terrain of Ladakh, he has always volunteered for difficult missions allotted to the unit.

On 18th May, 1965, Flight Lieutenant Hundiwala undertook four sorties in adverse weather conditions to evacuate Army casualties from Kargil.

On 28th May, 1965, while on a sortie to evacuate a serious casualty from a place in the Karakoram ranges, he experienced an engine flame out of the engine; yet skillfully handling the helicopter, he successfully carried out a force landing on a helipad located at a height of 15,000 feet. Throughout the tenure of his duties in Ladakh, this officer has carried out difficult missions assigned to him and has displayed courage, professional skill and devotion to duty which are in the best traditions 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 Ranjit Kumar Malhotra 6513 GD(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 01 Jan 66
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Ranjit Kumar Malhotra has been flying Aloutte III Helicopters in Ladakh since June 1964 and has flown about 400 hours in Ladakh and other areas of Jammu and Kashmir. Despite difficult and mountainous terrain he has always volunteered for difficult operational missions and set a fine example to his colleagues.

In May and June, 1965, in adverse weather conditions, he undertook twelve sorties to Kargil for the purpose of evacuating army casualties. Again on 14th August, 1965, he undertook two sorties to evacuate army battle casualties from Naugam in Srinagar valley. During these sorties, he had to land at a place which was encircled by Pakistani infiltrators. They fired at him after he had landed; but with cool courage and presence of mind, he successfully evacuated the casualties from the encircled area. The courage and devotion displayed by him were in the best traditions 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)
Sqn Ldr Ram Kumar Sinha 4974 GD(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 69
Details :

Squadron Leader Ram Kumar Sinha has served three tenures in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and NEFA. As a transport pilot, he completed over 1,000 hours of flying in fixed wing transport aircraft. During the Chinese aggression in 1962 and India-Pakistan conflict of 1965 he evacuated over 700 casualties from forward posts. For this, he made over 2,000 landings on unprepared areas In difficult terrain. He has carried out numerous proving and evaluation flights to new helipads. He has frequently been called upon to render service in aid to civil authorities. He flew many sorties carrying medical supplies and food and water for the marooned people after the cyclone at Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi. On another occasion, disregarding his personal safety he evacuated a seriously ill mechanic of the Posts and Telegraphs Department by helicopter and thus saved his life.

Throughout, Squadron Leader Ram Kumar Sinha displayed courage and devotion to duty in the best tradition s' of the Indian Air Force.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 12th April 1969 : No.18 - Pres/69 dated 26th January 1969 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Mohan Chandra 4889 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 71
Details :

Squadron Leader Mohan Chandra has been commanding a Helicopter Unit. He has to his credit more than 1,000 hours of operational flying on Transport aircraft and helicopters.

His flying career has been accident free. He has attained the highest Transport category and instrument rating. Under his guidance, the unit has been brought up to a high degree of operational efficiency. For more than two years, there has been no accident in his Unit. Except when grounded by weather, his unit has met all demands for flights made upon it. With the introduction of a categorization scheme for helicopter pilots, he organised training schedules for his unit and carried out the training programme single-handed. It is as a result of his efforts that, all pilots in his Unit have now been successfully categorized.

Throughout, Squadron Leader Mohan Chandra displayed professional skill and devotion to duty.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 4th September 1971 - No.53 - Pres/71 dated 26th January 1971 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Bhupinder Singh Chandel 9726 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 72
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Bhupinder Singh Chandel is serving with a Helicopter Unit. On 24th January, 1971, he was detailed to evacuate Army personnel from a picket in the Northern Sector. These men were suffering from acute frost bite find were in severe shock sustained during an unexpected blizzard and avalanche. The visibility was very poor and the picket was covered with a thick blanket of snow. While flying over the area, Flight Lieutenant Chandel found that hoisting of casualties by the Rescue Hoist was not possible due to strong winds. He, therefore, executed a landing on difficult side and succeeded in evacuating five men, in a serious condition, to the base hospital. It was because of his fine performance that the lives of these five men were saved.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 12th May 1973 - No.28 - Pres/73 dated 26th January 1972 

