Awards for 18 Sqn

A total of 11 Awards are listed.
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Param Vir Chakra
Fg Offr Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon 10877 F(P)Unit : 18 Sqn  Award Date 14 Dec 71 Announced 26 Jan 72
Details : FLYING OFFICER Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon was a pilot of a Gnat detachment based at Srinagar for the air defence of the valley against Pakistani air attacks. In accordance with the international agreement dating back to 1948, no air defence aircraft were based at Sirinagar, until the outbreak of hosti- lities with Pakistan. Flying Officer Sekhon was, therefore, unfamiliar with the terrain and was not acclimatised to the altitude of Srinagar, especially with the bitter cold and biting winds of the Kashmir winter. Nevertheless, from the outset of the war, he and his colleagues fought successive waves of intruding Pakistani aircraft with valour and determination, maintaining the high reputation of the Gnat aircraft. On 14th December 1971, Srinagar Airfield was attached by a wave of six enemy Sabre aircraft. Flying Officer Sekhon was on readiness duty at the time. However, he could not take off at once because of the clouds of dust raised by another aircraft which had just taken off. By the time the runway was fit for take-off, no fewer than six enemy aircraft were overhead, and strafing of the airfield was in progress. Nevertheless, inspite of the mortal danger of attempting to take off during an attack, and inspite of the odds against him. Flying Officer Sekhon took off and immediately engaged a pair of the attacking Sabres. In the fight that followed, at tree top height, he all but held his own, but was eventually overcome by sheer weight of numbers. His aircraft crashed and he was killed. In thus, sacrificing himself for the defience of Srinagar, Flying Officer Sekhon achieved his object, for the enemy aircraft fled from the scene of the battle without pressing home their attack against the town and the airfield. The sublime heroism, supreme gallantry, filying skill and determination, above and beyond th call of duty, displayed by Flying Officer Sekhon in the face of certain death, set new heights to Air Force traditions.
Reference: Gazette of India , 29th January 1972 - No.7 - Pres/72 dated 20th January 1972 

Shaurya Chakra
Flt Lt Mohammed Raza Shirazi 7705 GD(P)Unit : 18 Sqn  Award Date 31 Jan 67 Announced 26 Jan 68
Details :

On 31st January 1967, the fuel in an aircraft caught fire during servicing operations. The airmen engaged in servicing raised an alarm and the fire fighting operations were immediately commenced. Flight Lieutenant Mohamed Raza Shirazi joined the group of men trying to extinguish the fire and took a leading part. He climbed on the main-plane of the burning aircraft at great risk and directed the nozzle of the fire fighting hose Into the Plenum chamber. The timely action prevented the fire which further, otherwise would have engulfed and destroyed the whole aircraft.

Flight Lieutenant Mohamed Raza Shirazi displayed courage and leadership.

Reference: Gazette of India , 6th April 1968 - No.28 - Pres/68 dated 26th January 1968 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Kailash Chandra Khanna 4722 GD(P)Unit : 18 Sqn  Award Date Announced 01 Jan 66
Details :

On 10th September, 1965, Squadron Leader Kailash Chander Khanna took off from Halwara as No. 4 in a formation of four Gnat aircraft to provide air cover to two Canberra sections on a bombing mission in enemy territory. All went according to plan and first Canberra was escorted to its target in the Kasur area and brought back safely. A rendezvous with the second section was made the four Gnats again proceeded to the target area.

As the two Canberra dropped their bombs, two enemy aircraft were reported. Just then Squadron Leader Khanna noticed that there was malfunction in the fuel system and his low level fuel warning light indicated that, at the height and speed, at which he was flying, he had little over 3 minutes fuel in the aircraft. The nearest landing ground was nearly eighty miles away.

Not wishing to divide the formation leader's attention between protection of Canberra and his own emergency, Squadron Leader Khanna decided not to inform the leader of his plight. Only when the Canberras had been escorted to the safety of own territory did Squadron Leader Khanna call out his emergency.

He then took a timely and bold decision to gain altitude and switch off the engine to conserve the remaining fuel. Thereafter, he glided towards Halwara and re-lighted the engine of circuit. As he was turning finals to land, his engine flamed out for lack of fuel but he carried out a successful landing.

