Awards for 17 Sqn


A total of 14 Awards are listed.
Vir Chakra : 3 | Yudh Seva Medal : 1 | Vayu Sena Medal : 6 | Vishist Seva Medal : 2 | Mention in Despatches : 2 |
Vir Chakra
Wg Cdr Narinder Chatrath 3959 F(P)Unit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date 04 Dec 71 Announced 26 Jan 72
Details : On 04 December 1971, Wing Commander Narinder Chatrath led an attack on Kurmitola, the heavily defended airbase near Dacca. Near the target, the formation was intercepted by Pakistani Sabres. As the formation broke out to deal with the attacking Sabres, Wg Cdr Chatrath engaged a Sabre. After a dogfight the Sabre disengaged and started returning to base. Although the weather was bad and the fuel was running low, he chased the Sabre deep into enemy territory, engaged it in another dogfight and shot it down. The aircraft hit the ground and blew up in flames. In this action, Wing Commander Chatrath displayed Gallantry and flying skill of a high order
Reference: Gazette of India , 17th June 1972 - No.75 - Pres/72 dated 1st June 1972  

Bar to Vir Chakra
Flt Lt Vinod Kumar Neb 8189 F(P)Unit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 72
Details :

On the 4th December, 1971, Flight Lieutenant Vinod Kumar Neb was No. 3 of a formation of four aircraft, on a mission to strike the airfield of Kurmitola in the Dacca complex. While the formation was near the target, it was intercepted by three Sabres. Flight Lieutenant Vinod Kumar Neb engaged an enemy aircraft and shot it down. Thereafter he saw another Sabre and although he was low on fuel, he started maneuvering his aircraft for a vantage position to engage the enemy aircraft. In the meantime, the fire warning light on the aircraft came on and his leader also ordered him to disengage in view of the limited fuel. He brought the aircraft safely to base inspite of engine trouble. Subsequently, he operated from the Detachment of the Squadron away from the base and flew a number of ground strike missions in the Comilla Sector. Alongwith his leader, he was responsible for destroying the enemy bunkers and gun positions on the hillocks overlooking our troops in Barkar which enabled its capture by our troops.

Throughout the operations, Flight Lieutenant Vinod Kumar Neb displayed gallantry and professional skill of a high order.

Reference: Gazette of India , 17th June 1972 - No.76 - Pres/72 dated 1st June 1972  

Vir Chakra
Sqn Ldr Ajay Ahuja 17864 F(P)Unit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date 27 May 99 Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja (17864-A) Flying (Pilot) was the Flight Commander of a MiG–21 Squadron inducted Srinagar for the Kargil Operations. On 27th May 1999, he was planned to lead a two aircraft mission for Photo reconnaissance of enemy positions in the Batalik Sector. As he was getting airborne he was informed that Flight Lieutenant Nachiketa had ejected in the vicinity of Muntho Dhalo. Squadron Leader Ahuja immediately realized the necessity of locating and recovering the downed pilot. He changed his mission profile and set course towards Muntho Dhalo. Despite being told that surface to air missiles were being fired in the area, Squadron Leader Ahuja carried out orbits to try and pinpoint the location of the crashed aircraft and pilot. He sent his No. 2 back to base but himself continued the search, ignoring the threat to his own life.

By sheer perseverance, he was able to locate the crash site and transmitted this information to the rescue helicopters. Unfortunately, at this stage, his own aircraft was hit by a surface to air missile. With exemplary presence of mind and cool professionalism, he attempted to nurse the aircraft towards a safer area. But when the aircraft engine flamed out Squadron Leader Ahuja had no choice but to eject. He ejected safely and had the presence of mind to transmit his last recorded ground position.

On 28th May 1999 the body of Squadron Leader Ahuja was handed over to Indian authorities. The body bore two bullet injuries.

Squadron Leader Ahuja displayed exceptional courage in going beyond the call of duty while searching for a downed brother officer.