Bar to Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
WO Koshy Thomas 302634 ORUnit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 73
Details :

Warrant Officer Koshy Thomas was enrolled in the Indian Air Force in August, 1948. He was serving with Helicopter Unit in the Eastern Sector during the operations in December, 1971. His unit was engaged in airlifting troops/armament and casualties. He always volunteered to fly in all types of sorties, both by day and at night, without any regard to his personal comfort. Throughout the special heliborne operations at Sylhet, his helicopter was under heavy enemy ground fire. With complete disregard to his personal safety, he got out of his Helicopter, in enemy territory, and supervised the unloading, thus enabling the quick and successful completion of the task. He carried out a total of 124 sorties which included 26 sorties by night.

Warrant Officer Koshy Thomas thus displayed courage and exceptional devotion to duty in the best tradition of the Indian Air Force.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Narinder Singh Chahal 8155 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 85
Details :

Wing Commander Narinder Singh Chahal has the rare distinction of having commanded three helicopter units. He has 4700 hours of instructional flying. He has flown extensively over the most treacherous terrain in the Eastern as well as the Western Sectors of the country.

Under his inspiring leadership, one of the helicopter units gave an excellent account of itself when it was assigned the arduous task of bombing operations against insurgents in Nagaland in 1974-75. In recognition of its extraordinary performance, during these operations, the unit became the recipient of three Vayu Seva Medals.

Once again under his able command, another helicopter unit, his second, was adjudged the Best Helicopter Unit of the IAF for the year 1980. It also later won the coveted Flight Safety Award and Maintenance and Operational Trophies of Western Air Command.

In his present appointment as OC of a helicopter unit, Wg Cdr Chahal has undertaken several VVIP commitments to the complete satisfaction of all concerned. He has also led the formation of Mi-8s for Republic Day celebrations and IX Asiad. He was the leader of the Mi-8 detachment during CHOGM. Wg Cdr Chahal has brought up the fully operational state of the aircrew to 99.9%. During his command, all the three units have maintained a unique record of accidentfree flying. Wg Cdr Chahal's performance has been consistently excellent and his contribution to the safe conduct of flying has been exemplary.

For his dedication to duty, professional efficiency, and an exceptional record of flight safety, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wing Commander Narinder Singh Chahal.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 6th April 1985 - No.29-Pres/85 dated 26th January 1985 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Anand Jaivanth Rao 10512 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 85
Details :

Squadron Leader Anand Jaivanth Rao was one of the senior pilots of the Cheetah task force responsible for the initial induction of troops into Siachen Glacier during an operational exercise. He was one of the first aircraft to carry out initial reconnaissance of glacier, prior to the induction of the task force. On 13 Apr 84, he carried out induction of troops at an unprepared, unmarked and snowbound helipad, located at an elevation of about 17,000 ft. Thereafter, he continued to carry out similar operational sorties for 20 days at a stretch and inducted troops. He was the first pilot to explore and land at the site of the planned Assault Camp. With great tenacity for hard work, judgment and a very high sense of responsibility, he carried out a number of missions in the glacier area under most difficult and treacherous flying environment where minor errors could lead to disaster.

Sqn Ldr Rao was also detailed as the leader of the task force to undertake the salvage operations of two Cheetah Helicopters from a crash site to the Assault Camp. It was an exacting operation involving underslung flying, which he conducted with utmost speed and safety. He completed the retrieval of all aircraft parts well ahead of the planned schedule and undertook 43 sorties for the purpose. Flying for this task was invariably at the limits of performance of the aircraft.

During the exercise "Meghdoot" he flew over a hundred missions in the Siachen glacier under all types of weather conditions.

For his remarkable grit, determination and professional competence of an exceptional order displayed by him during this operational exercise and also in earlier similar missions in his flying career, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Squadron Leader Anand Jaivanth Rao.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 6th April 1985 - No.29-Pres/85 dated 26th January 1985 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Gurmohinder Singh Bajwa 10514 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 85
Details :

Squadron Leader Gurmohinder Singh Bajwa was one of the pilots of the task force of Cheetah Helicopters. He was assigned the task of induction of troops during the Operational Exercise "Meghdoot".