Squadron Leader Kailash Chander Khanna displayed a sense of duty and discipline which 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
Wg Cdr Denzil Edward Satur 4339 GD(P)Unit : 18 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 70
Details :

Wing Commander Denzil Satur has been in Command of a Squadron for the last 2 years. He has a distinguished record in operational flying and has a total of about 3,507 hours on fighters to his credit. Under his leadership the Squadron has fulfilled all the tasks allotted to it efficiently. His professional ability in combat flying has been a source of inspiration of the pilots under his command. Inspite of heavy odds he has brought the squadron to a high standard of combat readiness.

Throughout, Wing Commander Denzil Satur dis played courage, leadership and devotion to duty.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Virendra Singh Pathania 5198 F(P)Unit : 18 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 71
Details :

Squadron Leader Virendra Singh Pathania has been flying the Gnat aircraft since January 1964. He has carried out 692 hours of flying on this type and is one of the most experienced pilots on the Gnat. His profound knowledge of the aircraft has benefited many other pilots, whom he has trained with patience and understanding. His personal qualities in the air and on the ground have been a shining example for his juniors to emulate.

Throughout, Squadron Leader Virendra Singh Pathania has displayed professional skill, leadership and devotion to duty.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Kamesh Khanna 5795 F(P)Unit : 18 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 79
Details :

Wing Commander Kamal Khanna was detailed on the 12th August, 1977, to carry out engine check on a Gnat aircraft. While carrying out aerobatics, he noticed that Jet Pipe Temperature was high. He decided to return to base. While returning, he experienced buffeting of the nose, revolutions per minute unwinding and JPT going up against the stop. This engine failure was coupled with hydraulic failure and oil pressure dolls eye turning white. Despite so many emergencies, Wing Commander Kamal Khanna kept cool and decided to force land the aircraft on the airfield instead of ejecting. He handled this serious emergency with utmost competence and landed the aircraft safely.

In this action Wing Commander Kamal Khanna displayed exemplary courage, professional skill and devotion to duty of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th January 1980 - No.7- Pres/80 dated 26th January 1979 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Sanjay Kumar Jayaswal 13134 F(P)Unit : 18 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 94
Details :

Wg Cdr SK Jayaswal was commissioned as a fighter pilot in Jun 72. He has more than 3300 hours of accident free flying on fighter aircraft to his credit. He is in command of a MiG-27 Squadron since May 91.

As Commanding Officer, Wg Cdr Jayaswal has been leading the combat unit from the front. He devoted himself to the operational combat training of the pilots. His systematic approach to armament training resulted in excellent performance of the Sqn in the annual air to ground armament firing meet of the Western Air Command where the Sqn was adjudged the best.

His professional ability and conduct has been a source of inspiration to all his subordinates. He motivated his officers and men in the most competent manner to form a well-knit combat team. This showed results when the unit, under his leadership, attained the highest ever marks given by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection Team to any unit in the IAF.

For his professional competence and exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wg Cdr SK Jayaswal.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Anil Gupta 13242 F(P)Unit : 18 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Group Captain A Gupta commanded a MiG-27 Squadron from May 93 to Feb 95. As the Commanding Officer, Gp Capt Anil Gupta displayed good leadership qualities. He involved himself in the training of pilots and achieved a very high standard in air to ground armament training and in air combat. In the Command gunnery meet the squadron bagged the winner's trophy in bombing team event and the overall champion's trophy. Directorate of Air Staff Inspection during their visit in Aug 94 assessed the Squadron as highly satisfactory. The squadron has achieved all this with an accident free record during his tenure.

Gp Capt Anil Gupta's professional ability, be it in air or ground, has been a source of inspiration for all his subordinates. Despite numerous outstation detachments the motivation level of all personnel has been of a very high order.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Anil Gupta.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Ashminder Singh Bahal 16208 F(P)Unit : 18 Sqn  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Wing Commander Ashminder Singh Bahal (16208-K) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Fighter Wing as Senior Flight Safety and Inspection Officer since 03 May 1998.

On 31 Aug 98, one fighter aircraft lost control during overshoot and crashed very close to the Control Tower. The aircraft collided with two other stationary aircraft parked on the dispersal and exploded. All the three aircraft were soon engulfed in fire, with flames rising to a height of 5 to 10 meters.