Reference: Gazette of India , 26th January 2000 - No.18 - Pres/2000 dated 11th March 2000 

Yudh Seva Medal
Wg Cdr Birendra Singh Dhanoa 15405 F(P)Unit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date 15 Aug 99 Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Wg Cdr BS Dhanoa (15405-L) F(P) is the Commanding Officer of MiG-21 Squadron and has been on the posted strength since 31 Mar 97.

His unit was tasked to carry out Fighter Recce missions only. Such missions were carried out professionally during the initial days of the operation. After IAF changed over to Medium Altitude Level Attacks, he volunteered to carry out bombing attacks, even though his unit is not earmarked for ground attack missions. In a record time, he changed the configuration of his aircraft to bombing role. He led from the front and the professional leadership that he displayed resulted in very accurate bombing attacks on the enemy. Under his able guidance and supervision the Squadron attained a high standard of professionalism and operational efficiency. This officer has been in command for the past two years. The motivations, high standard of professionalism and the eagerness to undertake missions by all the pilots in the Squadron is due to the correct direction and leadership provided by him as Commanding Officer. The Squadron maintained two detachments during the activation and the Squadron achieved 100% serviceability.

He provided inspirational leadership and was instrumental in ensuring success during this operation. He motivated his team to undertake night strike missions, even though they were not trained for it. He was actively involved in day as well as low altitude night bombing. He coordinated operational, administrative and technical aspects facilitating the Squadron to undertake the various roles it was tasked with.

For his professionalism, inspiring leadership, hard work and exceptional devotion to his job during operations in Kargil sector, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Yudh Seva Medal' to Wg Cdr BS Dhanoa.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 15 Aug 1999 Number: 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Tehmurasp Ratanshaw Patel 5192 F(P)Unit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 72
Details :

During the operations against Pakistan in December, 1971, Squadron Leader Tehmurasp Ratanshaw Patel was serving with an operational Squadron in the Eastern Sector. On the 4th December, 1971, he was No. 3 of a strike mission over Dacca airfield. He had difficulty in raising the undercarriage of his aircraft and by the time he was able to raise it, he was separated from the formation. On his own, he attacked and caused heavy damage to a goods train and also fired at many enemy positions before returning to base. On subsequent days, he carried out a number of strike missions. On the 11th December, 1971, Squadron Leader Patel along with another pilot took off for an attack on enemy bunkers in Rangpur area. After knocking out the bunkers while pulling out of the dive, the aircraft was hit by ground fire. Both the pilots sustained extensive injuries. Squadron Leader Patel was hit by splinters near his eyes which caused severe pain and bleeding. Inspite of the injuries, he brought the aircraft back to base.

Throughout, Squadron Leader Tehmurasp Ratanshaw Patel displayed courage, professional flying skill and devotion to duty.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 7th October 1972 - No.108 - Pres/72 dated 23rd September 1972 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Satish Kumar Gahlaut 12764 F(P)Unit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 94
Details :

Wg Cdr Satish Kumar Gahlaut was commissioned on 12 Jun 71 as a fighter pilot. He commanded a fighter Squadron during 199092. The officer has over 2500 hours of accident -free fighter flying to his credit which includes over 3000 sorties on MiG -21 aircraft.

During his tenure as Commanding Officer, the Sqn was inspected twice by Aircrew Examining Board (AEB) and once by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection. In all these inspections the unit was rated very high each time. The unit won the prestigious overall trophy during the Western Air Command Gunnery Meet, 199192. The consistency in performance was mainly due to the outstanding leadership provided by Wg Cdr Gahlaut.