During the exercise, he carried out a number of sorties in the Saichen glacier, under one of the most hostile environments for flying, with no references for navigation and landing. With snow getting churned up due to rotor wash at the time of landing, during every sortie, Sqn Ldr Bajwa flew his helicopter with great skill and grit to achieve all the missions assigned to him.

He displayed commendable endurance, outstanding capacity for hard work and was always ready volunteer to undertake additional flying commitments, notwithstanding his awareness of the hazardous flying conditions prevalent over the glacier. He carried out more than ninety missions, lifting armament and troops to various locations on the glacier and continued to operate in the area over extended period at a stretch with a very high sense of duty.

For his dedicated hard work and great professional skill in flying under difficult and hazardous conditions with utter disregard to personal comforts to achieve the allotted task, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Squadron Leader Gurmohinder Singh Bajwa.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 6th April 1985 - No.29-Pres/85 dated 26th January 1985 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Surinder Singh Bains 11288 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 85
Details :

Squadron Leader Surinder Singh Bains was one of the senior pilots on task force of Cheetah helicopters, which were deployed for the induction of troops during Operation "Meghdoot".

Sqn Ldr Bains carried out forty sorties involving 42 hours of flying under the most hazardous flying environments. Flying over uncharted expanse of the Siachen glacier, the world's largest glacier, located in the midst of towering mountains, Sqn Ldr Bains was in the first helicopter to select the landing sites at the strategic passes. These sites were located at heights above 17000 feet and at untried places.

It was a display of rare skill and courage of the highest order by Sqn Ldr Bains, considering that the area of operation was devoid of any sort of reference points and completely covered with ice and snow only. To make these sorties an exacting trial of his flying skill, there was the uncertainty about the firmness of touch-down spot blurred by the churning-up of snow caused by the down wash during landing. Besides, the ambient and in-flight temperature ranged between -20°C and -30°C most of the time.

He was the first pilot to land the troops on two different helipads on 13 Apr 84, during these missions, in the face of hostile activity.

Sqn Ldr Bains not only operated his helicopter with skill and confidence, but also trained other junior pilots in such exacting operations, and thus ensured that the maximum load was lifted in each sortie.

For his courage, professional competence and pioneering spirit combined with indomitable will displayed by him during this operation, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Squadron Leader Surinder Singh Bains.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 6th April 1985 - No.29-Pres/85 dated 26th January 1985 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Rohit Rai 13160 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 85
Details :

Squadron Leader Rohit Rai of a Helicopter Unit was among the few pilots who actively participated in the troop induction stage of an operational exercise. This phase of the operation was a race against time, as hostile elements were also in the process of building up and moving into the Siachen glacier in Ladakh. In order induct our troops well in time, the helicopters had to fly virtually from dawn to dusk, over extremely inhospitable terrain. This called for endurance, determination, professionalism and a fine sense of judgment to exploit every opportunity provided by unpredictable weather.

Sqn Ldr Rohit Rai displayed these qualities in an abundant measure. He was always cheerful and enthusiastic and seized every available opportunity to undertake operational sorties. His determination to achieve the task was a source of inspiration to the junior pilots and the ground crew. He displayed considerable reserves of stamina and endurance in flying throughout the day, day after day, in an area where intense concentration was required in view of the extremely difficult terrain.

For his devotion to duty, determination and significant contribution to the timely induction of troops in the Siachen glacier, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Squadron Leader Rohit Rai.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 6th April 1985 - No.29-Pres/85 dated 26th January 1985 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Shrikant Prabhakar Puranik 8434 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Wing Commander Shrikant Prabhakar Puranik has been commanding one of the operational helicopter units in the northern sector since 09 Jan 84.

