Awards for 117 HU


A total of 8 Awards are listed.
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Shaurya Chakra
Sqn Ldr Sukhmandar Singh Sidhu 10117 F(P)Unit : 117 HU  Award Date 15 Oct 77 Announced 26 Jan 78
Details :

On 15th October 1977, Squadron Leader Sidhu was ordered to evacuate Sir Edmund Hillary the leader of “Ocean to sky Expedition” who was lying critically ill at the base camp located at a height 17,5000 feet above Mean Sea Level. A veteran of many causality evacuation missions, Squadron Leader Sidhu could easily comprehend the gravity of the situation. He planned his mission immaculately, got airborne and spotted snow covered gorge on which Sir Edmund Hillary was perched, would make evacuation extremely hazardous. As he adroitly maneuvered the helicopter so that it was inches above the ground, loose and scattered snow started flying all around and caused a mini blizzard. Undeterred by this, he kept the helicopter stationery by maintaining a perfect hover, at the altitude 17,5000 feet till his copilot jumped down and helped Sir Edmund Hillary into the helicopter. In this action Squadron Leader Sukhmander Singh Sidhu displayed great courage, determination and professional skill of high order.

Reference: Gazette of India , 8th April 1978 - No.14 - Pres/78 dated 26th January 1978 

Shaurya Chakra
Sqn Ldr Gurcharan Singh Madan 10452 F(P)Unit : 117 HU  Award Date 21 Jul 81 Announced 02 Apr 82
Details :

On the 21st July, 1981, Squadron Leader Gurcharan Singh Madan (10452), Flying (Pilot) of 117 HU, was detailed as Captain to fly of Chetak Helicopter from Bareilly to Gauchar with an enroute halt at Haldwani for refueling. About 10 minutes of take off from Haldwani, his helicopter suddenly pitched up and started rolling to the right. It immediately developed severe vibrations and the control column started snatching in all directions. The severity of pitch, roll and vibrations was so great that he along with co-pilot had difficulty in retaining a grip on the control column and impossible to read the instruments. The movement of the stick was so vicious that it repeatedly hit their legs, badly lacerating them. The Helicopter was out of control and a crash was imminent.

Sqn Ldr Madan with commendable presence of mind and cool courage analysed the emergency and came to conclusion that the existing condition could only be outcome of a failure of rotor head system as had been the case with two earlier fatal accidents. He immediately decided to force land the helicopter on whatever open space he could find. With this intention, he lowered the collective pitch. By this action the vibrations reduced slightly and he could retain grip on the control column with a great effort. A marginal control of the helicopter was thus achieved. With the control of the helicopter hanging in a very delicate balance, Sqn Ldr Madan brought down the stricken helicopter to a small clearing for landing. The moment he raised the collective to cushion the landing shock, the vibration again became very severe. It was only his superlative flying skill, exemplary courage and tenacity of purpose which helped him to land helicopter with minimal damage.

In making this extremely difficult recovery of helicopter without excessive damage, Squadron Leader Gurcharan Singh Mann had not only saved a valuable aircraft and the lives of his co-pilot and his own but has made the investigation of the cause of this failure possible which in future will save further accidents.

Squadron Leader Gurcharan Singh Mann thus displayed exemplary courage, extremely high standard of flying skill and devotion to duty of high order.

Reference: Gazette of India , 10th April 1982 - No.20 - Pres/82 dated 2nd April 1982 

Shaurya Chakra
Sqn Ldr Tejinder Pal Singh Chatwal 11290 F(P)Unit : 117 HU  Award Date 25 Jul 84 Announced 26 Jan 85
Details :

Wing Commander Tajinder Pal Singh Chhatwal was selected to undertake an important task of air maintaining troops at very high altitude. In view of the ever changing scenario of the exercise and great urgency of supplies, Wing Commander T. S. Chhatwal commenced the mission immediately. The precision drops carried out by him speak of his professional competence. Later due to subsequent developments, the camp had to be shifted to a steep slope where the stock of supplies turned out to be very critical. Wing Commander Chhatwal had to fly 5-10 metres above the ground. Undeterred, on 25th July 1984, he continued his mission and in all 17 tons of load was free dropped at the new Camp. In another remarkable feat, Wing Commander Chhatwal flew the helicopter at altitudes higher than 5.7 kms for over an hour, while carrying out the task of filming. He flew 42 sorties in one single day airlifting more than 23 tons of load to the forward posts.

Wing Commander Tajinder Pal Singh Chhatwal thus exhibited professional competence, acumen, courage and devotion to duty of high order.

