Awards for 118 HU


A total of 7 Awards are listed.
Vir Chakra : 1 | Vayu Sena Medal : 6 |
Vir Chakra
Wg Cdr Chandra Dutt Upadhyay 11336 F(P)Unit : No.118 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 19 Oct 87 Announced 26 Jan 89
Details :

Wing Commander Chandra Datt Upadhyay was deployed as ‘Type Force Commander’ of the Pratap Fleet of Indian Air Force Element of Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka from the 19th October, 1987 to 3rd November 1987, when the IPKF was engaged in fierce battle with Tamil Militants for control of Jaffna town.

On the 19th October, 1987 and again on the 20th October, 1987, Wing Commander Upadhaya carried out sorties to take urgent rations, petrol, oil and ammunition for the advancing Army columns and evacuate casualties. He carried out the mission by landing on an open field which was under fire from all sides.

On the 21st October, 1987, a single helicopter special mission of para commando was dropped at Achuvail and then para commandos and prisoners were picked up from Puttur West. During take off from the ground at Puttur West, his helicopter was fired at by the militants by machine gun & rockets. One rocket damaged the trailing edge of a rotor blade, causing severe vibration. The helicopter went out of control and started descending rapidly. Wing Commander Upadhyay showing great professional skill controlled the helicopter only a few feet above the ground and turned back and landed the stricken helicopter in the same field. All the passengers and crew took shelter in ditches and once the crossfire ceased, he inspected the helicopter. Since the damage was very light, he restarted the helicopter, boarded the passengers and managed to fly it back at low speed to the airfield, thus saving valuable lives and a helicopter.

Wing Commander Chandra Datt Upadhaya thus displayed exceptional professional skill, extreme devotion to duty and courage in the face of the militants in Sri Lanka.

Reference: Gazette of India , 8th April 1989 - No.23 - Pres/89 dated 26th January 1989 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Subhash Chandra Kharbanda 10113 F(P)Unit : No.118 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 22 Oct 74 Announced 01 Jul 75
Details : Flight Lieutenant Subhash Chander Kharbanda was commissioned in the Flying (Pilot) Branch of the Indian Air Force in March 1966. He has been serving with a helicopter Unit since April, 1972. During October and December, 1974 when the Unit was called upon to mount special heliborne operations in the Eastern Sector, he was chosen to undertake numerous missions to forward helipads. He undertook 28 successful missions in the theatre. He often had to fly from dawn to dusk. . He carried out numerous sorties which resulted in successful completion of the operations. Flight Lieutenant Subhash Chander Kharbarnda thus displayed courage, professional skill and devotion to duty of a high order.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st May 1976 - No.36 - Pres/76 dated 1st July 1975 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Bharat Raj Lohtia 11419 F(P)Unit : No.118 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 22 Oct 74 Announced 01 Jul 75
Details : Flight Lieutenant Bharat Raj Lohtia was commissioned in the Flying (Pilot) Branch of the Air Force in December, 1967. He has been serving with a Helicopter Unit since September, 1972. During October and December, 1974 when the unit was called upon to rnount special heliborne operations in Eastern Sector, he was the captain of one of the helicopters engaged in the operations. Due to urgency of the situation and limited time time, the helicopler had to be llown in the over in the overload variant. The task required courage and flying skill of a very high order due to turbulent weather conditions in the inhospitable terrain of Eastern Sector. Disregarding his personal safety, he carried out 22 successful missions often flying from dawn 'o dusk. Throughout, Flight Lieutenant Bharat Raj Lohtia displayed courage, professional skill and devotion to duty of a high order
Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st May 1976 - No.36 - Pres/76 dated 1st July 1975 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Dinesh Chandra Kaushik 6353 F(P)Unit : No.118 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 82
Details :

Wing Commander Dinesh Chandra Kaushik has been on the posted strength of the Helicopter Unit, Air Force, since 28th August, 1978. During a crisis due to shortage of fuel for Dakota and Caribou aircraft, the unit under his command was called upon to undertake the task of air maintenance in the entire Eastern region. He rose to the occasion and did a commendable job in keeping all the air maintained posts in the Sector supplied with essential commodities, equipment, in addition to other multifarious commitments like VVIP helilifts, flood relief operation and communication flights.

Wing Commander Kaushik was also instrumental in suggesting and eventually accomplishing the task of carrying out air maintenance operations from focal points closer to the air maintained posts, thereby reducing the flying time by 35 per cent to 50 per cent. He had also undertaken the task of training the pilots of a Helicopter Unit on Mi-8 Helicopters. He has been a pioneer on Mi-8 Helicopters ever since their evaluation and induction into the service. He has made a very valuable contribution into the firm establishment of standard operating procedures on the Mi-8 Helicopters.

Wing Commander Dinesh Chandra Kaushik has thus displayed professional competence, leadership capabilities and devotion to duty of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 22nd January 1983 - No.1-Pres/83 dated 26th January 1982 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Kailash Gurao 21573 F(P)Unit : No.118 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 00
Details :

Squadron leader Kailash Gurao (21573) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 22 Feb 99. On 01 Nov 99 he was detailed to fly the Raksha Mantri (RM) and two other VIPs for a reconnaissance sortie over the cyclone ravaged areas in Orissa followed by a landing at Paradip. After the recce was over Paradip, Sqn Ldr Guaro apprised the minister of the risk of landing at an unsecured and unprepared helipad. However, as desired by the RM, a landing was executed on an unprepared site.