Throughout his present tenure as Commanding Officer, he has displayed leadership, organizing ability, dedication and devotion to duty of a very high order. Under his able leadership and guidance the unit has won many laurels. The unit under his command has accomplished more than 8600 hours of operational flying, most of it in the treacherous region of the Siachen Glacier. During the very first year of his Command, the unit won the Best Performance Helicopter Unit Trophy. Then again in the subsequent year the unit won the Best Operational Helicopter Unit Trophy. These achievements together with the enormous task of maintenance of the Army at the Siachen Glacier by the Helicopter Unit were, to a great extent, due to the ingenuity, hard work and exemplary leadership of Wg Cdr SP Puranik.

Wg Cdr Puranik has to his credit 4600 hours of accident/incident-free flying, including 920 hours during the present tenure. Of these, 540 hours have been flown in the Siachen Glacier alone, where he has not only operated with skill and confidence but has also trained his junior pilots to undertake the exacting operations. This has helped in meeting all the demands placed on the unit for the Glacier operations.

For his outstanding leadership, devotion to duty and professional skill, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wg Cdr SP Puranik.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Anshu Kumar Matta 15875 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 13 Aug 85 Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Anshu Kumar Matta was located at the Base Camp on Siachen Glacier as Captain of a helicopter detachment.

On 13 Aug 85 at 0815 hrs, a company commander, located at an extremely difficult forward post, passed a message to the Officerin-Charge Cheetah Helicopter Operation that due to heavy hostile shelling, one person was seriously wounded and could be saved only if he was speedily evacuated. Flt Lt AK Matta was close by and heard the message being conveyed. He, without wasting a moment for obtaining clearance, immediately took off leaving the clearance for the sortie to be obtained by the Task Force Commander. Not knowing the exact location of the casualty and to avoid delay in reaching the wounded soldier, he landed in the area of Company Headquarters which he was familiar with and picked up the Company Commander in his helicopter.

With utter disregard to his personal safety, he reached the area where hostile shelling was still continuing. The place where the wounded NCO lay was at an altitude of 19,200 feet above mean sea level. Due to heavy snow, no helipad could be constructed at such a short notice. Flt Lt AK Matta maneuvered and landed his aircraft at that altitude under bad weather and poor visibility conditions.

Against all odds and fully award of the risks, Flt Lt AK Matta lifted the casualty and brought the wounded person to the Base Camp for first aid. He only waited till the helicopter was refuelled and immediately too off and brought the casualty to a General Hospital at the rear.

For his exemplary courage, selfless devotion to duty and matchless initiative, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Flight Lieutenant Anshu Kumar Matta.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Harkeerat Singh Aujla 17336 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 90
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Harkeerat Singh Aujla has been on the posted strength of a helicopter unit since 01 Mar 88.

During his tenure in the unit, Flt Lt Aujla has successfully carried out a variety of high altitude missions e.g. air maintenance, casualty evacuation from daunting heights of 19000 ft and above in Siachen Glacier and Ladakh region. He has over 2000 sorties to the world's highest helipad to his credit.

He has undertaken hazardous flying missions to deliver vital supplies like ammunitions and rations to our highest outposts in 'Siachen Glacier' under heavy enemy shelling.

In recognition of his unmatched courage, devotion to duty and professionalism, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Flt Lt Harkeerat Singh Aujla.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 12th May 1990 - No.38-Pres/90 dated 26th January 1990 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sgt Yoganandam Kalluri 659174 ORUnit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 91
Details :

Sgt Yoganandam Kalluri is on the posted strength of one of the Air Force Helicopter Units since 13 Jan 90.

On 03 Jul 90, a helicopter had to be left behind at Amar due to engine flame out on ground. The retrieval of the helicopter was planned after an engine change. Amar helipad is at a height of 19000' AMSL and on the Actual Line of Control, within range of enemy artillery fire. The post is constantly shelled by the enemy.

The engine was flown to Amar on 12 Jul 90. During this period the post was under enemy shelling, when Sgt Yoganandam under instruction of Flt Lt Sreepal, Officer incharge of the team, assisted the offloading of the engine. The task of engine change could commence only in the evening due to enemy shelling. Sgt Yoganandam with the help of other technicians carried out the engine change during the night with the help of kerosene lamps and torches. Finally the helicopter was flown out at 1740 hours on 13 Jul 90.