Reference: Gazette of India , 16th March 1985 - No.?? - Pres/85 dated 26th January 1985 

Shaurya Chakra
Wg Cdr Chekuri Mohan Rao 10561 F(P)Unit : 117 HU  Award Date 26 Feb 89 Announced 26 Jan 90
Details :

In February, 1989 Wing Commander Chekuri Mohan Rao was called upon to launch a mission to rescue twelve casualties belonging to Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) from Bara-Lacha-La, who were involved in a serious avalanches in snow-bound areas. Wing Cdr Rao detailed himself to under take this difficult mission and lead a section of two Cheetah helicopters for the rescue operations. On the 26th February, 1989, displaying exceptional skill and consummate courage, he crossed Rohtang pass in extremely turbulent weather and landed successfully on the small and snow covered helped at Bara-Lacha-La at an altitude of 16000 feet and evacuated three SASE causalities to Manali. After refueling and unmindful of his personal safety he took off again and landed at Bara-Lacha-La in marginal weather. On the return flight Wg Cdr Rao had on board his co-pilot and three SASE (Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment) casualties. Shortly after getting airborne from Bara-Lacha-La, his helicopter developed sever vibrations and aircraft became almost uncontrollable. It was a grave aircraft emergency aggravated by poor visibility and marginal weather. Using his extraordinary flying skills, he managed to guide the virtually uncontrollable aircraft towards the only available small flattish piece of land on a hill slope. Displaying tremendous courage he managed to turn the helicopter during the last stages of force landing in such a manner that he personally took the major brunt of impact with the hill slope. While all the other occupants survived, Wg Cdr Rao sustained serious injuries and after surviving 12 hours into the sub-zero and treacherous climatic conditions at that high altitude, he succumbed to his injuries.

Wing Commander Chekuri Mohan Rao demonstrated courage and devotion to duty of a very high order and made the supreme sacrifice of his life in the finest tradition of the Air Force.

Reference: Gazette of India , 28th April 1990 - No.34 - Pres/90 dated 26th January 1990 

Shaurya Chakra
Sqn Ldr Mohammed Shahjahan Mohammed Naseer 17012 F(P)Unit : 117 HU  Award Date 27 Nov 97 Announced 15 Aug 98
Details :

Squadron Leader Mohamed Shajahan Mohamed Nasser (17012) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of 117 Helicopters Unit, Air Force and is performing the duties of Flight Commander since 31 Mar 97.

On the evening of 27 Nov 97 Squadron Leader Nasser was called upon to search and rescue three Snow and Avalanche study Establishment personnel from the snow bound Solang-Beas Kund area. Despite fading light conditions, he located the ground search party along with the lone survivor in an unconscious state. He landed the helicopter in extremely difficult snow bound conditions close to a steep slope. However, due to extremely difficult ground conditions and approaching darkness the ground party could not bring the casualty to the helicopter. Squadron Leader Nasser returned with the first light on the following morning and rescued the lone survivor by hovering over the soft snow with only one skid in ground contact. In subsequent two stories he brought the exhausted ground rescue team members and two dead bodies.

Squadron Leader Mohamed Shajahan Mohamed Nasser thus, displayed exceptional courage and professionalism in the face of highly challenging environment, regardless of his personal safety.

Reference: Notification No. 114-Pres/98 dated 15th August, 1998 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 23rd January, 1999.  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Bhupinder Singh Subhlok 13795 F(P)Unit : 117 HU  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 96
Details :

Wing Commander Bhupinder Singh Subhlok was commissioned on 07 Dec. 74 in F (P) Helicopter stream. At about 1400 hours on 5th September, 1995 an emergency message was received for immediate evacuation of men stranded on an island in the area engulfed by the fast rising Beas river near Tihra Sujanpur. On receipt of the message Wg Cdr Subhlok who was commanding 117 HU Chetak/Cheetah Helicopter Unit, got airborne in a Cheetah helicopter. He was followed by Sqn Ldr A Gode in a Chetak helicopter. On reaching the site, they could spot 6 men huddled on a tiny island with no way of escaping. Time was at a premium as water was rising rapidly threatening to engulf the survivors. The local condition precluded rescue by winching. The lead helicopter flown by Wg Cdr Subhlok first made an approach and pulled in 3 survivors. This act of saving lives in the face of imminent danger to the aircraft and the lives of the aircrew has been in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force.

For the act of exceptional courage, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wg Cdr Bhupinder Singh Subhlok.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 30th November 1996 - No.92-Pres/96 dated 15th August 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Anand Gode 16231 F(P)Unit : 117 HU  Award Date 05 Sep 95 Announced 15 Aug 96
Details :

Squadron Leader Anand Gode was commissioned on 13 Dec 80 as Flying (Pilot) in Helicopter stream.

At about 1400 hours on 5th September, 1995 an emergency message was received for immediate evacuation of men stranded on an island in the area engulfed by the fast rising Beas river near Tihra Sujanpur. On receipt of the message Wg Cdr Subhlok who was commanding 117 HU Chetak/Cheetah Helicopter Unit, got airborne in a Cheetah helicopter. He was followed by Sqn Ldr A. Gode in a Chetak helicopter. On reaching the site, they could spot 6 men huddled on a tiny island with no way of escaping. Time was at a premium as water was rising rapidly threatening to engulf the survivors. The local condition precluded rescue by winching. The lead helicopter flown by Wg Cdr. Subhlok first made an approach and pulled in 3 survivors. This act of saving lives in the face of imminent danger to the aircraft and the lives of the aircrew has been in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force.

For the act of exceptional courage, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Sqn Ldr Anand Gode.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 30th November 1996 - No.92-Pres/96 dated 15th August 1996 

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

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

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

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

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