On receipt of the emergency call, Wg Cdr A S Bahal arrived at the scene of accident within a minute and assumed full charge of the crash fire fighting and rescue operations. Braving all odds and with total disregard to his own safety, he directed the fire fighting operations from very close proximity even as aircraft debris was being thrown around with minor explosions. The fire was brought under control within six to seven minutes at a time when the other two aircraft were spilling fuel. The fire and heat were so intense that even the shoes of the officer were charred.

His personal example motivated the crash crew and other airmen who were gathered around to carry out the fighting operations with gusto, despite danger to life. Wg Cdr Bahal motivated the men in fighting the fire keeping with the finest traditions of the Air Force.

For this act of exceptional gallantry, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wg Cdr Ashminder Singh Bahal.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Anil Kumar 18790 F(P)Unit : 18 Sqn  Award Date 08 Mar 01 Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Squadron Leader Anil Kumar (18790) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a MiG-27 Squadron since 03 May 1998. On 08 Mar 01 Sqn Ldr Anil Kumar was authorised to fly as one of the two attackers in a group combat mission involving four MiG-27 aircraft. At the end of the second situation, while disengaging the afterburner, Sqn Ldr Anil Kumar found that it did not switch off, and that the throttle was stuck in the minimum afterburner position. Despite his best efforts, RPM could not be reduced below 100%. Applying his excellent knowledge on the aircraft systems, Sqn Ldr Anil Kumar selected the relight switch to "ON" position, which helped reduce RPM to 85% - 87%. Such a combination of emergencies is neither mentioned in any publications, nor has happened before. Thereafter, while executing the approach to landing, the aircraft continued to accelerate beyond permissible threshold speeds. Having methodically analysed all available options, Sqn Ldr Anil Kumar operated the low-pressure fuel shut off lock at a speed of 450 km/h on short finals to switch off the engine and landed the aircraft safely. The permitted threshold speed is 370 km/h, beyond which ejection Is mandatory. Thus, Sqn Ldr Anil Kumar handled the entire hitherto unseen multiple emergencies with courage, in a very calm, composed and professional manner, and recovered a crippled aircraft without any damage from a situation, which would have necessitated ejection. For his exceptional act of courage and professional display in recovering a crippled aircraft with multiple emergencies, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Anil Kumar.
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 Thazhathu Pulikunnel Devasia Joseph 16964 F(P)Unit : 18 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

Wing Commander Thazhathu Pulikunnel Devasia Joseph (169464) F (P) was commissioned in the Flying Branch on 29 December 1982. He has maintained an excellent flight safety record throughout his career. He has held the appointment of Air Force Examiner in Aircrew Examination Board. He is presently commanding a MiG-27 Squadron.

Wg Cdr Joseph was assigned the onerous task of commanding one of the only two night strike squadrons of the IAF. During the first year of his commanded, the share of nigh flying done by the squadron rose to 37% as against 30-31% prior to that. This was achieved inspite of long duration detachments for Millennium Vayu Shakti 2001 (MVS 2001) during fair weather period, long adverse weather period from Apr to Sep and recommencement flying for the inexperienced pilots in the squadron. Under his able guidance and supervision, eight pilots upgraded their operational status to Advanced Night Strike (ANS) qualified by Feb 2002. Through his active interaction with technical personnel and through meticulous planning, Wg Cdr Joseph was instrumental in raising and sustaining the serviceability of the fighters in the squadron by approx 20% during Sep 2001 to March 2002. As recognition of its continued superior performance over a prolonged period, the Squadron was selected as the only unit from Eastern Air Command to participate in the MVS 2001 in Jan-Feb 2001 and later in Sep 2001. The performance of the Sqn during the build up to MVS 2001 in Jan 2001 was particularly appreciated in writing by South Western Air Command, which was coordinating the show.

The officer, with his multidimensional initiatives and technological orientation, has effected several innovations. Many of these resulted in technical method simplification and quality enhancement. Some examples being, a wheel spinning device and modification for milking FDR data during super-structure engine ground runs. These innovative technical initiatives brought about higher aircraft availability with lesser man hours cost. In all these, he led from the front, setting personal examples of the highest standards, always keeping the interests of the service foremost. Thus, Wg Cdr Joseph has displayed excellent leadership, professionalism, and personal qualities, which have enabled the Sqn and its personal to achieve all the challenging tasks assigned to them with utmost efficiency and competence.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Wing Commander Thazhathu Pulikunnel Devasia Joseph.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 22nd March 2003 - No.43-Pres/2003 dated 26th January 2003 

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