For his exceptional devotion to duty, selfless service and thorough professionalism, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Sgt Yoganandam Kalluri.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Ramaswamy Raju Srinivasan 16234 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 27 May 94 Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Squadron Leader Raju Ramaswamy Srinivasan was the Flight Commander of a Helicopter Unit (HU) from Apr 93 to Feb 95. He has flown more than 800 hours in the inhospitable terrain of Siachen Glacier and has to his credit more than 350 landings at the highest operational helipads of the world. Additionally, he also has over 1000 landings on the treacherous Siachen Glacier.

Sqn Ldr Srinvisan was to the fore when the unit was tasked for the induction of snowmobiles to five posts in May 94. Not airlifting the snowmobiles would have meant abandoning the post which would have been a major set back in OP Meghdoot. Realizing the gravity of the situation Sqn Ldr Srinivasan undertook these missions personally. He flew 10 sorties with undrslung snowmobiles between 27 and 31 May 1994. On two of these missions the posts came under continuous barrage of artillery shells. Inspite of the imminent danger, he kept cool and had the mission requirements foremost in his mind which he executed successfully.

For displaying exceptional corage and devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Squadron Leader RR Srinivasan.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th March 1996 - No.23-Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal
Flt Lt Samir Jay Pendse 20495 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 25 Aug 95 Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Samir Jay Pendse was on the posted strength of 114 Helicopter Unit from 06 Sep 93 to 09 Oct 95. He has carried out more than 425 accident and incident free landings at the world's highest helipads in the 'Op Meghdoot' area.

On 28 Aug 95 he was tasked to go to the rescue of a BSF expedition to Saser Kangri. Flt Lt Pendse got airborne as the leader of a two helicopter formation with 20 minutes of the SOS call. Aerial reconnaissance revealed that the only way to rescue the team was to land at an uneven ledge at 18,500 ft. Braving strong and turbulent winds and in fading light conditions, with exemplary courage he landed his helicopter on the small 4M x 4M ledge and rescued the stranded personnel of the BSF expedition. Following another SOS he again lead his formation and once again braving inclement weather and extremely strong and gusty winds air dropped vital supplies to the search party. In carrying out these two missions, Flt Lt Pendse, in keeping with the highest traditions of the IAF, displayed exceptional courage and professionalism.

For exceptional courage, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Flight Lieutenant Samir Jay Pendse.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 15th March 1997 - No.19-Pres/97 dated 26th January 1997 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Vivek Chaturvedi 20788 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 16 Aug 96 Announced 15 Aug 97
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Vivek Chaturvedi (20788) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of 114 HU, AF from 15 May 95. He has flown 380 hours in the inhospitable terrain of Siachen Glacier without any accident/incident, under constant threat of enemy fire.

On 16 Aug 96, Flight Lieutenant Vivek Chaturvedi was detailed as captain to carry out a routine air maintenance sortie to Amar, a helipad at 20,000 ft. in the Op. Meghdoot area. After landing, while the aircraft was being unloaded, heavy enemy shelling began. Shells landed close to the aircraft damaging the canopy and showering the aircraft with debris. Flt Lt Chaturvedi maintained his composure and analysed the circumstances in a cool and calculated manner. Realising the gravity of the situation and the threat to the safety of the aircraft he quickly ordered the stopping of the unloading and executed a safe take off. Finding that the vital parameters of the aircraft were normal, he skillfully flew the damaged aircraft to Base Camp, and carried out a safe landing. Post flight inspection revealed damage to two main rotor blades, resulting in their being withdrawn from service, and to the engine mounting.

Flight Lieutenant Vivek Chaturvedi, displaying exemplary professionalism, ability to think calmly under stress and react quickly under enemy fire, and flying skills of a very high order saved a valuable aircraft.