After the departure of RM, the crowd started getting disturbed and restive, forcing Mr. Navin Patnaik, Minister of Mines and Minerals, who had earlier deplaned, to rush to near by building to seek shelter from the angry mob. Part of the crowd by then, turned violent and some of them threatened to burn the helicopter and assault the passengers. Sqn Ldr Gurao decided to start the helicopter and await arrival of the RM. The Flight Gunner, along with the available policemen was detailed to guard the tail rotor during the start up. On seeing Mr. Navin Patnaik being manhandled by the mob, Sqn Ldr Gurao along with his crew pulled him safely inside the helicopter. By then the crowd started pelting stones and some even tried to board the helicopters. At this stage, Sqn Ldr Guaro immediately took-off to ensure safety of the VIPs. After the crowd had dispersed he picked up the gunner from a low hover. Subsequently, Sqn Ldr Gurao located the Raksha Mantri at the Paradip Port jetty. He immediately maneuvered the helicopter into the confined space, executed a landing and returned to Bhubaneshwar with the RM.

This mission of safely retrieving the helicopter as well as rescuing the VIPs from mob frenzy in a difficult and volatile situation bears testimony to Sqn Ldr Guaro's extraordinary courage and professional skills. His actions saved the Raksha Mantri and his entourage from possible physical harm. The presence of mind shown by him at the time of the crisis is extremely praiseworthy.

For his act professionalism and extraordinary courage in the face of a challenging situation, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Kailash Gurao.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Subramaniam Ravi Vridhachalem 18101 F(P)Unit : No.118 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 19 Jul 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Wing Commander Subramaniam Ravi Vridhachalem (18101) Flying (Pilot) Is on the posted strength of a Mi-17 Helicopter Unit as its Commanding Officer since 11 Aug 2003.On 10 Jul 2004 Wg Cdr Vridhachalem undertook a mercy mission at short notice from a village near Darranga, south of the International border with Bhutan. On reaching the area Wg Cdr Vridhachalem realized during the recce, that the Pugladia river had breached its banks splitting the village into two. The rising waters of the river were slowly submerging remnants of the village and the marooned villagers were faced with imminent danger to their lives. Despite the fact that there was no clear landing area available in the village, Wg Cdr Vridhachalem displayed gallantry in making a precise landing in a small water-logged clearing within the village. He hovered the helicopter low with one wheel touching the water-logged ground and evacuated the marooned villagers in an orderly manner.On 19 Jul 2004 Wg Cdr Vridhachalem received an urgent request from the DC Nagaon to launch helicopters for evacuating thousands of marooned villagers near Hojai. Two helicopters under the command of Wg Cdr Vridhachalem were launched for Hojai within a mere 30 minutes. The area near Hojai was totally inundated by the Kopili river. The river had breached its banks at a number of places and the resultant flash flood had taken the helpless residents totally by surprise. No clear area was available for launching conventional rescue operations. Assessing the difficult situation and the limited time available, Wg Cdr Vridhachalem brought the helicopter to a low hover on a submerged culvert, He commenced the rescue operation with the helicopter held steady at low hover over the culvert. I lundreds of civilians waded through waist deep water to board the safety of the helicopter hovering a few feet above the ground. He flew as many as 12 sorties to evacuate the marooned civilians without taking a break. The fact that such difficult operations were executed flawlessly by precise hovering over water, with frantic civilians clamouring to be rescued, speaks volumes of the leadership and professionalism displayed by the CO of the unit. The officer led by personal example in ensuring a high level of team motivation exhibited by all personnel of his unit In utiderlaklnn rescue missions under most difficult conditions.For these acts of exceptional courage in rescuing hundreds of lives, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Subramaniam Ravi Vridhachalem.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Ashok Pande 20521 F(P)Unit : No.118 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 09 Jul 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Squadron Leader Ashok Pande (20521) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of 1 18 Helicopter Unit since 14 Jul 2003. He is a seasoned twin-engine helicopter pilot wilh over 3200 hours of flyling. He is a soft spoken and a thorough professional, who with his maturity and experience has been an invaluable advisor and a competent officer.On the 09 Jul 2004, Sqn Ldr Pande was detailed as the Captain of a helicopter for evacuating marooned school children in a boarding school, North of Rangia with the raging flood waters threatening-to wash away the whole building. In-addition to the raging flood waters, the adverse weather with low, dark clouds and rain made the condition dangerous and risky. This aggravated the difficulty in rescue operation. The only landing place available on site where children were stranded was football ground, which too was filled with knee-deep flood water. Landing of helicopter in knee-deep flood water required high level of professionalism and tremendous courage. However, undeterred by such risky and hazardous conditions Sqn Ldr Pande took a brave decision to land the helicopter in knee deep water so as to accomplish the task of rescuing children who otherwise would have been drowned. With sole aim of rescuing 140 children Sqn Ldr Pande risked his life and landed not only once but carried out eight sorties to save the children. In the ensuing days he also rescued 1080 marooned villagers and dropped over 35 tons of essential supplies at various difficult and hazardous terrains. He exhibited exceptional professionalism and coin-age in the best traditions of Air Force, which resulted in saving the several countrymen from the natural calamity.For this act of exceptional courage in extreme adverse conditions, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Squadron Leader Ashok Pande.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

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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