Wg Cdr Gahlaut was given the task of reequipping the Squadron for dedicated Photo Reconnaissance (PR) role. He handled this task in a highly professional manner and ensured that the transition was most expeditious and smooth.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wg Cdr SK Gahlaut.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Birender Singh Dhanoa 15405 F(P)Unit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Wing Commander Birender Singh Dhanoa (15405) Flying (Pilot) has been commanding a Fighter Squadron since 31 March 97. His tenure has been characterized by consistent achievement of task and the highest standards of professionalism amongst aircrew. The personnel under his command are noticeable for their high morale. His Squadron has achieved every goal set for it. He has been instrumental in imparting to even junior aircrew the confidence that can only come from marked professionalism. He has encouraged them to lead and undertake the most challenging missions. By guidance and example, he has improved the armament delivery results of the Squadron. Inspite of having to train a number of UT Op pilots, he has made his Squadron an elite outfit and specialist Squadron in tactical photo reconnaissance. The Squadron under his command, has an unblemished safety record and in fact there have been two cases where pilots have brought back a stricken aircraft. This speaks volumes for Wing Commander Dhanoa's leadership qualities. His Squadron was awarded the 'Best Fighter Squadron' trophy of the Command in November 97.

For his dynamic leadership, devotion to duty and distinguished service, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Birender Singh Dhanoa.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Alok Choudhry 18271 F(P)Unit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Squadron Leader A Choudhary (18271-A) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron. He took over as Flight Commander during Operation 'SAFED SAGAR' after Sqn Ldr A Ahuja was killed in action. Under his able guidance and supervision, the Squadron attained a high standard of professionalism and operational efficiency. His foresight and planning enabled the Squadron to operate at two bases. The air craft and airmen were staggered such that prolonged deployment at Op locations did not affect operational efficiency and the Squadron achieved 100% serviceability. Dur ing operations as the Squadron Pilot Attack Instructor, he was responsible for the calculation of level release parameters for bombs at various altitudes. His accuracy in doing the same and meticulous briefings resulted in the Squadron achieving a high proportion of direct hits on the various targets allotted. Leading from the front, he was actively involved in day as well as low altitude night bombing. He co­ordinated opera tional, administrative and technical aspects facilitating the Squadron to undertake the various roles it was tasked for.

For his hard work, inspirational leadership and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader A Choudhary.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Fg Offr Rajpal Singh Dhaliwal 23535 F(P)Unit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Flying Officer Rajpal Singh Dhaliwal (23535-A) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron with effect from 13 May 96. He is a two aircraft leader with 756 hrs of total flying experience. He was actively involved in the operations conducted during Operation 'SAFED SAGAR' and performed flawlessly. His Squadron was tasked for the night strike role over target area from 27 Jul 99 onwards. The profile of these attacks was such that it required accurate and skilful flying in the valley by night at one km above terrain level. Enemy resistance in the form of anti aircraft artillery and low level quick reaction missiles was also present. With mere 46 hours of night flying, no prior exposure to night strikes and limited Valley flying experience, Flying Officer Dhaliwal flew a total of four successful missions in these demanding circumstances. In all of these missions, he accurately delivered his weapons and was also able to visually sight the impact points. Flying Officer RS Dhaliwal has just about four years of commissioned service that makes him one of the youngest pilots in the history of the Indian Air Force to have taken part in night strike operations.

For his exceptional courage, determination and devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Flying Officer Rajpal Singh Dhaliwal.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Ashwani Kumar Nabh 16608 F(P)Unit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 04
Details :

Wing Commander Ashwani Kumar Nabh (16608) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying branch of the IAF on 11 Dec 1981 as a fighter pilot. He has 5000 sorties of accident/incident free fighter flying to his credit. In 22 years of distinguished service, he has held several important field and staff appointments like Flying Instructor in Air Force Academy and Flight Commander of a fighter Squadron (Sqn). As Flight Commander, he had safely landed a severely crippled MiG-21 trainer. For his professionalism, he received the Commendation by the Chief of the Air Staff of 26 Jan 1999.

Whilst working in the Directorate General of Signals Intelligence, Air HQ, he was instrumental in conceptualizing and development of a futuristic project 'Divya Drishti'. This project being operationalised by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will provide unpreced ented intelligence gathering capabilities for national security planning.