For his bravery in the face of the enemy and exemplary professionalism, the President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal" to Flight Lieutenant Vivek Chaturvedi.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st November 1997 - No.88-Pres/97 dated 15th August 1997 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Manmohan Bahadur 14665 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Wing Commander Manmohan Bahadur (14665) Flying (Pilot) has been the Commanding Officer of 114 HU, Air Force since 14 Nov 94. The 114 HU AF has the distinction of being the only Helicopter Unit of the Indian Air Force to be actively engaged in Op Meghdoot for the past 13 years.

Wing Commander Bahadur, an experimental Test Pilot (France) has to his credit more than 4300 hrs on 21 different types of aircrafts of which more than 700 hrs have been in the inhospitable terrain of Siachen Glacier. A sterling example of "Leading from the front".

Under Wing Commander Bahadur's stewardship 114 HU was bestowed with the prestigious Presidents Standard for its distinguished performance in actual war like situation. It was due to his motivation and personal example that the units contingent exhibited a commendably high standard of parade in front of the Supreme Commander. His drive for excellence had been imbibed by one and all of the unit.

During his tenure, DASI visited the unit twice, in Oct 95 and Jul 96 for a regular and surprise visit respectively. The unit was graded Av+ in Operations, Maintenance and Administrative aspects.

Wing Commander Bahadur has inspired the men under him in all aspects of the units functions. His leadership qualities, humane approach to problems of men under him and effective management is worthy of emulation by any leader of men.

For his devotion to duty, professionalism of a very high order and excellent leadership qualities, the President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal" to Wing Commander M Bahadur.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Vivek Vikash Bandopadhayay 15863 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 22 Oct 97 Announced 15 Aug 98
Details :

Wing Commander Vivek Vikash Bandopadhay (15863) Flying (Pilot) is the Commanding Officer of a Helicopter Unit Air Force since 23 April 97.

On 22 October 97, one helicopter of his unit was compelled to force land at an altitude of 19250 ft near 'Amar' while operating in Op Meghdoot area. The force landing point was very close to enemy position and within their firing range. On receiving news, Wing Commander Bandopadhay immediately initiated the action to retrieve the aircraft despite very difficult circumstances.

He immediately flew in to 'Amar' to assess if the helicopter could be flown out. On confirming that the aircraft could be flown out from the forced landing point after rectification, he flew in a second sortie the same day with necessary equipment and manpower. This time he was unable to land due to heavy enemy firing. He made the third successful attempt on the next day and got the helicopter rectified. However, the aircraft could not be flown out due to persistent enemy firing. On 24 October 97, sensing that any further delay in flying out the stranded aircraft could result in its loss due to enemy firing, Wing Commander Bandopadhay decided to take a bold step. He started up and flew out the aircraft in the face of enemy firing. The helicopter had suffered significant collateral damage due to enemy shelling but was flown out safely to the base camp.

Wing Commander Bandopadhay executed this task with utmost courage and with complete disregard to his personal safety. In this action of retrieving the helicopter, he showed complete dedication to duty, exceptional qualities of leadership and courage.

For his devotion to duty and professional courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Vivek Vikash Bandopadhay.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 28th November 1998 - No.107-Pres/98 dated 15th August 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Janapareddy Venkata Sunil Kumar 20838 AELUnit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 22 Oct 97 Announced 15 Aug 98
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Janapareddy Venkata Sunil Kumar (20838) AE (L) is en the posted strength of a helicopter unit, AF as Senior Technical Officer wef. 20 March 96.

His Unit has the challenging task of airmaintaining Army posts on the Siachen Glacier, operating at the extremes of flight envelope, the aircraft experience frequent snags peculiar to high altitude operations. Flight Lieutenant Sunil Kumar with his keen sense of involvement, has ensured a high serviceability state and work output of the highest quality.

On 22 October 97, one helicopter force landed at 'Amar' Helipad. It was decided to recover the helicopter from the site which was at 19,250 ft. and under constant enemy shelling. Flight Lieutenant Sunil Kumar volunteered to lead the rectification team without waiting for acclimatization. He along with the team was landed at 'Amar' and inspite of intermittent enemy shelling worked in the open trying to recover the aircraft. The recovery had to be abandoned that day due to heavy enemy fire. Flight Lieutenant Sunil Kumar again led his team the next day and braving extreme cold and enemy fire pinpointed the required snag. He motivated his men to work under very hostile conditions by leading them from the front. Consequently the aircraft was rectified and safely flown back to the Base Camp. Any delay in rectifying and recovering the aircraft could have resulted in its loss due to heavy enemy shelling. Flight Lieutenant Sunil Kumar not only saved the aircraft, but also displayed exemplary qualities of leadership and courage, in the best tradition of the Air Force.