Wg Cdr Nabh took over command of a MiG-21 Sqn on 15 Oct 2001, tasked with 'Reconnaissance' role. During 'Op Parakram', his Sqn was operationally active under most trying conditions in the valley. He displayed unwavering perseverance and foresight to ensure highest operational status of all the pilots in the Sqn by upgrading the tempo of operational training. Now, the Sqn aircrew is fully qualified in all possible operational roles. Leading by personal example and displaying airmanship of highest order, he flew over 400 sorties in last one year. He kept the Sqn technical personnel fully motivated and committed to achieve highest serviceability of aircraft and operational role equipment. The Sqn achieved 100% serviceability in Feb 2002 during the peak of 'Op Parakram' and thereafter maintained it well above 70% throughout year. The Sqn did exceedingly well during all the inspection visits during this period.

An articulate professional, Wg Cdr Nabh submitted two well-researched service papers on Pakistan's Combat Tactics. Recently, he presented two papers on contemporary subjects of 'Supervision in Flight Safety' and 'Steps for improving our Reconnaissance Capabilities'.

For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Ashwani Kumar Nabh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th April 2004 - No.32-Pres/2004 dated 26th January 2004 

Vishist Seva Medal
MWO Koshy Mathilunkal Samuel 208544 ORUnit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date 26 Jan 82 Announced 26 Jan 82
Details :

Master Warrant Officer Koshy Mathilunkal Samuel (Instrument Fitter) was posted to one of the fighter squadrons in Feb 78. As a Technical Adjutant he organized the Technical Library to a high standard.

Later he was detailed to look after the Repair and Servicing Section. In this new assignment he has proved capable beyond exception and delivered the required number of servicing in the stipulated time. He brought the serviceability state to 100% on 1 May 81 with all the 16 fighters and 2 trainers flew on the same day. To achieve this task a high level of planning, coordination, dedication and ability to mobilize manpower resources was displayed by Master Warrant Officer Samuel. His knowledge of other trades like Aeroengine and Airframe is praiseworthy. He could confidently and competently analyse the problems and suggest suitable remedy for rectification of faults.

His tact and man management, particularly in the crisis periods like detachment operations was highly commendable. With limited manpower he managed to keep the serviceability state at the highest without comprising the maintenance safety or the flight safety. By his self discipline and high professional knowledge he commanded the respect of his subordinates at all times. He achieved all this without caring for his personal comfort.

For his professional competence, selfless dedication to duty, sincerity to service and loyalty, Rashtrapati is pleased to award Vishisht Seva Medal to Master Warrant Officer Koshy Mathilunkal Samuel.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1982 Number: 

Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt Prem Datt Badoni 7085 AE(L)Unit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date 26 Jan 91 Announced 26 Jan 91
Details :

Gp Capt Prem Datt Badoni was on the posted strength of one of the Air Force Signal Units since 01 Aug 87.

Gp Capt Badoni as Commanding Officer of the premier high technology electronic unit, displayed innovative management skills in guiding and motivating personnel of his unit. Under his command, his unit successfully repaired a record number of 325 Sub-assemblies of complex electronic equipment during 1988-89 as against the allotted task of 240. In 1989-90, his unit surpassed all previous records by repairing 374 subassemblies with no extra manpower. Like previous years, in 1989-90 also, his unit saved Rs. 54 lakh in FEE by way of repair of super components. This was possible because of great devotion to duty and untiring efforts put up by Gp Capt Badoni and his unit in marshalling optimum technical, logistics and administrative resources.

In Jul 88, trained manpower was urgently required for activating EW equipment at one of our modern fighter bases. Gp Capt Badoni willingly accepted the challenge of conducting training in current state of the art EW equipment for the first time in India at his unit. With his personal involvement and hard work, despite the shortage of trained manpower, he enhanced the operational capabilities of the Air Force.

For his exceptional devotion to duty and achievements, the President is pleased to award Vishisht Seva Medal to Gp Capt PD Badoni.

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

Mention in Despatches
Sqn Ldr Anil Kumar 20742 F(P)Unit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :
Citation Not Available
Reference: Gazette of India No.28 - Pres/2000 dated 11th March 2000 

Mention in Despatches
Flt Lt Venkannagari Nagender Rao 23371 F(P)Unit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :
Citation Not Available
Reference: Gazette of India No.28 - Pres/2000 dated 11th March 2000 

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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