For his leadership, devotion to duty and courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Seva Medal' to Flight Lieutenant JV Sunil Kumar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 28th November 1998 - No.107-Pres/98 dated 15th August 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Debashish Ganguly 22347 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 06 Jul 98 Announced 15 Aug 98
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Debashish Ganguly (22347) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a helicopter unit wef 03 February 97. During his tenure, he has flown approximately 900 sorties in Siachen Glacier.

Since September 97, the enemy firing along the AGPL had gone up manifold. Flight Lieutenant Ganguly, displaying, raw courage, time and again flew through enemy shelling (airbursts) to drop supply to the technically crucial and critical posts of 'Amar' and 'Sonam'. While operating to posts on the AGPL, he never let personal safety come before national pride.

On 06 July 98, Flight Lieutenant Ganguly was carrying out air maintenance sorties to 'Sonam', the highest helipad in the world. While off loading, an enemy artillery shell landed merely 15 feet from the helicopter. The proximity of the explosion rocked the aircraft while few sharpnels directly impacted on it. Undeterred by the explosion and displaying nerves of steel, Flight Lieutenant Ganguly quickly checked the important aircraft parameters, and took a split second decision to recover the damaged aircraft to Base Camp, out of the enemy's reach.

Flight Lieutenant Ganguly displayed not only raw courage in the face of enemy, but also exceptional professionalism and ability to think and react calmly, quickly and correctly under "Fire".

For his exemplary courage, in the face of enemy, composure & professionalism of a very high order, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Flight Lieutenant Debashish Ganguly.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 28th November 1998 - No.107-Pres/98 dated 15th August 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Hemant Kumar Sachdeva 17355 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 26 Mar 98 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Hemant Kumar Sachdeva (17355) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit wef 12 January 98. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and is also the Flight Commander of the Unit.

During his tenure, Squadron Leader Sachdeva has flown over 120 hours in Siachen Glacier and has led the younger pilots from the front, often through heavy enemy firing. As Flight Commander, he attained the "Glacier Ops" status within a very short span of three months and thereafter took on the Glacier training of young pilots with full gusto. He also played a key role in planning and execution of an engine change and retrieval of an aircraft from one of the highest helipads in the world.

Since 26 March 98, there had been a spate of engine malfunctions in Siachen Area. While this trend was alarming, the engines were not available for investigation due to either enemy action or take off weight constraints of high altitude. Squadron Leader Sachdeva volunteered to fly single pilot from a high altitude helipad to Base Camp to overcome the take off weight constraints. This decision was taken consciously and with full knowledge of the hazards involved in undertaking single pilot operation in the Glacier, only so that an analysis of engine malfunctions occurring at those altitudes could be done. The defective engine was flown down single pilot by Squadron Leader Sachdeva on 14 July 98.

For displaying exceptional courage and professionalism even at the cost of personal safety, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader HK Sachdeva.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Sqn Ldr Rajiv Kumar Narang 20456 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

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

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

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

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

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Flt Lt Sandeep Soti 22343 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

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

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

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

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

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Rajat Saha 22374 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 00
Details :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Mayenk Tewari 17719 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  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 : No.114 Helicopter Unit  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 (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Naresh Bhalerao 22908 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  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)
Sqn Ldr Raskhale Sanjeev Kumar 19037 AELUnit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  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 

The Awards Database presented here was made possible by the kind generosity of Air Marshal Bharat Kumar, author of Courage & Devotion to Duty : A Chronicle of IAF's Honours and Awards (1932-2008). Air Marshal Bharat Kumar had very graciously given permission to reproduce the citations from the book on this website.
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